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OSHA Update

OSHA LogoIn the first half of 2010 OSHA has been busy updating and refocusing their strategy for protecting American workers.  Part of this work has gone toward developing a new six year strategy plan.  InjuryFree has been listening closely to the webinars provided by David Michaels of OSHA, and in addition we will be attending his presentation at the ASSE Safety 2010 Conference.  We will keep you abreast of the upcoming proposed rule changes they will impact businesses.  Check out some of the changes around the corner…

  • OSHA Compliance Staff to increase by 110 people
  • 40,000 inspections this year (2010)
  • Increased focus on industrial hygiene (especially relating to noise and hearing loss)
  • The Voluntary Protection Plan (VPP) will lose funding; but The House Education and Labor Committee is looking at ways to keep the program running and are considering a fee based system.  In addition the ASSE is trying to gain support to tell OSHA to continue funding VPP.
  • OSHA will be changing the penalty calculator soon to have increased dollars associated with fines.
  • Fines will increase on average three to four times.
  • Larger penalties are being considered for “Serious” hazards.
  • The National Emphasis Program will present and post inspection findings violations, and types of hazards
  • OSHA will be looking at ways to help employers look at all work hazards including ergonomics.
  • According to David Michaels, “OSHA’s field staff will be looking for ergonomic hazards in their inspections and we {OSHA} will be providing them with the support and back-up they need to enforce under the general duty clause.
  • “In addition we will be examining employer logs to see if MSD’s are accurately reported.”
  • The Labor Department released its Spring regulatory agenda which includes a new enforcement strategy – Plan/Prevent/Protect – an effort designed to expand and strengthen worker protections through a new OSHA standard that would require each employer to implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program tailored to the actual hazards in employers’ workplaces.
  • The Severe Violators Enforcement program is designed as a supplemental, special enforcement tool to address recalcitrant employers who fail to meet their obligations under the OSH Act. This program includes:
  • more mandatory inspections of identified companies
  • mandatory follow-up inspections
  • inspections at other locations of the same company
  • And a more intense examination of an employer’s history to assess if there are systemic problems that would trigger additional mandatory inspections.
  • OSHA supports a provision of “Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA)”, that would require employers to abate serious, willful and repeat hazards after a citation is issued during the contest period. This provision would also enable OSHA to issue “failure to abate” notices at a workplace with a citation under contest, enhancing the right of workers to be protected from the most egregious workplace hazards.

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