OSHA UPDATE: What Employers & Workers Need to Know for 2019

The start of 2019 is still a few months away but the fiscal year 2019 for the federal government begins October 1. With that, the occupational safety and health association (OSHA) will wrap up fiscal year 2018 and will get to work on their 2019 goals. This makes now the perfect time for a quick OSHA update.

New Silica Rule for Construction Compliance

It has been over two years since we saw OSHA’s new silica rule go into effect. Construction was to be in compliance by June 23, 2017, one year after the effective date, and General Industry and Maritime were to be in compliance by June 23, 2018. OSHA has made a variety of resources available to help businesses with compliance. Recently, they released new frequently asked questions (FAQs) and training videos on the standard for respirable crystalline silica in construction. The FAQs provide employers and workers with guidance on the standard’s requirements. A series of six new videos instruct users on methods for controlling exposure to silica dust when performing common construction tasks or using construction equipment. The videos cover topics including handheld power saws, jackhammers, drills, and grinders. You can read more about this OSHA update and download new resources for general industry and maritime here.

For details on requirements, exposure assessment and developing an exposure control plan, watch this webinar: “OSHA’s New Silica Standard: What Contractors Need to Know.”

Recordkeeping Rule: When to Submit OSHA Form 300A

There has been quite a bit of discussion surrounding OSHA’s recordkeeping rule changes since they went into effect January 1, 2017. The rules, as they stand today, require businesses with 20 to 249 to electronically submit their OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and businesses with 250 or more employees to not only submit their OSHA 300A form but their OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report). The 2017 forms were due by July 1, 2018. (In 2019 and going forward, they are due by March 2.)

Revision of Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Rule

As of July 30, 2018 OSHA is officially seeking to rescind two major parts of its Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses final rule. In the proposed rule, the agency states that it would require covered establishments with 250 or more employees or those with 20 to 249 employees in certain high-hazard industries to submit Form 300A data electronically, but would no longer require submission of Forms 300 or 301 injury and illness data. (NOTE: OSHA, as stated on their website, is no longer accepting Forms 300 and 301.) You can find a summary of the proposed rule here.

Extension in Compliance Date for the General Industry Beryllium Standard

On August 8, OSHA issued a final rule to extend the compliance date for supporting requirements in the general industry beryllium standard to December 12, 2018.

This extension affects provisions for:

  • methods of compliance
  • beryllium work areas
  • regulated areas
  • personal protective clothing and equipment
  • hygiene facilities and practices
  • housekeeping
  • communication of hazards
  • recordkeeping

This compliance date extension does not affect the compliance dates for other requirements of the general industry beryllium standard. According to the document, the final rule for beryllium in the general industry will result in “a proposal either late 2018 or very early 2019.” OSHA expects to complete revisions to its beryllium standards by the end of fiscal year 2019. Read the full news release for more information pertaining to the compliance date extension.

New Weighting System to Measure and Prioritize Crane Operation Enforcement

It has taken a while, but the proposal to revise the crane operator certification requirements in the Cranes & Derricks in Construction Standard (1926.1427) is near, as is one to include ANSI Consensus Standards in OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks Standard (1910.178).

In 2019, OSHA will use a new weighting system to measure and prioritize its enforcement and other essential activities. A key focus for the upcoming year is identifying and addressing trenching and excavation hazards in construction; the agency’s goal is to abate 1,400 of these hazards in fiscal year 2019.

Increase Response to Unprogrammed Severe Injury Reports

In addition, responding to severe injury reports received from employers will continue to increase the proportion of unprogrammed (unplanned) inspections it conducts. Since these tend to take twice as long to complete as programmed (planned) inspections, OSHA states that they are seeking 42 new full-time equivalent employees for enforcement. They are also looking to add 32 employees for areas such as compliance assistance, outreach and the Voluntary Protection Programs. The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal, released February 12, would give OSHA about $549 million – identical to its current budget – with an increase of 71 full-time equivalent workers.

Sign up for OSHA’s e-newsletter to stay current with OSHA updates and proposed changes.

Society Insurance is committed to promoting workplace safety and helping our policyholders prevent workplace accidents. Contact our risk management department and let a risk control representative assist you with the development of an effective safety program. All Society Insurance policyholders are eligible for free safety training sessions throughout the year. View our Risk Control training courses here.

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