Thursday, April 24, 2014
OSHA Short Takes

Miller demands further Bangladeshi action on worker safety

Rep. George Miller (CA), ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee -- the panel that oversees OSHA -- joined with Ways and Means ranking Democrat Sander Levin (MI) to urge further action . . .

NIOSH seeks input on testing respirators with biological aerosols

NIOSH wants input on whether respirator filters need to be tested with biological aerosols, with the agency saying "[c]ommon sense suggests that viruses or bacteria are collected differently from engineered nanoparticles, silica dusts, oil mists . . .

Advocacy group: Worker death estimates show need for action

A major safety and health advocacy group is coming out this week with a report that estimates more than 50,000 U.S. workers die each year from occupational injuries and illnesses, saying it shows an urgency . . .

OSHA publishes electric power rule, triggering July compliance date

OSHA Friday (April 11) issued a final rule aimed at improving the safety of workers in electric power generation, transmission and distribution work. The rule's formal publication in the Federal Register triggers an effective date . . .

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Industry Resists OSHA Move To Possibly Cover More Reactivity Hazards Under PSM

The chemical industry is likely to push back against new signals by OSHA that regulators may explore revising the process safety management (PSM) standard governing safety requirements in potentially dangerous chemical uses to cover all reactivity hazards, an issue borne out by probes into accidents over the years and which has emerged as a key concern after a massive fertilizer plant explosion in Texas last year.

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Stakeholders See OSHA Data Request On PEL Updates As Tentative Step On Complex Problem

Several OSHA experts say the agency's planned data request exploring ways to update the agency's permissible exposure limits (PELs) -- which are largely based on 1960s science and widely viewed as antiquated in both industry and labor quarters -- is just a tentative step in tackling a highly complex issue with no clear path to overcoming the restrictions imposed by a key 1991 court decision that dashed OSHA's last wholesale effort to revise the levels.

NIOSH Lodges Concern About Obesity Levels In Worker Populations, Raising Wider Issues

NIOSH is expressing concern based on research about rates of obesity keyed to occupations in Washington state, raising broader questions about whether employers need to address such personal worker issues by attempting to improve "poor health behaviors," with agency officials saying it "likely is in the employer's best interest to do so."

CSB Pushed OSHA Chief To Embrace 'Inherently Safer Technology' At White House Meeting

Federal officials engaged in probing chemical disasters pressured OSHA chief David Michaels and other Obama administration officials in a White House meeting after the West, TX, fertilizer plant explosion to embrace the use of inherently safer technologies (IST) where possible and to revisit a range of longstanding OSHA process safety management (PSM) requirements, and continue to push for tougher regulatory policies, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board chairman told Inside OSHA Online in an interview Tuesday.

Chemistry Group Faults New Jersey's Model IST Rule As Feds Weigh New Safety Mandates

The industry coalition American Chemistry Council (ACC) is challenging New Jersey's model chemical facility safety program, arguing in comments to the Environmental Protection Agency that the state incorrectly labels facilities' routine safety upgrades as shifts to inherently safer technologies (IST) and fails to account for changes that shift risks to other parts of production processes -- a dispute that occurs as OSHA comes under increasing pressure to embrace IST.

Worker Activists Slam OSHA Response Under Bush To 9/11 Hazards, Call For Policy Changes

A group of worker health activists issued a scathing report Thursday (April 17) sharply critical in some respects of how OSHA under the Bush administration handled its response to worker hazards in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York, calling for several policy changes to beef up enforcement and training in such a future event.

OSHA Pushes Tighter Silica Standard Through Alliance With Worker Health Experts

OSHA is making the case for a much stricter standard on respirable crystalline silica by forming an alliance with several groups of occupational health experts in the Atlanta region -- a partnership designed to provide construction employers and workers with guidance and training to prevent overexposure to the toxic dust generated in some building activities.

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CSB Probe Emphasizes Ammonium Nitrate Risks, Regulatory Gaps

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board on Tuesday (April 22) released preliminary findings into the April 17, 2013, West Fertilizer explosion and fire in West, TX, which resulted in at least 14 fatalities, 226 injuries . . .

NIOSH Studies Accuracy Of Sound Measurement Apps

NIOSH noise researchers received numerous requests from stakeholders, safety professionals, and the public to address the accuracy of the many sound measurement applications available for smartphones and whether they can be relied upon to provide . . .

NIEHS Updates Studies Of Potentially Toxic Agents

Results and status information for all National Toxicology Program (NTP) studies has been updated, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences said Thursday (April 17). An NTP web page allows users to search for the testing . . .

ASSE Lodges Concern On IL Safety Consultant Liability

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) sent a letter to the Illinois Senate president expressing concern that a bill in the state legislature "would strip independent safety consultants of the protection from law suits . . .

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