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“Terrorism Concerns Results in Chemical Storage Rule Delay” #WestTexasFire #Chemicals

The Trump administration is delaying a new rule tightening safety requirements for companies that store large quantities of dangerous chemicals. The rule was imposed after a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, exploded in 2013, killing 15 people.

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, delayed the effective date of the Obama-era rule until June.

Pruitt’s action late Monday came in response to complaints by the chemical industry and other business groups that the rule could make it easier for terrorists and other criminals to target refineries, chemical plants, and other facilities by requiring companies to make public the types and quantities of chemicals stored on site.

The EPA issued a final rule in January, seven days before President Barack Obama left office. The EPA said at the time that the rule would help prevent accidents and improve emergency preparedness by allowing first responders better data on chemical storage.

A coalition of business groups opposed the rule, saying in a letter to Pruitt that it would do “irreparable harm” to companies that store chemicals and put public safety at risk.

Chet Thompson, president and CEO of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, an industry group, praised Pruitt’s delay of the EPA rule.

“The midnight rulemaking in the final days of the Obama administration would not enhance safety, create security vulnerabilities and divert resources from further enhancing existing safety programs,” Thompson said.

Environmental groups questioned industry claims as “self-interested” and misleading.

Hazardous chemical incidents like the explosion in West, Texas, are “frighteningly common,” according to the Environmental Justice Health Alliance, an advocacy group. More than 1,500 chemical releases or explosions were reported from 20014 to 2013, causing 58 deaths and more than 17,000 injuries, the group said.

Instead of bowing to industry complaints, the EPA should “stand with the first responders, at-risk communities, safety experts, workers, small businesses and others who live at daily risk of a catastrophic chemical release or explosion,” the group wrote in a letter last month to members of Congress.

The Obama-era rule came after a three-year process that included eight public hearings and more than 44,000 public comments, the group said.

The Obama administration said the rule would help prevent chemical incidents such as the 2013 explosion in Texas, while enhancing emergency preparedness requirements, improving management of data on chemical storage and modernizing policies and regulations.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said the Obama-era rule gives “a blueprint to those who would like to do us harm,” adding that existing regulations will remain in place to continue ensuring the safety of chemical plants and other facilities.

Source: Insurance Journal

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“Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2016: A Starting Point for Workplace Safety”

OSHA inspection-1

Every October the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year, compiled from nearly 32,000 inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff. One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, our inspectors see thousands of the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.

More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured, despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations, and hospitalizations would drastically decline.

Consider this list a starting point for workplace safety:

  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. Electrical, general requirements

It’s no coincidence that falls are among the leading causes of worker deaths, particularly in construction, and our top 10 list features a lack of fall protection as well as ladder and scaffold safety issues. We know how to protect workers from falls, and have an ongoing campaign to inform employers and workers about these measures. Employers must take these issues seriously.

We also see far too many workers killed or gruesomely injured when machinery starts up suddenly while being repaired, or hands and fingers are exposed to moving parts. Lockout/tagout and machine guarding violations are often the culprits here. Proper lockout/tagout procedures ensure that machines are powered off and can’t be turned on while someone is working on them. And installing guards to keep hands, feet and other appendages away from moving machinery prevents amputations and worse.

Respiratory protection is essential for preventing long-term and sometimes fatal health problems associated with breathing in asbestos, silica or a host of other toxic substances. But we can see from our list of violations that not nearly enough employers are providing this needed protection and training.

The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts, and a high number of violations for powered industrial truck safety, tell us that many workers are not being properly trained to safely drive these kinds of potentially hazardous equipment. Rounding out the top 10 list are violations related to electrical safety, an area where the dangers are well-known. Our list of top violations is far from comprehensive.

OSHA regulations cover a wide range of hazards, all of which imperil worker health and safety. And we urge employers to go beyond the minimal requirements to create a culture of safety at work, which has been shown to reduce costs, raise productivity and improve morale. To help them, we have released new recommendations for creating a safety and health program at their workplaces.

We have many additional resources, including a wealth of information on our website and our free and confidential On-site Consultation Program. But tackling the most common hazards is a good place to start saving workers’ lives and limbs.

