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An industry association is asserting that OSHA, in a recently-issued letter of interpretation, has expanded its interpretation of a reportable injury, citing the agency's finding that an employee's injury must be reported -- even though the treatment was self-prescribed, and although eventually backed by a doctor, not medically-required.

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The Obama administration's controversial new rules and related guidance to assist federal agencies in weighing health and safety and other labor law violations in procurement decisions backs labor advocates' calls to expand the list violations that agencies must consider in their decisions even as officials defended against industry claims that the measure is unnecessary and exceeds federal authority.

The Labor Department (DOL) is urging a federal court to reject a magistrate judge's landmark recommendation to limit an OSHA inspection of a poultry processing facility to the circumstances of an employee's injury, in a case that worker advocates say could severely limit the agency's enforcement authority.

OSHA is urging a federal court to reject an industry lawsuit seeking to block anti-retaliation provisions of the agency's new injury and illness record-keeping and reporting rule, claiming broad statutory authority and discretion to ensure accurate reporting of worker injuries, and that the industry lawsuit is unlikely to succeed.

Local officials from a California county where numerous industrial facility accidents have occurred in recent years are urging OSHA to strengthen its facility worker safety program by covering additional substances and hazards, and adding requirements for facilities to conduct new analyses and emergency drills.

Chemical and petroleum industry groups are urging OSHA to halt or minimize potential revisions to its process safety management (PSM) rule, raising new arguments that the agency lacks statutory authority for some possible changes, while urging officials to streamline any new requirements with upcoming EPA rules.

An industry attorney expects that OSHA will soon begin a national or at least regional emphasis program targeting enforcement against industries that the agency deems pose significant hazards to temporary workers, calling such a program an expected progression of the agency's recent focus on protecting temporary workers on job sites.

The Center for Progressive Reform (CPR), a group that advocates for strict health and safety protections, is renewing long-standing calls for OSHA to issue a national standard to protect workers from heat-related injuries and death, an effort that will likely take shape in the next administration.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) in a new report is touting the benefits of preventive inspections at petroleum refineries to prevent accidents and worker injuries, a finding that bolsters pending efforts by EPA and OSHA to strengthen their facility safety rules with new requirements for independent audits.

OSHA has sent for White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review a draft final rule instituting new procedures for investigating complaints of retaliation against whistleblowers in the health care sector, a responsibility the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) delegated to the agency.

Short Takes

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is launching a study of chemicals that terrorists may use in explosives, and recently sought nominations of chemists and engineers to participate in the review that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested after dropping plans for a long-delayed rule to track sales of ammonium nitrate.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has reversed a district court ruling to allow a man convicted of illegally removing and disposing of insulation containing regulated asbestos to seek a new trial.

OSHA's Region 9 is piloting a new expedited whistleblower review process that allows employees to request that the agency quickly issue findings on their retaliation claims, triggering Office of Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) review, a move that builds on OSHA's recent efforts to bolster whistleblower protections.

The Department of Labor (DOL) is urging a federal appeals court to order a roofing company to comply with a 2015 settlement agreement with OSHA that requires the company to rectify fall and electrical hazards on work sites, and pay a fine for violations.