EH&S NEWS YOU CAN USE
June 2021
The latest industry topics and trends
OSHA NEWS
OSHA ISSUES TWO NEW COVID-19 DOCUMENTS
By David Blane 
 
On Thursday, June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued two new documents aimed at protecting workers from SARS CoV-2 the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

The first is an update to OSHA’s current guidance on mitigating and preventing the spread of the disease in all workplaces. The second is an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for healthcare settings.

COVID-19 GUIDANCE FOR ALL WORKPLACES

The updated COVID-19 Guidance for Workplaces focuses only on protecting unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers in their workplaces. Except for workplace settings covered by OSHA’s ETS and mask requirements for public transportation, most employers are no longer required to take steps to protect their workers from COVID-19 exposure in any workplace, or well-defined portions of a workplace, where all employees are fully vaccinated.

Employers should engage with workers and their representatives to determine how to implement multi-layered interventions to protect unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including:

  1. Grant paid time off for employees to get vaccinated.
  2. Instruct any workers who are infected, unvaccinated workers who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and all workers with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home from work.
  3. Implement physical distancing for unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers in all communal areas.
  4. Provide unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers with face coverings or surgical masks, unless their work task requires a respirator or other PPE.

Read our full blog post for more details on the All Workplace Guidance and the ETS for healthcare workers.
HAZ COMM REVISION UPDATE
In the March issue, we told you about the OSHA notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the U.S. Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to conform with Revision 7 of the United Nations GHS. Since our chemical management staff has been watching the process closely, we wanted to offer this additional information:

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
The public comment period closed on May 19 and there is no current timeline for the final rule to be published.

SDS UPDATE TIMELINE
Once finalized and SDS content is in place, affected parties will have:
  • 1 year from the final rule to issue updated SDSs for single ingredient/pure substances, and
  • 2 years from the final rule to issue updated SDSs for mixture.

THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PROPOSED CHANGES
  • Affect hazard classification for flammable gases, aerosols and some explosives.
  • Provide further clarification for hazards associated with a change in the chemical’s physical form. In other words, more information for intended users of materials that come in a solid but a process could generate a combustible dust or heated and could generate fumes.
  • Include changes to labeling (Note: CEHS will follow and ensure the FOUNDATION system labeling module is modified to reflect this change).
 

Our Chemical Management team is closely monitoring the proposed changes. After the rule becomes final, our team will monitor and update the FOUNDATION system to ensure that applicable manufacturer and supplier SDSs are updated and available in a timely manner. In addition, Cornerstone’s IT department will make system modifications to reflect changes associated in hazard classes, pictograms, signal words and precautionary statements when the final rule is published. 
Heat Illness Poster Available
Summer is coming and OSHA is offering a new poster of tips for preventing heat illness at work.

EPA NEWS
EPA TO OFFER PUBLIC LISTENING SESSIONS ON RMP RULE
The U.S. EPA announced two upcoming virtual public listening sessions regarding the Risk Management Plan (RMP) rule. The sessions will give interested people the opportunity to present information, and provide comments or views pertaining to revisions made to the RMP rule since 2017.

The RMP rule requires certain industrial facilities to prevent accidental air releases of dangerous chemicals that could cause deaths, injuries, property, and environmental damage, or require evacuations in surrounding communities. These plans provide valuable information to local fire, police, and emergency response personnel to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies in their community. 

The virtual public listening sessions will be held on:
  • June 16, 2021 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. eastern time.
  • July 8, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. eastern time.

Those interested in speaking can sign up for a 3-minute speaking slot on EPA’s website at: https://www.epa.gov/rmp/forms/virtual-public-listening-sessions-risk-management-program-rule.

Members of the public also can submit written comments via the docket at: http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OLEM-2021-0312 until July 15, 2021. 
EPA ANNOUNCES PHASE DOWN OF OZONE-DEPLETERS AND SUGGESTS SUBSTITUTES
In May, the U.S. EPA announced a phase down in production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the United States by 85 percent over the next 15 years. The agency expects a global HFC phase down to avoid up to 0.5° Celsius of global warming by 2100.

In conjunction, the agency published a final rule expanding the list of substitutes for ozone-depleting refrigerants, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), HFCs, and flame retardants.

This rule became effective June 7, 2021 and specifically:
  • Lists R–448A, R–449A and R– 449B as acceptable, subject to narrowed use limits, for use in retail food refrigeration—medium-temperature stand-alone units for new equipment
  • Lists R–452B, R–454A, R–454B, R–454C and R–457A as acceptable, subject to use conditions, for use in residential and light commercial air conditioning (AC) and heat pumps for new equipment
  • Lists R–32 as acceptable, subject to use conditions, for use in residential and light commercial AC and heat pumps—equipment other than self-contained room air conditioners, for new equipment
  • Removes Powdered Aerosol E from the list of fire suppression substitutes subject to use conditions in total flooding applications.
STATE NEWS
Indiana
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is in the process of amending two rules that protect the state’s water quality. Specifically, they are looking to revise their rules for secondary containment (LSA #21-128) and spill reporting (LSA #21-129).

Tennessee and Delaware
Tennessee and Delaware became the most recent states to adopt the Federal Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule.

They join more than 30 other states that have either authorized or adopted the federal package of rule, consisting of more than 60 changes to the hazardous waste generator regulations that identify and clarify existing requirements.

Oregon and Michigan
Oregon become the second state to adopt a permanent safety and health standard to protect workers from Covid-19.


Michigan has extended its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) through October 14.

CORNERSTONE HIGHLIGHTS
SERVICE HIGHLIGHT
USING LEADING INDICATORS TO PREVENT WORKPLACE INJURIES
By Joshua Sampia

All companies have an obligation to create a safe work environment that allows their employees to do their jobs with minimal risk of injury. Most business understand their obligation to report accidents and illnesses to government agencies at the federal, state, and local level.

What if you could use modern technology and trends to not only create a safer work environment but also prevent injuries from ever happening? This would save you time and money from completing reports, medical billing, and insurance claims, as well as reduce lost work time hours.

WHAT ARE LEADING INDICATORS?
Leading indicators are data points that can help predict future events and trends. This is where having a proactive safety culture comes into play. Leading indicators can be used to assess workplace culture in order to develop safety plans to minimize risk and increase productivity. OSHA defines leading indicators as “proactive and preventive measures that can shed light about the effectiveness of safety and health activities and reveal potential problems in a safety and health program.”

The cost of worker’s compensation claims can range from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the nature of the incident. Having a program in place that can help prevent even one of those claims will automatically pay for itself. There also are many other intangible benefits like reduced costs for worker’s compensation insurance or a reduction in the number of fines. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

SET GOALS FOR LEADING INDICATORS
Most companies have goals set for lagging indicators, such as a threshold for lost work time or number of injuries; however, your organization should also set goals for leading indicators, such as:
  • Attendance Rates
  • Safety Observations

Read the full blog post for more information on leading indicators, goal setting, and the technology and software available to track them.
EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT
MARSHALL AND MALLIN TO ATTEND IEDA CONFERENCE
Kevin Mallin
Chris Marshall
If you are attending the Indiana Economic Development Association Conference from June 17-18, look for Cornerstone's Kevin Mallin and Chris Marshall in the virtual event and the in-person Indianapolis reception. They will be happy to discuss all your Environmental, Health and Safety needs.
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