Source: OSHA -Thomas Galassi is the director of enforcement programs for OSHA.

“TSCA Reform: A Simple 5-point Summary of What You Need to Know “

After 40 years, the Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA) has been reformed in an effort to more effectively manage chemicals in this country and give EPA more authority to evaluate and mitigate the associated risks. This infographic summarizes the important points of TSCA reform.

TF-TSCA-reform-info

“New TSCA Law Starts NOW!”

tsca_carousel

“For the first time in 20 years, we are updating a national environmental statute,” said President Obama before signing the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act on Wednesday. The president noted that the updated law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which took effect in 1976 “didn’t quite work the way it should have in practice.” That was a vast understatement, particularly in regard to the regulation of existing chemicals. The president pointed out that of the 62,000 chemicals in the marketplace in 1976, only 5 have been banned.

“Five,” said the president. “And only a tiny percentage have even been reviewed for health and safety. The system was so complex, it was so burdensome that our country hasn’t even been able to uphold a ban on asbestos—a known carcinogen that kills as many as 10,000 Americans every year.”

The president added that the new law will do away with an outdated bureaucratic formula to evaluate safety and, instead, focus solely on the risks to public health.

Industry Pushed Hard

The law passed both chambers of Congress with overwhelming, but not unanimous, support. Pockets of resistance remain, particularly regarding the law’s provision allowing federal preemption of state action on chemicals the EPA is reviewing. Nonetheless, the law made it to the president’s desk despite today’s extremely partisan climate in Washington. The president noted that passage of the legislation revived the bipartisan tradition of the early 1970s when Democrats and Republicans came together to pass “those pillars of legislation to protect our air, and our water, and our wildlife.”

The president specifically thanked the American Chemistry Council and S.C. Johnson, both of which “pushed hard for this law,” noting also that the law “gives them the certainty they need to keep out-innovating and out-competing companies from other parts of the world.”

In its statement of support following congressional approval, S.C. Johnson spoke favorably of EPA’s new authority to systematically prioritize all chemicals currently in commerce for safety evaluations.

What’s Next?

The law took effect with the president’s signature.  The major deadlines in the law apply to the EPA. As the EPA sees it, the most immediate effect is on the new chemicals review process. The Agency is now required to make an affirmative determination on a new chemical or significant new use of an existing chemical before manufacturing can commence. For companies that submitted premanufacture notices (PMNs) before enactment, which are currently undergoing review, the new law effectively resets the 90-day review period.

EPA’s other deadlines include the following:

  • Within 180 days, the Agency must publish an initial list of at least 10 high-priority chemicals and 10 low-priority chemicals. Within 3.5 years, the EPA must have 20 ongoing risk evaluations.
  • The EPA must publish an annual goal for the number of chemicals to be subject to the prioritization screening process. The Agency must also keep current and publish a list of chemicals (1) that are being considered in the prioritization process, (2) for which prioritization decisions have been postponed, and (3) that are designed as high- or low-priority chemicals.
  • When unreasonable risks are identified, the EPA must take final risk management action within 2 years or 4 years if an extension is needed.
  • Within 2 years, the EPA must develop any policies, procedures, and guidance necessary to carry out the bill’s requirements with respect to (1) requesting safety data from manufacturers or processors, (2) prioritizing existing chemicals for evaluation of their risks, (3) reviewing new chemicals or significant new uses of existing chemicals, and (4) conducting safety assessments and safety determinations on whether a chemical meets the safety standard. Those policies, procedures, and guidances must be reviewed every 5 years and revised as necessary to reflect new scientific developments or understandings.
  • Within 9 months, the EPA must publish a list of those chemical substances it has a reasonable basis to conclude are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT). Within 2 years after enactment, the EPA must designate as a chemical of concern each chemical substance on the PBT list. Not later than 2 years after this designation, the Agency must promulgate a rule with respect to the chemical substance to reduce likely exposure to the extent practicable.
  • Any confidential business information (CBI) claims to protect the specific identities of existing, active chemicals on the list from disclosure would need to be reaffirmed and substantiated. The EPA must maintain both a confidential and nonconfidential portion of its chemical inventory. Within 5 years of compiling that list of active chemicals, the EPA must establish a plan to review all CBI claims.
Funding

Also, the law provides a means for the Agency to collect the money it will need to do all of the above and more. Specifically, the statute allows the Agency to collect up to $25 million a year in user fees from chemical manufacturers and processors in addition to supplements approved by Congress.

