The start of the year is a great time to get up-to-date on current OSHA rules and regulations. According to OSHA compliance officer, Peter "P.J." Grakauskas, Northeast Ohio Manufacturing companies should be aware of these Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) changes, including the increased fines for OSHA workplace safety standards, changes to OSHA’s Recordkeeping Rule, the revisions made to the tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Rule, final rule to update Walking and Working Surfaces and Fall Protection standards, and new guidelines for companies in regards to temporary worker safety. According to PJ the most profitable companies he visits around our region are the ones that make safety a priority. He encourages companies to take the time now to make sure the pieces and parts are in place to ensure your employees are safe this year.
Fines for violations of OSHA workplace safety standards will change as follows:
Willful and repeat violations: $132,598 (approx. $700 increase)
Other OSHA violations: $13,260 (approx. $300 increase)
Since the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, OSHA has been authorized to raise civil penalties for work safety violations annually to match inflation. Before then, OSHA was exempted from the requirement to raise penalties on an annual basis.
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 2nd.
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.
Final Rule to Update Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Standards
In 2017 OSHA issued a final rule on Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems to better protect workers in general industry—by updating and clarifying standards and adding training and inspection requirements. The rule incorporates advances in technology, industry best practices, and national consensus standards to provide effective and cost-efficient worker protection. Specifically, it updates general industry standards addressing slip, trip, and fall hazards (subpart D), and adds requirements for personal fall protection systems (subpart I). The rule benefits employers by providing greater flexibility in choosing a fall protection system. Most of the rule became effective January 17, 2017, 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, but some provisions have delayed effective dates. OSHA estimates that these changes will prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries every year.
Two New OSHA Bulletins Focused on Temporary Worker Safety
In 2018 OSHA issued two new guidance bulletins developed under the agency’s Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI). While one of the bulletins addresses Respiratory Protection and the other addresses Hearing Conservation, both focus on the need to ensure proper protection and training of temporary workers, and on the joint responsibilities of staffing agencies and host employers. Recent studies have shown that new workers are at much higher risk of work-related injuries, and because of the nature of temporary work, temporary workers will likely be considered as “new workers” multiple times within any given year. In both of the new TWI bulletins, OSHA stresses that the host employer and staffing agency are jointly responsible for ensuring that temp workers have adequate protection and training. These are the eighth and ninth TWI bulletins issued by OSHA since 2014, but the first since 2016.
Other things to watch for from OSHA in 2019 are completed revisions to its beryllium standards by the end of the year as well as an increased response to unprogrammed severe injury reports. Peter advises companies to perform annual audits of their fork-lift training, fire extinguishers, hazard communications plans, lock-out tag out, as well as an electrical audit at the beginning of the year.
Be sure to sign up for OSHA’s e-newsletter to stay current with OSHA updates and proposed changes throughout the new year. Need more data to get your company to buy into safety? Here’s a great infographic on the ROI of safety.