Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Integrating Occupational Safety & Health into Green and Sustainability

The following represents OSHA's desire to integrate Occupational health and safety into green / LEED / Sustainable building.  This is not a large leap, as green building should fall under the category of building in general. As "All jobs should be safe jobs", it follows that green jobs should be no exception.

Making Green Jobs Safe:
Integrating Occupational Safety & Health into Green and Sustainability

Washington, DC
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I want to express my thanks to NIOSH for organizing this timely and visionary workshop, and for inviting OSHA to be a participating partner.

Thanks to all the participants for your hard work, innovative thinking and contributions over the past two days. As we tackle the challenging issues discussed in this workshop, OSHA will continue to solicit your ideas.

As you're aware, I was just sworn in last week as Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. I think it's very fitting and proper that my first speech as Assistant Secretary should address the issue of green jobs - what green jobs mean for the earth, for our economy and for American workers.

We're all aware of the job opportunities that green jobs offer, and in the present economy, new technologies with the potential of new jobs are especially welcome.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis recently announced nearly $55 million in green job grants, authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. These grants will support job training and labor market information programs to help workers, many in underserved communities, find jobs in expanding green industries and related occupations.

But in addition to job opportunities, there are many concerns that we need to consider - which is why you have gathered here this week.

Secretary Solis has provided the Department of Labor with her vision, which is simply and profoundly: "Good jobs for everyone." And everyone at this conference understands all too well that green jobs cannot be good jobs unless they are safe jobs.

This goes for sustainable jobs as well. They, too, must also be safe jobs.

Dr. Christine Branche challenged us all in her remarks to begin the process of integrating safety and health into green jobs by taking critical steps: defining categorizing and tracking green jobs; evaluating green jobs, processes, and products; planning for early prevention; and adding safety and health to green benchmarks.

From what I've just heard this morning, you've taken that challenge seriously. You've identified a full agenda of research, policy, practices, and educational solutions to advance each of these steps, not just in workplaces where green jobs occur but in all workplaces.

I'd like to echo what many speakers here have said: Tackling green jobs, which are a priority for this administration, provides us an opportunity to transform - not just change - all workplaces. I believe we must take this bold approach.

Repeatedly at this conference, a possible solution cited was "Life cycle assessments" and consideration for worker exposure throughout a "green product's life cycle" or a "green technology's life cycle." This is a powerful way to integrate worker safety and health into short- and long-term decision making. I'll be very interested to see how this concept is practically applied in each of the industries that you examined over the last few days.

I've heard that, during this conference and during breakout sessions, you discussed ways to engage workers in occupational safety and health - in construction, infrastructure and re-purposing; manufacturing and emerging technologies; energy and mining; agriculture, forestry and fishing; and waste management and recycling.

I agree with you. Workers should play a central role in safety and health.

I also heard that you worked in small groups to better understand the full scale of the "green" economy. We could say that we're witnessing a Green Revolution where new applications and emerging technologies promise to transform the economy.

We could also say that we're witnessing the blossoming of a Green Movement. More and more citizens here and around the world are developing awareness and demanding long-term stewardship of resources. As occupational safety and health professionals, it's our mandate to ensure that worker health and safety is not left out of this historic change.

Speakers noted a sense of rush in the green economy. Employers who race into this green economy without paying attention to worker safety will blunder into many preventable injuries and deaths.

We can't afford this. We can't allow this to happen.

We must use our knowledge and skills to identify potential hazards as they emerge. We can't wait years for hazards to be completely characterized, to let industries shift their responsibility or defer workplace protections by producing "doubt" instead of actively practicing prevention.

It is vital, now, that we integrate worker safety and health concerns into green manufacturing, green construction and green energy. Most importantly: We must push worker health and safety as a critical, necessary, and recognized element of green design, green lifecycle analysis and green contracts.

It's not a matter of choosing either a green future or safe jobs. It's both. It's all or nothing, and NIOSH, OSHA and everyone else needs to play a role in building this sustainable economy - an economy that will provide sufficient jobs, green jobs, and jobs that are safe for all workers.

