(O.S.H.A.)-Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s role is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.
Here is valuable information regarding seven significant OSHA standards that will have an impact on American employers:
1. Recordkeeping: On October 1, 2009, OSHA announced its national emphasis program on recordkeeping. This emphasis program will include greater scrutiny of employer maintained OSHA logs, whether employers are recording all workplace recordable injuries/illnesses, and more.
2. Annual verification of lockout/tagout procedures: OSHA will focus on whether employers are complying with the requirement to conduct periodic inspections (at least annually) of the energy control procedures as required by 20 CFR 1910.147 (c)(6)(i).
3. A general lockout/tagout policy does not comply with OSHA regulations: Employers must have a separate lockout/tagout procedure for each piece of different equipment.
4. Combustible dust standard: On April 29, 2009, OSHA announced it would initiate rulemaking on combustible dust hazards. OSHA will issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and convene related stakeholder meetings to evaluate possible regulatory methods, and request data and comments on issues related to combustible dust.
5. Per employee penalties for PPE and training violations: OSHA has issued its final rule allowing OSHA to cite employers on a “per employee basis” for failure to wear/use required personal protective equipment (PPE). This rule went into effect January 12, 2009, and applies to PPE and training. As a result, an employer who has failed to properly train employees or who has employees not wearing or using PPE may receive a citation per employee.
6. Liability of general contractors for hazards they did not create and/or where their own employees were not exposed: In February 2009, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals a certain case held that OSHA regulations do not preclude OSHA from issuing citations to a general contractor under the multi-employer citation policy simply based on the fact that the general contractor “controls” the worksite regardless of whether or not the general contractor created the hazard or had its own employees exposed to the hazard.
7. OSHA settlement agreements and additional employer obligations: Employers should be aware that OSHA is mandating uniformity in the language of ALL settlement agreements. Additionally, OSHA is including in all settlement agreements language that seeks to use the settlement process as a way to get employers to agree to undertake additional obligations.
Safety should be the #1 priority chosen by all employers. Taking the time for proper safety meetings and training for on-the-job accident prevention is not nearly as costly as just one tragic accident.