May 1, 2015 – When OSHA makes a change, that usually means the employer must do something in response, be that write a new program, train workers, or post notifications. But one recent OSHA changes does not require the employer to take action even though you may think it does, and another requires you to take action even though you were previously told you don’t have to do anything! Confused? Read on . . .
New Workplace Notification Poster – You may have seen or heard about the OSHA news release published a few days ago where they announced the availability of a brand new version of the Federal OSHA Workplace Notification Poster. This is the poster that all employers must display in a prominent place at their workplaces so workers can be made aware of their rights as well as their employers’ responsibilities for providing a safe workplace. Many employers have called or messaged us recently about purchasing copies of the new poster for their workplaces (we sell the “all-in-one” labor law posters). And while this recent change could be a boon to our online poster sales, I always feel obligated to make certain that employers know the truth; they are actually NOT required to replace their old posters with the new OSHA poster.
Even though the new OSHA poster appears very different than the previous version at first glance, it says essentially the same thing as the older version of the OSHA poster, with just a few updated employer responsibilities for reporting worker injuries listed. So there is no need to rush out and replace your old Federal OSHA posters. In fact, OSHA even tells employers via their website they do NOT have to obtain a copy or copies of the new one to replace their old posters; the old posters still suffice in terms of being in compliance with 1903 regulations requiring the poster (just gotta read the OSHA instruction carefully to learn that).
New Confined Spaces for Construction Standard – Those of you who have been tracking OSHA’s progress (?) in developing a confined spaces for construction standard over the past 20 or so years may have read proposed rule 1926.1219(a), which said affected employers who have workers perform work related to permit spaces did NOT have to develop a written confined space; they actually had the option to maintain a copy of the OSHA standard for confined spaces for construction at the work-site instead of developing a written permit confined space program. But be aware; after some further thought, the powers that be at OSHA changed their minds.
The new confined spaces in construction standard released this month was changed from the proposed rule, and now it actually DOES require employers to develop a written permit-space program if their workers enter permit spaces in a construction environment (see 1926.1203(d)); just having a copy of the standard on site no longer will suffice. So don’t overlook this responsibility as you move to implement this new OSHA confined spaces in construction regulation at your company.
Were you aware of these recent changes and how they do / do not require action on your part? If you would like to comment, or would like to read comments submitted by others, please click here and fill in the “Comments” box. And while I'm on that topic; I've noticed the amount of comments on our blog posts has really fallen off recently. Should I take that as a sign that no one is reading these damn things, or that they are not informative/insightful? Let me know - please comment on our posts, because I sure don't want to continue writing them if they are not helpful or used as a forum for discussions. And last but not least, I would like to encourage you to Share this Blog post with others in your Network who might enjoy reading this information.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Curtis Chambers is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and holds a Master of Science degree in Occupational Safety and Health. He has held numerous leadership positions managing and evaluating health and safety programs and providing training on workplace safety and health topics at various public organizations and private corporations. Mr. Chambers is currently the President of OSHA Training Services Inc. Visit their website at www.oshatraining.com.