The U.S. Department of Labor finally recently published its 2013 Spring Regulatory Agenda. Despite the extra time, a number of dates are still shown as “00” or undetermined / to be determined.

But hey, at least they’re not handling our healthcare…

It's not like they should be held accountable to deadlines like they do us, right?
It’s not like they should be held accountable to deadlines like they do us, right?

But tucked in the 67 pages of Spring Regulatory Agenda we found good news regarding two items affecting our precision machining industry.

Item 1, Cooperative Agreements

According to the Regulatory Agenda, OSHA has “withdrawn”  RIN # 1218-AC32,  effective 07/00/2013, (whatever “00” means) which would have-

  • eliminated exemptions from inspections for companies regardless of  participation in Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) exemption status;
  • allow Compliance Safety and Health Officers to proceed with enforcement visits resulting from referrals at sites undergoing Consultation visits and at sites that have been awarded SHARP status;
  • limit the deletion period from OSHA’s programmed inspection schedule for those employers participating in the SHARP program.

I guess someone figured out that there would be no incentive at all for companies to participate in these programs if their was no employer benefit at all.

Item 2, Revising Record Requirements in the Mechanical Power Press Standard

The other good news item  in the Spring Agenda was the notice that OSHA is Revising Record Requirements in the Mechanical Power Press Standard, RIN:  1218-AC80. Notice of proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Direct Final Rule dated 07/00/2013:

“As part of the Department of Labor’s burden hour and cost reduction initiatives, OSHA will examine revoking requirements for employers to prepare and maintain periodic records certifying that the employer performed the required tests and inspections on machinery.  The purpose of revoking these records is to minimize paperwork burdens imposed on employers.  Recently, OSHA revoked requirements that employers develop and retain training records for a number of standards when the revocation did not adversely affect worker safety and health.”

The other 8 OSHA items have potential major impact on our shops. We’re analyzing them for reporting to our members.

We call our attention to regulatory issues “PMPA  Regulatory Assurance.”

Who is working on this for you? Where do you go for OSHA regulatory guidance? Are your HR people proactively working these issues?

Thanks to  EndUserSharePoint for the photo

Deborah Keegan on IndustryWeek Manufacturing Network on LinkedIn asked  “What is the one thing you need young workers who are joining your workforce this summer to know in order to be safe?”

See the discussion here.

How many of you would answer-

  • “Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?”
  • “Safety Rules”
  • “Machine Guarding?”
  • “Safety Training?”
  • “OSHA?”
  • “My boss?”

What is your answer?

What really keeps you safe?
What really keeps you safe?

Time’s up!

I am passionate about safety, so of course I had to put my two cents in…

What keeps you safe is the knowledge that ” ‘you are nothing more than a plastic bag filled with water and everything around you is harder, stronger and more powerful. Your safety depends on your understanding that you are the most vulnerable of everything in our shop environment.’ I started in the steel mill blast furnace department in high school surrounded by rail trains,  mobile equipment, hot metal,  noxious fumes, overhead cranes, and high powered equipment. My buddies who thought they were strong and powerful all had injuries at one time or another. My attitude of being the most vulnerable kept me in one piece.”

What keeps YOU safe?

If “Knowledge of how vulnerable you are” and an “Attitude of being vulnerable to all the hazards in your area” aren’t your answers, Maybe you should take a moment to think about what is really keeping you safe. Or not.

Thanks to Deborah Keegan for starting a great discussion. Check it out on Industry Week Manufacturing Network on LinkedIn

Photocredit: Somalian Body Armor

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels will speak at PMPA’s Management Update Conference in Glendale, Arizona on Friday, February 15, 2013.


We have scheduled an hour and a half interactive discussion of workplace safety issues with Director Michaels. I will be moderator of the discussion.

What questions would you like to ask the Director  of OSHA and number 2  at Department of Labor?

What thoughts would you like to share with him?

I will do my best to make sure that the most relevant and timely issues are discussed, but first I would like to know what is on your mind?

What has been YOUR experience?

What questions would YOU ask?

What advice would YOU offer Director Michaels?

OSHA ‘s Severe Violator Enforcement Program  (SVEP) has been in effect since June 18, 2010. So what does an employer have to do to get out of this program? OSHA published Removal Criteria for SVEP  August 16, 2012.

SVEP is like Double Secret Probation except it’s no secret…

SVEP  is intended to focus agency resources on employers that demonstrate indifference to their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act with willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.

To date, 288 inspections have been designated as SVEP inspections.

What must an employer do to be removed from SVEP?

  • Only after a period of three years from the date of final disposition of the SVEP inspection citation items.
  • Employers must have abated all SVEP–related hazards affirmed as violations,
  • Paid all final penalties,
  • Abided by and completed all settlement provisions,
  • Not received any additional serious citations related to the hazards identified in the SVEP inspection at the initial establishment or at any related establishments.

