OSHA to Delay Compliance Date for Electronic Injury, Illness Reports

July 05, 2017

OSHA recently proposed a delay in the electronic reporting compliance date of the rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, from July 1, 2017, to December 1, 2017. The proposed delay will allow OSHA an opportunity to further review and consider the rule. 

The agency published the final rule on May 12, 2016, and has determined that a further delay of the compliance date is appropriate for the purpose of additional review into questions of law and policy.  The delay will also allow OSHA to provide employers the same four-month window for submitting data that the original rule would have provided.

OSHA invites the public to comment on the proposed deadline extension. Comments may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov/, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, or by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details. The deadline for submitting comments is July 13, 2017.

OSHA to Modify Beryllium Exposure Rule for Shipyards

OSHA recently announced a proposed rule that would modify the agency's recent beryllium standards for the construction and shipyard sectors. Representatives of the shipyards and construction industries, as well as members of Congress, raised concerns that they had not had a meaningful opportunity to comment on the application of the rule to their industries when the rule was developed in 2015–16. This proposal provides a new opportunity to comment on the rule for those industries and the public. The new proposal would make changes to the rule only for the shipyard and construction sectors. The general industry standard is unaffected by the proposal.

Beryllium is a metal.  Exposure to beryllium can lead to debilitating and fatal respiratory diseases. 

The proposal for shipyards and construction would maintain the requirements for exposure limits (permissible exposure limit of 0.2 μg/m3 and short-term exposure limit of 2.0 μg/m3), which will continue to protect workers from a serious beryllium-related lung disease known as chronic beryllium disease. The proposal instead revises the application of ancillary provisions such as housekeeping and personal protective equipment in the January 2017 final standards for the construction and shipyard industries. OSHA has evidence that exposure in these industries is limited to a few operations and has information suggesting that requiring the ancillary provisions broadly may not improve worker protection and be redundant with overlapping protections in other standards. Accordingly, OSHA is seeking comment on, among other things, whether existing standards covering abrasive blasting in construction, abrasive blasting in shipyards, and welding in shipyards provide adequate protection for workers engaged in these operations.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds in Construction and Shipyard Sectors will be published in the Federal Register on June 27, 2017. OSHA encourages the public to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments during the 60-day comment period. Click here for information on submitting comments on the proposed rule and requesting public hearings

On January 9, 2017, OSHA issued a final rule that established new protections for workers who are exposed to beryllium in general industry, construction, and shipyards. Beryllium is a lightweight metal used primarily in specialty alloys and beryllium oxide ceramics. It is also present as a trace material in metal slags.

OSHA also announced it will not enforce the January 9, 2017, construction and shipyard standards without further notice while determining whether to amend the January 9, 2017, rule. 

Glyphosate Listed as Known to the State of California to Cause Cancer 

On March 28, 2017, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) posted a Notice on its website that glyphosate (CAS No. 1071-83-6) would be added to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer for purposes of Proposition 65 with a delayed effective date due to the pending case Monsanto v OEHHA. 

Monsanto’s challenge was unsuccessful in court.  Although the case has been appealed, no stay of the listing has been granted. Therefore, glyphosate will be added to the Proposition 65 list on July 7, 2017.

Watch Out for Excessive Heat

How much heat can a person safely endure? Between 1999–2009, more than 7,200 people died from heat-related causes, an average of 658 per year, according to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, heat-related deaths are expected to increase 10-fold

The National Weather Service (NWS) and OSHA have partnered to increase awareness for outdoor workers and their employers during excessive heat events, with NWS incorporating specific outdoor worker safety precautions when heat advisories and warnings are issued. OSHA is reminding employers and workers to take precautions to protect themselves before a heat wave begins, following the OSHA advice: 

1.     Be advised and stay alert

·         Pay close attention to heat advisories or warnings that have been issued for your community. NOAA’s National Weather Service continually updates heat-related advisories and warnings online at weather.gov. (Click on “Excessive Heat Warning” and “Heat Advisory” under the U.S. map

·         NOAA issues excessive heat warnings when weather conditions pose an imminent threat to life and heat advisories when weather conditions are expected to cause significant discomfort or inconvenience or—if caution is not taken—become life threatening.

