Every year, new rules and regulations are put into place by government agencies. It can be stressful, but it is extremely important that employers stay informed on these changes to avoid expensive penalties. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is one major government agency that has made several revisions and changes for 2019.
John Ternieden from CyberCoders has summarized a few of the major updates for this year.
1. Beryllium Standards
In its recent Congressional Budget Justification, OSHA stated that it expects to have a final rule for beryllium in the general industry by 2019. Back in January 2017, OSHA issued a final rule adopting a comprehensive general industry standard for exposure to beryllium. Now, it is proposing to modify the general industry standard to clarify and simplify certain provisions. The new rule would, among other things, reduce the permissible exposure limit to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air and establish a new short-term exposure limit.
Comments must be submitted February 11, 2019. Visit OSHA’s beryllium page for more information.
2. Tracking Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
Up until recently, organizations with 250 employees or more were required to submit OSHA forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report). Businesses with 20 to 249 employees were exempt from submitting these forms.
However, on July 30, 2018, OSHA publicized a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend the regulation that requires certain businesses with 250 employees or more from submitting forms 300 and 301. The comment period ended in September 2018, so businesses should expect the final rule this year.
3. Cranes and Derricks in Construction
In 2010, OSHA finished a major overhaul in construction standards that dealt with the safety and health requirements for operating cranes and derricks. Despite the updates, stakeholders still had major issues regarding the rule, specifically with the requirements surrounding qualifications based on lifting capacity.
In response to these concerns, OSHA proposed a new rule, which went into effect November 10, 2018. The new rule requires the following:
i. Operator training for employees not yet certified to operate cranes;
ii. Operator certification via four different permissible options; and
iii. Employer evaluation of certified operators.
If you employ crane operators, make sure you verify training, certification, and qualifications.
4. Hazard Communication Standard
In 2003, the United Nations consolidated global standards regarding hazardous chemicals to create safer work environments.
Since then, OSHA has made many changes to more closely follow the best practices and standards adopted by countries all over the world. As part of this continued effort, OSHA scheduled a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for this coming March. The changes could impact more than five million American workplaces. Employers subject to the Hazard Communication Standard should ensure they are compliant with current standards and plan for implementation when the new standards are finalized.
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