Friday, November 21, 2014
OSHA Short Takes

Agency reminds employers of looming change to reporting rule

OSHA is trying to inform as many employers as possible about a rule change at the start of next year that will tighten requirements for telling authorities about workplace deaths, hospitalizations and eye loss incidents. . . .

OSHA to update advisors on Ebola activities

OSHA plans to brief the agency's national advisory panel on efforts to help prevent the spread of Ebola in work settings when the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) convenes Dec. 10 . . .

Safety group joins broad-based NIOSH health initiative

The National Safety Council (NSC) said Friday (Nov. 7) it has become the seventh organization to join the NIOSH Total Worker Health Affiliate Program. NIOSH chief John Howard has made emphasis on the broad concept . . .

CDC adds to personal protective equipment stockpile

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ordered $2.7 million in personal protective equipment to increase Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) supplies to assist U.S. hospitals caring for Ebola patients, the agency said Friday (Nov. . . .

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Clinical Labs Urged To Follow CDC, OSHA Guidelines In Preventing Ebola Spread From Specimens

The government's lead agency in regulating how thousands of clinical laboratories reliably conduct testing on human specimens is urging state health officials to ensure that labs follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines in specimen collection to stop the potential spread of Ebola – and hew to safety mandates and guidelines including those issued by OSHA as part of infection control.

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House GOP Re-Installs Kline As Work Force Committee Chair

The House Republican conference has again selected Rep. John Kline as chair of the work force committee, which oversees OSHA, with the Minnesota congressman pledging Wednesday (Nov. 19) to bring more "certainty" to workplaces – which fits with Kline's longtime approach to OSHA that the agency should craft policies that he deems more flexible and cooperative with the business community.

OSHA Alerts Retailers Of Duty To Shield Workers From Holiday Crowd Hazards

OSHA's enforcement arm is gearing up to look for any possible violations of what the agency describes as large retailers' obligations under the OSH Act to prevent injuries to workers during the upcoming crush of holiday shoppers, re-emphasizing an issue that falls under its broad general-duty authority to address known hazards.

CSB Says Adding Ammonium Nitrate To Safety Program May Have Mitigated TX Disaster

The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is reiterating its 2002 call for the Environmental Protection Agency to add ammonium nitrate to its facility safety program, saying regulation of the substance under the Risk Management Plan (RMP) rule could have prevented or mitigated the April 2013 explosion in West, TX, that killed 15 people and prompted a federal review of plant safety.

Safety Equipment Group Backs WHO Performance Standards For Ebola-Related PPE

A key safety equipment trade group is endorsing a set of new international specifications for choosing personal protective equipment (PPE) for stopping the spread of Ebola among health care workers and patients, saying selection of PPE should be tied to established performance standards and not "panic buys" stemming from Ebola-related crises.

Deadly Insecticide Chemical Release Spurs CSB Probe At DuPont Plant Near Houston

Federal chemical safety officials launched an investigation Saturday into a chemical release incident that took four workers' lives at the La Porte DuPont Plant near Houston, potentially bringing new attention to the substance involved, which is frequently used to odorize natural gas.

Senate HELP Staffer Named To Labor Board As Obama Pulls Controversial Nominee

A Senate Democratic counsel who has worked extensively on OSHA and other employment issues for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), outgoing chair of the labor committee, has been tapped by President Obama as the next member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), as Obama withdrew a contentious nominee who had earlier been named using "recess appointment" powers that led to a Supreme Court battle.

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Toxicology Program Updates Carcinogenicity Data For Several Substances

The Office of the Report on Carcinogens announced new web pages with documents for seven new candidate substances to add to the list of potential cancer-causing substances and viruses: cobalt, goldenseal root powder and five . . .

Nurses Group Pushes Aggressive Action On Ebola Preparedness

National Nurses United made a slide presentation to OSHA officials during an advisory meeting this month to press for aggressive action to ensure health care workers are adequately provided the highest levels of personal protective . . .

OSHA Reviews Ebola Concerns, Guidelines

OSHA advisors heard a recent update from Amanda Edens, OSHA director of technical support and emergency management, on current Ebola-related concerns along with general guidelines for employers to prevent infections.

Reg Advocacy Group Presses Administration On Silica Rule

A new report issued by the Center for Progressive Reform calls on the Obama administration to issue a final OSHA silica rule (see related coverage), as well as rules to protect child agriculture workers, among . . .

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