Bloodborne pathogens: Oregon OSHA launches Spanish-language training course

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
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Photo: Oregon OSHA

Salem, OR — Oregon OSHA has launched a Spanish-language online training course on bloodborne pathogens for health care, emergency response, hospitality and other industries.

Bloodborne pathogens – infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV – can be transmitted to workers via needlestick, broken glass or other sharps.

Aimed at helping employers meet the requirements of Oregon OSHA’s standard on bloodborne pathogens, the free course includes videos, interactive scenarios and a quiz. Topics covered include assessing the potential for exposure, the elements and management of an exposure-control plan, and preventing and reducing exposures.

“It takes solid planning, training and other critical steps to address the potential on-the-job hazards of bloodborne pathogens,” Julie Love, interim administrator of Oregon OSHA, said in a press release. “But language barriers can pose challenges to taking those steps. That is why we’re offering this new tool to help break down those barriers.”

Oregon OSHA, which operates under federal OSHA’s State Plan program, has also published a bloodborne pathogens guide that includes answers to key questions about workplace exposure.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Supreme Court mulling decision on OSHA’s ETS on COVID-19

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — Who gets to decide how to protect workers against COVID-19? That was one of the central questions posed by opponents of OSHA’s emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and masking during a Jan. 7 hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Scott Keller, attorney for the National Federation of Independent Business, presented the question in a response to questioning from Justice Stephen Breyer early in the two-hour hearing. “You said the question is, ‘Who decides?’” Justice Elena Kagan said to Keller later in the hearing. “I think that’s right. I think that is the question.”

Kagan contended in her questioning that OSHA has experts on workplace safety and is politically accountable to the public via the election of presidents and representatives in Congress.

“Courts are not politically accountable,” she said. “Courts have not been elected. Courts have no epidemiological expertise. Why in the world would courts decide this question?”

Keller and Ohio Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers contended that Congress didn’t give OSHA clear authority to address vaccinations in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The duo also argued that states and private businesses can decide how to protect workers from COVID-19.

Chief Justice John Roberts expressed similar thoughts to U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, who was arguing on behalf of the government.

“It sounds like the sort of thing that states will be responding to, or should be, and Congress should be responding to, rather than agency by agency of the federal government and the executive branch acting alone.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor mentioned that “certain states … are stopping employers from requiring vaccines” and masks.

“Why shouldn’t the federal government, which … Congress has decided to give OSHA the power to regulate workplace safety, have a national rule that will protect workers?” she asked.

Reading from the OSH Act, Sotomayor noted that Congress gave OSHA the authority to develop “innovative methods, techniques and approaches for dealing with occupational health and safety problems.”

Prelogar pointed to Section 20(a)(5), which reads: “Nothing in this or any other provision of this act shall be deemed to authorize or require medical examination, immunization, or treatment for those who object thereto on religious grounds, except where such is necessary for the protection of the health or safety of others.”

Respiratory protection

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

NIOSH publishes toolbox talk

NIOSH respiratory protection

Photo: NIOSH

Washington — Knowing how to select, use and maintain NIOSH-approved respirators can help promote proper respiratory protection practices and protect construction workers from unsafe airborne contaminants, according to a new toolbox talk published by the agency.

NIOSH encourages employers to examine all avenues to reduce worker exposure to potentially dangerous dusts and fumes.

Among the first steps should be to try to eliminate or replace the hazard, implement engineering controls (e.g., local exhaust ventilation), or implement administrative controls (e.g., rotating workers between hazardous tasks). When these controls aren’t feasible or are insufficient in reducing harmful exposures, respiratory protection must be properly selected and users must be fit tested. Workers also must be trained and follow both employer and manufacturer instructions for proper use, inspection, maintenance and storage of respiratory protection devices. This includes proper donning and doffing of devices.

The agency reminds employers that they’re responsible for providing NIOSH-approved respirators as necessary to protect worker health, as required by OSHA in its standards on respiratory protection.

Among the types of devices that can be used to protect workers are filtering facepiece respirators; elastomeric half-mask respirators; and half-mask, full-facepiece and hood/helmet powered air-purifying respirators. For any employer providing respirators, the process must include direction from an OSHA-required written respiratory protection program.

