As the end of the federal fiscal year draws near, I wanted to share with all Arizona employers an overview of what is out and what is pending in terms of OSHA standards. First please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Jessie Atencio and I am an Assistant Director with the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health state OSHA program. I oversee our Cooperative State Programs as well as our Consultation department. We actively have an Alliance with AZUCA and thus we collaborate on articles like these as well as outreach training for their industry. Our office appreciates the relationship we have with the industry.
The first update concerns OSHA’s Recordkeeping and Reporting Rule and the new requirements on notifying ADOSH/OSHA. An employer is required to notify, or report to, ADOSH within 8 hours if there is a workplace fatality, a rule that has been in effect for many years. The additional reporting rules require an employer to contact ADOSH within 24 hours if an employee experiences an amputation, the loss of an eye, or if one employee is hospitalized due to a workplace incident or exposure. When ADOSH receives a report from the employer, a determination will be made regarding the need for further investigation by a Safety or Health Compliance Officer. The employer will most likely be contacted via a phone call, by a Compliance Section Supervisor to gather information about the incident; then the decision will be made regarding whether to handle it administratively or if an accident investigation will be pursued. Our ADOSH office has been enforcing the requirement as April 2016.
Many employers will have to contact ADOSH for an incident involving an employee when they are formally admitted to a hospital or clinic. It is important to know definitions within OSHA’s Recordkeeping and Reporting Rule as an accident may be recordable but not reportable based on OSHA definition of types of injuries. So, I encourage all employers to either contact the ADOSH Consultation department for more information or attend one of our recordkeeping training classes. Classes may be viewed on our current ADOSH Advocate ADOSH Training Schedule.
A second important update is OSHA’s Construction Confined Space Standard (29 CFR 1926.Subpart AA). For many years construction companies have turned to the General Industry Confined Space Standards (29 CFR 1910.146) for compliance guidance to ensure safety while working in the numerous and varied confined spaces found in construction. If you are familiar with the GI Confined Space Standards, most of the Construction Confined Space Standards may not seem new to you at all; but there are some new requirements that must be met by General Contractors and sub-contractors, separately and collectively, to prevent injury or illness to employees who are exposed to confined spaces. The multi-employer citation policy is discussed to ensure all employers are communicating the hazards and entry procedures during the confined space entry.
A third update focuses on OSHA penalty adjustments. OSHA’s maximum penalties, which were last adjusted in 1990, will increase by 78%. Going forward the agency will continue to adjust its penalties for inflation each year based on the Consumer Price Index. OSHA states that the new penalties will take effect after August 1, 2016. So as a state plan OSHA program what does this mean for Arizona? Arizona has an approved plan and must be at least as effective as the federal OSHA program. Therefore it is important employers know in our State that the following penalties will be seen in the future:
|Type of Violation||Current Maximum Penalty||New Maximum Penalty|
|$7,000 per violation||$12,471 per violation|
|Failure to Abate||$7,000 per day beyond the abatement date||$12,471 per day beyond the abatement date|
|Willful or Repeated||$70,000 per violation||$124,709 per violation|
To provide guidance to the OSHA and ADOSH staff on the implementation of the new penalties, OSHA will issue revisions to its Field Operations Manual by August 1, 2016. To address the impact of these penalties increased on smaller businesses, OSHA and ADOSH will continue to provide penalty reductions based on the size of the employer and other factors. For more information visit the following website ASHA Penalties.
Finally, there is one standard that is promised to be released by the end of this federal fiscal year. That standard update if for the General Industry Walking Working Surfaces Standard or 1910.21 – 1910.30. The standard has been a work in progress from the current standard enforced but OSHA has not released an official date. When it comes you should be aware that ADOSH has six months to adopt. At that time information will be shared through stakeholder meetings, trade association meetings, the ADOSH Advocate, or by email blast.
I thank you all for your time in reading this update and encourage each of you to take part in our free and confidential ADOSH Consultation and Training services. Many employers in our great State have used us in the past and positive results were gained by the employer in the end. As always no citations or penalties are applied to consultation visits where hazards were discovered. Rather we work with an employer to abate the hazard and learn ways to actively seek out hazards along with implementing controls that eliminate them all together. We strive to gain partners in the community by working together and take proactive action in the prevention of an injury or illness to an employee. So I invite anyone to call our office and learn more about the Cooperative State Programs we have.
For more information on these services please call: 1-855-268-5251