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.

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

Photo: JacobH/iStockphoto

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»

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U.S. Department of Labor Redesigns OSHA’s Whistleblower Website

OSHA recently redesigned the Whistleblower Protection Program’s website. The streamlined design highlights important information for employers and employees on more than 20 statutes enforced by the agency. The new whistleblower homepage utilizes video to showcase the covered industries, which include the railroad, airline, and securities industries. The improved navigational structure allows visitors to easily access information on protected activities, filing deadlines, and resources.