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Commentary & Analysis

Relevant Regulatory Revisions for 2015

Throughout the years, our printing industry has always faced challenges with meeting regulatory compliance of existing OSHA rules. Now, in 2015, there are new changes that will bring new impacts. Two of the changes discussed below have come about because of revisions to OSHA’s record keeping and reporting rules and the third is attached to the recent revision of the Hazard Communication Standard.

By Rick Hartwig
Published: February 4, 2015

Throughout the years, our printing industry has always faced challenges with meeting regulatory compliance of existing OSHA rules. Now, in 2015, there are new changes that will bring new impacts. Two of the changes discussed below have come about because of revisions to OSHA’s record keeping and reporting rules and the third is attached to the recent revision of the Hazard Communication Standard.

So let’s begin by looking at the OSHA recordkeeping rule (CFR 1904) which has subpart revisions that took effect as of January 1st of this year and address the reporting requirements and exemptions.

The 1904.39 standard—“reporting fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye as a result of work-related incidents”—is the most significant change of the 1904 rule. Under the previous standard, employers were required to report fatalities and hospitalizations. But as the new title indicates, employers are now required to report fatalities, hospitalizations and all work-related amputations and all work-related losses of an eye. Further, while the requirement of reporting of fatalities remains the same, the reporting of in-patient hospitalizations is now applicable to one or more employees whereas under the previous standard it was for three or more employees.

Under the revised rule, the time period for when employers must report an event also changed and includes reporting work-related fatalities within eight hours of finding out about it and reporting in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss within 24 hours of learning about it.

Also, according to the revised rule, only fatalities that occurred within 30 days of the work-related incident need to be reported to OSHA. For inpatient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye, the revised rule says those incidents need to be reported to OSHA only if they occur within 24 hours of the work-related incident. An OSHA fact sheet on the new rule is available at https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014/OSHA3744.pdf

It’s important to keep in mind that even if you are exempt under the rules for maintaining injury and illness records you will still be required to meet the regulation for reporting such incidents.

Another change that occurred within the revised 1904 rule is that OSHA updated the list of industries that are exempt from maintaining the injury and illness records. The new list can be found at https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=12791.

The new list maintains the exemption for employers with 10 or fewer employees.

The next rule revision to discuss is currently a proposed rule titled “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.” This proposed rule is expected to become final in early fall of 2015. The design of this proposed rule would require certain companies to file their work-related injury and illness records electronically with OSHA on a publicly available website.

According to OSHA, this initiative and revised rule would be part of an updated and modernized reporting system designed to be a more efficient, provide more timely injury and illness data, and would improve the availability of these records for OSHA.

The current OSHA rule on injury and illness record-keeping permits employers to record, maintain, and submit, when requested, work-related incidents on OSHA’s Form 300 and associated forms such as the annual summary. The proposed rule would require the following changes:

  • Employers with 250 or more employees must electronically submit their workplace injury and illness records on a quarterly basis.
  • Employers not exempt from the recordkeeping and reporting rule, with 20 or more employees, in certain designated industries, must electronically submit the summary injury and illness information on an annual basis.
  • Employer responses to any other OSHA inquiries regarding employer injury and illness information must be filed electronically.

There has been a great deal of opposition to this proposed rule from employers, industry associations, and even some employee sectors. The main concerns raised by these parties include problems of inaccurate records being submitted, making such records and information available to the public without relevant background information, and of course privacy issues associated with confidential employee records and company information.

And finally, the last of the rule revisions to mention, for now, is more of a reminder of the compliance deadlines associated with the revised Hazard Communication Standard (CFR 1910.1200) and its adoption of Globally Harmonized System (GHS) elements.

As everyone should know by now, the 2012 version of the Hazard Communication Standard is in place but the transition has been taking place over several years. Within the revised rule are GHS provisions that include newcriteria for classifying chemicals according to health and physical hazards as well as classification of chemical mixtures, amandatory 16-section Safety Data Sheet (SDS) development, and a new format for container labeling.

Since the beginning of the process in revising the standard, OSHA has established certain deadlines that apply to manufacturers, distributors and/or employers. One such deadline that has already passed and should have been addressed was the December 1, 2013, deadline which required all employers to have trained their employees on the new label elements and new SDS format.

The remaining deadlines under the revised standard are as follows:

  • June 1, 2015: All Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers must comply with all modified provisions of this final rule.
  • December 1, 2015: Until this date, distributors may ship products labeled by manufacturers under the old system.
  • June 1, 2016 : Employers must update alternative workplace labeling and their hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.

While OSHA has allowed the parties to follow the 1994 version of the standard or the 2012 version, or both, until the effective deadlines, these deadlines are fast approaching and should now be a priority for everyone to complete their compliance programs.

Rick Hartwig is the Environment, Health, and Safety Specialist (EHS) Specialist for SGIA. He can be reached at rick@sgia.org.

 

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Wide Format Editor

Richard Romano

Richard Romano, Section Editor/Senior Analyst
Richard has written about communication, graphics hardware and software trends for the past 15 years.

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