On December 19, 2016 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its final rule known as the “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness”. This final rule goes into effect January 18, 2017.
The rule amends OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations to clarify that the duty to make and maintain accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses is an ongoing obligation. In other words, OSHA can now enforce the responsibility to accurately record an injury or illness for as long as the employer must keep these records, which is 5 years.
The amendments were a response by OSHA to a decision of the United States Court of Appeals (Volk’s case), where OSHA argued that a violation of record-retention requirements constituted “continuing violations”. OSHA felt that every day the records were inaccurate, the employer was committing a new violation and that the enforcement deadline should be extended.
Despite the court having dismissed that argument, ruling that a record-making violation does not constitute a “continuing violation”, OSHA agreed the regulation language was not clear and issued the final rule as a means to clarify the regulations and provide a means to go beyond the existing statute (29 U.S.C. § 658(c)) which places a 6-month limit on the issuance of citations for violations.
The rule amendments do not add new requirements for employers to make records of any injuries or illnesses for which records are not currently required to be made. However, the amendments will increase OSHA’s reach for issuing citations for recordkeeping violations to five years plus six months due to the “continuing” nature of the violation.
It is unclear about the fate of this final rule under the new administration. However, unless any developments occur to change this rule, and as the accuracy of the records is still necessary, employers should review and ensure their injury and illness records are accurate, complete, and compliant under the regulations.
SGIA had previously submitted comments on the proposed rule opposing the amendments and will continue to monitor the implementation of this rule and will report on any new developments. Sign up to receive the most up-to-date regulatory and legislative information about specialty imaging.
The following 19 states will increase their minimum wage rates on December 31 or January 1:
- Arizona increases to $10 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $12 by 2020 and indexed for annual cost of living increases starting in 2021
- Arkansas increases to $8.50 on Jan. 1, 2017
- California increases to $10.50 on Jan. 1, 2017 with future increases to $15 by 2022 and indexed starting in 2023. Small businesses with 25 employees or fewer will have an extra year to comply with increases.
- Connecticut increases to $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017
- Colorado increases to $9.30 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $12 by 2020 and indexed starting in 2021
- Hawaii increases to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2017, with an increase to $10.10 in 2018
- Maine increases to $9 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $12 by 2020 and indexed starting in 2021
- Massachusetts increases to $11 on Jan. 1, 2017
- Michigan increases to $8.90 on Jan. 1, 2017, with an increase to $9.25 in 2018
- New York
- New York City increases to $11 on Dec. 31, 2016, $13 in 2017 and $15 in 2018 for businesses with 11 employees or more; it increases to $10.50 on Dec. 31, 2016, $12 in 2017, $13.50 in 2018 and $15 in 2019 for businesses with 10 employees or fewer
- Long Island and Westchester increase to $10 on Dec. 31, 2016, with future increases of $1 a year until reaching $15 in 2021
- The rest of New York State increases to $9.70 on Dec. 31, 2016, with future increases to $10.40 in 2017, $11.10 in 2018, $11.80 in 2019 and $12.50 in 2020. Annual increases starting in 2021 will bring the rest of New York to $15 on a schedule to be determined based on cost of living and other indices.
- Washington state increases to $11 on Jan. 1, 2017, with future increases to $13.50 by 2020 and indexed starting in 2021
- Vermont increases to $10 on Jan. 1, 2017, with increase to $10.50 in 2018 and indexed starting in 2019
States with Indexing where annual cost-of-living adjustments will take effect Jan. 1, 2017 include:
- Alaska increases to $9.80
- Florida increases to $8.10
- Missouri increases to $7.70
- Montana increases to $8.15
- New Jersey increases to $8.44
- Ohio increases to $8.15
- South Dakota increases to $8.65
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On November 17, 2016 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its final rule which updates the General Industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards. The updated rule applies to all workplaces and covers work areas including platforms, elevated walkways, floors, ladders, stairs, scaffolding, and roofs. The rule also is specific to fall hazards and includes new sections under the Personal Protective Equipment regarding the use of personal fall protection systems.
The final rule, which goes into effect January 17, 2017, aligns many requirements under General Industry with Construction standards and is meant to recognize advances in technology and options available to prevent or reduce employee injuries from falls. Alignment of the two standards came about when OSHA realized that many companies can perform activities that touch on both General Industry and Construction within one operation, and determined that having consistent standards would allow for easier compliance management.
