Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

OSHA issues new Process Safety Management Standard enforcement guidance

Posted by Jon Elliott on Fri, Feb 09, 2024

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Standard for Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (usually referred to as “PSM”) requires extensive risk assessments and reduction efforts by facilities where a significant incident involving these chemicals might have catastrophic consequences. OSHA adopted PSM in 1992, and has made only minor technical revisions in the ensuing three decades. OSHA has also issued enforcement guidance to its inspectors, which it had not revised since 2012. However, in December 2023 OSHA issued an extensive new PSM enforcement policy, most of which is formatted in a total of 192 Questions and Responses designed to guide enforcement – and compliance that can obviate enforcement. The remainder of this note provides a very brief summary of the 120 page Enforcement Policy document.

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Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, Safety and Health at Work, workplace safety, chemical safety, PSM

OSHA proposing Emergency Response Standard

Posted by Jon Elliott on Fri, Jan 19, 2024

On December 21`, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to develop an Emergency Response Standard that will update, expand and supersede OSHA’s existing Fire Brigades Standard. The new standard will extend detailed OSHA protections to additional emergency responders, including not just firefighters but also emergency medical service providers and technical search and rescue workers. The rest of this note describes these proposed changes.

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Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, Fire Prevention, Fire Safety, NPRM

OSHA encourages switch from hard hats to safety helmets

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Jan 09, 2024

On November 22, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Safety and Health information Bulletin (SHIB) discussing “safety helmets” as evolved alternatives to traditional hard hats, and offering recommendations for situations where employers should switch. On December 11 the agency announced that it’s following its own advice and replacing its own employees/inspectors hard hats with safety helmets. The rest of this note discusses OSHA provisions for personal protective equipment (PPE) providing head protection, and the rationale and examples of the benefits of upgraded headgear.

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Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, Safety and Health at Work, workplace safety

OSHA reminds employers about duty to keep young workers safe

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Dec 19, 2023

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides a “Young Workers - You have rights!” webpage on its website, compiling regulatory and practical information for employers and workers. As we approach the annual spike in youth employment during the end-of-year Holidays, this provides a timely reminder to focus on the needs and rights of young people in workplaces. The webpage targets information as follows:

  • Young Workers
  • Employers
  • Parents and Educators
  • Real Stories
  • Hazards
  • Resources

The remainder of this note summarizes these materials, focusing on information useful to employers.

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Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, Safety and Health at Work, workplace safety

WorkSafeBC reminds employer to prevent slips, trips and falls

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Dec 05, 2023

On October 24, 2023, WorkSafeBC, British Columbia’s provincial occupational health and safety (OHS) regulator and workers’ compensation overseer, issued a reminder to employers to address the hazards of workplace slips, trips and falls. The reminder began with a recitation that approximately 20 percent of all workplace injuries in the province relate to slips, trips, and falls. The agency also reported that “in the past six years, almost 41,000 workers in B.C. suffered slip-trip-and-fall injuries, including fractures, sprains, and dislocations.” The agency notice follows these statistics with reminders of what employers can and should do to reduce the likelihood and severity of these injuries. The remainder of this note summarizes this information.`

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Tags: Health & Safety, Safety and Health at Work, workplace safety, Injury, OHS

New EPA website compiles agency cancer prevention efforts

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Oct 23, 2023

On September 13, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added to its website a portal with information about the agency’s many regulatory, research and informational efforts addressing carcinogen hazards and controls. This information supports the Biden Administration’s “Cancer Moonshot.”  EPA undertakes carcinogen control efforts by applying legal authority under many of the environmental protection statutes it administers. The remainder of this note summarizes the agency efforts identified on EPA’s new web portal.

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Tags: Health & Safety, EPA, CAA, tsca, CWA, NESHAPs, FIFRA, Healthcare, Illness, Cancer Moonshot

EPA’s Climate Smart Brownfields Manual

Posted by Jon Elliott on Fri, Sep 22, 2023

Several national laws empower the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set standards for the cleanup of contamination that resulted from accidental or deliberate releases of chemicals and other materials onto land or into water. EPA’s actions include direct requirements for cleanup by responsible parties, and also inform other parties’ evaluations of if and how to prepare contaminated areas for reuse – often referred to as “brownfields” since they’re assumed to be dirtier than never-used “greenfields.” The remainder of this note discusses EPA’s 73 page “Climate Smart Brownfields Manual,” issued by the agency in 2021

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Tags: Health & Safety, EPA, chemical safety, Hazardous Waste, Environment

OSHA considering changes to Voluntary Prevention Programs

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Mar 13, 2023

Since 1982, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has administered “Voluntary Protection Programs” (VPPs) to encourage employers to establish and implement worker Safety and Health Programs that exceed minimal efforts to comply with applicable OSHA standards. OSHA designs VPP eligibility to encourage employer/employee/OSHA cooperation, and to reward such cooperation by granting employers increased flexibility and reduced likelihood of inspection. OSHA presently oversees three programs (which I described in more detail HERE), and is undertaking a “VPP Modernization” initiative to evaluate ways for “modernizing, improving, and expanding” these efforts. On February 16 OSHA posted questions about possible changes, which I discuss in the rest of this note.

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Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, Safety and Health at Work, Employment, VPP

OSHA provides seasonal flu guidance

Posted by Jon Elliott on Thu, Dec 01, 2022

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides additional non-regulatory guidance for the evaluation and reduction of workplace hazards that aren’t directly regulated by its standards. For example, OSHA provides a resource webpage on Seasonal Flu, which it recently updated with provide additional guidance and links to other health agencies’ resource pages.

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Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, Healthcare

OSHA revises log-in and account requirements for electronic Injury and Illness reporting

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Nov 07, 2022

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires most employers with 10 or more employees at any “establishment” to prepare and maintain records of occupational injuries and illnesses (I&I) as they occur (I&I Logs). OSHA also requires employers to post an annual I&I Summary in each workplace “establishment” by February 1, summarizing I&Is in that workplace during the previous calendar year. OSHA also requires some employers to submit some of their I&I information electronically to the agency for review and compilation. (I wrote about revisions proposed in March 2022 HERE). In October, OSHA revised electronic procedures for its Injury Tracking Application (API), which subject employers must be ready to use for electronic reporting of 2022 information no later than March 2, 2023.

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Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, API, electronic I&I