OSHA Announces 2011 Agenda: Chemicals, Construction, Communication

In late December, OSHA published its semiannual agenda listing regulations it expects to have under active consideration for promulgation, proposal, or review during the coming 6- to 12-month period. In a January 5 online chat, OSHA leader David Michaels elaborated on the agenda.

Said Michaels, “In particular, OSHA is focused on improving worker awareness of the health and safety risks posed by hazardous chemicals. We are pleased to announce that in 2011 we will be publishing the final rule to revise our Hazard Communication Standard. Additionally, this agenda also reflects two new initiatives that are focused on hazards in the high risk construction industry: Backing Operations and Reinforcing and Post-Tensioned Steel Construction.”

He continued, “Most employers want to take the steps necessary to protect their employees. OSHA’s proposed regulatory initiative, the Injury and Illness Prevention Program proposal, will help employers to set up a process to “find and fix” workplace hazards. This approach has been embraced by thousands of employers across the country, and is very similar to standards currently in place in California and several other states.”

This year OSHA anticipates publishing final rules for Confined Spaces in Construction, General Working Conditions for Shipyards, Electric Power Transmission, Hazard Communication and Standards Improvement. They also anticipate publishing finals for several whistle-blower regulations and a proposed rule for silica.

OSHA WARNING Poison See MSDS Follow Safe Handling Sign

Understanding how to handle poisonous materials is a good way to avoid being poisoned yourself. OSHA will soon be updating its policies on the handling of poisons and other chemicals. This may require additional signage on chemical containers.