Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

OSHA regulates non-ionizing radiation

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Aug 15, 2022

The US federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates workplace exposures to radiation, in two separate standards that distinguish between “non-ionizing” and “ionizing” radiation. OSHA’s Non-ionizing Radiation Standard (29 CFR 1910.97) addresses workplace exposures to electromagnetic waves from radio and microwave sources.  OSHA has established radioactive exposure levels intended to protect exposed employees, and requires placarding to inform those who enter areas bathed in non-ionizing radiation.

Read More

Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, Safety and Health at Work, radiation

California phasing out non-recyclable single-use plastics

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Aug 08, 2022

On June 30, 2022, California governor Gavin Newsom signed state Senate Bill (SB) 54, enacting the “Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act.” The Act phases in a ban on non-recyclable single-use plastics by 2032, and requires that threshold proportions of single-use items sold as “recyclable” will actually be recycled. Its implementation will make use of “extended producer responsibility” mechanism similar to those used in California and elsewhere for other enhanced recycling programs (I’ve written about these before, most recently HERE and HERE). The new Act will be overseen by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). The new Act complements a variety of other state programs, many also overseen by CalRecycle. The remainder of this note discusses SB 54’s provisions.

Read More

Tags: California, Environment, plastics, microplastics

OSHA requires accident prevention signs and tags

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Aug 02, 2022

The US federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations specify the formats of workplace warning signs and tags to alert workers to the presence of a variety of physical and health hazards.  OSHA’s Accident Prevention Signs and Tags Standard (29 CFR 1910.145) specifies wording, colors, shapes—even requiring sign corners to be rounded off.  OSHA sets up a hierarchy of hazards, and associated warnings. In addition, many of OSHA’s targeted standards include specific requirements for signs and tags.

Read More

Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, workplace safety, safety violations, Warning Signs

OSHA identifies 10 most frequently cited violations

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Jul 25, 2022

The US federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published its annual list of the “Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards” for fiscal year (FY) 2021. The tabulation covers October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021; OSHA delays its annual publication to allow time for inspections during a fiscal year to produce citations if appropriate. (I wrote about OSHA inspection procedures and priorities HERE). The remainder of this note summarizes the new list.

Read More

Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, Workplace violence, violations, safety violations

Washington enforcing summertime heat and wildfire protection rules

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Jul 18, 2022

This summer is again bringing record-breaking heat to parts of North America. It's time to remember that outdoor work in the summer sun can lead to heat illness, as can indoor work in spaces that aren’t sufficiently insulated or cooled. It’s also time to consider the possible impacts of local or regional wildfires on workplace air quality. Washington state provides useful benchmarks for these considerations, through rules administered every summer by the Department of Labor & Industries’ (L&I’s) Division of Occupational Safety and Health. The remainder of this note summarizes those requirements.

Read More

Tags: Wildfire, Heat Wave, Heat, Be Heat Smart, heat illness, Washington

Circuit Court sends Roundup pesticide review back to EPA for another try

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Jul 11, 2022

On June 17, the Ninth Circuit (federal) Court of Appeals issued an important ruling on national pesticide regulation, directed at the chemical glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in the ubiquitous weedkiller Roundup (originally marketed by Monsanto, which was bought by Bayer in 2018). The order remands to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the agency’s determination that glyphosate does not pose “any unreasonable risk to man or the environment,” citing evidence that such risks may indeed be present. The case, Natural Resources Defense Council v. EPA, interprets and applies the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). This decision is the latest step in controversies dating to 2009, when EPA began its latest FIFRA hazard review and reregistration determination for glyphosate.

Read More

Tags: EPA, FIFRA, pesticides

Canada bans single-use plastics

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Jul 05, 2022

On June 20, 2022, the government of Canada published “Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations”, which will ban the manufacture and importation of most single-use plastics effective December 20, 2022, with some delayed deadlines to December 20, 2023. Bans on sale will phase in between December 20, 2023 and December 20, 2025. These rules are an important part of national efforts to reduce the manufacture and use of plastics, in order to reduce both resources used to manufacture them, and pollution when they are disposed or discarded. These new regulations are the most far-reaching of global efforts to date (as a narrower example, I wrote about California’s Microplastics Policy HERE). The remainder of this note summarizes the new Canadian regulations.

Read More

Tags: Canada, plastics

California again considering requirements for workplace violence prevention

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Jun 27, 2022

On May 22, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH, but generally referred to as “Cal/OSHA”) issued its latest revised discussion draft of a regulatory standard mandating workplace violence prevention (WVP) steps for employers in “general industry” (potential 8 CCR 3343). This draft revives an effort that began in 2017, when the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) responded to a schoolteacher’s petition that the state enact a WVP standard for educational settings by agreeing to consider one for all settings not covered by its standard for WVP in healthcare settings (which I wrote about HERE). The remainder of this note discusses the latest draft.

Read More

Tags: Health & Safety, Workplace violence, Cal/OSHA

Federal Distributing Corporations Report Expanding Board Diversity

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Jun 21, 2022

Beginning in 2020, the Canada Business Corporation Act (CBCA) requires federal distributing companies to disclose annually the diversity in their boards and senior management. (CBCA s. 172.1). Disclosures are made to shareholders at annual meetings, and in filings with Corporations Canada. Corporations Canada has now published its review of filings covering calendar year 2021, citing the latest information and comparing with 2020 reports to assess initial progress.

Read More

Tags: Labour & Employment, CBCA, Canada, Directors Liability, CBCR

Department of Justice Reviving Use of Supplemental Environmental Project Agreements

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Jun 13, 2022

On May 12, 2022, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) published an interim final rule that revokes a Trump-era prohibition against its attorneys’ use of payments to third parties, including via “supplemental environmental projects (SEPs)”, in settlements with violators of federal environmental laws. (I discussed Trump Administration policies several times, most recently HERE). In these cases, DOJ acts as the attorney for the agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that enforce laws and regulations allegedly violated. This rule change would codify policy changes presented in a memorandum from Attorney General Merrick Garland to US attorneys. This change is designed to restore flexibility to DOJ’s US attorneys to trade penalty dollars for more rapid commitments by wrongdoers to undertake actions to offset harms caused by their violations.

Read More

Tags: EPA, DOJ, SEP, Environment, Climate