The new TSCA law is here.

Source: BLR

“Are You In Compliance?”-“June 1, 2016 – HAZCOM And GHS, The Final Deadline”

HazCom and GHS: The Final Deadline

HazCom and GHS: The Final Deadline by Safety.BLR.com

June 1, 2016, is the final deadline in the 4-year phase-in period for OSHA’s 2012 revisions to the hazard communication standard that aligned with the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, or GHS. Check out the infographic for an overview of what the final deadline requires and tips to make sure your facility is prepared.

“Little OSHA Mistakes That Can Cost You Millions”

 

Little OSHA Mistakes Can Cost You Millions

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is commonly thought of as a red tape-laden, bureaucratic behemoth government organization that stunts job growth and reduces bottom-line profits. Yet the facts state otherwise. Take a look at the facts & stats below. Some will surprise you, others will shock you, but all point to a singular, indisputable fact: OSHA actually saves companies money in the long run.

REDUCED WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COSTS
A 2012 study by the University of California and Harvard University concluded that workplace injury claims dropped nearly 10% for employers who had undergone an OSHA inspection. The same study showed an average savings of 26% for total workers’ compensation costs for the same group of employers. These statistics prove the old adage, “Safety pays in the long run.”One study showed that for every $1 spent on safety programs, $5 is saved in accident avoidance and other related savings.

MORE INSPECTIONS = MORE SAVINGS
According to some analysts, more frequent OSHA inspections would save the U.S. economy around $6 billion per year.
The general consensus is that more aggressive OSHA action would stop supervisors and workers from “cutting corners.” Even with a widespread inspection schedule, OSHA can’t prevent all accidents from happening.
Each year, workplaces fatalities, injuries and illnesses add over $170 billion in costs.

WHAT KINDS OF ACCIDENTS DOES OSHA PREVENT?
Accidents are expensive – last year, $93 million was spent on carpentry-related falls – just one part of one industry’s accident expenses!
The 3 most common OSHA standards that are violated are:
Construction fall protection
General industry hazard communication
Construction scaffolding

OSHA legislation has helped reduce the numbers of daily on-the-job fatalities in America. In 1970, the average daily death toll for American laborers was 38.Today, that number has been reduced by almost two-thirds. In 2014, there were 14 worker fatalities per day.

As you can see, these statistics show that OSHA saves employers and companies in total operating costs. And it’s not just money; numerous lives are saved as well. Becoming OSHA compliant is a worthwhile goal for any employer AND employee.

 

“June 1, 2016 – HAZCOM And GHS, The Final Deadline”

HazCom and GHS: The Final Deadline

HazCom and GHS: The Final Deadline by Safety.BLR.com

June 1, 2016, is the final deadline in the 4-year phase-in period for OSHA’s 2012 revisions to the hazard communication standard that aligned with the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, or GHS. Check out the infographic for an overview of what the final deadline requires and tips to make sure your facility is prepared.

“Little OSHA Mistakes That Can Cost You Millions”

 

Little OSHA Mistakes Can Cost You Millions

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is commonly thought of as a red tape-laden, bureaucratic behemoth government organization that stunts job growth and reduces bottom-line profits. Yet the facts state otherwise. Take a look at the facts & stats below. Some will surprise you, others will shock you, but all point to a singular, indisputable fact: OSHA actually saves companies money in the long run.

REDUCED WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COSTS
A 2012 study by the University of California and Harvard University concluded that workplace injury claims dropped nearly 10% for employers who had undergone an OSHA inspection. The same study showed an average savings of 26% for total workers’ compensation costs for the same group of employers. These statistics prove the old adage, “Safety pays in the long run.”One study showed that for every $1 spent on safety programs, $5 is saved in accident avoidance and other related savings.

