What’s Up With OSHA?

What to expect in 2008

Many of the GAWDA Monthly Safety Topics in 2007 were about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s top ten most frequently cited standards. All the top ten violations, applicable to general industry, were reviewed in detail during the year.

Your GAWDA Safety Committee felt this was useful information that should be shared with you, since OSHA pays particular attention to these top ten areas during the inspection process. In fact, the top ten OSHA standard violations accounted for more than 50 percent of all OSHA violations. Therefore, it makes sense when it comes to meeting OSHA regulations that you should pay particular attention to these regulations and implement and manage programs to meet the requirements of these standards.

These are the standard violations that were written about in 2007 from the top ten list:

  • January – The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) 29 CFR 1910.147
  • February – Powered Industrial Trucks 29 CFR 1910.178
  • March – Electrical (General Requirements) 29 CFR 1910.303
  • April – Respiratory Protection 29 CFR 1910.134
  • June – Machine Guarding 29 CFR 1910.212
  • July – Hazard Communication 29 CFR 1910.1200.

If you didn’t get a chance to read and follow up on these topics during the year, it’s not too late. Just go into the Safety Topic archives at www.gawda.org to review their content and evaluate your location compliance. This type of review will not only help ensure compliance, but will strengthen your overall safety program.

What to Expect from OSHA in 2008
OSHA Top Ten List of Violations: The one thing that has become clear over the last several years is the top ten list doesn’t change much from year to year. For example, the Hazard Communication Standard, CFR 1910.1200, has remained OSHA’s most frequently cited general industry standard since the standard was expanded to include all industries in 1988. Since more than 50 percent of all OSHA violations come from this list, it is clear to OSHA that more attention still must be devoted to these top offenses. If history holds true, the next list of the top ten cited standards will not change much.

OSHA Budget: President Bush has requested $490.3 million for OSHA in fiscal year 2008. The request represents an increase of nearly $18 million over the FY 2007 level, with about $10.4 million of that intended to go toward federal enforcement. During FY 2008, OSHA plans to remain positioned to continue its focus on workplace safety and health through an overall balanced approach that includes strong, fair and effective enforcement; outreach, education and compliance assistance; and cooperative and voluntary programs.

Federal and state program inspections are expected to come in at about 89,700 for FY 2008, compared to 91,000 in FY 2007. The reduction is due to a drop of 2,500 state program inspections and an increase of 1,200 federal inspections.

Regulatory Update for 2008: OSHA is expected to issue a final rule on the issue of payment for personal protective equipment (PPE) sometime in 2008. According to OSHA, the vast majority of employers, approximately 95 percent, already pay for most kinds of PPE. OSHA is also looking to amend the Hazard Communication Standard to adopt the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. This will help to make Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) and hazard warning labels consistent with those of other countries. Whether this happens in 2008 is questionable at this time.

There doesn’t appear to be any significant change in OSHA’s approach to workplace safety and health in 2008. You are encouraged to view the OSHA standards as minimum requirements and make every effort to comply with these standards and continue to formulate an accident prevention program to ensure your workplace is safe.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Meet the Author
GAWDA OSHA & EPA Consultant Thomas W. Eynon is senior associate at B&R Compliance Associates LLC, based in Merritt, North Carolina. Members can reach him at (252) 745-7391 and at tom.eynon@brcompliance.com.