If an employer “fails to abate all hazards, pay all penalties, or comply with settlement terms during this three-year period, the Regional
Administrator shall notify DEP with a brief summary of the situation. The employer will remain on the SVEP log for an additional three years and will then be reevaluated.”

Find the Removal Criteria Memorandum here.

OSHA SVEP Removal Criteria News Release

Dean Wormer Photo

The new HAZCOMM 2012 ‘Right to Understand’ will impact 5 million businesses at an OSHA estimated cost of only $201 million dollars.

Thats just $40 per workplace to cover:

  • Cost of classifying Chemical hazards to meet the new GHS criteria;
  • Cost to revise Safety Data sheets and labels to meet the new format and content requirements;
  • Cost to train 43 million employeeson the new format and content of material symbols and data sheets;
  • Cost to management of those 5 million workplaces to become familiar with the new GHS requirements, assess, revise, develop and implement new compliance materials needed to adopt GHS;
  • Cost for printing new packaging and labels in color;

OSHA thinks that we can do it for $201 million a year- that’s just $40 per workplace!

OSHA says this is all it will cost your shop to adopt this new standard, become familiar with its requirements, reclassify all your chemicals, train your people, change all labels and data sheets. WHAT were they thinking?

Using Department of Labor enforced Federal Minimum Wages, $7.25 an hour, that means that they think that it will only take 5,5 hours to get a shop into compliance.

(Please, correct my math if I’m wrong!)

5-1/2 hours!

The PDF of the final rule is 858 pages!

Just to read that in 5.5 hours would mean reading 156 pages per hour.

At a nickel a page, just printing the final rule puts us over at $42.90.

Who the heck does these estimates? What were they thinking?

We really understand that regulations can provide a benefit to workers, companies and communities.

Especially where hazardous chemicals are involved.

But when the regulators underestimate the potential costs of adoption and compliance by such a large factor, it makes us wonder what other assumptions are they working under that are just as wrong?

P.S.  Do you think that OSHA or OIRA actually have  employee’s that can read 156 pages of federal technical regulation in an hour? At $7.25 an hour?

File under “If you can’t get something through the legislative process, just create a new rule.
In yet another instance of making an undated announcement on its website,  DOL/OSHA (sometime, recently, yesterday, who knows?) announced its Safety and Health Practices Survey of private sector employers  regarding their current safety and health practices.
According to OSHA “This survey will allow OSHA to better design future rules, compliance assistance, and outreach efforts.”
What the original Federal Register notice said was that this survey ” is to gain information… to support its rulemaking effort directed toward requiring employers to
establish injury and illness prevention programs to monitor and more effectively implement practices to mitigate workplace hazards…” (Emphasis ours.)
Link to Fed Reg 12 Aug 2010 Vol 75 no. 155, pps 48992-48994
The undated OSHA Announcement web page continues:
“The survey, which may contact as many as 19,000 employers nationwide, will ask questions about employers’ current practices with regard to safety and health management in their workplaces. For example, the survey will ask employers if they already have a safety management system, whether they perform annual inspections, who manages safety at their establishment, and what kinds of hazards they encounter at their facilities.”
No mention of whether or not the survey comes with a copy of Miranda Rights warning for employers.
But as we have shown in the original federal register posting, the intent is to justify their putsch for mandating Injury and Illness Prevention Plans. (I2P2)
I2P2 is the OSHA plan to backdoor implement the ergonomics standard into effect that was rejected under the Congressional Review act. It creates a means to hold employers accountable for hazards that even the authorities haven’t identified, and to the  requirements of the rejected ergonomics standard. (Concerned?read the coverage from The Hill on this issue.)
The survey will come via mail, and is being conducted by a contractor, ERG. The webpage mentions a website for the survey as well, but in the same fashion as not dating  the OSHA web announcements, the address of the survey website seems to have been omitted. According to the OMB filing  a sample of 400 establishments from “Group 6. Final Manufacturing” is anticipated. This group contains our  industry’s 3 digit NAICS code 332.
If you are selected, they will follow up: “As noted above, reminder postcards will be sent to potential respondents two weeks after the mailing of the initial survey invitation letter. After four weeks, telephone contact with each nonrespondent will be attempted to encourage completion of the questionnaire either electronically or by mail. Callers will attempt up to six calls to reach the potential respondents. A final reminder postcard will be mailed after six weeks to the remaining nonrespondents. OSHA’s survey contractor will also implement a help line to answer both telephone and e-mail questions about the survey posed by respondents.”- Pdf OMB approval of survey
Tool You Can Use
 The undated OSHA web announcement plainly states: “Participation in the survey is voluntary.”
Link to OSHA’s undated Safety and Health Practices Survey Announcement
You’ve Got Mail

Rate declining well ahead of the arrival of the new sheriff.

