Beryllium in construction: OSHA advisory committee to host teleconference on potential rule changes

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Washington — OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health has scheduled a teleconference/WebEx meeting for Sept. 9 to discuss potential changes to beryllium regulations, according to a notice published in the Aug. 8 Federal Register.

OSHA wants to “revoke the ancillary provisions” in the construction and shipyard industries but maintain the permissible exposure limit of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air and short-term exposure limit of 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the agency states in a proposed rule published June 27, 2017. These provisions include exposure monitoring, regulated areas (and competent person in construction), written exposure control plans, protective equipment, medical surveillance, medical removal and worker training.

“OSHA has evidence that exposure in these industries is limited to a few operations and has information suggesting that requiring the ancillary provisions broadly may not improve worker protection and be redundant with overlapping protections in other standards,” the agency states in a press release issued June 23, 2017.

Beryllium is a lightweight metal used in industries such as electronics and energy. It can be highly toxic when released into the atmosphere, where workers can inhale it. Exposure can pose serious health risks to workers, including chronic beryllium disease and lung cancer.

Requests to speak or present a written or electronic presentation during the teleconference are due Sept. 4.

ACCSH advises the Department of Labor and OSHA on upcoming standards affecting the construction industry and “the administration of safety and health provisions” in the Construction Safety Act.

U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Requests Information on Table 1 of the Silica Standard for Construction

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is requesting information and comment on Table 1 of the agency’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction. OSHA seeks information on additional engineering and work practice control methods to effectively limit exposure to silica for the equipment and tasks currently listed on Table 1. The agency is also requesting information about other construction equipment and tasks that generate silica that it should consider adding to Table 1, along with information about their associated engineering and work practice control methods.  Read more»

3M gives update on recent recall of fall protection devices

Red Wing, MN — 3M Co. has resolved an issue with the energy absorber on one of its recalled fall protection devices, the organization announced Aug. 6. The solution, however, is available only in regions that recognize ANSI standard Z359.14.

3M recently issued an immediate recall and stop-use alert for the DBI-SALA Twin-Leg Nano-Lok Edge and Wrap Back Twin-Leg Self-Retracting Lifelines. The energy absorbers on both devices were susceptible to not deploying in a proper manner, potentially putting workers at risk of serious injury or death, the alert states.

3M announced that it resolved the partial deployment of the energy absorber on its DBI-SALA Twin-Leg Nano-Lok Edge device, but that solution is limited so far.

“Due to regional regulatory requirements, this solution is currently available ONLY in regions that recognize the ANSI standard,” 3M states. “As other regulatory certifications are received, this solution will be made available in those regions. Until your unit has been repaired or replaced, the ‘Stop Use and Recall’ remains in effect and these units must be removed from service.”

The alert informs customers that the fall protection device is safe to use if it has a green check mark on the front label, adding that the mark means the unit “has either been repaired or has come from the factory with the revision and is certified for its intended use.”

3M is offering to repair or replace affected devices for free, or will issue a refund. To file a claim, go to nanolokedgerecall.com. Product numbers of affected devices are listed on the website.

For questions, call 3M’s customer service department at (833) 638-2697 or email 3musfpserviceaction@mmm.com.

OSHA Requests Information on the Powered Industrial Trucks Standard

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is requesting information as the Agency considers rulemaking to update the powered industrial trucks standards for general, maritime, and construction industries. The standards became effective in 1971, and were based on industry consensus standards from 1969. Since then, national consensus standards have been updated several times.

OSHA is requesting information on: the types, age, and usage of powered industrial trucks; maintenance and retrofitting; how to regulate older powered industrial trucks; types of accidents and injuries associated with operating these machines; costs and benefits of retrofitting the machines with safety features; and other components of a safety program. OSHA will use the information received in response to this request to determine what action, if any, it may take to reduce regulatory burdens and create jobs while improving worker safety.

Comments must be submitted on or before June 9, 2019. Comments and materials may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, or by facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register notice for submission details.

Powered industrial trucks include forklifts, fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks powered by an electrical motor or an internal combustion engine.

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.

Sixth Annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls: May 6-10, 2019

OSHA and its partners will host events throughout the country in honor of the sixth annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction May 6-10, 2019. Employers and workers will pause to talk about fall hazards, OSHA compliance, and industry best practices to prevent falls. The 2019 poster is now available on OSHA’s publications page.

Small Construction Contractors See Increase in Fatalities

Accidental deaths are rising for workers at small construction firms while dropping for larger companies, a new report shows.

Between 2008 and 2016, the fatality rate for construction firms with fewer than 20 employees rose 57 percent, according to the study by CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. In contrast, fatalities at firms with 20 or more employees dropped 30 percent. Read more»

U.S. Department of Labor Provides Compliance Assistance Resources to Keep Workers Safe from Trenching-Related Hazards

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA has developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from trenching and excavation hazards. OSHA’s goal is to increase awareness of trenching hazards in construction, educate job creators and workers on safe cave-in prevention solutions, and decrease the number of trench collapses. These resources, which continue the goals of the Department’s recently announced Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI), encourage and facilitate compliance evaluations. Read more»