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OSHA agenda outlines final rules, NPRMs expected in 2013

OSHA's regulatory agenda presents tentative plans to issue eight final rules and seven notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) during 2013.

Final rules are expected for confined spaces in construction, electric power transmission and distribution, and electrical protective requirements, and walking/working surfaces and personal fall protections systems. Two interim final rules are expected regarding whistleblower protection standards related to the Affordable Care Act and three other statutes. NPRMs are expected on occupational exposure to crystalline silica and beryllium, OSHA's injury and illness reporting system, and a revision to ease changes to State Plan jurisdictions.

OSHA also intends to issue simultaneous final rules and NPRMs for a revision to the Cranes and Derricks Standard, a consensus standard update to rules on signage, and a rule revoking a requirement for employers to keep and maintain certain records.

Over 1,260 Workplace Inspections planned under SST

At least 1,260 randomly selected establishments will be inspected as part of OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting (SST) Program. Focusing on workplaces with above-average injury and illness rates in high-hazard industries, the SST has lowered the company size threshold from 40 to 20 or more employees.

According to OSHA's Directive Number 13-01 (CPL 02) (effective January 4, 2013), inspections will first target a "primary" list of companies that have above-average injury and illness rates in high-hazard industries. For manufacturing employers, OSHA will focus on "days away, restricted, or transferred" (DART) rate of seven of employees for every 100 workers (7.0) or a "days away from work injury and illness" (DAWII) rate of five employees for every 100 workers (5.0). For non-manufacturing companies, the threshold is a DART rate of 15.0 or above or a DAFWII rate of 14.0 or above.

After completing the "primary" list, OSHA moves to the "secondary inspection list," which can substantially expand the number of inspections because of lower thresholds.

Construction companies are excluded from this program. Inspections of nursing and personal care establishments will continue under an ongoing national emphasis program.

Case study focuses on construction falls

As part of the National Safety Council's (NSC) alliance agreement with OSHA, NSC recently finalized a case study (.pdf file) focusing on preventing falls from heights in construction. Valuable information on hazard recognition, use of personal protective equipment, forklifts and scaffolds all can be found in this free study.

New clinicians webpage provides resource for healthcare professionals

OSHA has launched a new webpage for physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physical assistants, paramedics and other health care professionals. Topics on the webpage include evaluating occupational exposures, OSHA requirements for recordkeeping and medical records and setting up a safe outpatient office.

Recent fines and awards

Wholesale food manufacturer faces $73,400 in fines - Massachusetts

The Wilmington plant production facility of Progressive Gourmet has been cited with violations related to energy control, ammonia and other hazards. The inspection was in response to employee complaints.

Contractor faces $55,660 in fines for hazards at Nashua, NH, work site - Massachusetts

A Dracut, Mass. contractor, DeFelice Inc., faces fines for excavation, other safety hazards at a Nashua, NH worksite.

Medical center for veterans cited with seven violations - Michigan

The Battle Creek Veterans Administration Medical Center received seven notices of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions, following a safety inspection conducted in July as part of OSHA's Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program.

Hoover Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant cited with 58 health and safety violations - Nevada

Citations involved lead contamination, hexavalent chromium exposures and a wide variety of other hazards. The Bureau of Reclamation, part of the U.S. Department of Interior, maintains and operates the plant. The plant and dam employ about 250 people.

Settlement affirms company responsibility to train temporary workers - New Hampshire

The MacMillin Co., a Keene, N.H.-based contractor, has reached a settlement with OSHA to correct all cited hazards and pay a $100,000 fine in connection with the September 2011 death of a worker who fell 27 feet on the Keene Middle School construction site. In addition to correcting cited conditions and paying the fine, the company will now provide the same level of training to its temporary workers as it does to its permanent staff, and sponsor presentations on fall protection training for those erecting and dismantling scaffolding.

Frozen food manufacturer Inc., faces $54,750 in fines for serious hazards - New York

Rosina Food Products Inc. was cited with nine serious violations of workplace safety standards at its West Seneca production facility. The inspection identified several deifciencies in the plant's process safety management program.

Roofing contractor faces fines of $160,000 for exposing workers to fall hazards - New York

Rochester, N.Y.-based A.M. Stern Inc. faces a total of $159,250 in fines for exposing workers to falls of 15 to 30 feet while working at the unprotected edges of a building's roof.

Rail Company signs accord for voluntary whistleblower improvement - Texas

One of the nation's largest railway companies, BNSF Railway Co., has signed an accord with OSHA to promise revisions to personnel policies that dissuade workers from reporting on-the-job injuries.

Two construction companies cited after crane collapse killed worker on bridge construction site - Wisconsin

After a truck driver was killed and another worker seriously injured, OSHA cited Lunda Construction Inc. in Black River Falls and Choice Construction Cos. Inc. in Menomonee Falls, Wis., with 10 safety citations. Proposed penalties for Lunda Construction total $105,000, and total $13,220 for Choice Construction. Lunda had a history of citations and was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Detailed descriptions of the citations above and other OSHA citations can be found here.