Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Regulatory Spotlight: OSHA

While the Senate is deadlocked on the tax extenders bill, and House leadership is attempting to minimize losses this November through the DISCLOSE Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is creating regulations that are of interest to the attractions industry:

OSHA Slip and Fall Rule
A notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on slips and falls was published in the May 24 issue of the Federal Register. A public hearing on the revised changes will be held after the public comment period ends on August 23. IAAPA members are encouraged to submit comments on this rule, either on their own or by e-mailing them to us for inclusion in an industry comment.

The proposed rule will revise the Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment standards for general industry workers, and make them comparable to the existing standards for construction and maritime workers. The revised regulations will also allow OSHA to fine employers who let workers climb ladders without fall protection.

There are an estimated 20 workplace fatalities per year in the United States due to slips and falls.

For more information on fall protection, please visit OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics page.

OSHA Hexavalent Chromium Rule
As of June 15, employers must notify employees of all hexavalent chromium exposures in the workplace. The final rule revises a provision in OSHA's Hexavalent Chromium standard that required workers be notified only when they experienced exposures exceeding the permissible exposure limit.

Occupational exposures to Hexavalent Chromium can occur among workers handling pigments, spray paints, and coatings containing chromates; operating chrome plating baths; and welding or cutting metals containing chromium, such as stainless steel. Workers breathing Hexavalent Chromium compounds in high concentrations over extended periods of time may risk developing lung cancer, irritation, or damage to the eyes and skin. Workers exposed to Hexavalent Chromium are at greater risk for lung cancer and damage to the nose, throat, and respiratory tract.

For more information on Hexavalent Chromium, please visit OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics page.

OSHA Training Standards Policy Statement
In April, OSHA sent a memorandum to its regional administrators regarding an employer’s obligations for training employees. The memo, which applies to agriculture, construction, general industry, and maritime training requirements, states “an employer must instruct its employees using both a language and vocabulary that the employees can understand.” The memo gives examples for employees who don’t speak English, employees with limited vocabularies, and employees who are illiterate, and it says employers must conduct the training in a way the employee can understand.

To assist employers with Spanish-speaking employees, OSHA has created a web-based assistance tool.

The memo also provides enforcement guidance for regional compliance officers who are responsible for checking and verifying employers have provided training to employees.

IAAPA will continue to monitor OSHA and other regulating bodies and disseminate information to members as necessary.

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