Representative Phil Hare (D-IL) has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to toughen worker safety recordkeeping requirements for large employers with more than one worksite. The Corporate Injury, Illness and Fatality Reporting Act of 2009 (H.R. 2113) seeks to require employers with more than one establishment and 500 or more workers to report to OSHA the numbers and rates of work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses at all of their work sites. The bill can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.2113.IH:.
OSHA has added fire protection in shipyard employment, contamination issues related to hexavalent chromium and employer payment for PPE to its guidance document, Shipyard Industry Standards, which provides an overview of all safety and health standards associated with the shipyard industry.
The standard’s fire protection subpart includes sections on implementing a fire safety plan, fire watches and fire response. The payment for PPE section advises employers of their obligation to provide PPE for workers at no cost to employees. Hexavalent chromium has been added to the list of air contaminants whose concentrations should not exceed stated exposure levels.
The publication revises the existing Shipyard Industry Digest and incorporates new shipyard employment requirements that have been developed and finalized since the booklet was last published in 1998. It lists the guidelines for safety and health programs in the industry and incorporates topics such as management commitment; employee participation; hazard identification, assessment and control; and program evaluation. Download the document at www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA_shipyard_industry.pdf.
EPA is strengthening safety measures for soil fumigant pesticides. According to the agency, the new measures will reduce fumigant exposures to bystanders—people who live, work, attend school or spend time near agricultural fields that are fumigated—and increase overall safety of fumigant use by requiring greater planning and compliance. Soil fumigants are pesticides that, when injected or incorporated into soil, form a gas that permeates the soil and kills a wide array of soil-borne pests. The gas can migrate from the soil into the air. Off-site workers or bystanders exposed to these pesticides may experience eye, nose, throat or respiratory irritation, or more severe poisonings depending on the fumigant and level of exposure, EPA reports. The new safety measures include creating buffer zones, enforcing posting requirements, adding measures to protect agricultural workers and strengthening training programs. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/reregistration/soil_fumigants.
The eRulemaking Program, a federal-wide e-government project led by EPA, has launched a new resource —Regulations.gov Exchange. The site is an online source for citizens to search, view and comment on regulations issued by the U.S. government. “We’re always looking for innovative ways to engage the public and get more people involved in the regulatory process,” says John Moses, EPA’s eRulemaking program director. The public feedback received will shape ongoing updates to the site, EPA says, and the agency will continue to explore the impact of emerging Internet technologies on the federal rulemaking process. In 2008, the site received more than 110 million hits and 450,000 comments on new or existing regulations. It holds 2 million documents from more than 160 federal entities. Visit www.regulations.gov/exchange.
OSHA has released three new publications: Controlling Silica Exposures in Construction (found at www.osha.gov/Publications/3362silica-exposures.pdf); OSHA’s Small Business Guide for Ethylene Oxide (found at www.osha.gov/Publications/ethylene-oxide.pdf) and the Pneumatic Nail Gun Safety Tips QuickCard (found in English and Spanish at www.osha.gov/Publications/nail-gun.pdf).
Ticks can be more than just a nuisance to those who work outdoors—they can cause serious illnesses, including Lyme Disease. According to OSHA, workers in the construction, landscaping, forestry, farming, railroad, oil field, park and wildlife management, and utility industries are among those at increased risk of tick-related and other outdoor hazards. The factsheet, “Working Outdoors in Warm Weather,” describes potential hazards and preventive measures—for ticks as well as for heat stress, West Nile Virus and poison ivy. OSHA provides additional guidance in its Safety and Health Information Bulletin, “Potential for Occupational Exposure to Lyme Disease,” which can be accessed at www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib021103.html.