OSHA issues final rule for head protection

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI's) consensus standard references within OSHA's construction regulation for head protection (29 CFR §1926.100).

OSHA's current regulation states hard hats used in construction must meet the specifications contained in two obsolete ANSI standards. The recently issued final rule says hard hats must comply with ANSI Z89.1-1997, ANSI Z89.1-2003 or ANSI Z89.1-2009 (formally titled ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2009). Most hard hats available for sale to roofing contractors likely will be tested according to the 2009 ANSI/ISEA standard's new test protocols, which include provisions for certifying hard hats worn in the bill-forward or bill-backward position (often an issue on construction job sites). Hard hats meeting this specification are marked with this symbol: .

Hard hats meeting the 1997 or 2003 ANSI standards' test criteria will comply with the revised OSHA regulation. Hard hats compliant with earlier ANSI standards likely aren't available and will not comply with the OSHA standard when the final rule becomes effective Sept. 20.

Additionally, OSHA has announced it will follow the temporary enforcement policy in cases of construction cranes and derricks that have proximity alarms or insulating links and are operating near power lines.

The construction cranes and derricks policy, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC, includes several options for cranes and derricks performing construction activities near power lines, some of which involve proximity alarms or insulating links or devices. Subpart CC defines a proximity alarm and an insulating link or device as devices that warn of proximity to power lines or that insulate against electricity and that have been "listed, labeled or accepted by a nationally recognized testing laboratory in accordance with §29 CFR 1910.7."

Because no current proximity alarm or insulating link or device meets the Subpart CC nationally recognized testing laboratory requirements, OSHA will follow the temporary policy until Nov. 8, 2013. The temporary policy says employers may not rely on any proximity alarm to comply with 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC. A company using a proximity alarm along with an additional measure, such as a dedicated spotter or range control warning device from 1926.1407(b)(3) or 1926.1408(b)(4), will not be cited.

Campaign helps National Guardsmen find jobs

The Center for America has made registration available for the American Jobs for America's Heroes campaign, an ongoing nonprofit initiative that helps unemployed National Guard members, veterans and spouses find skilled jobs in the private sector. Qualified employers who register for the campaign are provided with free access to a database of unemployed National Guard members.

Corporate America Supports You and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network work with employers using a case management approach to actively match National Guard members and military veterans to employers' specific job requirements. Case managers work with each applicant and company until needs are met.

Employers looking for skilled and experienced employees can register and post jobs for free at www.centerforamerica.org.

Hawaii agency requests OSHA assistance

Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health (HIOSH) has requested assistance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure workers are adequately protected while the agency improves its performance.

During the past three years, HIOSH has faced budgetary and hiring restraints. During a 2009-10 nationwide review of state plans, OSHA found HIOSH failed to meet staffing benchmarks, inspection targets and time limits for complaint investigations, and HIOSH inspectors were found to lack training and failed to issue citations for obvious hazards found during inspections. As of March, HIOSH employed five safety inspectors and five health inspectors, which is less than the required nine safety inspectors and nine health inspectors. OSHA and HIOSH have made efforts to address these issues, but HIOSH continues to face program, staffing and training issues.

As a result, OSHA must modify Hawaii's state plan approval status from final approval to initial approval. While a state is in initial state plan approval status, OSHA can enforce federal requirements as a supplement to state plan enforcement.

OSHA regulations provide that in states with initially approved plans, OSHA and the state may enter into an agreement describing the division of responsibilities between them. OSHA and HIOSH are developing an agreement, which also will include a timetable for remedial action to make state operations "at least as effective" as federal standards and enforcement and ensure the state complies with applicable staffing benchmarks. HIOSH has pledged to accomplish the corrective actions necessary to regain final approval in a timely manner.


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