In Compliance: OSHA Direction for 2012

President Obama’s proposed budget for 2012 included funding for increased enforcement by the Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). A focus of that effort will be on small businesses, including businesses with as few as 20 people. The visits will include not only workplace safety stuff, but also labor laws and reviewing whether the workers are contractors or employees.

Here is a summary of some of the OSHA plans included in the budget proposal:

  • 25 additional employees for enforcement. According to OSHA, these 25 additional inspectors would “expand the agency’s enforcement presence.”
  • More inspections. OSHA estimates it will conduct 41,000 inspections from October 1, 2011, to September 30, 2012. That’s a 6.5 percent increase from the number of inspections conducted during fiscal 2010.
  • Smaller businesses targeted. The OSHA Site-Specific Targeting (SST) Program focuses inspections on businesses that report high injury rates. For the first time, SST will target businesses with 20 or more employees. Previously, the minimum number of employees was 40.
  • More publicity about “severe violators.” The OSHA Severe Violators Enforcement Program (SVEP) will develop a website displaying the names of SVEP employers. As of the end of 2010, OSHA categorized 89 businesses as SVEP cases. An interesting note: 78 percent of the SVEP cases were small businesses with less than 100 employees.
  • New emphasis programs for inspections. In 2012, three new National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) will start: Primary Metals, Diacetyl Substitutes, and Isocyanates. Other emphasis programs will continue, including Recordkeeping, which focuses on employers that underreport injuries and illnesses and also examines safety incentive programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries.
  • Increased corporate-wide settlements. OSHA plans to implement a new directive for its inspectors before 2012 on Corporate-Wide Settlement Agreements (CSAs) for multi-site employers. CSAs address safety and health hazards that exist at more than one employer location. The new directive will emphasize using these agreements for smaller employers with more than one location.
  • States must meet federal standards. OSHA will issue comprehensive evaluations of all state OSHA plans again in fiscal year 2012. OSHA wants to work with states to ensure their safety programs are equal to the federal one, particularly in enforcement.
  • OSHA inspectors broaden their reach. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is stepping up efforts to identify misclassification of employees as independent contractors. OSHA will train its inspectors to recognize where misclassification is occurring and to refer such situations to the proper DOL division for enforcement.

In Compliance: Plastic bag bans march on

In California, local governments in Santa Monica and Marin County have voted to ban single-use plastic carryout bags. This brings the number of areas in the United States with plastic bag bans to 18, and the number of bans enacted in January to 3. Both passed their bans, which cover both petroleum-based and bio-based plastic bags, on January 25.

In addition, South Padre Island, Texas, passed a plastic bag ban Jan. 19, and San Jose, Calif., passed a plastic bag ban in December – both of which go into effect Jan. 1, 2012.

The Marin County and Santa Monica bans are similar to the one enacted November 16 by Los Angeles County, which goes into effect July 1 for large retailers and Jan. 1, 2012, for smaller stores in the unincorporated areas of that county because it bars all retail establishments from providing lightweight, single-use plastic carryout bags to customers. The Marin County ban applies to supermarkets, grocery stores, delis, convenience stores, drugstores, retailers with $2 million or more in sales, and stores with at least 10,000 square feet that have a pharmacy.

The ban for unincorporated areas of Marin County is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2012, and requires stores charge 5 cents for each paper bag handed out. The county had delayed its scheduled vote for three weeks after a threatened lawsuit from the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition.

The Santa Monica ban further requires grocery stores and pharmacies – but not other retailers – charge customers at least 10 cents for standard-sized paper bags, which must be made of 100 percent recycled material and have a minimum of 40 percent recycled content. The stores will be able to keep the entire fee.

The Los Angeles County ban is scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2011, for grocery stores with $2 million or more in sales and retail stores with 10,000 square feet or more that have pharmacies. The ban goes into effect at liquor stores, food marts, and convenience stores Jan. 1, 2012.

The San Jose ban requires all retailers in the city of nearly 900,000 people to charge at least 10 cents at checkout for paper carryout bags, which must have at least 40 percent recycled content. The San Jose paper bag fee will increase from 10 cents to 25 cents in 2014.

Meanwhile, six towns in Marin County – San Rafael, Novato, Mill Valley, Tiburon, Sausalito, and San Anselmo – are working together to develop an ordinance to ban plastic bags and plastic polystyrene takeout containers. In addition, the California cities of Fremont, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Trent Hills, and Long Beach and Santa Clara County are also considering legislation to ban plastic bags. Plastic bag bans have also been proposed in the states of Arkansas, Oregon, and Vermont.

