Posts Tagged ‘proposed rule’

Crane Operation Safety Rule Proposed by OSHA

Improved safety conditions for crane operators at construction site is the goal of a new proposed rule from federal workplace safety regulators.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration on May 18 announced a proposed rule to increase the safety of America’s construction sites. In addition to providing long-term clarity regarding crane operator certification requirements, the proposal reinstates the employer duty to ensure that a crane operator is qualified to safely operate equipment.

Under the proposed rule, a change to the categories of certifications for crane operators would ensure more operators are able to meet the requirement. The proposal discontinues a 2010 requirement, which never went into effect, that crane operator certification must include the crane lifting capacity for which the operator is certified. The proposal would expand the type of certification programs for crane operators.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, or by facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register noticefor submission details. Comments must be submitted by June 20, 2018.

OSHA recently published a final rule extending the operator certification compliance date until November 10, 2018, in order to provide the agency with additional time to complete this rulemaking to address stakeholder concerns related to the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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OSHA Proposes Adding Quantitative Fit-Testing Protocols to Regulatory Protection Standard

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration wants to add two quantitative fit-testing protocols to the agency’s Respiratory Protection Standard. The protocols would apply to employers in the general, shipyard and construction industries.

Appendix A of the standard contains mandatory respirator fit-testing methods that employers must use to ensure their employees’ respirators fit properly and protect the wearer. The standard also allows individuals to submit new fit-test protocols for OSHA approval. TSI Incorporated submitted an application for new protocols for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators, and filtering facepiece respirators.

The existing standard contains mandatory testing methods to ensure that employees’ respirators fit properly and are protective. The standard also states that additional fit-test protocols may be submitted for OSHA approval. TSI Incorporated submitted an application for new protocols for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators, and filtering facepiece respirators. The proposed protocols are variations of the existing OSHA-accepted PortaCount® protocol, but differ from it by the exercise sets, exercise duration, and sampling sequence.

The public is invited to comment on the accuracy and reliability of the proposed protocols, their effectiveness in detecting respirator leakage, and their usefulness in selecting respirators that will protect employees from airborne contaminants in the workplace. More specific issues for public comment are listed in the Federal Register notice.

For more information, click here.

Safety Agencies to Consider Rule for Truck Drivers, RR Workers Who Have Sleep Disorders

Does having a sleep disorder pose a danger to the safe operation of a truck or train?

That’s what federal regulators want to know.

In an announcement last Tuesday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration said that they are considering new restrictions on these truck drivers and railroad employees who suffer from sleep apnea. In an advanced notice of public rulemaking, the agencies said they will examine the “prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea among individuals occupying safety sensitive positions in highway and rail transportation.”

The agencies will consider the “potential consequence for safety” and whether these truck and railroad workers should undergo medical evaluation and treatment for their sleep disorders.

Here’s the FMCSA news release announcing the 90-day public input period.

 

Proposed Rehab Act Rule Sets Numerical Goals for Agencies’ Hiring of Persons With Disabilities

Proposed regulations published yesterday implementing the federal government’s commitment to hiring more persons with disabilities include hiring percentage goals.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published for public comment proposed regulations “describing specific actions that federal agencies must take to comply with their obligation to engage in affirmative action in employment for individuals with disabilities,” under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the commission said yesterday.

Under the rules, federal agencies would have to adopt the goal of achieving a 12 percent representation rate for individuals with disabilities, and a 2 percent representation rate for individuals with targeted/severe disabilities.

Targeted disabilities are those that the government has, for several decades, placed aspecial emphasis on in hiring because they pose the greatest barriers to employment. The goals would apply at both higher and lower levels of federal employment. Hiring efforts would be further improved through focused recruitment efforts and simplified access to disability hiring programs and services.

Federal agencies would also have to provide personal assistance services to employees who, because of a disability, need these services to help with activities such as eating and using the restroom while at work.