Here is where we start: Most people instinctively see green jobs as safe. But at OSHA, when we hear "weatherization and renovation," we see exposure to lead and asbestos. When we hear insulation, we think isocyanate exposure. When we hear rooftop solar power, we see fall hazards. When we hear wind energy, we see lockout hazards.

It's small wonder that some call OSHA the "Debbie Downer" of federal agencies.

But there are even more fundamental issues - and these present problems as well as opportunities. You're all aware of the industrial hygiene hierarchy of controls. What's at the very top of that hierarchy? Substitution.

This means exchanging a safe, clean chemical for a hazardous one. But, we also all know that, all too often, substitution is an unreachable panacea - because the safer chemical may be too expensive or may not quite fit the job's technical needs, or because we don't have enough information to know which chemicals are actually safe.

Let me give one example that's causing our standards people fits: Diacetyl. We know that exposure to certain levels of this chemical - used in food flavorings like popcorn - destroy workers' lungs. Some companies have introduced "substitutes." You can't see it in my notes, but I've put "substitutes" in quotes, because some of these "substitutes" are so chemically close to diacetyl that they really need to be classified as diacetyl. Other food flavoring additives may be further away chemically; they're not diacetyl, but they haven't been tested adequately to determine the health hazards they may present.

So, then, does it make sense to regulate diacetyl alone? Does it make sense to develop a standard or Permissible Exposure Limit, or just require engineering controls? Does it make sense to do all this work on diacetyl when we really need to be addressing a broader class of chemicals: "food flavoring additives"?

This is piecemeal protection. It's inefficient, incomplete, and inadequate.

I have a vision of a greener world where there is full and complete hazard information available for every chemical and every chemical mixture; where science is at work not only to make more effective and more profitable chemicals, but safer chemicals, too. I dream of a world where workers can collaborate on an equal basis with management to find safe chemicals and develop and implement processes that won't put workers in danger.

There's an enormous chasm to bridge between the ideal future and the imperfect present. Today we suspect that at least a couple of thousand high-use chemicals out there may present some threat to worker health. Yet, OSHA currently regulates about 500 chemicals, based mostly on science from the 1950s and 1960s. How many chemical standards has OSHA issued in the past 12 years? Two - and one of these two only came about because of a court order! We haven't been keeping up with the science.

So, not only are we lacking critical information about the hazards of many chemicals, but we have virtually no information about the hazards of chemical mixtures.

If we don't pay attention at the dawn of this new green revolution, we'll be replicating past problems as we move into future industries. I'm making it my mission and OSHA's mission to ensure this doesn't happen.

Clearly one of the best ways to move forward on worker safety at the same time that we move forward on green jobs is to ensure that workers are more engaged in the work process and in the development of green jobs. It's clear that we must move toward a permanent system where employers and workers come together, on a basis of mutual respect, to assess and abate hazards. This is OSHA's "Green Reform Principle Number One."

I've long advocated that every employer establish a Comprehensive Workplace Safety and Health Program that features management leadership, worker participation, and structure that fosters continual improvement. While thousands of responsible employers already operate this way with excellent results, many other employers haven't gotten the message.

Another part of the big picture is chemical safety, as I outlined earlier. This is Principle Number Two. For example, the European Community's REACH program will provide industry and American workers with more and better information about the chemicals they are exposed to. More important, REACH is also, finally, challenging the old paradigm where chemicals are considered innocent until proven guilty - and all too often proven guilty by the sick and dead bodies of American workers.

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals will also contribute consistency, efficiency, and more and better information - leading to greater worker safety and health.

Congress is working closely with the EPA and Lisa Jackson to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Now, if this administration and this Congress can see fit to move forward with TSCA reform, is there any reason we shouldn't move forward at the same time to reform the way worker exposure to chemicals is regulated and controlled? I don't think so, and I hope to ensure that OSHA participates with NIOSH and EPA in all discussions about chemical regulation in this country.