·         If you do not have Internet access, you can get heat advisory and warning information by watching your local television or radio newscast or by purchasing a NOAA weather radio and tuning into NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards.

·         Use the temperature and humidity to figure out the heat index for your area, a measure that tells us how hot it feels


2.     Plan for periods of extreme heat

·         Visit your physician for a check-up to find out if you have a health condition that may be exacerbated by hot weather.

·         Service your air conditioner before hot weather arrives, and obtain window fans to help cool your home.

·         Know where to go when weather heats up. Find cool indoor places to spend time on hot summer days, such as a local library, shopping mall, museum or aquarium.


3.     Know what to do and not do during hot weather

       DO – Slow down, and reduce strenuous activity. Mow the lawn or garden in the early morning or late evening instead of midday.

       DO – Dress in lightweight, nonrestrictive, light-colored clothing.

       DO – Drink plenty of water or other nonalcoholic fluids.

       DO – Eat light, easy-to-digest foods.

       DO – Seek out shade if you have to be outdoors for extended periods. Spend more time in air-conditioned places.

       DO – Check on elderly neighbors, friends, and relatives to make sure they are okay.

       DO – When outside, take frequent dips in the ocean or pool, or mist yourself with a water bottle. When inside, take frequent cool baths or showers and use cold compresses to cool off.

       DO – Apply high-SPF sunscreen frequently when outdoors.

       DO – Seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms of heat illness. (See chart below for symptoms, likely conditions and treatment.)

       DO NOT leave children, the elderly, or pets in the car for any reason, for any length of time. Look before you lock! A dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to more than 200 degrees F!

       DO NOT stay in the sun for long periods.

       DO NOT take salt tablets unless directed by a physician.

       AVOID alcoholic beverages; they can dehydrate you and increase your risk of heat stroke and other potentially fatal heat-related illnesses.


4.     Know the warning signs of heat related illness

       Painful muscle cramps and spasms, usually in muscles of legs and abdomen. Heavy sweating (all signs of heat cramps)

       Heavy sweating, weakness, cool skin, pale and clammy. Weak pulse. Normal temperature possible. Possible muscle cramps, dizziness, fainting, nausea, and vomiting (all signs of heat exhaustion).

       Altered mental state. Possible throbbing headache, confusion, nausea and dizziness. High body temperature (106°F or higher). Rapid and strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. Skin may be hot and dry, or patient may be sweating. Sweating likely especially if patient was previously involved in vigorous activity (all signs of heat stroke).


5.     See these resources on heat-related illnesses

       The CDC’s Extreme Heat webpage

       OSHA’s heat illness webpage, “Water. Rest. Shade.”

       NOAA National Weather Service's Heat Safety Tips


Preparedness Through Daily Practice: The Myths of Respiratory Protection in Healthcare 

Evidence from surveillance studies indicates gaps in hospitals’ respiratory protection programmatic operations and healthcare workers’ (HCWs) marginal compliance with respiratory protection recommended practices. Improper use of respiratory protective devices (RPDs) may expose HCWs to infectious respiratory illnesses. In this document, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) addresses common myths related to respiratory protection and provides information to reinforce respiratory protection program administrator responsibilities and HCW knowledge concerning the proper use of these devices so that they can be prepared for the next public health emergency.


OSHA to Hold Public Meeting to Solicit Suggestions for Strengthening the Voluntary Protection Programs

OSHA will hold a stakeholder meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss the future direction of the agency’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). The discussion will include comments and suggestions from the public on potential avenues for action. OSHA is seeking to reshape VPP, so that it continues to represent safety and health excellence, leverages partner resources, further recognizes the successes of long-term participants, and supports smart program growth. The meeting will be held July 17, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Frances Perkins Building, Department of Labor.


Three New California Proposition 65 Carcinogens

The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that it plans to list t N,Ndimethylformamide, 2mercaptobenzothiazole, and tetrabromobisphenol A as known to the state to cause cancer under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65).  This action is being proposed pursuant to the Labor Code listing mechanism.