MORE INSPECTIONS = MORE SAVINGS
According to some analysts, more frequent OSHA inspections would save the U.S. economy around $6 billion per year.
The general consensus is that more aggressive OSHA action would stop supervisors and workers from “cutting corners.” Even with a widespread inspection schedule, OSHA can’t prevent all accidents from happening.
Each year, workplaces fatalities, injuries and illnesses add over $170 billion in costs.

WHAT KINDS OF ACCIDENTS DOES OSHA PREVENT?
Accidents are expensive – last year, $93 million was spent on carpentry-related falls – just one part of one industry’s accident expenses!
The 3 most common OSHA standards that are violated are:
Construction fall protection
General industry hazard communication
Construction scaffolding

OSHA legislation has helped reduce the numbers of daily on-the-job fatalities in America. In 1970, the average daily death toll for American laborers was 38.Today, that number has been reduced by almost two-thirds. In 2014, there were 14 worker fatalities per day.

As you can see, these statistics show that OSHA saves employers and companies in total operating costs. And it’s not just money; numerous lives are saved as well. Becoming OSHA compliant is a worthwhile goal for any employer AND employee.

 

“GHS: What’s Next? – The Timeline For GHS Compliance Explained”

According to OSHA, GHS affects over 5 million businesses and 43 million workers in the US alone. This infographic illustrates the next steps for GHS Compliance, and gives a timeline of the evolution of GHS and it’s implementation.

GHS: What
Infographic created by Creative Safety Supply

“The OSHA SDS/GHS Hazcom Compliance Myth”

GHS SheetAfter the passage of the revised Hazcom standard in 2012, there was a great deal of confusion and misinformation generated regarding the revision from the old standard and format to the new one. This was and still is especially true for employers attempting to comply with “Employee Right to Know (Understand)” rules. By now, everybody knows about the new standardized 16 section format, the new pictograms and hazard phrases, etc. It is also commonly known that the deadline for training employees on how to read and interpret the difference between the old and new format was December 1, 2013. But what about all of the existing (m)SDS’s you have already? What do you need to do to comply with the new Hazcom rule regarding updating your collection of (m)SDS’s?

As someone who works for a company that offers (m)SDS management software, I hear over and over from our clients about the urgent need for them to update their (m)SDS binders so that they would be using the most recent “GHS compliant” version. When I asked them why they wanted to do this, every one of them said it was because they wanted to be compliant with the new GHS rule. When I asked them where they found out about the need to update their library, again almost every reply was unanimous……from a salesperson at a company who offers (m)SDS management software. OSHA compliance is serious business, but that means that there is also serious money to be made to help you maintain compliance. But how much of this is hype and what is really required?

The fact is that you must retain the newest versions of the (m)SDS as you receive them from your suppliers. Beyond that, OSHA does not require you to proactively update your existing collection, as long as your employees know and understand the difference between the new and old format. If one of your suppliers re-authors their (m)SDS into the new format, they are required by law to send you the new revision and you are required to replace the old one you already have with the new one that you received. You are not required to search for updates proactivly.

Keeping in mind that I work for a company that offers (m)SDS management software, I realize that any opinion I espouse should be met with appropriate skepticism. Therefore, please refer directly to what OSHA has said. A letter of clarification was issued on June 13, 2014 to address this issue. Here is the relevent text:

“…OSHA would not issue citations for maintenance of MSDSs when SDSs have not been received….employers may, but are not required to, contact manufacturers or distributers of products they have previously ordered to request new SDSs”.

Here is a link to the full text: OSHA letter of clarification:  http://www.m3vsoftware.com/downloads/OSHA-Letter-of-Clarification.pdf

M3V has been providing web based (m)SDS management tools since 2002. For more information about our products and services, please click:
SDS Explorer
Chemical Management Navigator
EH&S Task Manager
Ross Olsby
M3V Data Management
11925 East 65th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46236
317-823-2459
ross@m3vsoftware.com

Source: M3V Data Management:  http://www.m3vsoftware.com/News.asp

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