Construction industry groups are applauding President Donald Trump’s decision to sign a measure that eliminates a rule that would allow OSHA to issue citations for recordkeeping violations up to 5 years old. The previous statute of limitations was 6 months.
The “Volks Rule,” as it was known, took effect in January of this year, after President Obama passed the resolution in December. Both the House and the Senate voted to repeal the rule in March of this year, before Trump also signed the resolution in early April.
Contractors are still required by OSHA to keep injury and illness records for 5 years, based upon current OSHA standards that were not subject to repeal, however.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) issued press releases after the President’s decision to pass the resolution. Both organizations claimed that increasing the statute of limitations on recordkeeping violations would have created a burden of paperwork for contractors, while also failing to improve worker health and safety.
“ABC looks forward to continuing to work with OSHA to develop standards that include real-world input from contractors and accomplish the agency’s important goal of improving jobsite safety without unduly burdening job creators,” said ABC Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs Kristen Swearingen in a press release.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of 3 different drills manufactured by Black & Decker due to safety concerns.
Just over a year ago, in September of 2017, Hurricane Irma blew through Miami, Florida, bringing extremely high speed wind with it. The wind caused 3 cranes to collapse in southern Florida, 2 in downtown Miami and 1 more in Ft. Lauderdale. Interesting video of the dismantling of one of the failed cranes was shared on Youtube.
In September of 2017, OSHA’s new standard on exposure to respirable crystalline silica went into effect in the construction industry. The rule lowered the allowable exposure to the harmful substance to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, a measurement that we’re all familiar with [/sarcasm]. After a full year of enforcement, OSHA is considering making a change to the rule.
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Last week, we shared some newly updated Trenching and Excavation safety information from OSHA, which was part of their priority goals for 2018. Those updates included a public service announcement and updated online resources. The administration has just announced the update of their National Emphasis Program (NEP) on trenching and excavation safety, which features a period of education and prevention outreach.
Earlier this year, it was announced that reducing injuries and deaths caused by trenching and excavation collapses would be a priority goal for OSHA in 2018. The administration planned to achieve this through increased inspection rates, public service announcements (PSA), updating online resources, and creating a better public-private partnership. Recently, OSHA made good on their promise to issue PSAs and update their online resources.
In a time where many industry groups are strongly fighting against new regulations of any kind, more than 130 organizations have co-signed a petition for OSHA to establish a national standard for heat protection across many industries.
As other organizations, like the NTSB, are busy analyzing the root cause of the pedestrian bridge collapse that killed 6 people and injured 8 others in Florida in March, OSHA has finished their investigation and issued safety violations to 5 different contractors.