California’s Health and Safety Code section 25249.8(a) incorporates California Labor Code section 6382(b)(1) into Proposition 65. The law requires that certain substances identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) be listed as known to cause cancer under Proposition 65. Labor Code section 6382(b)(1) refers to substances identified as human or animal carcinogens by IARC. As the lead agency for the implementation of Proposition 65, OEHHA evaluates whether a chemical’s listing is required by Proposition 65.

N,N-Dimethylformamide, 2mercaptobenzothiazole, and tetrabromobisphenol A meet the requirements for listing as known to the state to cause cancer for purposes of Proposition 65.

IARC has published on its website a list entitled “Agents Classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1 – 115” (IARC, 2016).  IARC concludes that N,Ndimethylformamide, 2 mercaptobenzothiazole, and tetrabromobisphenol A are classified in Group 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans), and that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animals for N,N-dimethylformamide, 2 mercaptobenzothiazole, and tetrabromobisphenol A (Grosse et al., 2016).

OEHHA is soliciting comment as to whether the chemicals identified above meet the requirements for listing as causing cancer specified in Health and Safety Code section 25249.8(a) and Labor Code section 6382(b)(1). Because these are ministerial listings, comments should be limited to whether IARC has identified the specific chemical or substance as a known or potential human or animal carcinogen. Under this listing mechanism, OEHHA cannot consider scientific arguments concerning the weight or quality of the evidence considered by IARC when it identified these chemicals and will not respond to such comments if they are submitted. 

Written comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 31, 2017, to be considered. Comments may be submitted electronically at https://oehha.ca.gov/comments. Comments submitted in paper form can be mailed, faxed, or delivered in person to the address below.  

Mailing Address: Ms. Michelle Ramirez

Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

P.O. Box 4010, MS-12B

Sacramento, California 95812-4010

Fax: 916-323-2265


Street Address: 1001 I Street

Sacramento, California 95814


Comments received during the public comment period will be posted on the OEHHA web site after the close of the comment period. If you have any questions, contact Ms. Michelle Ramirez at Michelle.Ramirez@oehha.ca.gov or at 916-445-6900.


Now Available: ASPR TRACIE EMS Infectious Disease Playbook 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s (ASPR) Infectious Disease Playbook is a one-stop resource to access official and best practice information on the safe transport of patients known or suspected of having an infectious disease. Organized by type of precaution, the Playbook lists example diseases; the goal of precautions; dispatch actions; considerations for arriving EMS, patient care, and transport; type and proper use of PPE; ambulance decontamination instructions; and links to resources for more information. With interactive features and an easy to use format, users can quickly find the information they seek.


Armstead Rail Company Fined $610,034, Placed in Severe Violator Program 

Amsted Rail Company, Inc., a manufacturer of cast steel freight components, faces $610,034 in proposed penalties from OSHA after agency investigators found workers at its Groveport plant exposed to machine hazards and silica.

OSHA found one worker was hospitalized after suffering severe injuries when he was caught in a machine, and at least four workers were exposed to excessive levels of silica, which can cause serious health issues.

"Companies must ensure their workers are trained in proper machine safety procedures and provided the necessary personal protective equipment to prevent injuries and illness on the job," said Dorothy Dougherty, deputy assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "Continuous monitoring of facilities and procedures are important components of an effective safety and health program."

On January 3, 2017, a 60-year-old maintenance worker's leg was crushed after he was caught in a core baker machine while conducting maintenance. OSHA's investigation found multiple instances of machine safety violations including failing to lock out machinery to prevent movement during servicing.

A second inspection was opened on February 22, 2017, after OSHA inspectors found workers exposed to silica at amounts over the permissible exposure limit. Investigators documented four incidents of silica overexposure in the facility.

In total, the agency found six repeat, 19 serious and five other-than-serious safety and health violations during the two inspections.


