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June 13, 2016

OSHA Issues Final Rule To Improve Tracking Of Workplace Injuries And Illnesses And Other Recent OSHA Developments

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

EPA Makes Final Revisions To EPCRA Hazard Categories: On June 13, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued final revisions to EPCRA Sections 311 and 312 occasioned by changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). 81 Fed. Reg. 38104. Under the revised HCS, chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate their chemicals according to the new criteria adopted from the United Nations (UN) Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) to ensure that they are classified and labeled appropriately. Manufacturers and importers are also required to develop standardized Safety Data Sheets (SDS) (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets) and distribute them to downstream users of their chemicals. These changes in HCS affect the reporting requirements under EPCRA Sections 311 and 312. Based on the new classification criteria that OSHA adopted, EPA is revising the existing hazard categories for hazardous chemical inventory form reporting under EPCRA Section 312 and for list reporting under Section 311. In this action, EPA is also making a few minor corrections in the hazardous chemical reporting regulations. The final rule was effective June 13, 2016. The compliance date is January 1, 2018.

OSHA Issues Final Rule To Improve Tracking Of Workplace Injuries And Illnesses: On May 12, 2016, OSHA issued a final rule to revise its Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation. 81 Fed. Reg. 29624. The final rule requires employers in certain industries to submit electronically to OSHA injury and illness data that employers are already required to keep under existing OSHA regulations. The frequency and content of these establishment-specific submissions is set out in the final rule and is dependent on the size and industry of the employer. OSHA intends to post the data from these submissions on a publicly accessible website. OSHA does not intend to post any information on the website that could be used to identify individual employees. The final rule also amends OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation to update requirements on how employers inform employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses to their employer. The final rule requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation; clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. The final rule also amends OSHA’s existing recordkeeping regulation to clarify the rights of employees and their representatives to access the injury and illness records. The final rule will become effective on January 1, 2017, except for 29 C.F.R. §§ 1904.35 and 1904.36, which will become effective on August 10, 2016.