Wednesday, January 28, 2015
OSHA Short Takes

Isakson chairs workplace safety panel, Franken is ranking Democrat

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will chair the workplace safety panel of the Senate labor committee in the new Congress, taking the lead on OSHA and other occupational safety and health issues, committee leaders said Wednesday . . .

Wilson to serve as ranking Democrat on workforce subcommittee

Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL) has been selected to serve as the ranking Democrat on the House workforce protections panel, the committee's minority staff said late Tuesday. The panel has OSHA jurisdiction and is part of . . .

Polis named ranking Democrat on employment subcommittee

Rep. Jared Polis (CO) will serve as ranking Democrat on the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions panel of the Education and Workforce Committee, the Democratic caucus said Tuesday. The full committee is tasked with overseeing . . .

OSHA policy off the radar in House oversight plan

The Republican-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Wednesday (Jan. 21) adopted an oversight plan for the 114th Congress that makes no mention of OSHA policy -- an area of Labor Department jurisdiction . . .

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State Plans Resist OSHA Bid To Keep Some Small Sites Out Of SHARP

States are chafing against a quietly issued federal OSHA mandate that has the effect of precluding some small work sites from participating in the agency's small business on-site consultation program -- and the temporary exemptions from programmed inspections that go along with it -- if they employ more than 250 people, or fall under that cap but are owned by larger companies that meet or exceed 500 people in total employment.

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Advocates Press OSHRC To Expand Meaning Of 'Affected' Workers, Ensure Unions Can Participate In Cases

A large national coalition of worker advocacy groups is calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) to revise its procedures to allow interested parties including so-called "affected" employees to participate in cases before OSHRC even if they do not work directly for an employer contesting citations -- a move that would effectively expand the scope of cases stemming from multi-employer job sites.

CSB Recommends Tighter Industry Standards After Probe Of Chevron Fire

Federal chemical safety investigators are set to release on Wednesday a final report and accompanying recommendations calling for tighter industry standards following their probe of the August 2012 crude unit fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, CA, an investigation that has been subject to controversy due to both the length of the probe and an ongoing debate over whether regulators should adopt a European-style "safety case" approach to head off such disasters.

CA 'Safe Harbor' Lead Level Based On OSHA PEL In Dispute

Industry attorneys are raising concerns following a new lawsuit filed by an environmental health legal group that aims to force California regulators to require Proposition 65 chemical warning labels on any product that exposes the public to any amount of lead – with the suit arguing that state officials used OSHA's threshold limit as a flawed basis for exempting products that have exposures at or under 0.5 ug/day.

CDC: Train Crash Responders Did Not Use Respirators, Data Show Serious Risk

Nearly four-fifths of emergency responders to a hazardous chemical spill following a 2012 train wreck in New Jersey failed to use recommended respiratory protection during the incident, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report finds -- underscoring concerns among worker advocates about lack of responder preparedness, an issue that OSHA is attempting to tackle at the federal level.

OSHA Clarifies Reporting Rule Mandates On Amputations, Eye Loss

OSHA recently clarified new requirements on worker amputations and eye loss under a stricter incident reporting rule that took effect this month, delineating the circumstances under which such events are reportable, with industry sources saying the interpretation is useful in some ways -- particularly whether blindness versus removal of an eye falls under the mandate.

OSHA Warns Companies Of Non-Silica Hazards In Fracking Operations

OSHA alerts employers in a new publication to a variety of safety and health concerns -- none tied directly to silica exposures -- arising at hydraulic fracturing sites around the country, where the primary issue emphasized until now has been the potential for workers to develop silicosis or other diseases linked to inhalation of silica dust.

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MN Audit Raises Concern On Meatpacking Hazards

The Minnesota legislative auditor's office has raised concerns about state protections for meatpacking workers, saying the state OSHA program has not "adequately publicized" a 2007 state law, the Packinghouse Workers Bill of Rights, and some . . .

Cal/OSHA To Meet On Workplace Violence In Health Care Regs

Cal/OSHA plans to hold a meeting Feb. 5 in Los Angeles to discuss the next draft of regulations mandated under a new state law to promulgate by June 2016 new regulations addressing workplace violence in . . .

Poultry Industry Blasts OSHA Over General-Duty Case

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and National Chicken Council released a statement sharply criticizing OSHA for using the OSH Act general duty clause in an enforcement action against Wayne Farms, a case drawing wide . . .

Nader Calls On Obama To Visit OSHA, Other Agencies

Ralph Nader, the labor and environmental activist, wrote a recent letter to President Obama urging him to make personal visits and spend work days at executive branch agencies, including OSHA, arguing that would benefit the . . .

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