OSHA found Amsted Rail failed to implement engineering controls to lower exposure to silica, affix locking devices to machine operating parts during maintenance, adequately guard machinery, implement a respiratory protection program, evaluate permit-required confined spaces, guard floor openings and shafts to prevent falls and provide adequate personal protective equipment.

Amsted Rail has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.


Seven Year State Prison Sentence for Extensive Statewide Fire Equipment Inspection Scam

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced that Robert Lorin Musich, from West Covina, California, plead guilty to multiple felony counts related to his operation of a fire equipment inspection scam. Mr. Musich admitted an aggravated white collar crime enhancement that alleged the loss to the victims of his scam exceeded $500,000. 

The genesis of this investigation was a call made by Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Eric Petersen to Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, based upon a call Chief Petersen received from a local business owner inquiring about the legitimacy of an invoice he had received. District Attorney Dudley then instigated an investigation performed by Supervising Investigator Chris Clement at the direction of Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota.

As a result of this investigation, a joint press release from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department was issued warning county residents of a fire inspection scam being seen in Santa Barbara County.

As a result of this press release the public was warned to be on the lookout for invoices being sent to local businesses from a company called Red Mountain Security and Fire Protection, or RMS. Ultimately, several more local victims came forward. The invoices were for inspections of fire equipment at businesses that never took place. The amount invoiced was $413.11.

During this ongoing investigation, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office determined the perpetrator of the scam. On September 1, 2016, Mr. Musich was arrested in Pomona, California, and charged with crimes related to this scam.

After his arrest, Senior Deputy District Attorney Cota contacted the California Franchise Tax Board who ultimately assisted the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office in investigating and charging tax related crimes.

The investigation by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office and the California Franchise Tax Board lead to the identification of an additional 1,297 victims of Mr. Musich’s scam throughout the State of California. The loss to those victims totaled $502,189.91. When Mr. Musich was arrested, boxes full of hundreds of fraudulent invoices with envelopes were also found, ready to be sent out to businesses throughout the state.

District Attorney Dudley commented, “I want to commend the responsiveness of Chief Petersen as well as the vigilance and hard work on the part of Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota and Supervising Investigator Chris Clement. Through their efforts, Mr. Musich has been held accountable for his crimes, both in Santa Barbara County and throughout the State of California. Additionally, further victimization of business owners throughout California has been prevented.”

In addition to the California Franchise Tax Board, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Ontario Fire Department, Pomona Police Department, West Covina Police Department, Nevada State Attorney General’s Office, Lake Havasu Police Department, and the United States Postal Inspector all assisted the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office with the investigation and apprehension of Mr. Musich.

It is expected that on June 28, 2017 Mr. Musich will be sentenced to seven years state prison. 

Musich will be ordered to pay $502,189.91 in restitution to the victims, and $86,000 to the California Franchise Tax Board for unpaid taxes, penalties, interest, and the cost of investigation. During the time that Mr. Musich was operating his scam in California, he was on probation in Nevada for charges stemming from the same type of scam in Nevada. When he finishes his California State prison sentence, Mr. Musich will be transported to Nevada where he faces an additional three years in state prison for his crimes there.


National Safety Campaign to Share the Road Safely 

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a public awareness so that all drivers know how to operate safely around large trucks and buses through a newly formed partnership under the Our Roads, Our Safety campaign.

“FMCSA is pleased to work with a group of partners that are dedicated to safety and share our agency’s goal of reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses on the road,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson. “This important partnership amplifies the message that all drivers on the roadway must work together to ensure that everyone arrives safely at their destinations.”

The American Bus Association, AAA, and the American Trucking Association have joined with FMCSA to amplify the Our Roads, Our Safety effort to educate all pedestrians, bicyclists, passenger vehicle drivers and commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers on how to better share our roadways and improve safety for all.

