Mere hours after the House and Senate passed legislation to re-open the federal government, OSHA’s most public face — its website — showed it was back in business.
As of 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17, OSHA had already taken down the ominous message on its website’s homepage stating that it wasn’t being updated during the partial shutdown.
So now that OSHA is entirely back open for business (it had been running with about 10% of its staff), what’s on the radar?
- Written comments regarding OSHA’s proposed silica rule can be submitted until Dec. 11, 2013. Under the proposed rule, workers’ exposures would be limited to a new permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air (µg/m3), averaged over an 8-hour day.
- The Dec. 1, 2013, employee training deadline for the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), now aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), still stands. Employees need to know about changes in chemical labels and safety data sheets.
- We’re likely to see some more signs of OSHA business that was being conducted during the partial shutdown. As we noted, fines were being assessed, because OSHA has to do so within six months of an incident.
OSHA has over 2,200 employees, and 236 of them were still working during the partial shutdown. Investigations for workplace fatalities and catastrophes (when three or more workers’ injuries require hospitalization) were being conducted. State OSHAs also continued operating.