OSHA Briefs

By SHRM Online staff
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Trip, Slip and Fall Rule Revision Proposed

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced in a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the May 24, 2010, Federal Register its plans to require improved worker protection from tripping, slipping and falling hazards on walking and working surfaces. These workplace hazards are a leading cause of work-related injuries and deaths, said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michael, including 20 deaths annually and more than 3,500 injuries serious enough to cause people to miss work. The proposed regulations would require employers to provide updated fall protection equipment and allow OSHA to fine employers who let workers climb ladders without fall protection.

OSHA Seeks Information on Infectious Disease Hazards

Health care is increasingly being provided in nonhospital settings such as nursing homes, surgical and outpatient centers and emergency care clinics, OSHA notes, and to ensure that health care workers’health is protected on the job, OSHA is seeking input from the public on how to prevent occupational exposure to infectious diseases in health care facilities. OSHA would like to know what strategies these facilities—which include biomedical laboratories, medical examiner’s offices andmortuaries—are using to reduce the risk of workplace-acquired infectious diseases. See the Federal Registernotice for more information.

OSHA also is reviewing its blood-borne pathogens standard and seeks public comment on the standard’s effectiveness in minimizing or eliminating health care and emergency workers’ exposure to blood-borne infections and diseases. Specifically, have advances in technology or other factors eliminated the need for continuing the rule? See the Federal Register for more information.

Safety Training Must Be Offered in Language Workers Understand

OSHA has issued an enforcement memorandum to protect non-English-speaking workers from workplace hazards. It directs compliance officers to ensure that they check and verify that workers are receiving OSHA-required training in a language they understand. Any training or instruction must meet this requirement.

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