OSHA Issues Final Rule to Revise Requirements in Safety and Health Standards

On May 14, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule that revises 14 provisions in the recordkeeping, general industry, maritime, and construction standards that may be confusing, outdated, or unnecessary. According to OSHA, the revisions are expected to increase understanding and compliance with the provisions, improve employee safety and health, and save employers an estimated $6.1 million per year.

The final rule takes effect on July 15, 2019.

OSHA proposed the changes in October 2016. This is the fourth final rule under OSHA’s Standards Improvement Project, which began in 1995 in response to a Presidential memorandum to improve government regulations. Other revisions were issued in 1998, 2005, and 2011. This fourth final rule is also responding to Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review” (76 FR 3821) and Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda” (82 FR 12285).

Issues affecting general industry are detailed here:

Record Requirements for Recording Hearing Loss (29 CFR 1904.10(b)(6))

OSHA added a cross-reference explaining the existing requirement that any health-care professional evaluating a worker’s hearing loss must consider the case work-related if a work-related event contributed to hearing loss, including contribution to pre-existing hearing loss.

Removing Requirement for Lung Cancer Screening by Chest X-Ray

OSHA is removing a requirement in several standards to provide periodic chest X-rays (CXR) to screen for lung cancer.  As proposed, OSHA is removing the requirement for periodic CXR in the following standards:

  • Inorganic Arsenic (29 CFR 1910.1018);
  • Coke Oven Emissions (§ 1910.1029); and
  • Acrylonitrile (§ 1910.1045)

OSHA is not removing the requirement for a baseline CXR in these, or any other, standards. OSHA is also not removing the CXR requirements in standards where CXR is used for purposes other than screening for lung cancer; for example, OSHA is retaining the CXR requirements in the asbestos standards (§§ 1910.1001, 1915.1001, and 1926.1101) to continue screening for asbestosis. OSHA is adding the text, “Pleural plaques and thickening may be observed on chest X-rays” in the non-mandatory appendix H of the general industry asbestos standard (§ 1910.1001), as well as appendix I of the maritime and construction asbestos standards (§§ 1915.1001 and 1926.1101, respectively).

OSHA is also updating the CXR requirements to allow, but not require, the use of digital CXRs in the medical surveillance provisions of the inorganic arsenic (§ 1910.1018), coke oven emissions (§ 1910.1029), and acrylonitrile (§ 1910.1045) standards, and the asbestos (§§ 1910.1001, 1915.1001, 1926.1101) and cadmium (§§ 1910.1027 and 1926.1127) standards. In addition, OSHA is allowing other reasonably sized standard X-ray films, such as the 16 inch by 17 inch size, to be used in addition to the 14 inch by 17 inch film specified in some standards.

Update to Cotton-Dust Standard (29 CFR 1910.1043)

OSHA is updating the cotton dust standard pulmonary function testing requirements based on current recommendations from the American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society (ATS/ERS), NIOSH, and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Collection of Social Security Numbers

OSHA is revising its exposure monitoring, medical surveillance and other record-keeping requirements to remove requirements to maintain employee Social Security Numbers.  OSHA states the measure is necessary to protect against identity theft.  OSHA states it can use other methods to track employees for research purposes if necessary.

OSHA is removing the requirement from the following 19 standards:

  • Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response – §§ 1910.120(f)(8)(ii)(A) and 1926.65(f)(8)(ii)(A); 97
  • Asbestos – §§ 1910.1001(m)(1)(ii)(F), (m)(3)(ii)(A), and appendix D, 1915.1001(n)(2)(ii)(F), (n)(3)(ii)(A), and appendix D, and 1926.1101(n)(2)(ii)(F), (n)(3)(ii)(A), and appendix D.;
  • Vinyl Chloride – § 1910.1017(m)(1);
  • Inorganic Arsenic – § 1910.1018(q)(1)(ii)(D) and (q)(2)(ii)(A);
  • Lead – §§ 1910.1025(d)(5), (n)(1)(ii)(D), (n)(2)(ii)(A), (n)(3)(ii)(A), and appendix B and 1926.62(d)(5), (n)(1)(ii)(D), (n)(2)(ii)(A), (n)(3)(ii)(A), and appendix B;
  • Chromium (VI) – §§ 1910.1026(m)(1)(ii)(F) and (m)(4)(ii)(A), 1915.1026(k)(1)(ii)(F) and (k)(4)(ii)(A), and 1926.1126(k)(1)(ii)(F) and (k)(4)(ii)(A);
  • Cadmium – §§ 1910.1027(n)(1)(ii)(B), (n)(3)(ii)(A), and appendix D and 1926.1127(d)(2)(iv), (n)(1)(ii)(B), and (n)(3)(ii)(A);
  • Benzene – § 1910.1028(k)(1)(ii)(D) and (k)(2)(ii)(A);
  • Coke Oven Emissions – § 1910.1029(m)(1)(i)(a) and (m)(2)(i)(a);
  • Bloodborne Pathogens – § 1910.1030(h)(1)(ii)(A);
  • Cotton Dust – § 1910.1043(k)(1)(ii)(C), (k)(2)(ii)(A) and appendices B-I, B-II, and B-III;
  • 1,2 Dibromo-3-Chloropropane – § 1910.1044(p)(1)(ii)(d) and (p)(2)(ii)(a);
  • Acrylonitrile – § 1910.1045(q)(2)(ii)(D);
  • Ethylene Oxide – § 1910.1047(k)(2)(ii)(F) and (k)(3)(ii)(A);
  • Formaldehyde – § 1910.1048(o)(1)(vi), (o)(3)(i), (o)(4)(ii)(D), and appendix D; 98
  • Methylenedianiline – §§ 1910.1050(n)(3)(ii)(D), (n)(4)(ii)(A), and (n)(5)(ii)(A) and 1926.60(o)(4)(ii)(F) and (o)(5)(ii)(A);
  • 1,3-Butadiene – § 1910.1051(m)(2)(ii)(F), (m)(4)(ii)(A), and appendix F;
  • Methylene Chloride – § 1910.1052(m)(2)(ii)(F), (m)(2)(iii)(C), (m)(3)(ii)(A), and appendix B;
  • Respirable Crystalline Silica – §§ 1910.1053(k)(1)(ii)(G) and (k)(3)(ii)(A) and 1926.1153(j)(1)(ii)(G) and (j)(3)(ii)(A).

OSHA is making the following changes to construction, maritime, mining, and traffic control standards:

  • Sanitation Standard for Shipyards (29 CFR 1915.80): OSHA is removing “feral cats” from the definition of “vermin.”
  • Construction Standard Update to Use “PEL”: OSHA is revising the standard to use the term “permissible exposure limits” instead of “threshold limit values.”
  • Construction Process Safety Standard (29 CFR 1926.64): OSHA will replace the entire Process Safety Management (PSM) standard for construction (as cited) with a cross reference to the general industry PSM standard at 29 CFR 1910.119.
  • Handling of Construction Materials on Site (29 CFR 1926.250): OSHA is exempting “all single-family residential structures and wood-framed multi-family residential structures” from a requirement to post maximum safe load limits of floors in storage areas used to store construction equipment.
  • Engines Used in Mining Operation (29 CFR 1926.800): OSHA is updating the signage requirement indicating approval for engines used in underground mines.
  • Construction equipment Roll Over and Overhead Protection (29 CFR 1926.1000): OSHA is updating test standards with current consensus standards.
  • Traffic Control Device Standard (29 CFR 1926, Subpart G): OSHA is updating reference to the 1988 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) to the 2009 edition.
  • Coke Oven Emissions in Construction Standard (29 CFR 1926.1129): OSHA is updating the coke oven standard so it is not applicable to construction, since the standard is not relevant to construction activities.
  • Posting Facility Location for Emergencies (29 CFR 1926.50): The revision addresses the problem of locating individuals calling an emergency assistance line, usually cellphone callers, in remote areas that do not have automatic-location capability. In such areas, the revisions require the employer post the latitude and longitude of the worksite or other location-identification information that effectively communicates the location of the worksite. The proposed revisions also required employers to ensure that the communication system they use to contact an ambulance service is effective.
    • Employers can obtain information about which counties, or portions of counties, are exempted from the 911 location accuracy requirements from FCC PS Docket No. 07-114, which is publicly available on the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) webpage here.
  • Breaking Strength Requirement for Safety Equipment (29 CFR 1926.104): OSHA is updating the minimum breaking strength of safety belts, lifelines, and lanyards to 5,000 pounds from 5,400 pounds. The breaking strength of a lifeline is the maximum load that it can carry without failing or breaking. The 5,000 pound minimum breaking-strength is a limit based on the force generated by a 250-pound employee experiencing a force 10 times the force of gravity, plus a two-fold margin of safety. The 5,000 pound requirement is also consistent with the most recent ANSI/ASSE standards Z359.1 2007 and A10.32.

Contact ACA’s Riaz Zaman for more information.

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