OSHA and EPA Related News for January 2012

This round up of news from OSHA and the EPA includes updates  on GHS, I2P2, Silica Standard, the Mercury Standard and the new Greenhouse Gas Map.

OSHA

OSHA's GHS Adoption Delayed at OMB — OMB has extended the review of OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard. Best guess for OMB's final action on GHS is February.

OSHA continues to target Federal Workplaces in 2012 — OSHA’s FEDTARG directive is aimed at federal workplaces reporting a high number of lost time cases (LTC). Inspections are planned for all workplaces with LTC >100 and for half of federal workplaces with 50-99 LTC cases.

NIOSH Study Finds Job-Related Injuries and Illnesses Soaring — EHS Today reported on a new NIOSH study by University of California professor, J. Paul Leigh, which determined the costs of work related injury and illnesses to be $250 billion, which the article points out is more than the costs of all cancers, more than the cost of diabetes.

OSHA White Paper on I2P2 — Even though OSHA has put the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) Standard in the backseat of its regulatory agenda, it continues to aggressively champion the tenets of I2P2. A recent white paper makes the agency’s case to employers for adopting the six keys to I2P2 implementation.

NACOSH Pushing OSHA and OMB on Silica Standard and I2P2 — ISHN reported on a push by the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH)  to get OSHA’s Silica Standard and I2P2 Standard up and running. The silica standard has been sitting at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for over 10 months, caught up Washington D.C.’s anti-regulatory environment. And I2P2 has met with strong resistance from small business advocates. NACOSH is calling on the OMB to finish its review of the silica standard and urging OSHA to move forward with I2P2.

OMB and OSHA get Pushback from Stakeholders on GHS (Unclassified Hazards) — According to NSC’s Safety + Health, OSHA and the OMB met with stakeholders twice in December to discuss GHS. The big issue at hand is the handling of unclassified hazards. OSHA’s current proposal includes provisions for including unclassified hazards like combustible dust. Opponents of the provision say it diverges too far from GHS adoption in other countries. OSHA seems to be pushing back by highlighting GHS guidelines for MSDS (or SDS as they are called in GHS) which allow for additional hazard information as recommended by adopting country.

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Weighs In, In Favor of GHS Unclassified Hazards — OSHA has gotten a strong endorsement from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) in its attempt to adopt GHS with provisions covering unclassified hazards. CSB is particularly interested in this item from the perspective of combustible dust. CSB is charged with investigating serious chemical accidents, and according to its website, it has conducted five major investigations and one study in the past eight years on the subject and believes it to be a very common issue.

EPA

2010 Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis — The EPA began 2012 by publishing its analysis of toxic release information for the year 2010. The analysis found that toxic chemical disposals into the air, land and water increased over the last two years. The results: 3.93 billion pounds of chemicals were released in 2010, up 16% from 2009.

EPA has New Greenhouse Gas Data Publication Tool — In addition to releasing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) information for 2010, the EPA also introduced its new GHG Data Publication Tool. The tool lets users choose a state or facility and view emissions on an interactive map. The map currently lists over 6,700 facilities and data can be sorted by location, industry and chemicals emitted.

Reaching Back: Two Big Items from EPA in November and December 2011 — First, in December, the EPA issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. The EPA expects the new standards will “as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year. The standards will also help America’s children grow up healthier – preventing 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year.”

Second, in November, the EPA quietly began the rule making process for aligning its standards with OSHA’s adoption of GHS. The two EPA standards affected are components of the Significant New Uses of Chemical Substances regulations (40 CFR 721). This marks the first big movement by the EPA in years to move toward GHS.

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