Environmental Protection Agency publishes Request for Information on improving chemical facility safety and security
In conjunction with Executive Order 13650 - Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, the Environmental Protection Agency is publishing a Request for Information for its Risk Management Plan Rule in an effort to improve its standards and harmonize rulemaking efforts with OSHA.
The executive order was issued by President Obama on Aug. 1, 2013, in response to the devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. On Dec. 9, 2013, as part of the executive order, OSHA published a similar Request for Information on its Process Safety Management Standard. OSHA's RFI sought comments on 17 rulemaking and enforcement policy change options that would focus on improving chemical facility safety and security across the country.
EPA's Request for Information seeks comments on potential revisions aimed at modernizing the agency's regulations, guidance and policies as required under the executive order. The public comment period lasts for 90 days after publication.
Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health meeting scheduled for August
OSHA will hold a meeting of the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health in Washington, D.C., August 19-20, 2014. Work groups will meet August 19 and the full committee will meet August 20.
The MACOSH agenda will include surface preparation and preservation in shipyards; shipboard refrigeration systems; pedestal crane safety on commercial fishing vessels; baggage handling in cruise terminal operations; a review of the International Maritime Organization's latest "Guidance on Providing Safe Working Conditions for Securing of Containers on Deck"; and log handling safety. MACOSH meetings are open to the public. Individuals may submit comments and requests to speak at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Submissions may also be sent by mail or facsimile. See the news release and Federal Register notice for details.
Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee to meet in September
On Sept. 3-4, 2014, OSHA will hold a meeting of the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C. Work groups will meet Sept. 3 and the full committee will meet Sept. 3 and 4.
The tentative agenda includes remarks from Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health; discussion of committee and work group reports; invited reports from other agencies or the public regarding whistleblower enforcement; and administrative business and public comments.
WPAC meetings are open to the public. Individuals may submit comments and requests to speak at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Submissions may also be sent by mail or facsimile. See the news release and Federal Register notice for details. Comments and requests to speak must be submitted by Aug. 20, 2014.
OSHA and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sign agreement to better protect workers from retaliation, coercion
OSHA and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the coordination and cooperation between the agencies regarding the anti-retaliation provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. The memorandum allows for the exchange of safety, coercion and retaliation allegations, when received by one agency, that fall under the authority of the other.
The STAA protects drivers and other individuals working for commercial motor carriers from retaliation for reporting or engaging in activities related to certain commercial motor vehicle safety, health or security conditions. Under the agreement, the FMCSA will refer workers to OSHA when they have a complaint about retaliation, and OSHA will provide FMCSA copies of retaliation complaints and findings under the whistleblower provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. For details on the MOU, read the news release.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes, including the STAA, which protect workers who report violations of laws in various industries. For more information, visit www.whistleblowers.gov.
CDC report on OSHA's review of heat-related enforcement cases highlights
need for acclimatization to prevent worker deaths
WASHINGTON – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today issued a report on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's review of 20 heat-related enforcement cases from 2012 to 2013. OSHA's analysis, described in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, suggests that the primary risk factor for heat fatalities is the lack of acclimatization programs.
Of the 13 enforcement cases that involved worker fatalities, nine of the deaths occurred in the first three days of working on the job, four of them occurring on the worker's first day. In all 20 cases, heat illness prevention programs were found to be incomplete or absent, and no provision was made for acclimatizing new workers to the heat. Acclimatization is a critical part of preventing heat illnesses and fatalities, and workers should gradually build up workloads and exposure to heat by taking frequent breaks for water and rest in shade or air conditioning.
OSHA's national Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Workers, now in its fourth year, raises awareness among workers and employers about the risks for heat-related illness or death and provides tools to help prevent them. The agency's review found that the core elements of its campaign, "Water. Rest. Shade.," remain critical components of a comprehensive heat illness prevention program that can help save workers' lives. It is also recommended that employers have prevention programs that include oversight, hazard identification, a formal acclimatization program, modified work schedules as necessary, training, monitoring for signs and symptoms and emergency planning to prevent heat-related fatalities.
OSHA has a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Since its 2011 launch, approximately 160,000 users have downloaded the app. For more information and resources in English and Spanish see www.osha.gov/heat.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the Central Office for Assistive Services and Technology. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.