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Top 10 OSHA News of 2016

New regulations, large fines, court decisions. Here are the top 10 OSHA stories of 2016 from Safety News Alert:

  1. OSHA updates silica standard. The update includes a reduction in the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, averaged over an eight-hour shift.
  2. Now you have to keep OSHA injury records for 5 years. This reverses the effect of a 2012 federal court decision which had limited the retention period to six months.
  3. OSHA to post companies’ injury records on its website. The general provisions of this new regulation take effect Jan. 1, 2017. Some companies will have to submit injury data electronically.
  4. OSHA fines increase. For the first time in decades, maximum OSHA fines have increased. The maximum for a willful or repeat violation is now $124,709. The maximum for a serious violation is now $12,471.
  5. OSHA proposal: Warnings/delays no longer acceptable lockout/tagout alternatives. As part of its Standards Improvement Project Phase IV, OSHA proposes to remove one word from the lockout/tagout regulation that may cause many companies to change their LO/TO systems.
  6. OSHA updates slip/trip/fall rules for general industry. The Walking-Working Surfaces standard includes new provisions under the general industry Personal Protective Equipment standards that establish employer requirements for using personal fall protection systems.
  7. Court: OSHA can enforce its drug testing & incentive prohibitions. A federal court ruled OSHA can move forward with the part of its updated recordkeeping rule that would prohibit companies from using certain types of drug testing and safety incentive programs.
  8. Ashley Furniture agrees to pay $1.75M in OSHA fines. This won’t be the largest OSHA fine on our list, but it’s significant because it’s not a proposed amount, it’s how much the furniture maker has agreed to pay to settle $2.28 million in fines.
  9. OSHA fines company $2.5 million after robot crushes 20-year-old to death. Once again OSHA broke out its egregious willful violation policy to multiply the fines for this car parts manufacturer where a young woman was killed two weeks before her wedding day.
  10. OSHA’s top 10 citations of 2016. The most cited OSHA violations of 2016 cover a wide range of workplace safety topics, from falls to chemicals, and from PPE to forklifts.

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