Besides Marin County and Santa Monica, San Francisco, Malibu, Palo Alto, Fairfax, Los Angeles County, and San Jose have enacted bag bans in California. Westport, Conn.; Edmonds, Wash.; the Alaska towns of Hooper Bay and Bethel; and the counties of Kauai and Maui in Hawaii also have plastic bag bans. The Outer Banks, N.C., counties of Hyde, Dare, and Currituck also have a ban on plastic bags, enacted as a single measure for those three counties.

In October, Telluride, Colo., passed a plastic bag ban that goes into effect March 1 and also requires retailers to charge 10 cents for paper bags. Washington, D.C., has had a 5-cent tax on plastic and paper bags at checkout since Jan. 1, 2010.


In Compliance: Copyright registration – electronic group filing for photos

The U.S. Copyright Office is adopting interim regulations governing the electronic submission of (1) applications for registration of automated databases that predominantly consist of photographs and (2) applications for group registration of published photographs. This interim rule establishes a testing period and pilot program during which the Copyright Office will assess the desirability and feasibility of permanently allowing such applications to be submitted through the electronic filing system of the Copyright Office (eCO).

Persons wishing to submit electronic applications to register copyrights of such photographic databases or groups of published photographs should contact the Visual Arts Division for permission and guidance on electronic registration. Notwithstanding the ordinary deposit requirements for group registration of automated databases, an electronic application for group registration of an automated database consisting predominantly of photographic authorship must include the image of each claimed photograph in the database. The interim regulations also allow applicants to use forms other than Form TX, as appropriate, when submitting paper applications to register group automated databases.

U.S. court settlement affirms right to photograph federal buildings

While photographing or taking video footage of a federal building may make those around you nervous, it won’t land you in jail, according to a court settlement reached in October.

The issue went to court after Antonio Musumeci of New Jersey was arrested by a Federal Protective Service officer last year for videotaping in a public plaza outside the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Courthouse in New York. Musumeci sued the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Protective Service agents who guard federal buildings.

New federal regulations address the issue of photographing federal buildings. Read the guidelines here.

OSHA recordkeeping requirements for recordable injuries or illnesses

The purpose of 29 CFR 1904, Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, is to require employers to record and report work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. For employers subject to the requirements of this section, any workplace incident involving an injury or illness meeting any of the general recording criteria defined at 29 CFR 1904.7 must be recorded and reported accordingly.

Employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act must comply with the recordkeeping requirements with two partial exceptions. The first partial exception extends to small companies employing 10 or less employees on a company-wide basis. The second partial exemption applies to business establishments in the retail, services, finance, insurance, or real estate industries with an SIC Code of 52-89.

These two categories of partially exempt employers are not required to keep Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) injury and illness records unless OSHA or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics informs them in writing that they must keep the records under 29 CFR 1904.41 and 1904.42, which involve maintaining and completing an Annual OSHA Injury and Illness Survey Form.

When determining if a case meets one or more of the general recording criteria, the following list applies:

• Death

• Loss of consciousness

• Days away from work

• Restricted work or transfer to another job

• Medical treatment beyond first aid

• A significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional

It is helpful to understand how OSHA defines both medical treatment and first aid for the purposes of 29 CFR 1904. Medical treatment is defined at 29 CFR 1904.7(b)(5)(i) as being the management and care of a patient to combat a disease or disorder. Medical treatment does not include:

• Visits to a physician or other licensed health care professional solely for observation or counseling

• Having diagnostic procedures conducted, such as X-rays and blood tests, including the administration of prescription medications used solely for diagnostic purposes (e.g., eye drops to dilate pupils)

• First aid as defined in paragraph 29 CFR 1904.7(b)(5)(ii)

First aid does include:

• Using a nonprescription medication at nonprescription strength

• Administering tetanus immunizations

• Cleaning, flushing, or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin

• Using wound coverings, such as bandages, Band-Aids ®, gauze pads, etc., or using Steri-Strips or butterfly bandages

• Using hot or cold therapy

• Using any nonrigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, nonrigid back belts, etc.

• Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (e.g., splints, slings, neck collars, backboards, etc.)

• Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluid from a blister

• Using eye patches

• Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab

• Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs, or other simple means

• Using finger guards

• Using massages

• Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress

Employers subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, regardless of whether or not they are in one of these partially exempt categories, must report to OSHA any workplace incident that results in a fatality or the hospitalization of three or more employees, in accordance with 29 CFR 1904.39.

