Comment period extended on proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injury and illnesses
OSHA has announced it will extend the comment period on the proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses to Oct. 14, 2014. The proposal, published on Nov. 8, 2013, would amend the agency's recordkeeping regulation to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep.
OSHA is soliciting comments on whether to amend the proposed rule to: 1) require that employers inform their employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses; 2) more clearly communicate that any injury and illness reporting requirements established by the employer must be reasonable and not unduly burdensome; and 3) provide OSHA additional means to prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses.
Individuals interested in submitting comments may do so electronically at www.regulations.gov, the federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Comments may also be submitted via mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice and read the news release for more details.publication.
Report on heat-related enforcement cases highlights need for acclimatization to prevent worker deaths
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a report on OSHA's review of 20 heat-related enforcement cases from 2012 to 2013. OSHA's analysis, described in the CDC's Aug. 8 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, suggests that the primary risk factor for heat fatalities is the lack of acclimatization programs.
Acclimatization is a critical part of preventing heat illnesses and fatalities that enables workers to gradually increase workloads and exposure to heat by taking frequent breaks for water, rest and shade. Of the 13 enforcement cases that involved worker fatalities, nine of the deaths occurred in the first three days of working on the job, and four 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. For more information on the findings of OSHA's review, see the news release.
For free resources and educational materials about the dangers of working in the heat, visit OSHA's Heat Campaign Web page.
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.
President Obama signs executive order requiring potential federal contractors to disclose labor law violations
On July 31, President Obama signed an executive order that requires companies competing for federal contracts to disclose labor law violations and gives agencies more guidance on how to consider labor violations when awarding federal contracts. The new process is designed to level the playing field and bring more companies into compliance with OSHA regulations and other workplace laws.
"Today's executive order is an important step to ensure that workers are protected, businesses have a fair shot to compete, and taxpayers get the best bang for their buck," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Cheaters shouldn't win, and this action ensures they won't. Everyone is welcome to compete — as long as they are willing to do so fairly."
For more information, watch the video, read the fact sheet and read the new DOL blog post.
NOAA recognizes OSHA as Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador
OSHA has been accepted as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador. As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, OSHA is committed to working with NOAA and other ambassadors to strengthen national preparedness for and resilience against extreme weather, including extreme temperatures and weather-related disasters.
OSHA and NOAA have a tradition of working collaboratively on public awareness campaigns such as NOAA's National Severe Weather Preparedness Week and Hurricane Preparedness Week; and OSHA's Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in workers.
OSHA provides resources on workplace preparedness and response, in English and Spanish, for extreme weather disasters including hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. Learn more at OSHA's Emergency Preparedness and Response page.