The Byrd Act is Back – Congress Explores Amendments to Mine Act

Some members of Congress, emboldened by the recent indictments of senior corporate officials following the Upper Big Branch disaster, are taking yet another run at amending the Mine Safety and Health Act (Mine Act) to stiffen penalties for non-compliant operators. This version, again named for the late Senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd, would give

U.S. Avian Flu Outbreak Endangers Poultry Workers

As Minnesota declares a state of emergency in light of the H5N2 bird flu outbreak, which has affected nearly 2.6 million birds in the state, poultry farmers may want to review OSHA’s guidance on protecting employees from avian influenza and review their protocols for ensuring the safety of their workers.  The Minnesota Department of Health has already advised 87

OSHA Promotes 2015 National Safety Stand-Down

OSHA has posted a new video promoting its efforts to raise awareness of preventing fall

Overall Workplace Fatality Rates Down But Hispanic Fatalities On Rise

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released final data for workplace fatalities in 2013. Overall, the workplace fatality rate was at an all time low – 3.3 per 100,000 workers.  However, the fatality rate for Hispanic workers increased to 3.9 deaths for every 100,000 workers, up from 3.7 in 2012. Among the reasons for this

Obama Proposes Massive Gas Pipeline Improvements

Earlier today, President Obama proposed a $3.5 billion dollar spend on our nation’s aging and (according to many, rapidly deteriorating) natural gas pipeline system. This proposal follows months of political pressure focused on the perceived public safety threat posed by our gas pipeline system. The lengthy report, entitled the Quadrennial Energy Review, proposes to create a program under

OSHA updates guidelines for preventing workplace violence for healthcare and social service workers.

OSHA recently kicked off National Workplace Violence Prevention month by releasing an update to its Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers (PDF*) and announcing the update in its twice monthly newsletter. OSHA’s updated violence prevention guidelines include industry best practices and incorporate the most effective way to reduce the risk of violence

Chemical Management and PEL Comment Period Extended

OSHA announced that it has extended the Request for Information (“RFI”) period for stakeholders to submit comments regarding chemical management and permissible exposure limits (“PEL”) in the workplace from April 8, 2015, to October 9, 2015.  OSHA is seeking input regarding the best approaches for the agency to advance the development and implementation of approaches to reduce or

Obama to ask Chemical Safety Board Chairman to Resign

CNN reports that President Obama is expected imminently to ask for the resignation of Rafael Moure-Eraso, the embattled chairman of the Chemical Safety Board: Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso has been accused by members of Congress of malfeasance, hostility towards his staff and retaliation against whistleblowers. And an inspector general report found he used personal email to conduct government

Talking Tough – Main Assesses Five Years On Point at MSHA

Joe Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, addressed the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) on March 16 in a general session of the NSSGA’s annual convention in Baltimore. In his remarks (essentially a “State of MSHA” speech), Main repeatedly noted the value of collaboration with industry in making safety

Safety Deposits For PPE

In a recently posted interpretation letter, OSHA has advised employers that they may require employees

Wyoming Workplace Safety Legislation Fails to Advance

Three bills aimed at strengthening workplace safety regulation in Wyoming (an OSHA state plan state) failed to advance in the state legislature and are unlikely to be brought up during the remainder of the State’s 2015 legislative session.  Two of the bills, HB0236 and SF0072, sought to increase the penalty range for willful violations from

MSHA announces results of January impact inspections

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today announced that federal inspectors issued 176 citations, eight

New Online Tools Released By MSHA

On February 25, MSHA held a stakeholder meeting and released two online tools to assist

OSHA Hazard Communication June 1 Deadline Looms – Are You Ready?

Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers must be in compliance with all modified provisions of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) by June 1, 2015. Recently, OHSA issued a memorandum describing its “enforcement position” on manufacturers and importers who have exercised “good faith” and “reasonable diligence” to comply with this approaching deadline but have not received

Bizarre COPS Fatality A Reminder of OSHA’s Long Arms

On August 26, 2014, while recording the COPS television show, a sound technician was tragically hit by a bullet while shadowing police officers at the scene of an armed robbery in Omaha, Nebraska. The victim was wearing a bullet proof vest. Unfortunately, the bullet struck the technician under his arm where the vest did not