November-December 2015

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22 PalletCentral • November-December 2015 rystal ball gazing, especially when it comes to an election year like 2016, can be a risky business. But when it comes to OSHA enforcement, rulemaking and initiatives, there are enough indicators to help prepare for the last hurrah of the Obama Administration. So, fasten your seatbelts: you'll have a lot of things to deal with when it comes to occupational safety and health. It's been said that "what's past is prologue." If so, a review of OSHA's most-cited standards in FY 2015 (which ended on September 30th) may be advisable. A preliminary list was released at the close of the fiscal year, covering both construction (the "1926" standards) and general industry (the "1910" standards): 1. Fall Protection (1926.501) 2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) 3. Scaffolding (1926.451) 4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) 5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) 6. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) 7. Ladders (1926.1053) 8. Electrical — Wiring Methods (1910.305) 9. Machine Guarding (1910.212) 10. Electrical — General Requirements (1910.303) Pallet companies are covered by general industry standards, of course, but if contractors are performing construction activities on site and trigger an OSHA inspection (or accident investigation), the host employer can also be cited for the contractor's violations under the agency's multi-employer worksite doctrine. The general industry standards on the list have all been in the "Top 10" in recent years, but expect the top-cited standard, Hazard Communication, to trigger more citations than ever in the coming year. This is because the Global Harmonization System (GHS) revisions to this rule come into full effect on June 1, 2016. Employers can already be cited if they have not retrained all workers (their own and also temporary workers who are under their supervision) on the revised Safety Data Sheet and labeling requirements and formats, as well as on all the unchanged portions of the rule (the written program, chemical inventory list, where SDSs are stored or how they can be electronically accessed etc.). The revised training took effect at the end of 2013, and OSHA tests worker knowledge by asking employees about the proper PPE to use when handling the product, what ventilation and handling procedures are needed, fire hazard, first aid and emergency response. Starting in June 2016, employers will also be cited if their products have old-format labels (lacking pictograms and signal words) and if they do not have current, revised-format SDSs. Respiratory protection requirements are another perennial favorite for OSHA to cite because it is easy for employers to get them wrong. First of all, each employer is expected to do a written PPE hazard assessment, which must include identification of tasks requiring personal protective equipment such as dust masks, respirators, safety shoes, hearing protection, gloves and eye protection. OSHA inspectors are required to examine this during most inspections and accident investigations, and then use this assessment to benchmark compliance with the PPE standards. If, for example, an employer requires the use of N95 (disposable) dust masks when cutting wood, due to the potential hazards of wood dust, and workers are observed not wearing them, this can trigger willful citations because it is a hazard already acknowledged by the employer in writing. The respiratory protection standard is quite complex and has a number of sections that get cited in tandem, leading to higher fines. Not only does equipment need to be provided, workers must have medical evaluations by a licensed health care professional (to assess whether they can safely use respiratory protection), they OSHA: What's Ahead for 2016? By Adele L. Abrams, Esq., CMSP SAFETY SAFETY C

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