Guest post courtesy of Jim Stanley at FDR Safety
There’s great news in a recent report from OSHA – injury and illness rates, collectively known as recordables, were down sharply in 2009 compared with 2005.
As you can see from the chart above, the trend line moved on a steady downward path.
Of course that’s great news for workers and their companies. With a safer workplace, everyone wins.
But the chart does make you wonder. Nearly all that progress in injury and illness reduction was made prior to OSHA’s announcement that there was a new “sheriff” in town for workplace safety enforcement.
Under the Bush administration, there was a much stronger emphasis on voluntary cooperation between industry and OSHA. When the Obama administration took over, OSHA’s new leaders said the voluntary approach did not do enough to protect workers and reduce injuries and illnesses. But many business leaders have complained that OSHA’s enforcement push has been misguided and overdone.
As time goes on and OSHA compiles figures for 2010 and 2011, during the full bloom of the enforcement campaign, it will be interesting to see where the trend line goes and whether the sheriff got the real job done – keeping workers safe.
Nothing like a graph of some data to help us see the situation clearly. Thank you Jim.
FDR Safety Home

On February 10th 2011 OSHA issued new enforcement guidelines in regards to personal protective equipment (PPE).
Here’s the link: PPE Enforcement Guidance
“This instruction, Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry, establishes OSHA’s general enforcement and guidance policy for its standards addressing personal protective equipment (PPE). It instructs OSHA enforcement personnel on both theagency’s interpretations of those standards and the procedures for enforcing them.” 

Not legal in the USA!

 The scope of this enforcement guidance includes head, face, eye, foot , respiratory protection , protective clothing and electrical protective equipment. All per 29 CFR 1910.132 through 29 CFR 1910.138. The areas that will directly impact  Precision machining establishments include:
1) Assuring that the proper personal protective equipment has been properly chosen and issued,;
2) An active program of enforcement is in place on its proper usage.  
3) Documentation should be in place in regards to  both of these aspects, as well as regarding no cost to employees as discussed in the new guidance provision.
Have you reviewed  your  company’s personal protective equipment policy / program ?
Are you aware of the new OSHA enforcement guidance?
Below are a few tips to consider in your review 

  • Has a Job Safety Analysis been performed on all tasks to determine if PPE is required ?
  • Has the proper PPE been selected?
  • Is the PPE properly maintained, inspected and stored ?
  • Have medical exams been given to  employees in reference to the use of certain types of PPE?
  • Are all records pertaining to your PPE program current ?

The new guidance document is a 54 page .pdf easily downloadable. I’d urge you to download and review it now. 
Post coauthored by James Pryor and Miles Free
photo Copyright  (C) 2003-2011 Miles Free


Post by James Pryor II  American Safety And Health Management Consultants, Inc.
Your shops’s LOCKOUT /TAGOUT program is the “key” to safety on machinery and equipment repair and maintenance operations.

Lockout tagout is the KEY to hazardous Energy Control!

An effective and stringent LOCKOUT/ TAGOUT program provides critical protection for employees during repairs and maintenance.
Here are a few checklist items to  evaluate your Lockout Tagout program.
1. Review OSHA 29CFR1910.147  the Federal Lockout/Tagout  regulation.
2. Review Requirements for Lockout/ Tagout devices- they must be durable, standardized, substantial  and identifiable.
3. Review all equipment requiring Lockout/Tagout- for example Locks, Blocks, Chains, Multi lock hasps and other devices. They must be durable, standardized, substantial  and identifiable.
4. Review your procedures for equipment where Lockout/Tagout is required.
5. Insure AFFECTED  and authorized employees  are trained in Lockout / Tagout procedures initially and annually thereafter.
6. Insure training for both AFFECTED and AUTHORIZED employees is conducted whenever there is a change in equipment or procedures.
7. Keep employees informed when equipment is being repaired or serviced .
8. Stay alert and use common sense when Lockout/ Tagout procedures are in place.
9. Keep written records of all Lockout Tagout Hazardous Energy Control Training.
10. And of course, every time you are out in the shop make certain that your team is following your procedures.
Are they being followed ? Are they effective?
What is the best way that you have found to convince employees of the importance of hazardous energy control?
Kirlian Key Photo Credit

The link in this post will take you to a table of  the Top 10 Training Citations by OSHA for the Precision Machining Industry.
 James Pryor II, Vice President with American Safety and Health Management Consultants Inc. (Ash,Inc.) has reviewed the latest available OSHA citations information and compiled this list of  the Top 10 Most Cited Training Violations for the precision machining industry.
 This listing also includes the OSHAweb link to information regarding each area , and training frequency and record retention information.
 This is an example of a “Tool You Can Use” from PMPA to help you keep your shop compliant, competitive, and citation free.

Don't let this happen to you! Train!

Citation photo