Progress has not come easy for American workers. Improvements in safety conditions did not come because a politician thought it would be a good idea, or a scientist decided that a chemical was too dangerous.

Every incremental improvement in working conditions has been earned with the blood and broken bones of working people, as a result of the battles fought - some won and some lost - in thousands of workplaces and union halls across the country.

Too many of those advances came too late, only after we counted the bodies destroyed by workplace hazards that could have been prevented.

As we build the green industries of the future, we can break this tragic pattern; we can learn from history; we can move from reaction to prevention.

As green industries grow, OSHA will be fully involved in the movement toward Prevention through Design. This is OSHA's Green Reform Principle Number Three. Prevention through Design is about fundamental change that integrates safety efficiently and thoroughly.

Prevention through Design asks: Why should we go back and expend precious time and resources retrofitting hazardous industries to make them safer when we have the ability and the opportunity to begin fresh and make work safe from start to finish?

I don't have the answers to all these problems. In fact, right now I'm still concentrating on the questions. But it's clear that your help is absolutely essential to ensure that we're not only asking the right questions but also using this important time in our history to make major progress toward good answers.

Once we have some of those answers, what will we do with this knowledge?

OSHA has been fortunate in 2010 to receive a substantial budget increase - enough to significantly increase the number of inspectors we can put into the field. Armed with answers to some of the problems we've finding in green jobs, this can save a lot of lives and prevent many illnesses.

Still, we haven't nearly enough inspectors to visit even high hazard workplaces on any kind of a regular basis - unless you count decades as a "regular basis." In addition despite the best daily efforts of our able field staff, workplace hazards are changing while our standards haven't kept up.

There's only so much a dedicated inspector can do when many of our standards are out of date.

This leads us to Principle Number Four: Where, and when possible, OSHA must move ahead on rulemaking for urgently needed standards - and to create good standards, we'll need the input of scientists and engineers, academics, students and workers. We'll also need allies in the progressive business community who will say "yes" to sensible changes and participate in the rulemaking process with constructive comments and insight.

OSHA's Green Reform Principle Number Five: Enhancing workers' voice in the workplace. To get us up to date and move into a safer, healthier future, it's also clear that workers must have a stronger voice in workplace safety than they have now. Giving that voice impact and value means that workers must have much better information about their rights, the hazards they face and controls for those hazards.

OSHA is trying to make this happen. Very soon, we'll announce a new round of Susan Harwood training grants. One major new subject of these grants will be Green Jobs.

Another way to enhance workers voices is to ensure that they receive accurate information. Accurate injury and illness statistics are essential for workers and employers to be able to identify workplace hazards. OSHA also needs accurate numbers to ensure that we focus our scarce resources where the most problems are.

As you may be aware, numerous studies and Congressional hearings have cast serious doubt on the accuracy of workplace injury and illness reporting.

A recent Government Accountability Office study confirmed those problems, but also noted serious concerns about incentive and disciplinary programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries and illnesses.

Most upsetting was a GAO finding that a high percentage of health care providers reported being pressured by employers to under-diagnose and under-treat workers and otherwise manipulate information to avoid reporting injuries and illnesses on the OSHA log. This is irresponsible and unacceptable.

To ensure the accuracy of injury and illness numbers, OSHA has launched a focused National Emphasis Program. We'll also take a hard look at incentive and disciplinary programs to ensure that they do not discourage workers from reporting.

Ultimately, of course, counting injuries, illnesses and fatalities is counting failure. The more we design safety into the workplace the less we'll have to worry about injury and illness statistics.

So, here we have some overarching principles to carry us and carry OSHA into the future.

It's been OSHA's pleasure to participate in this workshop. Thanks to your contributions now and in the future, we can look forward to developing a reliable roadmap to help employers drive their industries in the proper direction - toward a safe and healthful future.

The challenge now is to get everyone else on board across the Nation. We need to make the expression "green jobs" synonymous with "safe jobs" - because green jobs are good jobs only when they are safe jobs.

