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Start enforcing noise regulations

The OSHA regs on noise control dictate that engineering controls be applied to reduce noise levels, as feasible, when exposures exceed 100% - but too many employers fail to realize how the costs of noise remediation can be less than the administration of a hearing conservation program for several years. The other thing is that the use of hearing protection deprives the worker of one of his senses, thus creating a hazard... more »

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Protecting young farm workers from very dangerous tasks

DOL has insufficient prohibitions for workers aged 15 years or younger from performing particularly dangerous tasks when they are employed on US farms. In April 2012, the Labor Department withdrew its draft regulation to protect young farm workers from certain deadly occupational hazards they face. Those hazards have not disappeared, and young farm workers continue to be injured and killed on the job. Secretary of Labor... more »

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Safe Patient Handling

OSHA needs to do a safe patient handling regulation. Healthcare workers are injured at a very high rate when manually lifting and repositioning patients. This is the single biggest cause of injury in one of the largest industrial sectors and the agency should act. NPR just did a 4 part series on the problem and several states already have their own regulations. This problem will only get worse with an aging workforce,... more »

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Work environment for meatpacking and poultry processing workers

OSHA’s existing standards are ineffective at protecting meatpacking and poultry processing workers from developing carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and other work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The pace, repetition, and design of work on production lines in most meatpacking and poultry plants are the key risk factors for worker injuries. In September 2013, the Southern Poverty Law Center and a coalition of civil rights... more »

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Worker exposure to well-recognized health and safety hazards

OSHA has insufficient (or non-existent) regulations to address workers’ exposure to well-recognized hazards. OSHA should issue a final regulation to protect workers from respirable crystalline silica before the end of the Obama Administration. OSHA should publish proposed regulations on beryllium, combustible dust, communication towers, diesel exhaust, heat stress, fatigue, infectious diseases, and workplace injury and... more »

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Protect fracking workers from volatile hydrocarbons

OSHA should adopt a regulation to protect fracking workers who are exposed to volatile hydrocarbons and other toxic substances during flowback operations. OSHA’s existing standards are ineffective at protecting oil and gas extraction workers from this hazard. OSHA should issue a regulation based on NIOSH's recommendations for fracking operations. The regulation should include requirements for employers to develop alternative... more »

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Threats to worker injury and illness reporting and data

DOL should issue a regulation prohibiting employer policies, practices, and programs that discourage the reporting of job injuries and illnesses. Employers, workers, governments, and the public need accurate data on work-related injuries and illnesses in order to identify their causes, implement controls, and assess their effectiveness. OSHA and MSHA should each issue a regulation that (1) requires employers to inform... more »

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OSHA's response to amputations and hospitalizations

Beginning January 1, 2015, employers operating in States under federal OSHA jurisdiction are required to report to OSHA, within 24 hours, all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations, and all losses of an eye. On a case-by-case basis, OSHA will determine whether to investigate such incidents. To facilitate accountability to the public and transparency, when OSHA decides not to investigate one of these... more »

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Monetary penalties for workplace H&S violations

In 2012, OSHA made modest revisions to its policy for calculating proposed monetary penalties. OSHA has not required, however, the OSHA State Plan States to adopt this policy. There is wide disparity among the States on proposed penalties for serious, repeat and willful violations. For example, in 2013 the average proposed penalty in Maryland (a State Plan OSHA) for a serious violation was $685, compared to $1,916 in... more »

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Dialogue on the need for and right to use paid sick leave

Employees fortunate enough to have paid sick days sometimes report that management penalizes them for using the sick days to which they are entitled. During flu season each year, OSHA should use online communications and social media to remind employers that when sick workers use paid sick time to stay home and recover, it’s good for everyone’s health.

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Lower Action Limit for Occupational Noise from 85 to 80 dBA

OSHA should lower the action limit for occupational noise exposure from 85 dBA to 80 dBA. The European Union Noise Directive mandates 80 dBA as an action limit. Workers will still lose hearing exposed at 85 dBA and Hearing protectors are optional until levels reach 90 decibels. NIOSH notes that 1 in 12 workers will develop hearing loss exposed to 85 decibels and the risk does not approach zero until you get to 80 decibels.... more »

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Require Adm./Eng. Controls - Double Hearing Protectors- 100dBA

OSHA should mandate the use of administrative and engineering controls where technically and economically feasible at 100 dBA. In addition, where not feasible, OSHA should mandate the use of double hearing protection at 100 dBA. At this point, the OSHA Field Operation Manual directs officers to enforce administrative and engineering controls where noise exposures border 100 decibels . However, there is no parallel... more »

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Add Clarification to Reclassification of Permit Space

Add a sentence to clarify reclassification of a permit-required confined space to paragraph (c)(7) of 1910.146. A notation like, A permit-required space that has been reclassified using the procedures below becomes a permit-required space again once the hazards are reintroduced to the permit space. As it written, so many employers interpret this to be a one-time change which is permanent. That is that once the permit... more »

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Require Reclassification Certificates be Maintained 1 year

Add requirement to maintain written certification of reclassification for one year consistent with requirements for confined space entry permits. The permit space standard requires that you document the basis of reclassification, but does not require that you maintain the record. When assessing compliance with this requirement, there is no means of confirming the written documentation, if it is immediately destroyed.... more »

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