December 15, 2014 | Volume 12, Number 23

OSHA Mulls Update to GHS Standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced its intention to update the Hazard Communication Standard, which is currently based on the third edition of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), according to a notice published in

A sixth edition of the GHS is in the works. The previous rule updates have had little impact on OSHA’s standard but the sixth covers additional hazard categories such as desensitized explosives and pyrophoric gases. An update to OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard would align it with the most recent version of the GHS.

Read here for more information.

In other news, OSHA has released its “Semiannual Regulatory Agenda” which features the status of various safety standards. To view the agenda, click here and select “Department of Labor” from the drop-down menu. Scroll down until you see the OSHA lists.

Report: Small Businesses Sidelined in Safety Rulemaking Process

The Center for Effective Government published a report revealing that the interests of small businesses are marginalized in the drafting of federal safety and environmental laws. This process, instead, has been “captured by trade organizations and their large corporate members.”

Federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, OSHA, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are legally required to convene a “special small business review panel process,” which determines whether any proposed rule will have a significant impact on small businesses.

However, according to the report, Gaming the Rules: How Big Business Hijacks the Small Business Review Process to Weaken Public Protections, this consultation has not happened much. While review panels have to consult with small business representatives, these representatives at times belong to industry-wide trade associations, including corporate lawyers.

As a result, the small business review panel offers recommendations that cater less to the interests of small business and delay, if not weaken, safety and health regulations. To help redress the situation, the report recommended, among other measures, that there be written eligibility criteria for small business representatives to establish that these representatives are indeed genuine small business owners.

To learn more, read the press release or download a PDF of executive summary.

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OSHA Issues PPE Selection Matrix to Help Fight Ebola

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released a PPE Selection Matrix based on CDC guidelines that helps employees prevent Ebola exposure by wearing the PPE most suited to their working conditions.

The matrix features a row listing workplace scenarios that vary according to the nature of the occupation and to the type and extent of contact with others. It also provides a column that enumerates various types of PPE. Check marks indicate if such PPE is suitable for a specific workplace condition.

The matrix is not meant to be exhaustive, and “is not intended to prescribe PPE for every worker or exposure or discuss PPE options.” OSHA reminds employers of their responsibilities to keep employees informed, trained, and equipped to deal with safety hazards, and to follow OSHA standards for bloodborne pathogens, respiratory protections, and PPE.

Download the matrix. View the new Ebola Hand Hygiene for Employees program for free on CoastalFlix™.

Study: Incentives Increase Participation in Wellness Programs by 33 Percent

A new study indicates that employees are 33 percent more likely to take part in wellness programs if they have financial incentives to do so.

The research involved 18,000 adult members of a non-profit health plan and examined the extent of their participation in a telephone health coaching program. Findings show that ten percent of members who received incentives started the program while only 0.3 percent who didn’t receive incentives started.

The research was presented last month at the Obesity Society Annual Meeting during Obesity Week in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information, read the press release.

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