Thank you.
I hope you have enjoyed this.  For more information visit

OSHA Mandated safety cards and training courses

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

US Department of Labor certifies approximately 4,000 Ohio workers in auto-related industries as eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance

Certification includes workers at 5 Delphi facilities across Ohio, Cleveland Casting Plant

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that nearly 4,000 workers in auto-related industries across Ohio are eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

The certification includes workers at five Delphi Ohio facilities in Howland, Warren, Rootstown, Vienna and Cortland counties, as well as workers at Cleveland Casting Plant in Cleveland, Ohio.

"Over the years, our nation has benefited immensely from the work and dedication of those employed in auto-related industries across Ohio," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Trade Adjustment Assistance is one way we can support these workers as they seek re-employment in promising regional industries that pay family-supporting wages."

"These TAA certifications will allow these auto workers to access much needed resources," said Dr. Ed Montgomery, executive director of the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers. "The White House council's priority is to work with Secretary Solis and other members of the administration to cut red tape so that workers and communities get the assistance they need today, while trying to create opportunities for growth and revitalization."

Workers covered by these certifications will be contacted by their respective states with instructions on how to apply for individual benefits and services. Those who do apply may receive case management and re-employment services, training in new occupational skills and trade readjustment allowances that provide income support for workers enrolled in training. Some workers may also receive job search and relocation allowances and the Health Coverage Tax Credit.

Workers 50 years of age and older may elect to receive Re-employment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA), which was created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. If a worker obtains new employment at wages less than $55,000 and less than those earned in adversely affected employment, the RTAA program will pay 50 percent of the difference between the old wage and the new wage, up to $12,000 over a two-year period. RTAA participants may also be eligible for retraining and the Health Coverage Tax Credit.

For more information on Trade Adjustment Assistance and the range of Department of Labor employment and training services, visit
10 hour osha online course

Shop for Dog Runs now. This site is listed under Services Directory

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

OSHA Fall 2009 Regulatory Priorities

OSHA's Fall 2009 Regulatory Priorities

The Secretary's vision of Good Jobs for Everyone requires a safe and healthy workplace for all workers. OSHA's regulatory program is designed to help workers and employers identify and control hazards in the workplace and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities. OSHA's current regulatory program demonstrates a renewed commitment to worker protection.

OSHA's major projects to implement the Secretary's vision are:

Airborne Infectious Diseases
Airborne infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and influenza can be spread from person-to-person. OSHA is interested in protecting the nation's 13 million healthcare workers from airborne infectious diseases. Healthcare-acquired infections are on the rise and there are also increasing levels of drug-resistant microorganisms in healthcare settings. Most current infection control efforts are intended primarily for patient protection and not for worker protection. In March 2010, OSHA intends to publish a Request for Information to help examine how to improve worker protection from exposure to airborne diseases.

Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements (Musculoskeletal Disorders)
OSHA is proposing to revise its regulation on Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (Recordkeeping) to restore a column on the OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Log that employers will check when recording work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The MSD data from the column will help about 750,000 employers and 40 million workers track injuries at individual workplaces, and improve the Nation's occupational injury and illness information data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The MSD column was removed from the OSHA 300 Log in 2003. The Agency will issue a proposed rule in January 2010.

Cranes and Derricks
More than 80 workers lose their lives each year in crane-related fatalities. OSHA's existing rule, which dates back to 1971, is partly based on industry consensus standards that are over 40 years old. On October 9, 2008, OSHA issued a comprehensive proposed revision of the Cranes and Derricks standard. The proposed rule addresses electrocution hazards, crushing and struck-by hazards, overturning, procedures for ensuring that the weight of the load is within the crane's rated capacity, and ensures that crane operators have the required knowledge and skills by requiring independent verification of operator ability. This year, OSHA completed the public hearing and comment phase of the process and is now analyzing the public's input and preparing the final rule. OSHA plans to issue the final rule in July 2010.

