Monday, October 20, 2014
To assist workers and employers, OSHA has launched a new Ebola Web page that provides information about the disease and how to protect workers. It includes sections on the disease itself, hazard recognition, medical information, standards for protecting workers, control and prevention, and additional resources. The page provides protection information for health care workers; airline and other travel industry personnel; mortuary and death care workers; laboratory workers; border, customs and quarantine workers; emergency responders; and workers in other critical sectors. It also links to the CDC and NIOSH Web pages on Ebola.
The Web page also includes a new OSHA fact sheet on protecting workers (not in healthcare or laboratories) involved in cleaning and decontamination of surfaces that may be contaminated with Ebola virus.
OSHA launches a national dialogue on hazardous chemical exposures and permissible exposure limits in the workplace
OSHA is launching a national dialogue with stakeholders on ways to prevent work-related illness caused by exposure to hazardous substances. The first stage of this dialogue is a request for information on the management of hazardous chemical exposures in the workplace and strategies for updating permissible exposure limits.
"Many of our chemical exposure standards are dangerously out of date and do not adequately protect workers," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "While we will continue to work on issuing and updating our workplace exposure limits, we are asking public health experts, chemical manufacturers, employers, unions and others committed to preventing workplace illnesses to help us identify new approaches to address chemical hazards."
OSHA's PELs, which are regulatory limits on the amount or concentration of a substance in the air, are intended to protect workers against the adverse health effects of exposure to hazardous substances. Ninety-five percent of OSHA's current limits, which cover fewer than 500 chemicals, have not been updated since their adoption in 1971. The agency's current PELs cover only a small fraction of the tens of thousands of chemicals in commerce, many of which are suspected of being harmful.
The comment period will close on April 8, 2015. In the coming months, OSHA will announce additional ways for the public to participate in the conversation. For more information, see the news release and visit OSHA's Web page on preventing occupational illnesses through safer chemical management.
OSHA has issued a final rule extending the deadline for crane operator certification requirements in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction final rule published Aug. 9, 2010 by three years, to Nov. 10, 2017. The rule also extends by three years the employer's responsibility to ensure that crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely. The final rule becomes effective Nov. 9, 2014.
During the three-year period, OSHA will address operator qualification requirements for the cranes standards including the role of operator certification. The final cranes and derricks rule required crane operators on construction sites to meet one of four qualification/certification options by Nov. 10, 2014. After publishing the final rule, a number of parties raised concerns about the standard's requirement to certify operators by type and capacity of crane and questioned whether crane operator certification was sufficient for determining whether an operator could operate their equipment safely on a construction site. For more information, see the news release.