Friday, August 01, 2014
OSHA Short Takes

OSHA plans whistleblower advisory panel meeting

OSHA says it will hold a meeting of the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee Sept. 3-4 in Washington, as the agency continues work on strengthening anti-retaliation program resources and expertise as well as clearing a backlog . . .

Agencies sign MOU to cooperate on whistleblower protection

OSHA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have crafted an agreement to enhance interagency cooperation in protecting whistleblowers under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act -- a move that occurs as OSHA grapples with . . .

NIOSH lodges concern on reproductive health toxicity of chemicals

NIOSH offered input on reducing exposures to occupational agents that can harm reproductive health and fertility, as the agency contributed research to the National Public Health Action Plan for the Detection, Prevention and Management of . . .

Senate panel to examine black lung concerns

The Senate workplace safety subcommittee says it will hold a hearing July 22 "to explore the legal and medical challenges faced by coal miners suffering from black lung disease when they file claims for benefits . . .

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Obama Order On Fed Contractors Tackles OSHA Compliance; Industry Bashes Move

A new executive order from President Obama intended to clamp down on the hiring of federal contractors with allegedly questionable health and safety records and OSHA compliance histories opened a new rift Thursday (July 31) with the business community and congressional Republicans who blasted it as a giveaway to trial lawyers and an example of executive overreach, in the face of many worker safety advocates lauding the move.

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GAO Opens Study On Workplace Violence And OSHA Involvement, Sources Say

Congressional investigators have commenced a study partly on whether OSHA should attempt to issue a specific standard tackling workplace violence in the health care sector, following on a request late last year from House Democrats to look into the issue, Washington sources tell Inside OSHA Online.

General-Duty Citation Against Miami Theme Park Mirrors Controversial SeaWorld Case

OSHA has issued a citation with $7,000 in proposed penalties that invokes the OSH Act general duty clause against Miami Seaquarium over the proximity of animal trainers to a killer whale, an enforcement action that closely resembles the contentious SeaWorld citations that landed the agency and employer in court where OSHA ultimately prevailed in exercising the often-disputed section of its enabling statute.

OSHA Policy Memo On Temp Workers Outlines Shared Responsibility Of Host, Staffing Agency

OSHA has sent a detailed memorandum to regional officials describing how OSHA field officers should handle investigations of possible hazards in temporary work arrangements and the determination of responsibility among host employers and staffing agencies for worker training and hazard abatement, pushing forward stringently on an issue that has been a top priority of agency chief David Michaels.

CDC Report On Anthrax Raises Concerns About Worker Exposures; OSHA Presses Lab Safety

A recent report stemming from an internal investigation by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into a June incident involving the "unintentional exposure" of personnel to potentially viable anthrax raises serious concerns about worker safety in laboratories, an issue that OSHA has long scrutinized and also addressed in guidance documents in recent years.

Senate Panel Reports Bill To Give OSHA Slight Bump In Resources In Fiscal '15

The Senate labor appropriations panel's spending bill would give OSHA several million more dollars than current funding levels in fiscal 2015, proposing to allow the agency to spend roughly $557 million next year -- but that's less than President Obama wants and unlikely to be embraced by House Republicans as the fall fiscal and electoral battles approach.

CSB Cites Lack Of Industry Adoption Of NFPA Explosive Dust Code In Calling For OSHA Rule

Federal chemical safety investigators are stepping up calls for regulatory action to tackle workplace combustible dust hazards after probing the causes of a deadly 2010 explosion in West Virginia, citing concern about purported holes in what they say should be universal industry adoption of consensus standards.

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Labor Department Regulatory Agenda

Access the Labor Department agency rule list with OSHA items in the new semiannual regulatory agenda released Friday (May 23).

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NIOSH Issues Respirator Approval Under New Requirements

NIOSH says it has issued the first approval for a respirator that complies with the new requirements for closed-circuit escape respirators. The approval comes about nine months ahead of the deadline established for companies to . . .

OSHA Issues Policy Background On Temp Worker Initiative

OSHA has issued a memo to regional administrators providing policy background on its initiative to protect temporary workers.

OSHA Cites General Duty Clause Against Miami Seaquarium

OSHA has issued a citation under the OSH Act general duty clause against Miami Seaquarium, proposing a penalty of $7,000 over the issue of separating an orca from trainers, echoing issues that arose in a . . .

NTP Offers Update On Carcinogen Policy

The National Toxicology Program provided a new update coming out of a recent Board of Scientific Counselors meeting, with topics including Report on Carcinogen draft concepts for cobalt, goldenseal root powder, and selected viruses; the peer-review outcome of four . . .

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