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Category Archives: Combustible Dust

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OSHA’s Overdue 2012 Regulatory Agenda Finally Released… a Few Days Before 2013

By Eric J. Conn, Head of the OSHA Practice Group

Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the federal government and its agencies, such as OSHA, are required to give notice of significant rulemaking and other regulatory activity by publishing “semi-annual” regulatory agendas that outline the status of on-going and intended federal regulations and standards.  Someone needs to tell the Administration that “semi-annual” means twice yearly, not every other year.

Historically, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) issues a Spring regulatory agenda sometime during the summer, and a Fall regulatory agenda sometime in the winter.  Before last week (the … Continue Reading

OSHA Forecast: Developments to Watch For In 2013

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all of you, and Happy 1st Anniversary to the OSHA Law Update blog.  On December 20th, we celebrated our first full year of updates and articles (56 of them) about important OSHA Law topics here on the OSHA Law Update blog.  We would hardly have the energy or enthusiasm to keep the OSHA Law Update current if it were not for all of the incredibly positive feedback, comments, and questions that we have received over the year from all of you.  Thank you for that.

Just as we did last year, … Continue Reading

Grain Elevator Explosion Leads to $180 Million Jury Verdict

By Eric J. Conn

A federal jury recently awarded three workers approximately $180 million in damages for injuries sustained in a 2010 explosion at a grain elevator owned by ConAgra Foods, Inc.  See Jentz v. Conagra Foods, Inc., No. 3:10-cv-00747 (S.D.I. June 1, 2012).  At the one-month trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, the plaintiffs alleged that ConAgra and West Side Salvage Inc., a maintenance contractor and co-defendant, were liable for their injuries because they failed to:

  1. Clean the grain bin properly;
  2. Maintain wheat middling pellets (flour production byproducts used as animal feed)
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EHS Today Article: HazCom Gets a Facelift

Last week, EHS Today Magazine ran our article in which we delve into more detail about OSHA’s amended Hazard Communication Rule (“HazCom”), and the integration of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (“GHS”).  Check out the full article here, in which we detailed 10 important things employers need to know about the final HazCom Rule.  Here’s the short list:

  1. New Hazard Classification Criteria
  2. New Method for Evaluating Mixtures
  3. Amended Label Requirements
  4. Proscrictive Format for Safety Data Sheet
  5. Inclusion of Non-Mandatory Threshold Limit Values in SDSs
  6. Information and Training Requirements
  7. Other Effective Dates
  8. Inclusion of
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Grain Journal Features OSHA’s Enforcement Efforts in the Grain Industry

Late last year, I delivered a keynote address to the National Grain & Feed Association’s (NGFA) annual Country Elevator Conference regarding:

  1. Why it is important for grain handlers to prepare now for an OSHA inspection;
  2. What to do now to prepare for an OSHA inspection; and
  3. How best to manage an OSHA inspection once it begins.

The Grain Journal, a leading voice in the grain industry, published a three-part article series about my speech in its March/April issue.  The articles   – “OSHA Is Targeting You,” “Preparing for an Inspection,” and “During the Inspection” – can be found here at … Continue Reading

GHS & HazCom: 10 Things Employers Must Know About OSHA’s New Hazard Communication Standard

By Eric J. Conn and Casey M. Cosentino

Following a March 20, 2012 Press Release, on March 26, 2012, OSHA issued its much anticipated final Hazard Communication Rule (“HazCom”), which integrates the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (“GHS”) into OSHA’s old Hazard Communication Standard (“HazCom” or “HCS”).  The new HazCom Standard requires employers to classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and to adopt new, consistent formats for labels and Safety Data Sheets (“SDS’s”) for all chemicals manufactured or imported in the United States.  According to Assistant Secretary Michaels, “OSHA’s 1983 Hazard … Continue Reading

OSHA Finally Releases Its Watered-Down Fall 2011 Regulatory Agenda

By Paul H. Burmeister and Eric J. Conn

At the end of January 2012, OSHA finally released its Fall 2011 regulatory agenda, which is intended to be an overview of what OSHA plans to accomplish in the next few months.  The agenda includes updates about the status of several major OSHA rulemaking efforts.  Below is a brief summary of the Reg Agenda.

This Reg Agenda was far less ambitious than each of the previous agendas set forth by the Obama Administration’s OSHA, but it does reveal the agency’s top priorities that will continue to be pressed even during an election … Continue Reading

OSHA Continues to Bear Down on the Grain Industry

Last week, the leaders of the grain industry in North Dakota gathered for their annual conference, this year the Centennial gathering of the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association.  I had the privilege of speaking at the conference, and share some background about OSHA’s increasing focus on the grain handling industry, a review of grain handlers’ rights vis-a-vis OSHA, and some strategies and tips for preparing for and managing an OSHA inspection.  I also had the opportunity to speak about OSHA’s approach to inspections in the grain industry at the National Grain & Feed Association’s annual country elevator conference.

 

Audience … Continue Reading

2011 Rundown of OSHA’s Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program and Rulemaking

By Amanda R. Strainis-Walker and Eric J. Conn

OSHA’s keen interest in enforcement related to combustible dust shows no sign of waning as we close the door on 2011.  OSHA’s Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP), initiated in 2008, continued in earnest through 2011, and notably, has no expiration date.  The number of violations and the size of civil penalties arising out of the Combustible Dust NEP inspections continue to rise, and OSHA points to that data as support for its active pursuit of a comprehensive Combustible Dust Standard.

Combustible Dust NEP:

OSHA launched the Combustible Dust NEP after … Continue Reading