Today's News

"Off-line" OSHA issues analyzed by AIHA (12/10)

December 10, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

American Industrial Hygiene Association Government Affairs Director Aaron Trippler offers in his latest Washington insider’s newsletter, “Happenings From The Hill,” this assessment of hot or emerging issues that did not find their way on to OSHA’s regulatory agenda released earlier this week.

“While the semi-annual regulatory agenda provides a good overview of the issues deemed important by the agency, there are several “off-line” issues that deserve discussion. I really feel these issues will receive more discussion than many of those on the regulatory agenda.

“Safety and Health Program Standard - An issue long-supported by AIHA; we even suggested that the Protecting America’s Worker Act be amended to include a requirement for a written health and safety program. OSHA chief David Michaels has also hinted he supports initiating rulemaking for a safety and health program standard. On the Hill, AIHA has heard discussions that perhaps the House will hold hearings on this issue sometime in 2010. Don’t be surprised if this issue becomes more active.

“State Plans - After the concerns with the number of construction fatalities in Nevada were aired and reports showed that federal OSHA lacked adequate oversight of State Plans, there has been considerable discussion about introducing legislation that would provide OSHA with more authority over these state plans. While this will continue to be discussed, I would be very surprised to see anything that would change the legal authority. The state plans are opposed to providing OSHA with more control and legislation is the only way to change the situation. This just won’t happen. However, OSHA will become more active in providing recommendations and guidelines for these state plans.

“Safe-Patient Handling – Congress has two separate bills introduced to require OSHA to enact a safe-patient handling standard. Past legislative efforts to require OSHA to enact standards have failed, but this one has a decent chance of passage. Nearly a dozen states have enacted safe-patient laws and regulations and labor feels this is an issue the federal government must address. Besides, this may be the best chance labor has to have some sort of standard addressing these types of ergonomic injuries. Look for this issue to be more active in 2010.

“Recordkeeping – OSHA is currently conducting a National Emphasis Program on recordkeeping issues. The program is slated to run until around fall of 2010 when OSHA will then review the results. Underreporting of injuries and illnesses has become a rallying cry for many. You can add to this the issue of employers providing incentives for employees to forego the reporting of injuries and illnesses. A recent GAO report confirmed this and Congress is now becoming more interested in the issue. While the House says they have already held hearings on this issue, don’t be surprised if you see the Senate hold a hearing in 2010. You may even see additional language inserted into the OSHA legislation pending in both the House and Senate.

“Ergonomics – Notwithstanding the support of Dr. Michaels to address this issue, I’m not sure this issue will go anywhere in 2010. OSHA may continue to beef up its enforcement of ergonomics injuries through use of the general duty clause, but I doubt if they can move forward with any attempt at an ergonomics standard.

“Voluntary Protection Program – I’m still not sure where this program stands. Most will tell you OSHA will simply assume more oversight of the program and they have no intention of shutting the program down. However, don’t be surprised if this issue has its ups and downs in 2010. I base this on many things that when looked at individually do not concern me but when added together provide a little caution. I keep seeing quotes from OSHA personnel saying they will continue a “vigorous evaluation” of VPP.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASSE Safety 2014 Review

A gallery of photos from the sprawling Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 8-11. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

9/30/14 2:00 pm EST

Leveraging Sustainability Initiatives to Benefit Your Community and Increase Compliance

This webinar will review how General Motors' Sustainability initiatives are being leveraged to improve the community and the environment, create efficient energy programs, improve sustainability tracking, impact on processes and overall reporting and improve overall social, environmental and corporate sustainability.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN SEPTEMBER 2014 COVER

2014 September

ISHN'S September issue features a series of essay on thought leadership. Get expert advice on self-motivation, compliance and more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - SEPTEMBER 2014

ISHN FDO SEPTEMBER 2014For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THE SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.