Perspectives: OSHA Update

This month’s column will bring you up to date on some of the latest OSHA developments.

This month’s column will bring you up to date on some of the latest OSHA developments.

An enhanced enforcement policy is planned for employers that continue to defy worker safety and health regulations. The policy will focus on five areas:

  1. Follow-up inspections for all sites receiving a high-gravity willful violation, repeat violation or experience a fatality
  2. Programmed inspections
  3. Public awareness in the form of citation and notification mailed to the company’s corporate headquarters
  4. Settlements
  5. Federal court enforcement

In another issue, OSHA has developed a strategy for its ergonomics approach using industry specific and task specific guidelines, outreach, enforcement and research. The agency has developed guidelines for several industries, and it is encouraging all industries to develop guidelines that meet their specific needs. OSHA has named ergonomic coordinators for each of its regional offices to assist staff, employers and employees with ergonomic issues. It has instated a national ergonomics coordinating team, and it has hired in Region 5 ergonomists to provide expertise when evaluating OSHA enforcement cases.

There are new security requirements for HazMat transport. This three-part security plan with revised rules that affect training and shipping papers are part of a new federal rule to mitigate the risk of criminal activity directed at HazMat transport.

Any facility that is subject to the registration requirements of the Department of Transportation Research and Special Programs Administration’s (RSPA) hazardous materials regulations must write and implement a security plan. RSPA has a security template that can be used.

The plan must show how application and/or resume information provided by those applying to work with hazardous waste will be documented. It must also address the possibility that unauthorized persons may attempt to gain access to the materials or vehicles. The last part of the plan addresses en route security issues. This is the responsibility of both the shipper and carrier.

The proposal to require copies of registration certificates in each vehicle was allowed to fade due to industry resistance. The industry felt that carrying the certificates did little to enhance security or assist enforcement personnel. Each vehicle, however, must have a shipping paper with the names of the shipment consignor, each person to whom the shipment will be delivered and the DOT HazMat Registration Number of the company or person shipping the materials.

The rule became effective March 25, 2003. Within nine months of this date, HazMat employers must have the security plan in place and employees trained in security awareness. Retraining should occur within three years.

Companies that must comply with security requirements developed by EPA or OSHA do not need to create separate plans for RSPA as long as the requirements are met in the other agencies’ plans. For information, contact Susan Gorsky at RSPA, 202-366-8553.