4 New OSHA Enforcement Policies Every CM Should Know

Originally published by: National Framers CouncilFebruary 8, 2017

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Many new changes in OSHA regulations become effective in 2017 and educating members is our primary goal here at SBCA. A special thanks goes out to Brad Hammock, a Principal in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C., for preparing and giving a presentation highlighting all of these changes. Here’s a recap of Brad’s presentation, “Orange is the New ‘Builder’: OSHA Rules, Enforcement & Penalties Are Changing – Are You Prepared?”, and the topics highlighted in each:

Prevention and Safety and Health Programs in Construction

OSHA issued a guidance document in October of 2016 titled, “Seven Core Elements of Safety and Health Programs in Construction,” which aims to get individuals in management and leadership roles more involved with employees in communicating prevention on the jobsite. From hazard identification and control, to training and monitoring improvement, OSHA’s vision is to make everyone more involved in safety.

New OSHA Enforcement Policies and Rules

  1. OSHA passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which is already in effect. The Act allows for a one-time “catch up adjustment” on penalties and yearly increases based on the Consumer Price Index. For example, serious or other-than-serious citations were raised from $7,000 to $12,471, and willful or repeat citations were raised from $70,000 to $124,709.
  2. OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative ensures staffing agencies and employers know their roles under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. In short, both share control of workers, responsibility for workers, conditions of employment, and responsibilities for worker safety and health.
  3. OSHA’s Electronic Recordkeeping Final Rule mandates employers with 250 or more employees to submit 300, 300A and 301 forms electronically; employers with 20 to 250 employees to submit 300A forms electronically; and all others who receive notification from OSHA to submit forms electronically. All data will be publicly accessible, with the exception of individual worker’s data. Employers must also develop injury and illness reporting requirements that are to be communicated to employees. The Volk’s Rule clarifies, “…the duty to make and maintain accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses is an ongoing obligation”, and took effect on January 18, 2017.
  4. OSHA’s confined spaces rule took effect May 4, 2015 and outlines “…requirements for practice and procedures to protect employees engaged in construction activities at a worksite with one or more confined spaces.” By defining what types of controlling employers there are on jobsites sites, OSHA lays out the obligations and responsibilities of each employer who assigns workers tasks in confined spaces. Those spaces can include attics, crawlspaces, basements, manholes and sewers.
  5. OSHA made a reduction in the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 µg/m3, averaged over an 8-hour shift. The silica standard also calls for increased medical surveillance, exposure monitoring and exposure control plans. Both standards contained in the final rule took effect on June 23, 2016, however, the construction industry must comply by June 23, 2017.

The changes listed above will each be discussed in greater detail so stay tuned to more industry news updates in the coming weeks.