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OSHA News Update – August 2010

OSHA continues to be in the news with updates, changes in policy and enforcement issues.  Each month we will recap the previous months OSHA updates.  Here are the updates for August 2010.  Of course you can view changes to OSHA rules and regulations on their site at: www.osha.gov.

  • Final rules regarding Cranes and Derreicks in construction will go into effect  90days after August 9, 2010,  View the final rules and regulations at: http://www.osha.gov/doc/cranesreg.pdf
  • OSHA’s final rule updating recordkeeping requirements to add a separate column for recording musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is at the Office of Management and Budget for review.  Employers should expect to see it issued in the near future, and to be effective for the 2011 year.
  • OSHA’s final rule regarding MSD’s will also include the removal of the existing language from its recordkeeping compliance directive that “minor musculoskeletal discomfort” is not recordable as a restricted work case “if a health care professional determines that the employee is fully able to perform all of his or her routine job functions, and the employer assigns a work restriction for the purpose of preventing a more serious injury.” OSHA stated it was concerned that this language created confusion among employers about recording MSDs.
  • OSHA’s has increased efforts to address particular hazards and a high fatality rate in the construction industry. OSHA sent additional inspectors to Texas to confront the state’s high rate of construction worker deaths. OSHA conducted almost 700 construction inspections throughout Texas during this initiative, issuing more than 1,000 violations resulting in $1.6 million in fines.
  • To further address the high fatality rate in the construction industry, OSHA has developed a  pilot program to work with building inspectors in 11 cities across the country to reduce worker deaths on construction sites–particularly deaths caused by falls, electrocution, and being caught between or struck by objects.
  • OSHA has redesigned its On-site Consultation Web page to enhance its usefulness to small and medium-sized businesses across the country seeking free and confidential advice on increasing workplace safety.  An improved On-site Consultation directory gives users the ability to quickly find offices in their states to contact for further information about the program, or to request a visit.
  • OSHA issued a directive July 8 extending its National Emphasis Program to inspect facilities processing large amounts of highly toxic or flammable chemicals and gases.
  • President Barak Obama issued a July 19 memorandum calling on all federal agencies to “improve workplace safety and health, reduce the financial burden of injury on taxpayers, and relieve unnecessary suffering by workers and their families.” The goals of the president’s four-year Protecting Our Workers and Ensuring Reemployment Initiative include setting aggressive performance targets for reducing occupational injuries and illnesses among federal workers and speeding the return to work of employees who do suffer serious job-related injuries or illnesses.

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