Inside OSHA

October 3, 2022

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The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board’s (CSB) new report on a 2016 fire and explosion at a crude oil terminal emphasizes findings that the ultimate cause of the incident was a failure to follow OSHA’s standard for safeguarding “hot work,” and urges industry to prioritize those practices to avoid future disasters.

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EPA’s draft changes to TSCA risk findings for the solvent carbon tetrachloride (CCl4 or CTC) have drawn renewed calls from industry to narrow its conclusions on the chemical’s risks to workers, in light of both a long-pending petition alleging flaws in the agency’s analyses and the recent Senate vote to phase out climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in favor of substitutes made with CCl4.

OSHA is asking a federal district court to reject South Carolina’s suit that would block the agency’s years-old requirement for states to match its annual increases to maximum OSH Act penalties, saying that the Palmetto State’s claims are both legally flawed and premature because it has made no formal move to enforce the rule.

A top official in EPA’s waste office is making the case for the agency to finalize a risk management plan (RMP) rule he said would be “improved” from the Trump administration’s, rejecting industry claims that the current policy is adequate even as environmentalists charge that the pending proposal needs to be significantly strengthened.

A pair of environmental groups is touting a new report that it says shows that EPA’s proposed risk management program (RMP) rule would not have prevented several recent, high-profile incidents, renewing their push for the agency to tighten key provisions just days before a series of public hearings on the rulemaking.

An Ohio construction company is preparing to ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to hold much of OSHA’s regulatory program unconstitutional under the non-delegation doctrine that limits Congress’ ability to give agencies rulemaking discretion, after a district court rejected its claims as lacking any “binding or persuasive authority."

California OSHA (Cal/OSHA) has issued a new guidance setting out requirements for employers to protect workers from the monkeypox virus (MPV) under the agency’s existing Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) standard, setting out varying requirements for three different types of employers.

OSHA has postponed its public hearing on potential changes to the process safety management (PSM) standard and extended the deadline for written comments, giving stakeholders more time to weigh in on a range of possible changes that include expanding the rule to cover oil and gas facilities, and updating its list of “highly hazardous” chemicals.

Officials in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) administration are insisting that California OSHA’s (Cal/OSHA) pending final COVID-19 standard not require employers to provide “exclusion pay” to employees who cannot work due to infections, even though the chairman and at least two other members of the agency’s standards board support such a revision, according to sources.

OSHA has unveiled a new version of its “Severe Violator Enforcement Program” (SVEP) targeting employers that “willfully or repeatedly” violate safety standards or refuse to correct violations, broadening a key part of the program to cover all rules rather than only “high emphasis hazards” in a move employer attorneys say could expand its reach “exponentially.”

 

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