New Standard Revisions Part of OSHA’s Plan for Improvement

July 24th, 2019 by Editor

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated several regulations that went into effect last week. Its purpose is to clarify and adjust standards that may be confusing, outdated or unnecessary.

The fourth final rule under OSHA’s Standards Improvement Project revises 14 provisions to regulations that are intended to alleviate paperwork, reduce processing time and save money for employers while improving health and safety conditions for employees.

While many of the changes clarify terminology, employers are advised to review the updates to ensure their current safety policies and procedures follow OSHA’s standard.

Five revisions below may be important for your business to review:

  1. Requirement for provision of the latitude and longitude of the worksite or other location-identification information in a conspicuous location in case of emergency on a remote worksite that does not have emergency services’ automatic-location capability.
  2. Minimum breaking strength for lifelines adjusted from 5,400 pounds to 5,000 pounds.
  3. Elimination of the requirement for a periodic chest X-ray for certain toxic and hazardous substances standards.
  4. Elimination of unnecessary collection and use of Social Security Numbers in agency systems and programs.
  5. Revisions made to the recordkeeping requirement that clarified the criteria for determining if a hearing-loss injury is work-related.

There are still other regulatory updates in the approval process for revision, which were addressed at the end of the Federal Register report.

OSHA claims the updates will potentially save businesses a collective estimate of $6.1 million annually and will streamline many of the required safety procedures.

The updates aren’t the only thing OSHA has to consider, as a bill before the U.S. House of Representatives aims to direct OSHA to adopt a standard that prevents excessive heat exposure, regardless if it is indoors or outdoors. Worker heat exposure is becoming a more frequent topic of concern, as NBC Nightly News ran a story about UPS workers exposed to temperature extremes recently. Representatives from California and Arizona (Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA and Raul Grijalva, D-AZ) introduced Asuncion Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act on July 10.

“OSHA does not have a federal standard that requires the breaks, shade or water that we know can prevent [heat-related illnesses],” said Rep. Chu.

Those who oppose the bill said OSHA already has the power to issue such regulations and heat exposure is already regulated under a clause in the OSHA Act of 1970.

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