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Things you should know

OSHA releases ‘Top 10’ violations
Scaffolding remains the most cited OSHA violation and other the violations on the "Top 10" list are the same as last year, although some violations have moved within the rankings. The most cited violations for Oct. 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008, were:
Standard Violations
#1 Scaffolding (1926.451) 7027
#2 Hazard Communication (1910.1200) 4973
#3 Fall Protection (1926.501) 4797
#4 Respiratory Protection (1910.134) 3062
#5 Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) 2937
#6 Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) 2524
#7 Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) 2437
#8 Machine Guarding (1910.212) 2138
#9 Ladders (1926.1053) 2135
#10 Electrical – Gen. Requirements (1910.303) 2016

Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity Act of 2008 now law
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 was part of the financial bailout legislation and amends the existing provisions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to provide more protections than the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA).

Now law, the bill requires group health insurance plans to cover mental illness and substance abuse disorders on the same terms and conditions as other illnesses. The law requires the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury to issue regulations within one year.

The law does not mandate group health plans provide any mental health coverage. However, if a plan does offer mental health coverage, then, it requires:

• Equity in financial requirements, such as deductibles, co-payments,
  coinsurance, and out-of-pocket expenses.

• Equity in treatment limits, such as caps on the frequency or number of visits, limits
  on days of coverage, or other similar limits on the scope and duration of treatment.

• Equality in out-of-network coverage.
Other important points are:
• The exemption of self-insured plans under MHPA has been removed.

• The exemption for small employers (average 2 to 50 during preceding calendar year)
  was retained.

• Cost exemptions have been substantially revised and only last for one plan year at a time.
OSHA Updates eTool for healthcare industry
Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hospital eTool has been updated and features new sonography and updated surgical modules..

Material Safety Data Sheet updating duty of manufacturer, importer or distributor
In a letter of interpretation dated April 18, 2008, OSHA notes that the phrase, "valid on the date of printing only" is inconsistent with the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) and attempts to place the duty of learning about updates on the user. The HCS places the duty of providing updated MSDS’s on manufacturers, importers, and distributors.

OSHA posted several other letters of interpretation in October, including a request to provide a list of corrosive materials and concentrations requiring use of emergency eyewashes and showers, clarification of employer's obligation to include Social Security numbers on employee exposure records and policy on posting of floor load capacity signs. For more information, visit the What’s New section of OSHA’s website.