Can You Predict Your Safety Future? OSHA Wants To Follow Your Leading Indicators

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor invites interested parties to attend a discussion on leading indicators for occupational safety and health programs. The meeting will be held on November 7, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

A key component of a safety and health program is to monitor performance and progress using leading indicators that track how well various aspects of the program are performing. The November discussion will focus on the use of leading indicators, how they are chosen, what they track, whether they are effective, if there is commonality across an industry, and any challenges encountered using such indicators.

Those interested in participating in the meeting or attending as an observer must register at Leading Indicators Meeting Registration by October 30, 2019. The meeting will not include formal presentations, but instead will be conducted as a group discussion. Written comments can be submitted to the docket, OSHA-2019-0005, through February 7, 2020.

WHAT:          Public Stakeholder Meeting on Leading Indicators for Safety and Health Programs

WHEN:          Thursday, November 7, 2019, 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT.

WHERE:       U.S. Department of Labor
Frances Perkins Building, Room N-4437
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20210

U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Revisions to OSHA’s Beryllium Standards for Construction and Shipyards

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has finalized its June 27, 2017, proposal to revise the construction and shipyards standards.

In the final rule, to be published on September 30, 2019, OSHA:

  • Does not implement the proposal to revoke all of the standards’ ancillary provisions; but
  • Extends the compliance dates for the ancillary provisions to September 2020 to account for OSHA’s new proposal to revise or remove specific provisions; and
  • Maintains enforcement of the permissible exposure limit.

In a forthcoming rulemaking, OSHA will publish a proposal to amend the beryllium standards for construction and shipyards by more appropriately tailoring the requirements of the standards to the exposures in these industries. The proposed changes would maintain safety and health protections for workers, facilitate compliance with the standards, and increase cost savings.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

U.S. Department of Labor Selects New Director For OSHA’s Construction Directorate

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor has selected Scott Ketcham as the new director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Directorate of Construction (DOC) in Washington, D.C. Ketcham had served as deputy director of DOC since February 2017.

Prior to coming to OSHA’s national office, Ketcham worked for 19 years as an OSHA acting deputy regional administrator, area director, assistant area director, and compliance officer and manager in offices in the Seattle, Dallas and Philadelphia regions. Before joining OSHA, he spent five years as a staff industrial hygienist with the U.S. Army Medical Activity at Bassett Army Hospital on Ft. Wainwright, Alaska. He retired from the U.S. Army after 24 years of active and reserve service.

Ketcham holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Alaska, a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Texas A&M University, and is a Certified Safety Professional. He has a strong background in the general industry, maritime and construction industries.

“Scott Ketcham is a dedicated public servant,” said Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. “He has demonstrated strong leadership throughout his OSHA career, and I am confident he will continue to achieve the mission of assuring safe and healthful working conditions for construction workers in his new position.”

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 help 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.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Upcoming Webinar on Expanded Focus for OSH

Expanding Research Partnerships Webinar Series logo 2019

Registration is open for the last installment of the 2019 Expanding Research Partnerships Webinar Series! Join us on September 18 for a webinar on the expanded focus for occupational safety and health. Paul A. Schulte, PhD, NIOSH Director of the Division of Science Integration, will present “Towards An Expanded Focus for Occupational Safety and Health,” and George Delclos, MD, MPH, PhD, Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health, will present “The Expanded Focus for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH): Implications for Research and Training of OSH Professionals.” The event is 12:00–1:30 p.m. (ET).