Wednesday, August 20, 2014
OSHA Short Takes

OSHA inks alliance with Honduran consul

OSHA signed an alliance Aug. 1 with the Consulate General of Honduras in California to provide workplace rights information to Honduran workers and their employers in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Idaho, the agency said. . . .

NIOSH plans worker health symposium

NIOSH is planning its first International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health from Oct. 6-8 in Bethesda, MD, to provide a "collaborative space" for scientists and practitioners from around the world to "consult and learn . . .

OSHA sues Postal Service, alleging worker retaliation

OSHA is suing the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) alleging illegal retaliation against a St. Louis-area branch employee -- a high-profile action given the Postal Service's prominence and OSHA's continuing and well-publicized efforts to improve the . . .

NIOSH expands coal dust surveillance program

NIOSH expanded its Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program with publication of an interim final rule that enlarges the existing surveillance program from covering only underground miners to also covering surface miners. The agency also adds . . .

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NIOSH Pushes Work Injury Data Collection In Electronic Health Records

NIOSH wants community health centers to collect occupational injury and illness data in their electronic medical records so the agency can use that data for research, a NIOSH official tells Inside OSHA Online.

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Building Contractors Poised To Sue Over Controversial Obama Order On DOL Citations

A major construction industry trade group is gearing up to sue the Obama administration over a contentious presidential executive order that constrains federal agencies from hiring contractors with Labor Department enforcement histories, including alleged OSHA violations, a top official with the group tells Inside OSHA Online. The organization, the source says, also is considering legislative remedies to overcome the order, which critics say is an example of executive overreach.

OSHA Explores Program-Based Model In Potential Regs On Emergency Response

OSHA regulators are envisioning a potential program-based approach to any eventual new regulations they attempt to promulgate in beefing up safety and health protections for emergency responders, which would mean a broad approach involving intensive planning and training – similar in some respects to the model the agency favors for broadly requiring injury and illness prevention programs across industry sectors.

NIOSH Lodges New Concern On Workplace Tobacco Smoke, Asks For Public Feedback

NIOSH is asking the public for feedback on a draft document providing volumes of data on the worker health consequences of environmental tobacco smoke – a third iteration of the research agency's efforts to urge employers to clamp down on smoking in the workplace and which explores the implications of companies enforcing stringent policies regarding the issue. NIOSH plans to recommend that employers put strict tobacco-free requirements in place.

Reg Advocacy Group Pegs Silica As One Of 10 Major Rules For Agencies To Complete

A key Washington advocacy group for stronger safety and health protections is holding up OSHA's proposed rule tackling crystalline silica exposures as one of 10 key federal rulemakings that the Obama administration should complete as the rules would purportedly not only save lives but carry greater net benefits than costs.

OSHA Eyes Tougher Electronic Recordkeeping Rule To Avert Employer Retaliation

OSHA is looking at revising its controversial electronic recordkeeping proposed rule to make it even tougher on employers by potentially mandating employer notifications to workers and strengthening whistleblower protections in response to some stakeholders' concerns that the proposed electronic posting of information might lead employers to retaliate against employees who report injuries and illnesses.

West African Ebola Outbreak Raises U.S. Concerns About Health Worker PPE Use

The West African Ebola virus outbreak and subsequent worries over transatlantic travel and spread of the disease could result in stepped-up calls on OSHA and state regulators to toughen their oversight of health sector workers' use of personal protective equipment (PPE), just as the SARS and H1N1 scares of recent years amplified calls for more stringent health care worker and patient protections.

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OSHA Renews Pact With Cold Chain Alliance

OSHA has renewed its alliance with the Global Cold Chain Alliance to work together on protecting workers from exposure to hazardous chemical releases from ammonia refrigeration systems. The alliance will also focus on improving the . . .

Acting Surgeon General: Limit Worker Exposures To UV Radiation

Acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak authored a blog for NIOSH on his Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, providing recommendations to employers and workers for limiting exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

NIOSH Launches Direct-Reading, Sensor Technology Program

NIOSH chief John Howard announced the launch of the NIOSH Center for Direct Reading and Sensor Technologies, which will serve as a home for NIOSH's longstanding work in the area of exposure assessment devices.

CDC Issues Ebola Guidance For Laboratorians

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released interim guidance for laboratorians and other health care personnel collecting or handling specimens in the United States on appropriate specimen collection, transport and testing of specimens from . . .

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