The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) fiscal year 2019 budget, according to Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, increased by $5 million over 2018 to reach a $557.8 million total. This increase could suggest an increase in regulatory actions, inspections, and citations, as the organization has regulatory changes in store for the year ahead. While these safety regulation updates and additions are spread across several industries, here are five that workers and facilities should be prepared for.
Published just before December of last year, this Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers guide for performing arc flash hazard calculations was significantly updated from IEEE 1584-2002.
Related to the method for calculating the arc flash hazard distance and the incident energy to which employees could be exposed during work on or near electrical equipment, designers and facility operators in facilities where live work is performed on electrical equipment need to become especially familiar with this change. With arc flash hazard calculations being implemented in most plants because of OSHA regulations, this new model accurately accounts for a wide variety of setup parameters.
Employers should be sure to confirm that an arc flash risk assessment has been done within the last five years. Calculations are most often listed on arc flash and equipment labels and are used as part of an arc flash risk assessment. Updates to labels to reflect new calculation requirements may be necessary depending on the results of the arc flash assessment.
To adjust for inflation, and as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, OSHA has increased the maximum civil penalties on employers cited for safety violations. The annual penalty increases are required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (ACT) and apply to Federal OSHA states. Information on the change can be found here.
Late last year OSHA announced it would implement its Site Specific Targeting 2016 inspection plan, which applies to non-construction workplaces with more than 20 employees. Employers who failed to provide 2016 Form 300A data to OSHA will be selected at random and added to an inspection list combined with employers who reported high rates of days away, restricted, or transfer in 2016. OSHA will include a random sample of employers with low rates to the list. The collected data will be used to create inspection lists.
Midway through 2018 OSHA began gradually implementing a new policy of inspecting workplace inspections utilizing drones. The organization issued a memo authorizing compliance officers to inspect areas that are inaccessible or pose a safety risk, with 2019 being the first full year of this practice being implemented. Compliance officers must obtain consent from an employer and notice must be provided to employees before the drone is launched.
Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
For workplaces with 250 or more employees, OSHA now only requires an electronic submission of OSHA Form 300A. Facilities should continue to record workplace injuries and illnesses and follow reporting requirements, but OSHA amended its record-keeping regulation to remove the requirement to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (log of work-related injuries and illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (injury and illness incident report). However, the requirement to keep and maintain OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301 for five years is not changed.
Keeping up with regulations and requirements is key to avoiding shut downs and lost business costs. By implementing policies, holding staff accountable, and staying abreast of safety regulations you can positively contribute to your business’ bottom line. For more tips on how to optimize safety practices in your facility, read our white paper Six Keys to Managing Workplace Electrical Safety.