In the first quarter of 2022 the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed rulemaking on topics ranging from forklifts to healthcare workers COVID-19 exposure to occupational injury and illness recordkeeping.
Here is a closer look at some possible changes that businesses should be aware of:
OSHA Proposes Changes to Occupational Injury, Illness Recordkeeping Rules
OSHA announced on March 28, 2022, proposed amendments to federal occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulations.
In addition to reporting their Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, the proposed rule would require certain establishments in certain high-hazards industries to electronically submit additional information from their Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, as well as their Injury and Illness Incident Report.
The proposed rule would:
- Require establishments with 100 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries to electronically submit information from their OSHA Forms 300, 301 and 300A to OSHA once a year.
- Update the classification system used to determine the list of industries covered by the electronic submission requirement.
- Remove the current requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees not in a designated industry to electronically submit information from their Form 300A to OSHA annually.
- Require establishments to include their company name when making electronic submissions to OSHA.
Establishments with 20 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries would continue to be required to electronically submit information from their OSHA Form 300A annual summary to OSHA annually.
“As part of OSHA's mission to protect workers and mitigate workplace hazards, this rule would improve OSHA's ability to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources to identify workplaces where workers are at high risk,” said OSHA.
OSHA Working Toward Rule to Protect Healthcare Workers from COVID-19 Exposure
OSHA announced March 22, 2022, that it has reopened the rulemaking record partially and scheduled an informal public hearing related to final standards to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from workplace exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
OSHA issued on June 21, 2021, an emergency temporary standard to protect workers in healthcare settings from occupational exposure to COVID-19. The Emergency Temporary Standard – which also served as a proposed rule – focused on healthcare workers most likely to have contact with people infected with the virus.
In this new rulemaking window, OSHA is now considering the following topics:
- Alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations for healthcare infection control procedures.
- Additional flexibility for employers.
- Removal of scope exemptions.
- Tailoring controls to address interactions with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
- Employer support for employees who wish to be vaccinated.
- Limited coverage of construction activities in healthcare settings.
- COVID-19 recordkeeping and reporting provisions.
- Triggering requirements based on community transmission levels.
- The potential evolution of SARS-CoV-2 into a second novel strain.
- The health effects and risk of COVID-19 since the ETS was issued.
“As OSHA works towards a permanent regulatory solution, employers must continue to comply with their obligations under the General Duty Clause, Personal Protective Equipment and Respiratory Protection Standards, as well as other applicable OSHA standards to protect their employees against the hazard of COVID-19 in the workplace,” said OSHA.
OSHA Proposes Updated Rules for Forklifts, Other Powered Industrial Trucks
OSHA announced on Feb. 15, 2022, a proposed rule to update the design and construction requirements for powered industrial trucks (commonly called forklifts or lift trucks) standards for general industry and construction.
The proposed rule would apply to:
- Fork trucks
- Platform lift trucks
- Motorized hand trucks
- Other specialized industrial trucks powered by electric motor or an internal combustion engine
OSHA said the rule was aimed at improving “worker safety and health by ensuring the agency’s general industry and construction industry rules reflect current industry practice and state-of-the-art technology.”
Under the proposed rule, OSHA will update its general industry and construction standards for powered industrial trucks by adding references to the latest design and construction requirements published by the American National Standards Institute in conjunction with the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation.
Comments can be submitted online (Docket No. OSHA-2020-00089) by May 17, 2022, at the Federal eRulemaking Portal.
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