NIOSH’s respiratory protection webpage features answers to nearly 20 frequently asked questions.

In addition, NIOSH sets recommended exposure limits for airborne contaminants and OSHA mandates legal enforceable permissible exposure limits, with which employers are required to comply.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

OSHA extends comment period for rulemaking to protect workers from heat hazards

First published by OSHA

Photo: OSHA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is extending the period for submitting comments on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings. Comments on the ANPRM must now be submitted by Jan. 26, 2022.

The 30-day extension provides stakeholders more time to review the ANPRM and collect information and data necessary for comment.

Currently, OSHA does not have a heat-specific standard to protect millions of workers in indoor and outdoor work settings from exposure to hazardous heat conditions. In recent months, OSHA has initiated several efforts to protect workers from heat-related illnesses and deaths while working in hazardously hot indoor and outdoor environments. In addition to pursuing a heat-specific workplace rule, OSHA instituted a heat-related enforcement initiative and plans to issue a National Emphasis Program for heat-related safety efforts in 2022.

The agency began the process of considering a heat-specific workplace rule to address heat-related illnesses when it published the ANPRM on Oct. 27, 2021.

Submit comments, identified by Docket No. OSHA-2021-0009, electronically at www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. The Federal e-Rulemaking Portal is the only way to submit comments on this ANPRM.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Protect against the cold: Tips for employers and workers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

A thorough workplace safety and health plan should include steps to protect workers from cold-related hazards. This is particularly important for workers in the services, transportation, construction and agriculture industries.

“Exposure to cold can be an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation,” says NIOSH, which offers recommendations for both employers and workers.

Employers should:

  • Train supervisors and workers to prevent, recognize and treat cold-related illnesses and injuries. This training should be presented in a language all workers understand.
  • Reduce the amount of time workers spend in a cold environment. Rotate workers in and out on long, demanding jobs.
  • Provide access to warm areas, and encourage workers to take breaks in those areas. Also, set up a place for workers to change out of wet clothes.
  • Initiate a buddy system for workers to help monitor them in cold conditions.
  • Keep a first aid kit stocked, and make sure to include a medical and environmental thermometer as well as chemical heat packs.
  • Provide appropriate cold-weather gear such as hats, gloves and boots for work in cold environments. Don’t forget wind-protective clothing based on air velocities.
  • Give prompt medical attention to workers who show signs of cold-related illness or injury.

Workers can help by:

  • Taking regular breaks to warm up.
  • Monitoring your physical condition and that of co-workers.
  • Staying hydrated.
  • Snacking on high-carbohydrate foods.
  • Avoiding touching cold metal or wet surfaces with bare skin.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

OSHA ETS on COVID-19 wouldn’t apply to most truckers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — The majority of truck drivers will be exempt from OSHA’s emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination, testing and masking, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said during a recent TV interview.

Should the ETS survive the multiple legal challenges it’s facing, it would apply to employers with more than 100 employees. Those employers would have until Dec. 5 to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy – or develop a policy that gives employees the choice to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Meanwhile, covered employees would have a deadline of Jan. 4 to be fully vaccinated or begin undergoing weekly COVID-19 testing. Unvaccinated workers also would be required to wear a face covering while indoors or in a vehicle “with another person for work purposes.”

Reacting to concerns from trucking groups – including the American Trucking Associations – over the ETS, Walsh said during the interview on CNBC that “the ironic thing is most truckers aren’t covered by this because they’re driving a truck, they’re in a cab, they’re by themselves. They wouldn’t be covered by this.”

ATA and other groups fear that many drivers would leave the industry as a result of the ETS, amid a perceived shortage of drivers.

In a statement issued shortly after Walsh’s comments, ATA President and CEO Chris Spear called them “an enormous victory for our association and industry.”

Spear continued: “Given the nationwide shortage of truck drivers, it is vital that our industry has the relief it needs to keep critical goods moving, including food, fuel, medicine and the (COVID-19) vaccine itself.”

In a letter dated Oct. 21 and addressed to Sharon Block, acting administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Spear wrote that the association was “gravely concerned” about the impact the ETS would have on the industry, which he estimated could lead to a loss of “up to 37% of drivers to retirements, attrition to smaller carriers and/or conversion to independent contractor owner-operators.”

