User login


Top Story

Michaels: OSHA Awaits OMB Guidance Before Starting Work On Penalty Cap Increase

OSHA's standards division will not begin preliminary internal work on the rule expected next year to boost the maximums on penalties for safety and health violations until it receives pending guidance from the White House budget office, agency chief David Michaels tells Inside OSHA Online.

Latest News

OSHA chief David Michaels, looking ahead to his last year in office, says the agency will continue to employ innovative measures to use its limited resources effectively, pointing to areas such as a new inspection weighting system and non-regulatory guidance materials designed to put issues in front of employers, in addition to targeted enforcement and the pursuit of several key rules before the close of the Obama administration.

OSHA's newly rolled-out draft update of its longstanding voluntary program management guidelines, first offered to the public in 1989, can help companies coordinate efforts on multi-employer work sites -- increasingly a concern for occupational safety and health as the U.S. economy becomes more fragmented with temporary employment and similar arrangements, OSHA chief David Michaels tells Inside OSHA Online.

Trichloroethylene (TCE), a solvent OSHA stakeholders have urged federal officials to consider for tighter workplace regulation, is again subject to controversy as the Environmental Protection Agency sets deadlines for proposing bans of certain uses of several existing chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

OSHA's clear signal that it hopes to finish a landmark new rule tackling worker exposures to crystalline silica dust by early next year -- the agency's new regulatory agenda pegs February as the target -- means the almost-inevitable legal and political battles over the rule's specifics could play out during the Obama administration, likely easing the path for OSHA to ensure it gets fully implemented.

A recently released NIOSH study indicates that health care workers continue to be exposed to hazardous “surgical smoke” -- a byproduct of thermal destruction of tissue during operations -- despite the existence of evidence-based practices and recommended controls available to protect them, the research agency said.