Crystalline Silica
Inhalation of respirable silica dust can cause lung disease, silicosis and lung cancer. Exposure to airborne silica dust occurs in operations involving cutting, sawing, drilling and crushing of concrete, brick, block and other stone products, and in operations using sand products (e.g., in glass manufacturing and sand blasting). One study estimated that there may be as many as 7,000 new cases of chronic silicosis each year. This rulemaking will update existing permissible exposure limits and establish additional provisions to protect workers from exposures to respirable crystalline silica dust. OSHA plans to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in July 2010.

Combustible Dust
Combustible dust can cause catastrophic explosions like the 2008 disaster at the Imperial Sugar refinery that killed 14 workers and seriously injured dozens more. Deadly combustible dust fires and explosions can be caused by a wide array of materials and processes in a large number of industries. Materials that may form combustible dust include wood, coal, plastics, spice, starch, flour, feed, grain, fertilizer, tobacco, paper, soap, rubber, drugs, dyes, certain textiles, and metals. While a number of OSHA standards address aspects of this hazard, the Agency does not have a comprehensive standard that addresses combustible dust. OSHA is engaged in the early stages of rulemaking to develop a combustible dust standard for general industry. OSHA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in October 2009 and is preparing to hold stakeholder meetings in December 2009.

Hazard Communication Standard - Global Harmonization System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals
OSHA and other U.S. agencies have been involved in a long-term project to negotiate a globally harmonized approach to informing workers about chemical hazards. The result is the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). OSHA is revising its Hazard Communication Standard to make it consistent with the GHS. The new standard will include more specific requirements for hazard classification, as well as standardized label components which will provide consistent information and definitions for hazardous chemicals and a standard approach to conveying information on material safety data sheets. On September 30, OSHA published the proposal and is preparing for hearings in March 2010.

Beryllium is a lightweight metal that has a wide variety of applications, including aerospace, telecommunications and defense applications. Chronic beryllium disease occurs when people inhale beryllium dust or fumes and can take anywhere from a few months to 30 years to develop. The disease is caused by an immune system reaction to beryllium metal, and causes symptoms such as persistent coughing, difficulty breathing upon physical exertion, fatigue, chest and joint pain, weight loss, and fevers. OSHA is developing a rule that would update the Permissible Exposure Limit and establish additional provisions to protect exposed workers. Currently, the Agency is preparing to conduct a peer review of the health effects and risk assessments and plans on initiating the peer review in March 2010.

Employee exposure to diacetyl causes obstructive airway disease, including the disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn lung.” This rulemaking will establish a Permissible Exposure Limit as well as additional provisions to protect workers from exposure to diacetyl. OSHA held a stakeholder meeting on diacetyl in 2007 and completed the small business review panel report in July 2009. OSHA is currently working on the proposed regulatory text and developing the health, risk and feasibility analysis. The Agency plans to initiate a peer review of the health effects and risk assessments in October 2010.

Walking / Working Surfaces - Subparts D & I
This proposed standard will update OSHA's rules covering slip, trip and fall hazards and establish requirements for personal fall protection systems. The rule affects almost every non-construction worker in the United States. This is an important rulemaking because it addresses hazards that result in numerous deaths and thousands of injuries every year. The proposal is expected to prevent 20 workplace fatalities per year and over 3,500 injuries serious enough to result in days away from work. The Agency plans to issue a proposal in March 2010.

Online OSHA 10 Hour Training
Online OSHA 30 Hour Training

Thursday, December 3, 2009

10 Hour Construction State Laws Pt. 1

MISSOURI - August 28, 2009

This is extracted from Missouri's Summary of the Truly Agreed Version of the Bill.  It essentially states that all workers on a public work project must be OSHA 10-hour certified.  Failure to meet this requirment will result in a heft fine courtesy of OSHA.  This law is now in effect.
Contractors and subcontractors who contract to work on public works projects must provide a 10-hour OSHA construction safety program, or similar program approved by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, to be completed by their on-site employees within 60 days of beginning work on the construction project. Contractors and subcontractors in violation of this provision will forfeit to the public body $2,500 plus $100 a day for each employee who is employed without training. Public bodies and contractors may withhold assessed penalties from the payment due to those contractors and subcontractors.

