With a new administration in place, regulatory action from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been reduced by nearly half from previous years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s updated agenda released July 20, 2017. However, despite the reduction in new rulemaking, most final rules published by the agency in 2016 with impending compliance or enforcement deadlines remain unaffected. Below is a brief update regarding some of those upcoming deadlines.

September 23, 2017—Enforcement Deadline for Silica Exposure Regulation

As of September 23, 2017, employers in the construction industry need to demonstrate compliance with the new construction silica standard.

Key Provisions of the Silica Exposure Regulation, 29 C.F.R. § 1926.1153

Employers must limit employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica to below the new permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (μg/m3) through use of the listed exposure control methods from “Table 1” of the new standard or, alternatively, the employer can measure the actual exposures of their workers and decide which dust control measures they prefer to use to limit silica exposures to below the new PEL and new Action Level of 25 μg/m3.

Regardless of which exposure control methods are used, all construction employers covered by the standard are required to:

  1. Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work areas where high exposures may occur.
  2. Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan.
  3. Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available.
  4. Offer medical exams every three years for workers who are required to wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year, which include chest X-rays and lung function tests.
  5. Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure.
  6. Keep records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.

September 29, 2017—Request for Comments Regarding Proposed Delay of Compliance Deadline for Crane Operator Certification

OSHA has proposed delaying the compliance deadline for new crane operator certification requirements from November 10, 2017 to November 10, 2018 to ensure that the public is permitted an adequate opportunity to evaluate and respond to OSHA’s revision to these requirements. If this proposal is adopted, the earliest date that operator certification would be required would be November 10, 2018. OSHA is accepting comments on the proposed delay until September 29, 2017.

Key Provisions of the Crane Operator Certification Requirement, 29 C.F.R. § 1926.1427

  • Requires crane operators to be certified under at least one of four options: (1) an accredited testing service, (2) an independently audited employer program, (3) military training or (4) compliance with qualifying state or local licensing requirements.
  • Requires employers to ensure workers are adequately skilled and properly instructed on safe crane operation.

Additional information regarding OSHA’s proposed delay of the new crane operator certification requirements is provided in OSHA’s Frequently Asked Questions notice.

December 1, 2017—Injury and Illness Electronic Reporting Deadline

The deadline for covered employers to electronically submit injury and illness records to OSHA is December 1, 2017. The final rule does not change any forms that must be submitted manually, but requires certain employers to also electronically submit these records to OSHA.

Although OSHA has indicated it may consider changes to the final rule prior to the December 1 implementation deadline, employers should carefully review their electronic filings for accuracy and completeness prior to submitting their electronic reports to OSHA in anticipation that the filings will be publicly available on OSHA’s website shortly after the filing.

Key Provisions of Injury and Illness Reporting Requirement, 29 C.F.R. §§ 1904 and 1902:

Employers with 250 or more employees that are required to keep work-related injury and illness records must electronically submit the following records yearly to OSHA:

  1. An electronic copy of 2016 Form 300A is due on or before December 1, 2017.
  2. Electronic copies of 2017 Forms 300A, 300 and 301 are due July 1, 2018.
  3. Electronic copies of 2018 Forms 300A, 300 and 301 are due in March 2019 and annually thereafter.

Employers with 20-249 employees in designated industries with historically higher injury rates, such as agriculture, construction, transportation/trucking, and food and furniture stores, must also electronically submit the following records yearly to OSHA:

  1. An electronic copy of 2016 Form 300A is due on or before December 1, 2017.
  2. An electronic copy of 2017 Form 300A is due on or before July 1, 2018.
  3. An electronic copy of 2018 Forms 300A is due in March 2019 and annually thereafter.

For more information or assistance meeting these OSHA compliance deadlines, please contact experienced counsel.

© 2017 Perkins Coie LLP