ASTM International develops program
ASTM International has developed a new program, Supplier's Declaration of Conformity, an outgrowth of the organization's certification programs.
The program is available to any supplier, manufacturer, distributor or private brand owner. Now, suppliers who have products tested to ASTM International test methods will register specific information regarding their products, accredited labs and ASTM International test methods. Once accepted by ASTM International, suppliers can provide documentation or request ASTM to provide documentation to their customers.
Supplier's Declaration of Conformity conforms to the requirements of ISO/IEC 17050-1 and 17050-2, "Conformity Assessment-Supplier's Declaration of Conformity." The program applies to ASTM International test methods, not ASTM International specifications.
More information about Supplier's Declaration of Conformity is available at www.astm.org/suppliers.
OSHA announces fall-protection awareness campaign
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has announced a new fall-protection awareness campaign led by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The campaign will provide employers and employees with information and educational materials about working safely on ladders, scaffolds and roofs.
OSHA's fall-prevention campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program (NORA). OSHA and NIOSH will work with trade associations, labor unions, employers, universities, community and faith-based organizations, and consulates to provide employers and employees with education and training on common-sense fall-prevention equipment and strategies.
OSHA has created a fall-prevention Web page, www.osha.gov/stopfalls, which features information in English and Spanish regarding fall-protection standards. NIOSH and NORA also have created a Web page on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website at www.cdc.gov/niosh/construction/stopfalls.html, as well as a joint website about fall prevention at www.stopconstructionfalls.com.
Additionally, David Michaels, OSHA's assistant secretary of labor, held a press conference May 7 announcing OSHA's 2012 Heat Illness Prevention Campaign, a nationwide effort to educate employees and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in heat and how to prevent heat-related illnesses.
OSHA's heat illness Web page features industry-specific educational materials and resources, including a new heat illness smart phone application in English and Spanish. The application calculates the heat index for a specific job site, displays the risk level to outdoor workers based on the heat index, and sends reminders to employers and employees about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to protect themselves from heat-related illnesses.
More information is available at www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness.
Court blocks NLRB regulation
On April 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an injunction blocking the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from enforcing a regulation requiring employers to post a notice of employee rights in the workplace. The regulation was scheduled to take effect April 30 but now is on hold indefinitely pending further litigation.
The court issued an injunction because of a request by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), NRCA and other plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the regulation on the grounds NLRB does not have authority under law to issue the regulation. In March, the court ruled NLRB has authority to issue the regulation but invalidated most of its enforcement mechanisms. This mixed ruling has been appealed by CDW, other plaintiffs and NLRB.
The court issued its injunction in recognition of the pending appeals of its March decision, as well as in response to another decision in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina made April 13. In that case, brought by the U.S. and South Carolina Chambers of Commerce, the court ruled NLRB does not have authority under federal law to issue the regulation. NLRB may appeal the decision.
The appeal of the court ruling on the CDW/NRCA lawsuit is not expected to be ruled on until at least October, and enforcement of the regulation is on hold until that time. Depending on the outcome of this litigation, the regulation could be invalidated completely.
An announcement by NLRB acknowledging the injunction is available at www.nlrb.gov/news/nlrb-chairman-mark-gaston-pearce-recent-decisions-regarding-employee-rights-posting.
Center releases paper regarding LEED® credit
The Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing actively has been involved in the public comment period for LEED 2012, which is the next version of the LEED Green Building Rating System.
Although the center has commented on numerous credits within the various public drafts of LEED 2012, one new credit, "Avoidance of Chemicals of Concern," poses unusual challenges for the center's members, roofing industry, building designers and building owners. The center has released a paper, "LEED 2012 and Avoidance of Chemicals of Concern," discussing its issues with the credit. Some concerns mentioned in the paper include market disruption, undermining of fundamental sustainability goals, suitability of proposed chemical lists, lack of consensus regarding hazard-based assessment and product exclusion, and involuntary consequences of a "voluntary" guideline.
The center's paper describing the LEED 2012 credit and explaining the roofing industry's concerns is available at www.nrca.net/rp/news/0512_leed_position_paper.pdf.
Officials discuss standards and regulations
Obama administration officials met May 1 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to address how consensus standards developed by private entities should be incorporated by reference into government regulations and how to ensure the government has adequate input on the standards before they are incorporated. The panel was convened jointly by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), an independent U.S. government agency that makes recommendations on how the federal government issues regulations and carries out its various functions.
The high prices of consensus standards have raised concern among the regulated community, some claiming they cannot afford to purchase copies of the rules that govern them.
According to some, the pay model makes it difficult to submit comments to the government during the rulemaking phase and to know what the law is once a rule referencing a for-pay standard has been finalized.
Separately, on May 9, the Small Business Administration held a roundtable meeting with small-business owners to discuss how incorporation by reference of consensus standards will affect their companies. The American Bar Association's administrative law section and National Academies of Sciences also are developing their own recommendations.