Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

Creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other

U.S. Department of Labor Implements New Weighting System For Workplace Safety and Health Inspections

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it has recently implemented the OSHA Weighting System (OWS) for fiscal year (FY) 2020. OWS will encourage the appropriate allocation of resources to support OSHA’s balanced approach of promoting safe and healthy workplaces, and continue to develop and support a management system that focuses enforcement activities on critical and strategic areas where the agency’s efforts can have the most impact.

Under the current enforcement weighting system, OSHA weights certain inspections based on the time taken to complete the inspection or, in some cases, the impact of the inspection on workplace safety and health. OWS recognizes that time is not the only factor to assess when considering the potential impact of an inspection. Other factors – such as types of hazards inspected and abated, and effective targeting – also influence the impact on workplace safety and health. The new system adds enforcement initiatives such as the Site-Specific Targeting to the weighting system. 

The OWS replaces the current enforcement weighting system initiated in FY 2015. The new system is based on an evaluation of the existing criteria and a working group’s recommendations regarding improvements to the existing weighting system. OSHA has been running the new weighting system currently to confirm data integrity.

The system will continue to weight inspections, but will do so based on other factors, including agency priorities and the impact of inspections, rather than simply on a time-weighted basis. The new OWS approach reinforces OSHA’s balanced approach to occupational safety and health (i.e., strong and fair enforcement, compliance assistance and recognition) and will incorporate the three major work elements performed by the field: enforcement activity, essential enforcement support functions (e.g., severe injury reporting and complaint resolution), and compliance assistance efforts.

OWS will become effective October 1, 2019.

 

Senate Confirms Scalia as Secretary of Labor

The Senate has confirmed Eugene Scalia to lead the Labor Department, replacing Alexander Acosta who resigned amid questions over a plea deal he brokered for the now-deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The Senate voted along party lines, 53-44, to confirm Scalia. He is the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

At his confirmation hearing last week, Democrats questioned his record on LGBTQ and disability rights, noting his past writings and court cases. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday voted along party lines to advance his nomination.

President Trump officially nominated Scalia in August, triggering opposition from labor unions due to his work as a lawyer for businesses in high-profile labor fights.

Scalia, 55, is a partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and is a member and former co-chairman of its labor and employment practice group. He also co-chairs the firm’s administrative law and regulatory practice group.

He also served as solicitor of the Labor Department from 2002 to 2003 after his appointment by former President George W. Bush.

Update on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines Rule

On September 30, 2019, the Mine Safety and Health Administration will publish a notice in the Federal Register regarding the reinstatement of the regulatory provisions for examinations of working places in metal and nonmetal mines originally published on January 23, 2017. The rule is being reinstated as the result of an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

View the Federal Register notice on the Office of the Federal Register’s Public Inspection Desk

The rule is effective on September 30, 2019.

learn more

 

Start of 2020 UCR Registration Period is Delayed

The start of the 2020 UCR registration period is delayed until further notice while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) completes its rulemaking process on fee levels for next year. A notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on August 27.

Once the final rulemaking is published later this year, thereby officially establishing UCR fees for 2020, the UCR Board of Directors will recommend that states delay enforcement for three (3) months from the start of the registration period.

2018 Registration Year Closing September 30

UCR will officially close the 2018 registration year on September 30, 2019. If you have not already done so, be sure to pay your 2018 registration fee and resolve any outstanding issues before then.

Go to the National Registration System.

OSHA Approves New Respirator Fit Testing Protocols to Protect Workers From Airborne Contaminants

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued a final rule that provides employers with two new fit testing protocols for ensuring that employees’ respirators fit properly.

The new protocols are the modified ambient aerosol condensation nuclei counter (CNC) quantitative fit testing protocol for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators, and the modified ambient aerosol CNC quantitative fit testing protocol for filtering facepiece respirators.  Both protocols are variations of the original OSHA-approved ambient aerosol CNC protocol, but have fewer test exercises, shorter exercise duration, and a more streamlined sampling sequence.

These two quantitative methods add to the four existing in Appendix A of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard, which contains mandatory respirator fit-testing protocols that employers must choose from to protect employees from hazardous airborne contaminants. The rule does not require employers in general industries, shipyard employment, and construction to update or replace their current fit testing methods, and does not impose additional costs.

The rule becomes effective September 26, 2019.

Workplaces most common public site of mass attacks, Secret Service report show

Photo: Bim/iStockphoto

Washington — Building on research in its initial report issued last year, the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center has released its second Mass Attacks in Public Spaces report.

The latest report – published July 9 – examines 27 incidents in 18 states in 2018. In each incident, three or more people were harmed in public spaces. Most occurred in workplaces (20), followed by open spaces (four) – such as a public sidewalk, street or parking lot – and high schools (three).

As it noted in the first report, NTAC again found that attackers were most often “motivated by a personal grievance related to a workplace, domestic or other issue.” They also had experienced at least one significant stressor, most notably financial instability. Read more»

Safety Alert – Electrical Accidents

The mining industry has experienced three electrical fatalities since August 7, 2019. The first fatal accident occurred when a 42-year-old electrician with 15 years of mining experience contacted an energized component of a 4,160 VAC electrical circuit. The victim was in the preparation plant’s Motor Control Center (MCC) adjusting the linkage between the disconnect lever and the internal components of the 4,160 VAC panel that supplied power to the plant feed belt motors. Read more»

       

Opioid Toolkit for Employers

Opioids at Work - Employer Toolkit

A new employer toolkit from the National Safety Council aims to help employers create workplace safety programs focused on opioids.

This toolkit includes sample policies, fact sheets, presentations, safety talks, posters, white papers, reports, videos and more, so you can implement a workplace program on opioids.

These materials will help you understand how opioids impact the workplace, recognize signs of impairment, educate employees on the risks of opioid use, develop drug-related HR policies and support employees who are struggling with opioid misuse.