OSHA issues 2021 Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards
OSHA has announced its preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards for fiscal year 2021.
The Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety standards for FY 2021 are:
1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,295 violations
2. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,527
3. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,026
4. Scaffolding (1926.451): 1,948
5. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 1,947
6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,698
7. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,666
8. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1,452
9. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,420
10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,113
CSB urges OSHA to revise chemical safety rules
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) called for stricter environmental and occupational safety regulations to help prevent reactive chemical accidents. CSB reiterated an earlier recommendation for the EPA to revise its risk management plan (RMP) regulations and for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to revise its process safety management (PSM) of highly hazardous chemicals standard.
The board urged OSHA to broaden the scope of the PSM standard to cover reactive hazards resulting from process-specific conditions and combinations of chemicals and hazards from self-reactive chemicals. CSB also recommended that OSHA require employers to consult multiple sources of information to adequately understand and control potential reactive hazards when compiling process safety information. The board also suggested that process hazard analysis (PHA) needed to include consideration of several relevant factors in evaluating reactive hazards, such as:
|· Rate and quantity of heat or gas generated by a process;
· Maximum operating temperature to avoid decomposition;
· Thermal stability of reactants, reaction mixtures, byproducts, wastestreams, and products;
· Effect of variables such as charging rates, catalyst addition, and possible contaminants; and
· An understanding of the consequences of runaway reactions or toxic gas evolution.
OSHA seeks to expand reporting mandate
OSHA proposes to amend its recordkeeping regulation to restore the requirement to electronically submit to OSHA information from the OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) for establishments with 250 or more employees which are required to routinely keep injury and illness records. Under the current regulation, these establishments are only required to electronically submit information from the OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses).
Ohio furnace repair company attempting to gut OSHA with federal lawsuit
An industrial furnace repair company based near Toledo has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act is unconstitutional. The company claims the act, which informs the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, violates Article 1 of the Constitution establishing that only Congress has the power to create laws.
The crux of the lawsuit’s argument lies in the broad language of Section 6 of the OSH Act, which stipulates that the secretary of OSHA may independently “promulgate, modify, or revoke any occupational safety or health standard” for employers at both the state and federal level. The secretary is also charged to “promulgate the standard which assures the greatest protection of the safety or health of the affected employees” in the event that state or federal safety laws conflict with OSHA’s own standards.
As OSHA is technically part of the executive branch of government charged with enforcing laws made by the Legislative branch — in this case, enforcing the OSH Act itself — the company argues that these broad powers give the executive undue power to create its own laws.
The furnace repair company in its lawsuit claims that OSHA has the power to write and enforce “abusive” rules at employers’ expense. It ultimately seeks an injunction against all enforcement of the OSH Act and an end to employers’ mandatory compliance with OSHA standards.
Senate confirms former Cal/OSHA chief Parker to head federal OSHA
Former Cal/OSHA chief Doug Parker was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 25th by a 50-41 vote along party lines to lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as the 13th assistant secretary of labor.
Parker previously served in the Obama administration as deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration and was a member of the Biden-Harris transition team that focused on worker health and safety issues.
He is likely to lead federal OSHA in a style similar to his tenure at Cal/OSHA, including more aggressive and robust enforcement, according to Forbes magazine. Priorities are expected to be:
- Increasing the number of enforcement inspectors
- Focusing on heat safety (an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking has been published)
- Focusing more resources on whistleblower protection
- Increasing the number of willful citations and criminal referrals
- Seeking enterprise-wide abatement agreements
- Enforcing OSHA’s largely dormant 2016 anti-retaliation rule
- Aggressively enforcing the existing Covid-19 healthcare and coming vaccine/testing ETS regulations
OSHA makes first move to issue outdoor/indoor heat-specific standard
OSHA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings on Oct. 27, 2021, the agency announced. Currently, OSHA does not have a specific standard for hazardous heat conditions and this action begins the process to consider a heat-specific workplace rule.
The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will initiate a comment period to gather perspectives and expertise on topics such as heat-stress thresholds, heat-acclimatization planning and exposure monitoring.
Record-breaking heat in the U.S. in 2021 endangered millions of workers exposed to heat illness and injury in both indoor and outdoor work environments, OSHA stated. Workers in outdoor and indoor work settings without adequate climate-controlled environments are at risk of hazardous heat exposure, according to the agency.