OSHA proposes new requirements for building stairs, handrails
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed changes to its rule for fall protection in factories, warehouses, and other completed buildings, hoping to end confusion over its requirements for handrails and stairs.
If finalized, the changes would make it clear that handrails are required only on open sides of stairs; height requirements for handrails would also be clarified.
The agency has received numerous questions asking when handrails are required, and about the height requirements for handrails on stairs and stair rail systems.
Employers are contesting OSHA’s COVID-19 citations
Frustrated by constantly shifting guidance and shortages of respirators and other personal protective equipment experienced in 2020, employers are rejecting OSHA citations for COVID-19 infractions and contesting them like never before, according to the National Law Review.
According to OSHA, 408 workplaces have been cited (with around 1,150 citations issued) for COVID-19-related alleged violations between July 1, 2020, and April 12, 2021. Typically, only eight percent of cited employers contest citations. Not so for COVID-19. Employers cited for COVID-19 concerns have contested the citations at more than quintuple the ordinary contest rate, to a whopping 42 percent.
According to OSHA enforcement data, around 85 percent of these contests have been filed by healthcare facilities (not surprising, considering OSHA has taken a special interest in them) and another five percent come from industries in which outbreaks have been registered more commonly, such as food processing plants.
Although there has been a wide range of cited violations, most are for respiratory protection violations (with N95 respirator use being at the top of the list) and recordkeeping violations.