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OSHA: Protecting Workers From Workplace Air Contaminants

OSHA regulates workplace air contaminants to protect employees from exposures to airborne chemical and particulate contaminants in workplace air. Generally, employee exposures are limited by permissible exposure limits (PEL) based on a time-weighted average (TWA) over an 8-hour workday. OSHA also allows exposure to some contaminants at greater “excursion limits” for short periods of time, subject to “ceiling values.” Many of these limits are based on voluntary standards developed by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).

Exercise of Legal Powers By Director Constitutes Oppression of Minority Shareholders

The decision by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Paul v. 1433295 Ontario Ltd. (2013 OSCJ 7002), illustrates that the oppression remedy is available to complainants, even when the actions that are the subject of the complaint are the result of a lawful procedure available under Ontario corporate legislation. The Court held that, although the procedure was lawful, the intent of the action was to squeeze out the affected shareholders and the results were oppressive to the minority shareholders’ interests.

BC’s Water Sustainability Act: What’s Coming Down the Pipe?

Increasing demand on British Columbia’s water systems has highlighted the need for a flexible yet robust legislative framework that balances ecosystem health, water supply, and competition for resources. The BC government has taken a major step toward adaptive water governance with the introduction of Bill 18, the Water Sustainability Act (WSA).1 Although WSA is only a broad framework and the government deferred many important details to future regulations, water users should be aware of the key changes it makes to the existing Water Act2 and prepare for compliance with WSA when it comes into force during spring 2015.

Tornadoes Happen…Are you Prepared?

Tornadoes can occur with little or no warning. Taking precautions in advance of the storms, such as developing an emergency plan, learning the warning signs, and monitoring tornado watches and warnings, can help you stay safe if a tornado occurs in your area.

EPA Reports Progress On Urban Air Toxics

Important Clean Air Act (CAA) elements direct the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Unlike the conventional pollutants associated with regional problems such as smog or acid rain, HAPs represent a list of 187 specific air toxics that can be harmful in low concentrations in much smaller areas. HAPs are subject to tighter controls and lower permitting thresholds.

Internet Law: New Top-level Domains and Trademark Law

Since 1998, generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) have been managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Some of the more well-known gTLDs include:

EPA May Require Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan

The Clean Water Act (CWA), as amended after the Exxon Valdez spill by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, imposes oil spill planning requirements on onshore and offshore facilities involved in the handling and transport of oil. These facilities may be required to prepare and implement a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan (and perhaps a more detailed Facility Response Plan). During 2001-2011, EPA adopted a series of significant changes to its SPCC Plan regulations, requiring compliance by most facilities no later than November 10, 2011.

EPA Seeks Comments On Accidental Release Prevention Requirements

In August 2013, President Obama issued an Executive Order directing federal regulatory agencies to review specified regulatory programs that are designed to prevent catastrophic releases of toxics: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Chemical Process Safety Management Standard (PSM); Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Accidental Release Prevention (ARP) program and Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) program; and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program (I blogged about the EO here, OSHA’s consideration of PSM changes here, and about one of the agencies’ joint reports on progress here). EPA has just issued a request for information on the possible revisions to ARP requirements, which are described below.

Managing Confined Space—Ensuring Worker Safety in Unusual Circumstances

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OSHA estimates that nearly a quarter million workplaces have permit-required confined spaces and over two million workers, in a wide range of occupations, are called on to enter confined spaces each year. These entry activities result in 50 to 100 fatalities and over 10,000 recordable injuries annually.

Production Company Cited for Safety Violations Causing Worker Injury and Fatality

“Employers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect workers’ health and safety, and the entertainment industry is no exception,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels, in response to an incident in Jesup, Georgia, where a 27-year-old camera assistant was killed, and eight other workers were injured, while trying to escape an oncoming freight train during the filming of a scene for the movie “Midnight Rider,” a biopic based on the life of musician Gregg Allman. Michaels continued by saying, “It is unacceptable that Film Allman LLC [of Pasadena, California] knowingly exposed their crew to moving trains while filming on a live track and railroad trestle.”

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