MSHA Chief Issues Guidance on Health and Safety Management Programs

In a recent letter to stakeholders, MSHA Assistant Secretary Joe Main lauded 2014’s lowest ever number of coal mining deaths, but reminded metal and nonmetal mining companies of the sudden uptick in miners killed at metal and nonmetal mines.  Assistant Secretary Main encouraged mine operators to strengthen existing safety and health management programs or adopt new programs

OSHA and NIOSH Issue New Health Care Respiratory Protection Toolkit

OSHA and NIOSH have teamed up to produce a Hospital Respiratory Protection Toolkit, which is being touted as “a resource for health care employers to use to protect hospital staff from respiratory hazards.” In a press release announcing the new resource, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels, stated: “Hospitals

OSHA Renews Alliance Focused on Automotive Repair Workers

On May 14, OSHA announced that it has renewed its alliance for five years with the Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR). CCAR is a nonprofit focused on safety, training and environmental best practices for the motor vehicle industry. In the press release announcing the renewal, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health,

Inspector General Investigating MSHA, NPR Reports

NPR reports that the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Labor has initiated an audit of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s handling of delinquent penalties.  As noted by NPR: “The audit comes six months after NPR and Mine Safety and Health News reported the failure of federal regulators to collect nearly $70 million in overdue safety fines.

Nail Salon Worker Health Hazards on OSHA’s Radar

Thanks to a hard-hitting article appearing in the New York Times, health hazards faced by workers in nail salons are now front page news. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has followed by announcing the creation of a “multi-agency Enforcement Task Force,” which, among other things, will implement new workplace safety rules that will require the

OSHA moves to protect health and safety of transgender employees

OSHA announced yesterday that it will cooperate with the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) to share information

OSHA Confined Space Rule For Construction Goes Final

Construction employers will soon have a new confined space rule to navigate. Long a requirement under the OSHA general industry standards, the new construction confined space rule (which was released on May 1 and will take effect on August 3, 2015) is very similar to its general industry counterpart. There are, however, some key new

Final DOT Rule On Oil / Gas Rail Transpo

On Friday, May 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a final rule for the transportation of flammable liquids by rail.  The rule was developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).  DOT’s final rule has already come under criticism from various stakeholders, including lawmakers, safety

No Big Changes in 2015 FEDTARG

On April 28, 2105, OSHA released its directive for the Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program (FEDTARG) for the 2015 fiscal year.  FEDTARG is an inspection program that focuses on specific federal agencies that report a high number of lost time cases (LTCs), as reported through the U.S. Department of Labor.  This directive applies solely to

OSHA Publishes New “It’s the Law” Poster

Employers subject to OSHA’s jurisdiction must display the “Job Safety and Health—It’s The Law!” poster or

Sen. Franken Introduces Legislation To Reform OSH Act

The Mine Safety and Health Act is not the only safety and health statute on the block for an overhaul. On April 28, Sen. Al Franken, Democrat from Minnesota, introduced the Protecting America’s Workers Act, which proposes significant amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). Chief components of the bill include the

MSHA Releases Fatality Data for Q1 of 2015 – M/NM Still Outpacing Coal For Mine Deaths

Ten mining fatalities occurred in the first quarter of 2015. Six occurred in the Metal/Nonmetal  (M/NM) sector, while 4 occurred in Coal. This continues the trend seen in 2014 with a record low number of deaths in the nation’s coal mines, but a significant spike in M/NM fatalities. With these numbers, Metal/Nonmetal operators can expect

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