The proposal would also collect into a single rule, longstanding requirements found in a variety of sources, including management directives and Executive Orders. This will provide clarity for federal agencies for the development of their affirmative action plans.

The proposed rule does not impose any obligations on private businesses or state and local governments.

The rule is open for public comment through April 25.

Here’s the EEOC’s announcement, including link to a question and answer document on the proposed rule and a summary of the proposed rule.

 

EEOC Proposes Incentives for Employees Whose Spouses Reveal Information on Health Status

Employers would be allowed to offer up to 30 percent off on the cost of their group health plan for employees whose spouses disclose information about their current or past health status as part of a wellness program, under rules proposed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today.

The proposal implements a provision of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which in general prohibits employers covered by the law from using genetic information in making decisions about employment. It also restricts employers from requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information, unless one or more of six narrow exceptions applies.

Under one of those exceptions,  an employee voluntarily accepts health or genetic services offered by an employer, including such services offered as part of a wellness program. In that case the employer can offer a financial incentive, including a discount on the cost of the insurance in the group health plan.

“Genetic information” includes, among other things, information about the “manifestation of a disease or disorder in family members of an individual.” The term “family members” includes spouses.

The limited incentive may take the form of a reward or penalty and may be financial or in-kind (e.g., time-off awards, prizes, or other items of value), according to the proposed rule.

The total incentive for an employee and spouse to participate in a wellness program that is part of a group health plan and collects information about current or past health status may not exceed 30 percent of the total cost of the plan in which the employee and any dependents are enrolled. For self-only coverage under the group health plan, the maximum portion of an incentive that may be offered to an employee alone may not exceed 30 percent of the total cost of self-only coverage.

The EEOC is accepting public comment on the rule through December 29.

To read the proposed rule, go here.

You can find EEOC’s announcement of the proposed rule here.

OSHA Gives Public Until Oct. 28 To Submit Comments on Workplace Injury Reporting Rule

You’ve got about another two weeks to submit comments to the U.S. Department of Labor on the proposed rule that clarifies an employer’s continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the proposed rule “to clarify its long-standing position that the duty to record an injury or illness continues for as long as the employer must keep records of the recordable injury or illness. The proposed amendments add no new compliance obligations; the proposal would not require employers to make records of any injuries or illnesses for which records are not already required.”

OSHA extended the comment period in a Sept. 21 announcement. October 28 is the last day to submit comments.

OFCCP: Sex Bias Guidelines Need Updating

Calling current sex discrimination guidelines “woefully out of date”  and not reflective of current law and changes in the workplace, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has proposed a major rewrite to bring them into the 21st century. In a proposed rule published on Friday, January 30, the OFCCP–which enforces nondiscrimination rules in government contracting– said it wants the rules to align with societal and legal changes since they were first issued in the 1970s.

The new rules would expand focus to include pregnancy discrimination, gender identity discrimination, and sexual harassment, the agency’s announcement said.

OFCCP’s sex discrimination guidelines implement Executive Order 11246, which prohibits companies with federal contracts and subcontracts from sex discrimination in employment. The proposed rule would update these guidelines to reflect demographic developments such as the increased presence of women in the workplace, as well as legal developments — including a Supreme Court ruling recognizing that a sexually hostile work environment is a form of sex discrimination and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which strengthened workplace protections for pregnant women. The agency’s notice of proposed rulemaking addresses a variety of barriers to equal opportunity that too many women face in the workplace today, including pay discrimination, sexual harassment, failure to provide workplace accommodations for pregnancy and gender identity and family caregiving discrimination.

“A person’s gender should never determine whether or not she gets, keeps or advances in a job,” said Latifa Lyles, director of the department’s Women’s Bureau. “The rule we are proposing will protect workers from losing out on job opportunities because of antiquated stereotypes, nonconformity with gender norms or pregnancy.”

Here’s a link to the proposed rule. The public has until March 31 to comment.