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“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

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The president added that the new law will do away with an outdated bureaucratic formula to evaluate safety and, instead, focus solely on the risks to public health.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

Warehouse Safety – “The Dangers of Modern Warehouses & How to Prevent Them”

The modern warehouse can be a dangerous work environment. There are fatalities along with general injuries from workplace accidents in warehouses related to forklifts, docks and conveyors. With over seven thousand operational warehouses employing more than 145,000 workers warehouse safety videos and plans for prevention can help businesses save costs on Workers Compensation claims and more importantly save lives and offer safer working conditions in warehouses.

Common injuries from slips and falls, ergonomic related dangers and forklifts, companies who provide forklift training as well as materials handling safety can see decreased numbers of accidents and worker related accidents. Forklifts alone pose the biggest danger and number of deaths and injuries.

What we can learn from the infographic can help in preventing warehouse fatalities and injuries.

• Posting and alerting workers to the tips for safe forklift procedures and requiring specific measures of safety should be posted.
• Proper inspection and estimation of damaged storage equipment can prevent dangers.
• Preventing ergonomic injuries by making sure workers follow proper stacking, lifting and storing procedures on shelving and in aisles can decrease injuries.
• Preparing for accidents and making sure employees have a plan of action along with reporting procedures can maintain a safe working warehouse.

Companies can experience a lot of costs due to unsafe warehouse conditions because of fines and insurance. Because of OSHA and safety standards workplace fatalities have decreased by over sixty percent and injuries by over 40 percent. When organizations make prevention and preparedness a priority in their warehouses by providing employees with the proper training it sends the message that the company promotes a safe working environment in the warehouses.

 

Pending OMB Review, OSHA Could Restart Effort to Update Chemical Exposure Limits (PEL’s)

By Robert Iafolla

April 16 –In an apparent effort to kickstart agency action on updating permissible exposure limits for hundreds of chemicals, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration asked the White House April 15 to approve a request to gather information on ways to address chemical exposure.

OSHA cited widespread agreement that the majority of the agency’s exposure limits are decades out-of-date and need revising. But agency attempts have gone nowhere since a 1992 appeals court decision scuttled a blanket measure on exposure limits for nearly 400 chemicals.

The specifics of OSHA’s request for information (RIN: 1218-AC74) won’t be publicly available until the White House Office of Management and Budget completes its review. Agencies typically issue formal requests for information in the context of setting up future rulemaking, but OSHA may be soliciting views on a range of alternatives.

“I think they’re interested in any and all suggestions,” Scott Schneider, director of occupational safety and health for the Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America, told Bloomberg BNA April 15.

OSHA’s Hurdles

The problem of outdated exposure limits seems to need a creative solution, given the legal, political and practical restrictions that OSHA faces.

Working on exposure limits one chemical at a time is nearly impossible given the agency’s limited resources, said Aaron Trippler, director of government affairs at the American Industrial Hygiene Association. Changing the law to update the limits and amend the process to make it easier for OSHA to update the limits moving forward is complicated by the reality of Congress actually drafting, introducing and passing legislation, Trippler said.

“That doesn’t leave too many other options,” so OSHA is putting out a request for information, Trippler told Bloomberg BNA April 15. “By chance there may be something no one has thought of to date.”

Alternatives to Rulemaking?

OSHA has tried non-regulatory efforts to mitigate the potential for worker harm that results from out-of-date exposure limits. In October 2013, the agency launched a pair of online tools to help employers substitute safer chemicals and use more protective exposure limits on a voluntary basis.

Some employers have been using exposure limits that are more protective than OSHA’s as a matter of good practice or by agreement in union contracts, Jim Frederick, United Steelworkers’ assistant director for safety and health, told Bloomberg BNA April 15.

But Frederick said OSHA-enforced limits create a level playing field for employers, since competing businesses all have to make the investments to meet the same limit, and for workers, who would be afforded the same degree of protection no matter where they work.

The Path to the Problem

OSHA has permissible exposure limits for various forms of about 300 chemicals, established in 1971, that are based on science from the 1950s and 1960s. In 1989, the agency issued a rule that revised 212 existing limits and established 164 new ones. But that rule faced a legal challenge from industry, which said the limits were too stringent, and from labor, which said some were too weak.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit vacated those limits in a 1992 decision on the grounds that the agency failed to demonstrate sufficiently that they were necessary or feasible (AFL-CIO v. OSHA, 965 F.2d 962 (11th Cir. 1992)). The agency resumed enforcing the 1971 limits.

In the wake of that decision, OSHA began work on trying to prioritize chemicals for revision, said Charles Gordon, a former Labor Department lawyer who worked on the exposure limit issue for the agency. OSHA started with about 20 chemicals, Gordon told Bloomberg BNA April 16, and finally settled on four. Despite completing risk assessments and feasibility analyses for those chemicals, the agency never issued new limits.

Gordon said OSHA also discussed the possibility of negotiated rulemakings, which would feature advisory committees overseeing updates to chemicals divided by groups, either by health effects or industries affected. But nothing came of those discussions, Gordon said.

Industry has been involved in developing solutions. In 1998, the industry consulting group Organization Resources Counselors Inc. started working with OSHA on a proposal to bring together labor, industry and other interested parties to help guide rulemaking on updating exposure limits.

However, the push to revise the 1971 limits ground to a halt during the Bush administration due to a lack of agency interest, Peg Seminario, the AFL-CIO’s director of safety and health, told Bloomberg BNA April 15.

Renewed Campaign on Updating Old Limits

OSHA under the Obama administration–and agency head David Michaels–revived the effort, soliciting input in 2010 at a stakeholder meeting and through a Web forum. The agency added the request for information on its fall 2011 regulatory agenda, although it took more than two years to finally develop and send it to the Office of Management and Budget for approval.

OSHA published its last request for information about a month after sending it to OMB for review, although that request on potential updates to the process safety management standard is directly connected to the White House’s efforts to improve chemical safety. The issue of permissible exposure limits doesn’t appear similarly linked to any White House initiatives.

Should the agency decide to move forward with rulemaking on updating the exposure limits, it would be a long process that would probably require the commitment of whoever takes over the White House after the 2016 presidential elections. The Government Accountability Office found OSHA rulemaking took an average of more than seven years.

“I don’t see why this would go faster than any other rule,” Sidney Shapiro, a law professor and regulatory specialist at Wake Forest University, told Bloomberg BNA April 15.

Source: Bloomberg BNA®

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Iafolla in Washington at riafolla@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jim Stimson at jstimson@bna.com

OSHA Table Z-1: https://www.osha.gov/dsg/annotated-pels/tablez-1.html

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