OSHA is accepting comments for proposed heat hazards rule
Record-breaking heat in the U.S. during 2021 endangered millions of workers in indoor and outdoor work environments, according to osha.gov.
On Oct. 27, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings.
Currently, OSHA does not have a specific standard for hazardous heat conditions; however, some OSHA state-plan states, such as California, already have heat-related illness standards in place. This action began the process to consider a national heat-specific workplace rule. Once published, OSHA state-plan states will have to ensure their rules are at least as effective as the new federal rule.
The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking initiated a comment period to gather perspectives regarding topics such as heat-stress thresholds, heat-acclimatization planning and exposure monitoring. Comments can be submitted at regulations.gov. Comments must refer to Docket No. OSHA-2021-0009, and all comments must be submitted by Jan. 26. NRCA will submit comments on behalf of its members.
Vaccine mandate for federal contractors is blocked nationwide
The Biden administration’s mandate for federal contractors’ employees to be vaccinated will be halted nationwide amid a series of challenges from states that claim the president overstepped his authority in requiring the COVID-19 shots, according to Bloomberg Law.
The mandate, which was set to take effect Jan. 4, applies to about a quarter of the U.S. workforce and affects companies that conduct business with the federal government.
A federal judge in Georgia blocked the mandate Dec. 7, 2021. The latest order follows a Kentucky federal judge’s grant of a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit involving Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.
The government contractor mandate led to a series of federal lawsuits from states seeking to block its implementation, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas. They argue the administration lacks the authority to require vaccinations and the mandate violates the U.S. Constitution.
Fall protection again tops list of OSHA’s most-cited violations
Recent data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration show dangers from falls at construction sites remain the most frequently cited hazard on OSHA’s list of most-cited violations for fiscal year 2021, which ended Sept. 30. Construction blog constructconnect.com shared a list of OSHA’s top 10 construction-specific violations.
Other rules related to construction falls are among the top 10 violations, including ladders, scaffolds and training.
OSHA generally requires construction workers exposed to falls of 6 feet or more to wear protective gear, such as harnesses, or be protected by guardrails and trained regarding how to avoid falling.
Following are the top 10 most-cited violations in construction for fiscal year 2021:
OSHA issued 16,749 citations from 6,624 inspections during fiscal year 2021 to construction companies, totaling more than $58 million in penalties.