Minor updates included some changes to definitions under Walking and Working standards, while the significant updates address fall protection, prohibition of body belts as part of fall arrest systems, rope descent systems, and employee training on fall protection systems and equipment.
Some examples of fall protection allowances include the elimination of the mandatory use of guardrails as a primary fall protection method. Employers can now choose accepted fall protection systems that work for their work tasks and situation. Also, the General Industry scaffold standards have been removed and replaced with the requirement that employers comply with OSHA’s construction scaffold standards.
Under the final rule, employers may choose from the following fall protection options:
- Guardrail System – A barrier erected along an unprotected or exposed side, edge, or other area of a walking-working surface.
- Safety Net System – A horizontal or semi-horizontal, cantilever-style barrier that uses a netting system to stop a fall.
- Personal Fall Arrest System – A system that arrests/stops a fall before contacting a lower level. The final rule prohibits the use of body belts as part of a personal fall arrest system.
- Positioning System – A system of equipment and connectors that, when used with a body harness or body belt, allows a worker to be supported on an elevated vertical surface, (e.g., wall, window, etc) and work hands free.
- Travel Restraint System – A system to eliminate the possibility of a worker going over an unprotected edge or side of a walking-working surface.
- Ladder Safety System – A system attached to a fixed ladder designed to eliminate or reduce the possibility of a worker falling off the ladder. Cages and wells are not considered ladder safety systems.
The rule also adds a requirement that employers must now ensure that the employees who use personal fall protection or that work in other specified high hazard situations are properly trained, and retrained as necessary. OSHA requires that a qualified person must train the employees on identifying and minimizing fall hazards; use personal fall protection systems and/or rope descent systems; and maintenance, inspection, and storage of equipment or systems used for fall protection.
The majority of the final rule goes into effect on January 17, 2017 but some provisions have delayed enforcement dates as follows:
- Training employees on fall equipment and hazards (May 17, 2017)
- Inspecting and certifying anchorages (November 20, 2017)
- Installing personal fall arrest or ladder safety systems on new fixed ladders over 24 feet and on replacement ladders/ladder sections (November 19, 2018)
- Equip existing fixed ladders over 24 feet with a cage, well, personal fall arrest system, or ladder safety system (November 19, 2018)
- Replacing existing cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet (November 18, 2036)
Regardless of the enforcement delays on some provisions, it is recommended that companies review their operations and prepare themselves for compliance ahead of the enforcement dates to allow for any adjustments or revisions to their compliance programs to meet the requirements on time.
It’s also important to keep in mind that along with the new final rule there are still Local Emphasis Programs (LEP’s) taking place by OSHA regions that are conducting inspections for fall hazards and other associated subjects.
SGIA will continue to monitor the implementation of this updated rule. Sign up to receive the most up-to-date regulatory and legislative information about specialty imaging.
On August 30, 2016, amendments to the Proposition 65 regulations in California were approved, marking the first change in the rule in over 30 years.
On Wednesday November 30, 2016, the EPA announced the first ten chemicals that will undergo risk evaluations under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Within 6 months of the law’s passing date (June 22, 2016), the agency was required to choose ten workplan chemicals on which to begin risk evaluations. The chemicals chosen are the following:
- 1-bromopropane (1-BP);
- carbon tetrachloride;
- cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster (HBCD);
- methylene chloride;
- n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP);
- pigment violet 29;
- tetrachloroethylene (perc); and
- trichloroethylene (TCE).
Within three years, the EPA must complete risk evaluations on all ten of these chemicals to determine if the chemicals present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. On December 7th, EPA proposed a ban on certain uses of TCE for aerosol degreasing and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities. Comments on the proposed rule must be received no later than 60 days after publication in the federal register.
The agency must start risk evaluations on the other nine chemicals listed and within 6 months release a document detailing the scope of the evaluations for each chemical. These includes hazard exposure information, conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations the Agency plans to consider for the evaluation.
SGIA continues to monitor the implementation of this important piece of legislation. Sign up to receive the most up-to-date regulatory and legislative information about specialty imaging.