OSHA Regulatory Agenda to Impact Material Handling Operations

Earlier this week, OSHA released its fall 2009 regulatory agenda, which details the government’s 29 major regulatory projects designed to promote safe workplaces.

The agenda, published on Dec. 7 in the Federal Register, addresses the following issues that directly impact material handling operations in a variety of industries:

•Airborne infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and influenza.

•Recording and reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses, including work-related musculoskeletal disorders. OSHA will propose a rule in January 2010.

•Cranes and derricks. OSHA is preparing a final rule addressing 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 requirements for independent verification of operator ability, which will be issued in July 2010.

•Crystalline silica, which can lead to lung disease, silicosis and lung cancer if inhaled.

•Combustible dust, which would target “a large number of industries,” including wood, coal, plastics, spice, starch, flour, feed, grain, fertilizer, tobacco, paper, soap, rubber, drugs, dyes, certain textiles and metals.

•Hazard Communication Standard. OSHA and other U.S. agencies are negotiating 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 information on material safety data sheets.

•Beryllium, a lightweight metal, which can cause chronic beryllium disease over time. OSHA is developing a rule to update the permissible exposure limit and establish additional provisions.

•Diacetyl, which causes obstructive airway disease, including bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn lung). OSHA plans to initiate a peer review in October 2010.

•Walking /working surfaces—Subparts D and 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, according to OSHA. The proposal will be issued in March 2010.

Download the entire Department of Labor fall 2009 regulatory plan.

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