Few changes in Fall 2019 regulatory agenda
The Department of Labor’s regulatory agenda, released Nov. 20, has few changes from the Spring agenda.
Final rule stage
Added to the final rule stage is Cranes and Derricks in Construction: Exemption Expansions for Railroad Roadway Work, which stems from a September 2014 settlement between OSHA and the Association of American Railroads. The other three in the final rule stage are carryovers from the spring:
- Rules of Agency Practice and Procedure Concerning OSHA Access to Employee Medical Records
- Technical Corrections to 27 OSHA Standards and Regulations
- Exposure to Beryllium to Review General Industry Provisions
A rule on communication tower safety has moved to the proposed rule stage from the pre-rule stage. A pair of regulations has been added to the list of standards in the proposed rule stage. An NPRM of an update to the Safety Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks standard, which presently is based on ANSI’s 1969 safety standard, could be issued as early as January. Also, an NPRM clarifying regulatory language in the 2016 final rule on walking-working surfaces is expected by April.
BLS data may shed a light on future enforcement priorities
BLS recently released the injury and illness data for 2018. While injury and illness rates remained the same as in 2017, some industries had increases. The retail trade industry saw an increase in its total recordable rate from 3.3 in 2017 to 3.5 in 2018. Similarly, the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry saw its rate increase from 5.0 to 5.3.
The data drills down further to subsections. The highest subsector rates were pet care services at 11.4, veterinary services at 10.4, steel foundries at 10.2, and skiing facilities at 10.
Preventing cold stress and injuries from other winter hazards
Two resources are available:
Revised webpage on radiation safety
The revised webpage provides information on how to recognize and control ionizing radiation hazards.
New bulletin on shipyard hazards
A new Temporary Worker Bulletin focuses on shipyard safety.
Offshore renewable energy facilities responsibility of Department of Interior
The Department of the Interior will oversee workplace safety and health at offshore renewable energy facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf, according to a policy statement published in the Oct. 18 Federal Register.
Recent fines and awards
- The Connecticut Department of Labor cited Whitmore Poultry, based in Orange, for more than 500 violations of misclassifying employees as independent contractors and fined the company $90,000. The violations represented each worker for each week they performed work.
- Blue Nile Contractors Inc., based in Birmingham, was cited for failing to protect employees from trench collapse and electrical hazards. The company faces $210,037 in penalties.
- In Secretary of Labor v. Casale Construction Services Inc., an administrative law judge of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission rejected the construction company’s contention that its repeat safety citations should be vacated on the basis they were due to employee misconduct. Two citations carrying penalties of nearly $25,000 were upheld.
- The Connecticut Department of Labor cited Five Brothers 1, based in Sunbury, for more than 600 violations of misclassifying employees as independent contractors and fined the company $180,600. The violations represented each worker for each week they performed work for Five Brothers 1. The company was also cited for failing to maintain workers’ compensation.
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