There are several simple actions passenger vehicle drivers should take while sharing the road with large trucks and buses:

·         Stay out of the “No Zones” or blind spots at the front, back and sides of the vehicle

·         Make sure they can see the driver in the mirror before safely passing

·         Don’t cut in close while merging in front of a CMV

·         Stay back a safe distance to avoid being in the blind spot

·         Anticipate wide turns and consider larger vehicles may require extra turning room

·         Stay focused on the road and avoid distractions

·         Lastly, be patient driving around large trucks and buses

In addition to these tips, parents and teachers can involve children aged 5-12 in highlighting the importance of road safety by participating in the Road Safety Art Contest. The contest allows children in kindergarten through sixth grade to use their creativity and talent to help raise awareness of how to stay safe on the roads.

Visit http://www.sharetheroadsafely.gov/ to get involved. Learn more and share information about how passenger vehicle drivers, CMV drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians share a responsibility for making our roads a safer place for everyone.


Researchers Develop Microneedle Patch for Flu Vaccination

A National Institutes of Health-funded study led by a team at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have shown that an influenza vaccine can produce robust immune responses and be administered safely with an experimental patch of dissolving microneedles. The method is an alternative to needle-and-syringe immunization; with further development, it could eliminate the discomfort of an injection as well as the inconvenience and expense of visiting a flu clinic. 

"This bandage-strip sized patch of painless and dissolvable needles can transform how we get vaccinated," said Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), which funded the study. "A particularly attractive feature is that this vaccination patch could be delivered in the mail and self-administered. In addition, this technology holds promise for delivering other vaccines in the future."

The researchers received funding through an NIBIB Quantum Grant and from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The study, published online June 27, 2017, in The Lancet, was led by Nadine Rouphael, M.D., associate professor of medicine and Mark J. Mulligan, M.D., distinguished professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, in collaboration with Mark R. Prausnitz, Ph.D., Regents Professor and J. Erskine Love Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. A team led by Prausnitz designed the dime-sized patch of microneedles used in the study. 

The vaccine patch consists of 100 solid, water-soluble needles that are just long enough to penetrate the skin. "The skin is an immune surveillance organ," Prausnitz said. "It's our interface with the outside world, so it's very well equipped to detect a pathogen and mount an immune response against it." 

Adhesive helps the patch grip the skin during the administration of the vaccine, which is encapsulated in the needles and is released as the needle tips dissolve, within minutes. The patch is peeled away and discarded like a used bandage strip.

The researchers enrolled 100 adult participants, dividing them into four random groups: vaccination with microneedle patch given by a health care provider; vaccination with microneedle patch self-administered by the study participant; vaccination with intramuscular injection given by a health care provider; and placebo microneedle patch given by a health care provider. The researchers used an inactivated influenza vaccine formulated for the 2014–15 flu season to inoculate participants other than those in the placebo group. 

The researchers found that vaccination with the microneedle patches was safe, with no serious related adverse events reported. Some participants developed local skin reactions to the patches, described as faint redness and mild itching that lasted two to three days.  

The results also showed that antibody responses generated by the vaccine, as measured through analysis of blood samples, were similar in the groups vaccinated using patches and those receiving intramuscular injection, and these immune responses were still present after six months. More than 70% of patch recipients reported they would prefer patch vaccination over injection or intranasal vaccination for future vaccinations. 

No significant difference was seen between the doses of vaccine delivered by the health care workers and the volunteers who self-administered the patches, showing that participants were able to correctly self-administer the patch. After vaccination, imaging of the used patches found that the microneedles had dissolved in the skin, suggesting that the used patches could be safely discarded as non-sharps waste. The vaccines remained potent in the patches without refrigeration for at least one year.

The prospective vaccine technology could offer economic and manufacturing advantages. The manufacturing cost for the patch is expected to be competitive with prefilled syringe costs. The patch, however, can dramatically reduce the cost of vaccination, since self-administration can eliminate the need to have health workers oversee the process. It can be easily packaged for transportation, requires no refrigeration, and is stable. 

Prausnitz is co-founder of a company that is licensing the microneedle patch technology. He is an inventor on licensed patents and has ownership interest in companies developing microneedle products, including Micron Biomedical. These potential conflicts of interest have been disclosed and are overseen by Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. 

The team plans to conduct further clinical trials to pursue the technology's ultimate availability to patients. They also are working to develop microneedle patches for use with other vaccines, including measles, rubella, and polio.


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