OSHA & PHMSA Working Together

OSHA & PHMSA Issue Joint Guidance Memorandum

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a joint guidance memorandum that is intended to provide clarity on the applicability and relationship between, DOT’s labeling requirements under the HMR and OSHA’s labeling requirements for bulk shipments under the HCS 2012.

PHMSA’s hazardous materials regulations require labeling of hazardous materials in transportation, while OSHA requires labeling on containers in the workplace.

When OSHA released its Hazcom 2012 (29 CFR Part 1910.1200) revisions, Appendix C.2.3.3 stated that “If a label has a DOT transport pictogram, the corresponding HCS pictogram shall not appear.” The Hazardous Materials Regulations state “No person may offer for transportation and no carrier may transport a package bearing any marking or label which by its color, design, or shape could be confused with or conflict with a label prescribed by this part” (49 CFR Part 172.401(b)).

This raised many questions with stakeholders, and shortly thereafter, OSHA published a brief that stated that PHMSA does not view the pictograms as a conflict, and both may appear. OSHA continues on in the brief to state they intend on revising C.2.3.3, but in the meantime, they will allow both to appear. This new guidance document further confirms this position.

The Joint Guidance Memorandum can be found at https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/joint_phmsa_memo_09192016.html


ICC is your source for compliant DOT/OSHA Continue Reading…

OSHA
OSHA Talks Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

My husband is a rocker. He loves heavy metal music and listens to it often. There is no better channel for him than “Hair Nation” on Sirius XM radio. Having grown up with him, I know he has attended every concert available including Bon Jovi, Ratt, Metallica, Poison, and the like. One of his best memories is seeing Motorhead perform while we were living in Austria. To this day he still goes to concerts, but now the bands include Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin. What is interesting is his approach to going to concerts now as compared to when he was younger. You guessed it. The biggest change is the use of ear plugs.

I’m not sure if this change is due to getting older or the fact that being in a safety role he now realizes how damaging the level of music at these concerts is to his hearing. (You can insert your own joke about men or women having “selective” hearing here.)

two workers wearing ear protection

Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge

In a recent press release OSHA indicated that every year 22 million workers risk losing their hearing due to workplace noise hazards. The estimated worker’s compensation costs for this disability is around $242 million. This is too high! Employers warn of hearing hazards in the workplace and often require workers to wear hearing protection. In a Continue Reading…

OSHA Update
2 Million Plus Workers Get Protection From Deadly Dust! (Part 2)

Silicosis and OSHA Standards

As you may recall in my last blog, I spoke of a tragic story out of West Virginia. It was the Hawk’s Nest Industrial Incident and the repercussions on the people of that time in the 1930s. Up to date each year illness continues takes the lives of thousands of workers. One of these illness still present is caused by a deadly dust – crystalline silica which can cause Silicosis. It is approximated that 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work. Over time workers have come to count on OSHA to adopt standards to be enforced in the workplace. These standards aid in the reduction of the risks to workers from contracting illness or injury in the workplace.

Let’s review what crystalline silica is. Crystalline silica is an important industrial material found largely in the earth’s crust and is commonly found in the likes of sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. It is found in materials that we see every day in the construction of roads, buildings, and sidewalks. Silica dust occurs in the workplace when operations involve cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone. It can also be found among operations that use sand products, such as glass manufacturing, foundries, sand blasting, and hydraulic fracturing.

Crystalline silica (respirable) is hazardous to workers who Continue Reading…

OSHA Update
Silica Dust Just One Account in History (Part 1)

The Hawk’s Nest Incident

In Muriel Rukeyser’s book, The Book of the Dead, which is considered poetry, it tells of the historical Hawk’s Nest Incident. It is the grand truth told of one of the worst industrial disasters in US history. It happened in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. This story is particularly near to my heart, because my grandparents and our extended family are from the area. When I was a young girl we used to frequent the area often to camp and visit our family. I remember hearing stories of some of my ancestors working in the tunnels and mines of West Virginia but it was only years later, as an adult, that I realized what that actually meant.

The Hawk’s Nest Incident revolves around the contraction of silicosis while constructing a power plant. Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz. It mostly affects workers exposed to silica dust in occupations such as mining, glass manufacturing, and foundry work. Exposure to silica particles causes scarring in the lungs, which can inhibit your ability to breathe. The most common warning sign shown by sick people is shortness of breath. Silicosis is contracted through inhaling rock dust that contains silica dust. Blasting away at the rock in order to Continue Reading…

OSHA Update
Are you a One Percenter? Enforcement Delay of PSM 1% Concentration Policy

Recently in popular culture and the news the term “one percenter” can be heard. What does that mean, to be a one percenter? According to one urban dictionary site a one percenter is defined as a member of the top one percent of a population as decided by wealth. The term comes from the same rationale as being in the ninety-ninth percentile which means there is only one percent of the population who is better. So do you fall into the one percenter club? You might be surprised at the answer.

For those who are not familiar with the new one percent policy, let’s review some terminology and information on this standard. OSHA Standard 29 C.F.R. § 1910.119 which is the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals “contains requirements for preventing or minimizing the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals. These releases may result in toxic, fire or explosion hazards.” Part of this standard is Appendix A (found here) which contains a listing of toxic and highly reactive hazardous chemicals that could present a potential for a catastrophic event at or above the threshold quantities. In 1991 the PSM Final Rule was published. It was followed by a series of letters of interpretation and compliance directives. In 1994, OSHA further defined the policy. The letter from 1999 basically stated:

“chemicals listed in Appendix A without minimum Continue Reading…

OSHA Update
OSHA Comment Deadline Extended for Weight of Evidence Determinations

Back in the 1970’s Toyota Motor Corporation ran an advertising campaign around the slogan “You asked for it, you got it – Toyota!” The idea was Toyota was listening to what consumers wanted and created cars to meet those requests. You can see from this print advertisement how they worked that slogan.

