Hours of service regulations for truckers, workplace violence prevention and hazardous materials that endanger bees and people were among the top regulatory stories during 2019.

DOL’s nursing home teen worker rule fails to make fall reg agenda    

November 26, 2019

A controversial rule to allow teenagers to perform a potentially hazardous task in nursing homes is conspicuously absent from the Fall Regulatory Agenda released last week by the U.S. Labor Department (DOL). The rule would have rolled back a previous policy prohibiting young workers (age 16 and 17) from operating powered patient lifting devices unless they are properly trained and are using such devices in tandem with a worker who is 18 or older. The rule was met with intense opposition from workers as well as nursing home residents and their advocates…Read more>>

Applying for unemployment insurance? You could be drug tested

October 17, 2019

A new rule by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will allow states to expand the parameters used to conduct drug testing on people who apply for unemployment insurance. The rule, which was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, allows drug testing in occupations where it is regularly conducted. It includes testing for marijuana, opioids and a variety of other substances. Jobless workers who fail the test would be blocked from getting the assistance…Read more>>

OSHA changes inspection system

October 9, 2019

OSHA has implemented an OSHA Weighting System (OWS) for inspections that it says will focus enforcement activities on “critical and strategic areas.” Under the current enforcement weighting system, OSHA weights certain inspections based on the time taken to complete the inspection or, in some cases, the impact of the inspection on workplace safety and health….Read more>>

OSHA approves new respirator fit testing protocols

October 2, 2019

OSHA last week issued a final rule approving two additional quantitative fit testing protocols for inclusion in appendix A of the Respiratory Protection Standard. These protocols are: the modified ambient aerosol condensation nuclei counter (CNC) quantitative fit testing protocol for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators; and…Read more>>

Hog inspection lines with no speed limits raise alarms

September 24, 2019

Safety advocates warn that a final rule published last week by the USDA will endanger workers who already suffer some of the highest rates of occupational injury and illness in the country. The “Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection” rule promulgated by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) lifts speed restrictions from hog slaughter inspection lines…Read more>>

A FairWarning Story

Battle looms over Trump administration bid to ease safety rules for big rig trucks

Marjie Lundstrom

August 22, 2019

In Washington, D.C., a new Trump administration plan to relax safety rules for truck drivers has rekindled old heartaches for families across the country. On a sunny Labor Day morning in Oklahoma, Linda Wilburn’s younger son, 19-year-old Orbie, hopped into his 1994 red Camaro and headed east from Weatherford on Interstate 40. The college freshman, excited about his new rental house, needed to…Read more>>

EPA approves bee-killing pesticide

July 16, 2019

The EPA has approved the use of a powerful pesticide that the agency’s own research determined was lethal to honeybees. The agency’s approval of the insecticide sulfoxaflor, manufactured by DowDupont, comes just days after the USDA acknowledged that it has stopped tracking the honeybee population. The agency’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) collected statistics on the number of honey bee colonies and U.S. honey production for decades, to help track honey bee mortality. Lack of data going forward will make it difficult to…Read more>>

Mining safety rule change reversed in court

June 19, 2019

The Trump administration’s efforts to weaken a mining safety rule was reversed last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. A three-judge panel ruled that allowing mine operators flexibility in when they can conduct inspections of mines for hazardous conditions would violate the Mine Act’s no-less-protection standard…Read more>>

Workplace fatalities sharply lower in states that have legalized medical marijuana

By Maureen Paraventi

June 4, 2019

Workplace fatalities have fallen by an average of 19.5 percent in the 29 states and District of Columbia that have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Those surprising results from a study in the International Journal of Drug Policy run counter to post-legalization predictions that marijuana’s effects on motor skills and cognitive function would cause…Read more>>

OSHA eliminates a residential construction requirement

May 22, 2019

OSHA is eliminating a construction industry requirement that it says will “lessen the compliance burden of employers without jeopardizing the safety of employees.” In a final rule published in the Federal Register on May 14, the agency says employers will no longer have to post maximum safe-load limits of floors in storage areas when constructing single-family dwellings or…Read more>>

EPA rule blocks “discontinued uses” of asbestos

May 13, 2019

The EPA has issued a final rule that closes a regulatory loophole for asbestos by prohibiting discontinued uses of the substance by being re-introduced to the marketplace without an agency review. Restrictions on Discontinued Uses of Asbestos; Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) is effective June 24, 2019. The restricted significant new uses of asbestos (including as part of an article) is manufacturing (including importing) or processing for uses that are neither ongoing nor…Read more>>

With OSHA a non-starter in workplace violence prevention, ASSP turns to Congress

May 1, 2019

Frustrated with OSHA’s foot-dragging on developing a regulation aimed at protecting healthcare and social assistance employees from workplace violence, the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) is taking its case to lawmakers. ASSP President Rixio Medina, CSP, CPP, has expressed his organization’s support for…Read more>>

EPA sued over inaction on methylene chloride in paint strippers

February 25, 2019

Two nonprofit organizations have filed a federal complaint against the EPA for its failure to regulate methylene chloride, a chemical found in paint strippers that has been blamed for 50 deaths. The complaint alleges that the EPA has violated its statutory obligations by not enacting a ban on the substance in paint and coating removal products, despite determining that methylene chloride presents “an unreasonable risk of injury to health” more than two years ago…Read more>>

A FairWarning Story

Labor Department waters down injury reporting rule targeted by business

Eli Wolfe

January 31, 2019

A requirement that employers disclose more information about worker injuries to safety officials and the public has been scaled back by the Trump administration. The Labor Department action, reflecting the administration’s broad push to ease regulations on business, weakens an Obama-era initiative to improve safety enforcement and crack down on underreporting of job injuries. The 2016 rule, which had been hailed by safety advocates, drew the ire of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups…Read more>>

OSHA eliminates key provision in recordkeeping rule

January 25, 2019

Companies with 250 or more employees will not be required to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301, under the final rule issued yesterday by OSHA…Read more>>