Archive for category Regulation
Last summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted an air quality survey at Union Station in Chicago. The results showed elevated concentrations of respirable particulate matter (PM2.5) in ambient air on train platforms and nearby streets.
PM2.5 is a mixture of liquid droplets and particles measuring 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller. These tiny particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs where they can enter the bloodstream and cause serious health problems. The risk is even more severe for youth, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions like asthma.
The addition to OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926 was designed to protect employees engaged in construction activities at work sites with one or more confined spaces.
A confined space is not designed for human occupancy. It has limited means of entering or exiting and can have a potentially hazardous atmosphere. Confined spaces may be poorly ventilated and, as a result, lack adequate oxygen or contain dangerous levels of toxic gases.
Before standard 29 CFR 1926, OSHA’s confined space regulations only applied to general industry. A gap grew obvious when the department of labor statistics reported most confined space fatalities were occurring during construction activities.
The new standard is very similar to the previous one, but applies directly to work in construction. It requires a permit to enter, pre-entry testing and continuous monitoring while inside the confined space.
While this new standard closes the gap in construction work, it leaves out one important component: maintenance.
This was how many conversations started while exhibiting at conference last week. OSHA released its rule for occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica back in March and many are still looking to understand how it will affect their business and employees.
The new rule goes into effect on June 23, 2016 and most business will have between one to five years to comply depending on industry. The new standard reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift. This is a reduction is two to five times lower than the previous PEL.
In the event of an OSHA investigation, would you be able to provide compliance records proving your gas detectors are in proper working order? Or that they were bump tested before use and calibrated according to manufacturer standards?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you might want to consider adopting an instrument management system as part of your confined space entry program.
There are two kinds of systems to consider: manual and automated.
The list of OHSA’s top 10 willful violations for fiscal year 2015 has been posted, and Occupational Noise Exposure is ranked #10.
While this puts it at the bottom of the list, after fall protection, asbestos and excavations, we aren’t surprised it made the Top 10.
According to an article posted by the United States Department of Labor, “Noise-related hearing loss has been listed as one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns in the United States for more than 25 years.”
OSHA defines a “willful” violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
This means workers are choosing not follow OSHA standards and are knowingly exposing themselves to dangerous noise levels.