As Hazard Communicators working under OSHA’s HazCom 2012, we often ask for more information or guidance to help us do our jobs. After all, we are tasked with writing compliant Safety Data Sheets (SDS), shipped container labels and workplace labels under these regulations which are pretty dramatic shifts from what used to be. The data required for the writing of these items can be difficult to find, massive in scope and hard to understand.

So what does that have to do with Toyota’s slogan? Well, OSHA is taking a page from Toyota’s book. In fact they recently published a “Guidance on Data Evaluation for Weight of Evidence Determination” document. OSHA wants this guidance to show how to apply the Weight of Evidence (WoE) approach when dealing with complex scientific studies and in considering all available information when classifying a chemical. It will not be an additional standard or regulation nor will it hold any new legal obligations. It is meant to complement the recently posted, 832-page “Hazard Classification Guidance for Manufacturers, Importers and Employers”.

What is interesting is Continue Reading…

OSHA Labeling
Fainting is an OSHA Recordable?

Fainting, or syncope in medical terms, is when someone loses consciousness for a short period of time usually caused by an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. In movies and television though, we are lead to believe that fainting can occur for a variety of non-medical reasons mainly emotional ones. One example is where a female character meets a monster for the first time and is so overcome with fear that she faints. For effect, she usually faints into the arms of the monster. Soap Operas are notorious for the next example. There are many scenes where the lead character is presented with horrible news and as a result faints due to the extreme emotion the news triggers. Another one used quite often by the entertainment industry is when a character faints at the sight of blood. Take a look here at Dr. Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory” passing out from cutting his thumb.

What is interesting about that clip is Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler would have to list this as a recordable case on the OSHA Log of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses. In November of 2015 OSHA posted in a Letter of Interpretation that fainting at the sight of blood is a recordable event. The scenario as outlined in the letter involves a worker scratching his finger on a clamp. As a co-worker began Continue Reading…

OSHA Flammable
“Light My Fire” – Calculating Flash Points for Flammable Liquids

One of the most common tests for determining hazard classification is the flash point. This humble piece of physical information is defined in various ways in various regulations, but generally is the lowest temperature at which the vapours from a flammable liquid will ignite near the surface of the liquid, or in a test vessel. This can be critical for safety, because this temperature will be the lowest possible for the liquid to cause a flash fire if released or spilled. If the material can be handled and transported at temperatures lower than the flash point, the fire risk will be much smaller.

The flash point has become the standard test for classifying flammable liquids. It’s used by the U.S. OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Act) and HMR (Hazardous Materials Regulations) classification systems, as well as Canada’s WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) and TDG (Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations).

Obtaining a flash point on a new product is usually easy enough. Many laboratories, particularly those that deal with petrochemicals, can perform the test for a reasonable charge. If your company has too many products to make outsourcing practicable, a flash point tester itself is comparatively low cost (as scientific apparatus goes), and a trained person can obtain data quickly and efficiently. However, both of these options do cost money. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a Continue Reading…

OSHA Labeling
Disney, Dwarfs and Workplace Labels

It was recently announced that Disney was re-releasing the classic animated movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. The commercial started with the dwarfs singing their classic song “Heigh-Ho”. In this tune, the cute characters of Dopey, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy and Doc all sing about coming home from working all day digging in the mine. To remember these characters, watch and listen here.

As the scene starts, I can’t help but notice there are no OSHA workplace labels anywhere. In the new OSHA Hazard Communications Standard 1910.1200 there isn’t much guidance on how to handle workplace labeling. The regulation states “the employer shall ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals in the workplace is labeled, tagged or marked”. The regulation goes on to say use the same information that is found on the shipped containers or use a “Product identifier and words, pictures, symbols, or combination thereof, which provide at least general information regarding the hazards of the chemicals, and which, in conjunction with the other information immediately available to employees under the hazard communication program, will provide employees with the specific information regarding the physical and health hazards of the hazardous chemical.”

Many Employers may feel overwhelmed trying to figure out what to have in a workplace after reading the regulation. Let us help. We offer the GHS Workplace Labels (Orange System).

Orange System GHS Workplace Labels Available Continue Reading…

OSHA Carcinogen
OSHA Celebrates World Cancer Day?

We all have reminders on our calendars for such things as holidays, birthdays, and appointments. As I looked forward to February for some planning purposes, the date of February 4th popped up as World Cancer Day. Is this a day to celebrate cancer? Does that even make sense when most of us upon hearing that word have some pretty strong negative reactions and emotions? This sent me on a path of fact checking. The purpose of World Cancer Day as established by the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC) is to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. So, this day is similar to Earth Day or World AIDS Day then.

Since I work in the Regulatory World, I thought this would be an opportune time to talk about cancer in the realm of Hazard Communication. For many cancer is part of the acronym CMR which stands for materials that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction. In OSHA HazCom 2012, Appendix A Subsection 6 covers the definition, classification criteria, and cut-off values for carcinogens. Are those pieces of information really enough to classify all of your products? Granted the regulation points out in A.6.2.5.2 some factors to consider, but those exact particular factors can be hard to find in many full length cancer studies.

To make things a bit easier, OSHA has allowed for Continue Reading…