SPECIAL TO THE DIGITAL EDITION
are effective immediately, comments can be submitted until Nov. 1. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the OSH Act and 18 other statutes.
On-Site Consultation Program
On Sept. 3, OSHA published a notice of proposed rule- making to revise regulations covering the agency’s on- site consultation program. The changes would provide OSHA with greater flexibility for inspecting worksites that are undergoing an on-site consultation visit and those that are granted Safety and Health Achievement Recogni- tion Program (SHARP) status. As part of the proposal, OSHA would revise the existing initial exemption from programmed inspections for em- ployers who have achieved SHARP status to one year with an extension of up to another year. Currently, em- ployers granted SHARP status receive exemptions of up to two years with an extension of up to three years. Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted by Nov. 2.
In July, OSHA temporarily suspended federal inspection activity on under-reporting of injuries because of reports that this national emphasis program was finding no signif- icant problems. The agency recently reinstated the pro- gram with a new “targeting” approach. Currently, OSHA is targeting the manufacturing sector and nursing homes.
Multi-Employer Citation Policy
In a reversal of a decision made during the previous ad- ministration, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld OSHA’s multi-employer citation policy. In 2005 the Commission ruled that OSHA could not cite employers on multi-employer worksites for violations.
Public Health and Chemical Exposures
Six draft reports from the National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures working groups are available www.resolv.org/nationalconversation. The National Conversation ( www.atsdr.cdc.gov/national
conversation) is a collaborative initiative supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry through which organizations and individuals are helping develop an action agenda for strengthening the nation’s approach to protecting the public’s health from harmful chemical exposures. The reports cover the following topics: chemical emer- gencies, education and communication, monitoring, poli- cies and practices, scientific understanding and serving communities.
Keep your eye on this issue in the coming year. OSHA has concluded an evaluation of state-run OSHA plans and says many of these plans are not adequately protecting workers. After this review, OSHA has requested that Hawaii’s state OSHA program let federal OSHA assert concurrent jurisdiction because of what federal OSHA considers inadequate oversight of worker protections. Not only is Hawaii’s plan in trouble, but federal OSHA has given all state plans 30 days to fix the problems uncov- ered in the evaluation. This will be an interesting issue to watch in the coming year to see exactly how far federal OSHA moves against State Plans and what the State Plans will do in return.
Outreach Training Program
You may not recall, but in the past year there has been considerable concern shown over construction and gen- eral industry training needs. Some felt the training was not being provided by qualified individuals. OSHA has addressed some of these concerns by requiring that au- thorized trainers for construction and general industry must now have five years of experience. However, a CSP or CIH designation may be substituted for two years of experience.
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