A Department of Labor spokesperson told CNBC that the vaccination, testing and masking requirements would apply to truck drivers who work in teams – such as two people in a cab – or those who “interact with people in buildings at their destinations or starting points.”


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

DOL OIG to audit MSHA’s inspection processes during pandemic

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo property of MSHA

Washington — The Department of Labor Office of Inspector General will conduct an audit of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s ability to complete required safety and health inspections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an audit notice dated Oct. 29 and addressed to MSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and acting administrator Jeannette Galanis, Carolyn Hantz, assistant inspector general for audit programs, requests copies of inspection reports and various other agency records, policies and procedures. These include:

  • National, regional and district documents applicable to COVID-19 adjustments or other process changes related to mandatory safety and health inspections
  • Criteria for assigning and changing mine status, including any business rules
  • More recent versions or pending changes to the MSHA Program Police Manual, Volume 1; supervisors’ handbooks; the MSHA Centralized Application System user manual; and the Inspection Application System user guide
  • Accountability audits, internal reviews and evaluations issued since Oct. 1, 2017, related to mine status classifications or changes, completion of mandatory inspections, or COVID-19

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 directs MSHA to inspect underground mines four times annually and surface mines twice a year.

The audit notice indicates that “work is expected to begin immediately” after a meeting between DOL OIG and an MSHA audit liaison “to discuss the audit objective, scope and methodology.”

A DOL spokesperson told Safety+Health that “MSHA is aware of the OIG audit of the COVID-19 impact on MSHA’s mandatory inspection program and will comply with the request for information.”

During a Sept. 29 stakeholder conference call, Galanis said MSHA won’t require COVID-19 vaccination or weekly negative testing at the nation’s mines. She said the Mine Act gives MSHA the authority to issue hygiene-related citations and temporarily shut down mine operations at facilities in which the coronavirus is found to be spreading.

Agency officials on the call also pointed to updated MSHA guidance – issued in March – that advises mine operators at coal, metal and nonmetal mines to establish a virus protection program or augment an existing one. The guidance includes recommendations on the use of personal protective equipment, physical distancing strategies, improving ventilation, effective hygiene and routine cleaning.

“We must be able to inspect mines during COVID,” Galanis said, “and so our mine inspectors are doing their jobs and getting out there and trying to be as careful as possible.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

OSHA ETS sets deadline of Jan. 4 for worker vaccination

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

OSHA will officially publish its emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccination and testing, which will apply to employers with more than 100 employees, in the Nov. 5 Federal Register.

Covered employers will have until Dec. 5 to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy – or develop a policy that gives employees the choice to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Covered employees will have a deadline of Jan. 4 to be fully vaccinated or begin undergoing weekly COVID-19 testing. Unvaccinated workers also will be required to wear a face covering while indoors or in a vehicle “with another person for work purposes.”

The ETS directs employers to provide paid time off to receive a vaccine – up to four hours for each dose – and paid leave for any side effects from vaccinations. The 30 days will allow employers time to determine the vaccination status of employees and get any documentation in order, among other considerations. It also will give workers time to get their only dose or the first of two doses of a vaccine.

According to an OSHA fact sheet, the ETS won’t apply to employees who work from home, work “exclusively outdoors” or don’t report to a workplace “where other individuals are present.”

During a Nov. 4 press conference, OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Frederick said many employers already are complying with the requirements of the ETS. He also noted that the agency chose the 100-employee threshold because employers with that many workers typically have the “administrative capacity” to implement the requirements of the ETS “promptly.”

He added: “We know that the vast majority of workplaces will comply with this rule.”

The ETS includes a 30-day comment period. One subject OSHA is seeking to learn more about is “the ability of employers with fewer than 100 employees to implement COVID-19 vaccination and/or testing programs.” This means the employee threshold could be adjusted in the future.

Frederick noted that the agency will provide “robust” compliance assistance along with outreach to companies.

In addition to the fact sheet on the ETS, OSHA has an ETS summary, a set of frequently asked questions and answers, and sample policies for employers.