View the rest of the bill here.

NEW YORK - July 18, 2008
New York's law only required OSHA 10 training on public jobs with a total contractual value of $250,000.00 or more.  Laborers, workers and mechanics working on the site must have OSHA 10-hour training. This law is currently under effect.
OSHA 10-hour Construction
Safety and Health Course – S1537-A
This provision is an addition to the existing prevailing wage rate law, Labor Law §220, section 220-h. It requires that on all public work projects of at least $250,000.00, all laborers, workers and mechanics working on the site, be certified as having successfully completed the OSHA 10-hour construction safety and health course. It further requires that the advertised bids and contracts for every public work contract of at least $250,000.00, contain a provision of this requirement.

NEVADA - January 1, 2010

Nevada requires all supervisors to take OSHA 30-hour training within 15 days of being hired, and all other workers to recieve OSHA 10-hour training withing 15 days of being hired.  This bill forces employers to to suspend or fire any workers on a public job site that cannot show of having taken the course.  All employers who do not act accordingly within 15 days will recieve a fine.  According to this, employers have the option of providing an alternative to the OSHA 10 and 30 courses.  This law will be effective starting January 1, 2010.

Assembly Bill No. 148–Committee on Commerce and Labor

AN ACT relating to occupational safety; requiring employees on a construction site to receive certain health and safety training; and providing other matters properly relating thereto. Legislative Counsel’s Digest:

Section 10 of this bill requires: (1) supervisory employees working on a construction site to complete a specified 30-hour health and safety course not later than 15 days after being hired; and (2) all other construction workers working on the construction site to complete a specified 10-hour course not later than 15 days after being hired.
Section 8 of this bill requires the Division of Industrial Relations of the Department of Business and Industry to adopt regulations approving courses which may be used to fulfill the requirements of section 10.
Section 8.5 of this bill requires providers of approved courses to display the card evidencing their authorization by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor to provide such a course at the location at which the course is being provided.
Section 11 of this bill requires employers to suspend or terminate the employment of an employee on a construction site who fails to provide proof of obtaining the required training not later than 15 days after being hired.
Section 12 of this bill provides for administrative fines for employers who fail to suspend or terminate certain employees on a construction site after the 15-day period if those employees have not obtained the required training.
Section 15 of this bill: (1) allows employees to satisfy the requirements of section 10 of this bill by completing an alternative course offered by their employer; (2) requires an employee that satisfies the requirements of section 10 by completing an alternative course to take an approved course before January 1, 2011; and (3) requires an employer to maintain and make available to the Division of Industrial Relations a record of all employees that have completed an alternative course until a date to be established by the Division by Regulation.
View the rest here.

How long will it be until OSHA courses are mandatory in your State? 
Online OSHA 10 Hour Training
Online OSHA 30 Hour Training

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Introducing The Official OSHA Updater Widget!

It has happened.  We finally got our own widget.  Use the OSHA Updater widget to keep you informed from your desktop or elsewhere.  Thanks to widgetbox for the easy widget creator tools.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lower Prices on HAZWOPER Courses.

I'm please to announce that Easy Safety School will be lowering it's prices on HAZWOPER courses.  Now you can get your HAZWOPER training and certification for an all new rock-bottem price.  Here are the new prices.

  • HAZWOPER 40 Hour: $349.95  (down from 379.00)
  • HAZWOPER 24 Hour: $199.95 (down from 229.00)
  • 8 Hour Refresher: $39.95 (down from 79.00)
  • 8 Hour Refresher + Study Guide: $49.95
  • 8 Hour Refresher + Bloodborne OR Excavations Module: $59.95
  • 8 Hour Refresher + Bloodborne OR Excavations Module + Study Guide: $79.95
Merry Christmas...