Subscriber Login

Homepage

A public interest group is calling for stepped up enforcement of EPA administered industrial facility safety rules that require disclosure of facilities' data after a federal court expedited compliance with an Obama-era rule strengthening the agency's accident prevention program, even as the Trump administration seeks to roll the rule back.

Latest News

Appellate court judges have again granted environmentalists' request to force quick implementation of an Obama-era rule tightening facility safety requirements, expediting its ruling that struck down a Trump administration effort to delay the rule's effectiveness by almost two years while the agency considers whether to undo the stricter mandates.

As floodwaters from Hurricane Florence threaten industrial facilities in the Carolinas, the City of Houston, House Democrats, and former EPA staff are strongly opposing the Trump administration's rollback of an Obama-era rule strengthening EPA's facility accident prevention program, arguing it would make facilities more vulnerable to flooding.

OSHA is rejecting aspects of the Labor Department (DOL) Office of Inspector General's (OIG) calls to bolster its severe injury reporting program to ensure employers report severe injuries and abate hazards, arguing that the burden of accurate reporting lies with employers, which are not required to prove hazards have been abated, and that existing agency guidance is adequate.

The Senate has approved bicameral legislation that funds OSHA and other agencies in fiscal year 2019, providing the agency with a $5 million increase over FY18 levels, well above the Trump administration's request as well as House approved language.

Labor and public interest groups have delivered more more than 61,000 signatures to OSHA backing their petition lodged this summer urging the agency to craft a federal standard protecting workers from exposure to excessive heat, citing risks to workers responding to Hurricane Florence and other extreme weather events spurred by climate change.

OSHA is urging a federal court to reject a public interest group's request for preliminary injunction to compel the Trump administration to implement delayed requirements of an Obama-era worker injury and illness reporting rule, arguing that its delay is reasonable and that the plaintiffs have not met the test for winning such an injunction.

A divided National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is proposing a rule that would raise the bar for determining when contractors, franchisers and other entities are considered “joint employers,” opening the door to subjecting them to workplace safety and other requirements, arguing the rule will clarify existing confusion.

OSHA and EPA are crafting a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to guide consultations between the two agencies on protections to workers who may be exposed to new chemicals that EPA is reviewing under the revised toxics law to determine whether and under what conditions they should enter the market.

A plastics industry attorney expects that the Trump administration will not advance an Obama-era plan to expand when OSHA's safety standard applies to power equipment that is shut off during repair work, noting that OSHA did not hold a required hearing on the change, and that the agency may instead seek changes to ease the burdens of the existing rule.

Short Takes

State and environmentalist petitioners are reiterating their request for an appellate court to compel the agency to quickly implement an Obama-era update to the agency's facility accident prevention rule, arguing that accidents are occurring regularly, and that the court already found the Trump administration's delay causes harm.

The White House is reviewing a draft final rule that the Obama OSHA originally sought to use to expand when the agency's safety standard applies to power equipment that is shut off for repairs, though it is unclear whether the final Standards Improvement Project (SIP) rule will include the measure given strong opposition from employers.

OSHA is convening a public meeting next month to seek input on whistleblower issues in the finance industry as the agency's Inspector General (IG) is auditing the agency's Whistleblower Protection Program in the wake of failures to quickly address complaints related to banking giant Wells Fargo

Democratic lawmakers are urging the Trump administration to withdraw a proposed rule seeking to scrap most requirements of an Obama-era final rule strengthening EPA's facility accident prevention program, arguing the rollback would increase facility risks that disproportionately harm minority and low-income communities.