In response to the ETS news, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) announced that he’s leading an effort – with the support of at least 40 other lawmakers – to overturn the regulation under the Congressional Review Act. However, the CRA requires approval from both the House and Senate as well as the president, so the attempt is largely symbolic.

“This unacceptable federal directive impacts tens of millions of Americans and warrants review by Congress,” Braun said in a press release.

OSHA estimates that two-thirds of private-sector workers, or around 84 million, will be covered under the ETS, which will preempt any state laws, according to Department of Labor Solicitor Seema Nanda. State Plans will have to adopt standards that are “at least as effective as” federal OSHA’s.

The ETS will likely face challenges in the courts. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced Oct. 29 that they would file a lawsuit against a similar vaccination requirement, from the Biden administration, for federal contractors. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), as well as Alabama, Idaho, Kansas and West Virginia, have joined the suit.

Also on Oct. 29, the Supreme Court refused to block a vaccine mandate for health care workers in Maine. That same day, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision to block a vaccine mandate for health care workers in New York.

Similarly, in August, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett turned down an appeal from Indiana University students to block their school’s vaccination requirement.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

OSHA issues ETS to protect workers from coronavirus

First published by OSHA

Increases protections for 84M private sector workers

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced a new emergency temporary standard to protect more than 84 million workers from the spread of the coronavirus on the job. The nation’s unvaccinated workers face grave danger from workplace exposure to coronavirus, and immediate action is necessary to protect them.

Under this standard, covered employers must develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.

Since 2020, the coronavirus has led to the deaths of 750,000 people in the U.S., and the infection of millions more, making it the deadliest pandemic in the nation’s history. Many of the people killed and infected by this virus were workers whose primary exposures occurred at their jobs. OSHA estimates that this rule will save thousands of lives and prevent more than 250,000 hospitalizations due to workplace exposure to COVID-19 over the course of the ETS.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on workers, and we continue to see dangerous levels of cases,” said U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. “We must take action to implement this emergency temporary standard to contain the virus and protect people in the workplace against the grave danger of COVID-19. Many businesses understand the benefits of having their workers vaccinated against COVID-19, and we expect many will be pleased to see this OSHA rule go into effect.”

The emergency temporary standard covers employers with 100 or more employees – firm or company-wide – and provides options for compliance. The ETS also requires employers to provide paid time to workers to get vaccinated and to allow for paid leave to recover from any side effects.

The ETS also requires employers to do the following:

  • Determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination status from vaccinated employees and maintain records and a roster of each employee’s vaccination status.
  • Require employees to provide prompt notice when they test positive for COVID-19 or receive a COVID-19 diagnosis. Employers must then remove the employee from the workplace, regardless of vaccination status; employers must not allow them to return to work until they meet required criteria.
  • Ensure each worker who is not fully vaccinated is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if the worker is in the workplace at least once a week) or within 7 days before returning to work (if the worker is away from the workplace for a week or longer).
  • Ensure that, in most circumstances, each employee who has not been fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes.

The emergency temporary standard does not require employers to pay for testing. Employers may be required to pay for testing to comply with other laws, regulations, collective bargaining agreements, or other collectively negotiated agreements. Employers are also not required to pay for face coverings. Continue Reading»


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

COVID-19 whistleblowing

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

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New fact sheet from OSHA

Washington — A new fact sheet from OSHA details protections for employees who report workplace health and safety concerns related to COVID-19, and includes other relevant information for whistleblowers.

Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 contains anti-retaliation provisions for all employers except most federal, state and local government workers. U.S. Postal Service employees, however, are covered.

Activities related to COVID-19 that are protected include reporting an infection/exposure or unsafe condition to an employer or OSHA. The fact sheet provides examples of retaliation, including being fired or laid off.

OSHA notes that, under the OSH Act, the deadline for filing a retaliation complaint is 30 days after an employee “learns of the adverse action.” It also details what happens after a complaint is filed, what to do about a “dangerous situation” at work and what happens after a Section 11(c) investigation.

If an OSHA regional administrator dismisses the complaint, the employee may seek a review of the dismissal by the Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Programs by filing a request within 15 calendar days of receiving the dismissal letter.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.