In a landmark decision, the US Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is withdrawing the “once-in always-in” policy under the Clean Air Act, which dictated how major sources of hazardous air pollutants are regulated. Under the EPA’s new interpretation major sources can be reclassified as area sources when their emissions fall below mandated limits, subjecting them to differing standards. In comments to the US EPA as part of the Trump Administration's Regulatory Reform efforts, SGIA cited this policy as one that creates overregulation and recommended that the policy be reversed. In April of 2017, Marci Kinter, Vice President - Government & Business Information further highlighted this an issue for reform during her public testimony before the Agency.
Though formal notice of the reversal has not yet been filed, EPA said the policy it has followed since 1995 relied on an incorrect interpretation of the landmark anti-pollution law.
“This guidance is based on a plain language reading of the statute that is in line with EPA’s guidance for other provisions of the Clean Air Act,” said Bill Wehrum, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “It will reduce regulatory burden for industries and the states, while continuing to ensure stringent and effective controls on hazardous air pollutants.”
The Clean Air Act defines a “major source” as a one that has the potential to emit 10 tons or more per year of any hazardous air pollutant, or 25 tons per year of any combination of hazardous air pollutants. For more than 20 years, EPA’s “once-in always-in” required major sources to remain subject to stricter control standards, even if they took steps to reduce their pollution below the threshold.
SGIA will continue to monitor these important policy issues. Sign up to receive the most up-to-date regulatory and legislative information about specialty imaging.
According to OHSA, all employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace for their employees. As part of this responsibility, employers must keep track of all workplace injuries and illnesses and provide their employees with access to this information.
Per OSHA regulations, employers must keep and maintain this information in an OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Log. Employers must then post a summary of this information in their facilities from February 1st to April 30th of the following year. This means from February 1st to April 30th of 2018, employers must post their 2017 work-related injury and illness summary. The summary should be posted in work areas where employee notices are customarily placed.
Employers with ten or fewer employees are not required to post their summary.
Sign up to receive the most up-to-date regulatory and legislative information about specialty imaging.
On January 12, 2018, the Maryland Senate voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of the General Assembly’s paid leave bill from last year’s legislative session. As such, the paid leave bill (formally known as the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act) will be become law in Maryland in 30 days.
The law requires employers with over 14 employees to provide paid sick and safe leave. In order to get ready for implementation of this legislation employers should act immediately to avoid costly compliance issues.
The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act requires an employer with more than 14 employees to have a sick and safe leave policy under which an employee earns at least 1 hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours an employee works. An employer with 14 or fewer employees, based on the average monthly number of employees during the preceding year, would be required to have a sick and safe leave policy that provides an employee with at least 1 hour of unpaid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours an employee works. An employer would not be required to allow an employee to earn more than 40 hours of earned sick and safe leave in a year, use more than 64 hours of earned leave in a year, accrue more than 64 hours at any time, or use earned sick and safe leave during the first 106 calendar days worked.
The bill defines the term “employer” to include the State or local governments and a person who acts directly or indirectly in the interest of another employer with an employee. The bill also excludes certain specific classes of employees from eligibility.
Earned sick and safe leave would begin to accrue the later of January 1, 2018, or the date that an employee begins employment with the employer. An employer would have to allow an employee to use earned sick and safe leave:
- to care for or treat the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
- to obtain preventive medical care for the employee or employee’s family member;
- to care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition;
- for maternity or paternity leave; and
- for specified circumstances due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against the employee or the employee’s family member.
The bill includes processes and conditions, including notice and verification requirements, under which an employee may accrue and use earned leave.
An employer needs to notify its employees that they are entitled to earned sick and safe leave by providing a specified notice to employees. The Commissioner of Labor and Industry (the “Commissioner”) will need to create and make available a poster and a model notice that may be used by employers, which would include specified information on earned sick and safe leave and the rights of employees.
California employers have recently seen an increase in the number of citations issued by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) for violations of a General Industry Safety Order requiring that employers’ first aid materials be approved by a consulting physician. Specifically, the California Code states, in pertinent part, “There shall be adequate first-aid materials, approved by the consulting physician, readily available for employees on every job.” (Emphasis added.)
While many employers have OSHA-compliant first aid kits available for employees, it is likely that the kits comply only with federal OSHA requirements and not the more stringent Cal/OSHA requirements. Unless your kit contains a note from a “consulting physician” approving it, the kit may be in violation of California law. To justify the citations, Cal/OSHA has argued that the hazard associated with lack of approval by consulting physicians is that personal medications or unauthorized drugs may be placed inside first aid kits.
The resurgence in the issuance of Cal/OSHA citations related to the adequacy of first aid materials may be due in part to efforts to have the rule changed to remove the requirement for consulting physician approval. However, until the rule is changed, employers should be aware of this uptick in enforcement and ensure that workplace first aid kits are in compliance with California law. Obtaining approval can be as straightforward as sending your consulting physician a letter outlining the contents of your kit and asking the physician to review it and sign for approval.
Sign up to recieve the most up-to-date regulatory and legislative information about specialty imaging.
Over the past year, EPA has been working to implement new chemical regulations under the amended TSCA rule. This month, the Agency held two public meetings to update the stakeholders on the progress of implementing these changes as well as the approaches they are taking on certain parts of the new rule.
The second of these meetings was held on December 11, 2017 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in downtown Washington, D.C. EPA discussed the process of prioritization chemicals for review and several presenters touched on different approaches to choosing chemicals for prioritization. Dr. Jeffrey Morris, director of the office of pollution prevention and toxics at the Agency, provided some background information on the goals of the agency in identifying potential candidates for prioritization. By the end of December 2019, the EPA must prioritize at least 20 high-priority and 20 low-priority chemicals.
Several approaches for choosing chemicals to prioritize were discussed, including using the 2014 TSCA work plan, using a model based on Canada’s Chemical Management Plan, and using the Safer Chemical Ingredient List SCIL, among others. EPA is accepting comments on which approach would be best. These comments are due on January 25, 2018.
SGIA will continue to monitor the implementation of this regulation. Sign up to receive the most up-to-date regulatory and legislative information about specialty imaging.