Wednesday, November 26, 2014
OSHA Short Takes

Bipartisan Senate bill filed to create Ebola treatment hubs

A bipartisan bill in the Senate would set aside federal resources to create "treatment hubs" for Ebola cases -- legislation that comes as health care worker advocates press major concerns with OSHA and other federal . . .

Key OSHA law firm hires PSM, reg expert

A prominent Washington law firm for industry with a focus on OSHA matters has named a new member in its OSHA practice, helping fill a void left by the recent departure of several senior attorneys. . . .

Labor panel approves DOL congressional liaison

The Senate Labor Committee on Wednesday (Nov. 19) cleared President Obama's nomination of Adri Jayaratne to serve as DOL's chief liaison to Capitol Hill, a role that sometimes involves communications with lawmakers about OSHA policy. . . .

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. . . .

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Planned Beryllium Rule Could Come Out By Start Of New Congress, Setting Up Possible Fight

OSHA is moving quickly with plans to advance a long-attempted proposed rule that would sharply reduce allowed worker exposure levels to beryllium in general industry and possibly in construction-sector activities, with a formal draft coming out as soon as early next year and perhaps even ahead of the new Republican-controlled Congress.

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Science Advisors Appear To Back Key Aspects Of EPA's Ethylene Oxide Risk Analysis As Worker Concerns Grow

Science advisors appear to be backing key aspects of the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to assess the human health risks of exposure to ethylene oxide (EtO) -- following epidemiology studies of exposed medical sterilization workers that raised new concerns -- with some panelists pressing the agency to finalize the long-running assessment, while also casting aside several industry complaints about the latest draft assessment.

Lag In Silica Data Review Seen Endangering Rule Under Obama As GOP Gears Up To Block Action

The length of time it could still take for OSHA regulators to pore over the massive trove of documents related to their long-proposed rule to reduce exposures to crystalline silica dust in general industry and construction – with an analysis not wrapping up until at least next spring, they say – means it could be nearly impossible for the agency to finish the rule before President Obama leaves office, considering the Republican takeover of Congress, Washington insiders say.

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.

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.

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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 (November 21).

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Labor Department Releases New Regulatory Agenda

The Labor Department on Friday released its fall 2014 regulatory agenda which includes plans for future OSHA regulations. The listing includes updates on the agency's efforts at progress on numerous rulemakings such as crystalline silica, . . .

Health Officials Draft Fact Sheet On Ebola-Related Medical Waste

A new fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deals with issues related to workers handling medical waste related to possible contamination from Ebola, and survivability of the virus (see related coverage).

CDC Guidance Tackles Treatment Of Sewage To Protect From Ebola

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued interim guidance on the handling of untreated sewage from hospitals and other facilities treating Ebola cases, offering further information aimed at protecting workers, as OSHA continues . . .

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 . . .

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