PMA and SGIA present free workplace violence prevention programs for Ontario businesses

If your business is located in Ontario, Canada, and you have more than five employees, be sure to take part in a new “how to” online workshop presented by PMA and the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), designed to put you in compliance with the new provisions of Bill 168, Workplace Violence Program.  This new legislation requires all employers with more than 5 employees to have a formal program addressesing both workplace violence and harassment by June 15, 2010.

The online workshop, being offered May 18 and May 27, provides an overview of the new provisions and resources to help you comply.  All attendees will receive sample workplace policies, tools for conducting a risk assessment and sample procedures that you can customize to fit your operation.

Due to the importance of these new requirements, SGIA and PMA are pleased to offer this program free of charge to both members and nonmembers.  To register, click here.

In Compliance: Regulations proposed for reporting spills and discharges in Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposed regulations providing specific requirements for the reporting of releases, such as spills and discharges, to offer clarity for the regulated community.

Connecticut law currently requires reporting of any spill or discharge of hazardous materials; hazardous wastes; petroleum; or chemical solid, liquid, or gaseous products that pose a potential threat to human health or the environment. The law, however, does not define what constitutes a reportable release and what information needs to be reported in those cases.

The proposed regulations clarify the reporting requirements by providing specific notification procedures. These procedures spell out the types of materials for which releases must be reported, based upon either the quantity of the released material; the threats posed as a result of the chemical characteristics of the material; or the combination of the quantity, chemical characteristics, and location venue (i.e., catch basin or storm or sanitary sewer) that may cause public safety concerns.

The proposed regulations will also identify specific details that must be reported, as well as identify exceptions and exemptions to reporting requirements.

In 2007, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) proposed legislation to clarify reporting standards for spills and discharges. This led to discussions with DEP and the formation of an external advisory committee comprised of representatives of the regulated community. The participation of committee members assisted in the development of the proposed regulations.

Updates to International Shipping Regulations

International Air Transport Association (IATA) new air shipping regulations went into effect Jan. 1, 2011. Highlights of the changes include:

Packaging Instructions

Most of the packing instruction numbers have changed. This is true for Classes 3, 4, 5, 6.1, 8, and 9. Here are some examples of the new numbers:

Dry Ice: UN 1845 PI 954,

Consumer Commodity: ID 8000 PI Y963

Batteries, wet, filled with acid: UN 2794 PI 870

Lifesaving appliance, self-inflating: UN 2990 PI 955

A company using electronic computer applications to complete shipping papers should obtain updates for the applications from the respective vendors.

Note: Shipments with paperwork indicating they were prepared for shipment prior to January 1, 2011, may use current packing instructions until April 1, 2011.

Magnetized Materials, UN 2807

There is a new PI number: PI 953. Magnetized materials meeting the scientific criteria of PI 953 will not require a Shipper’s Declaration; instead, the shipper must provide documentation using the words “magnetized material” when stating the nature of the commodity to be shipped (those words must be on the air waybill). As before, however, the box must bear the magnetized material label.

IATA DGR Section 2

The IATA Section number for Excepted Quantities has been changed to 2.6, Limited Quantities to 2.7, and State and Operator Variations to 2.8.

Limited Quantities Shipments

You are no longer required to enter LTD QTY in the Authorizations Column of the Shipper’s Declaration []. Also, the requirement to mark LTD QTY on the box has been deleted. Instead, all packages of Limited Quantity shipments must bear the following mark (label can be purchased) []:

Consumer Commodities ID 8000. Each package of Consumer Commodities must bear the LTD QTY MARK (label) shown above [PI Y963 (m)] (this is in addition to the Class 9 label).

General Package Markings

The name and address of the shipper and consignee should be located near the Proper Shipping Name marking []. Note the word “should” – it is preferred but not mandatory [].

Radioactive Materials

When stating the package dimensions on the Shipper’s Declaration, the shipper must use the formula: length x width x height (in centimeters) [].

Miami Silver Control Program Reminder

Annual testing and certification for image processors following the Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM) Silver Control program is due in Miami-DERM offices by Jan. 31, 2011. This is specific to facilities operating under the best management practices (BMP) program.

Remember, the DERM program requires the analytical testing be conducted by a National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP) certified lab. Before sending a sample, remember to first check with your current testing lab to see if it is certified in Florida.