The new year is upon us and with it comes new guidelines from OSHA. Hooray!!
Let’s face it: New OSHA guidelines are tough to get excited about, but they are something that you need to know. So, without further ado, consider the following new OSHA guidelines you should know for the year ahead.
Complying with new silica rules in the construction industry
Although it has been more than two years since OSHA’s latest silica guideline took effect, the agency put out new frequently asked questions (FAQs) and informational videos on the standard.
The FAQs offer guidance on the standard’s specifics and six new videos describe processes for managing exposure to silica dust when performing standard construction duties or using common equipment, such as power saws and grinders.
There has also been a substantial amount of conversation on OSHA’s recordkeeping rule modifications since they went into effect in January 2017. The current guidelines mandate companies with 20 to 249 employees to electronically file OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and companies with 250 or more workers to submit Form 300A, Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report).
Previously, any and all forms were due by July 1 of the following year. Starting in 2019, they are due by March 2 of the following year, meaning 2018 forms are due by March 2, 2019.
Tracking workplace illnesses and injuries
At present, OSHA is looking to rescind two main parts of its Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses final rule. The proposed rule states that covered organizations with 250 or more staff members or those with 20 to 249 staff members in high-hazard industries must submit Form 300A information electronically but would no longer mandate submission of Forms 300 or 301 injury and illness information. OSHA, as mentioned on their website, has stopped accepting Forms 300 and 301.
Beryllium-standard compliance extension
In August, OSHA issued a final rule to push back the compliance date for supporting requirements in the general industry beryllium standard to December 12, 2018. This extension has had an effect on provisions pertaining to compliance, work areas, personal protective equipment, hygiene, housekeeping, hazard communication and recordkeeping.
The extension does not impact the dates for other aspects of the general industry beryllium standard.
More unplanned inspections in response to severe injuries
Because unplanned assessments as a result of significant injury have a tendency to take twice as long to finish as planned inspections, OSHA has said it is looking for 42 new full-time employees for enforcement. The agency has also announced it is looking to add 32 employees for areas like compliance assistance and outreach.
This staffing increase appear to indicate that the agency will be increasing its response to severe injury reports.
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