Video Replay: OSHA Listens Public Meeting

On Thursday, March 4, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) held a public meeting, “OSHA Listens,” to solicit comments and suggestions from OSHA stakeholders on key issues facing the agency, including:

  1. What can the agency do to enhance and encourage the efforts of employers, workers and unions to identify and address workplace hazards?
  2. What are the most important emerging or unaddressed health and safety issues in the workplace, and what can OSHA do to address these?
  3. How can the agency improve its efforts to engage stakeholders in programs and initiatives?
  4. What specific actions can the agency take to enhance the voice of workers in the workplace, particularly workers who are hard to reach, do not have ready access to information about hazards or their rights, or are afraid to exercise their rights?
  5. Are there additional measures to improve the effectiveness of the agency’s current compliance assistance efforts and the on site consultation program, to ensure that small businesses have the information needed to provide safe workplaces?
  6. Given the length and difficulty of the current OSHA rulemaking process, and given the need for new standards that will protect workers from unaddressed, inadequately addressed and emerging hazards, are there policies and procedures that will decrease the time to issue final standards so that OSHA may implement needed protections in a timely manner?
  7. As we continue to progress through a new information age vastly different from the environment in which OSHA was created, what new mechanisms or tools can the agency use to more effectively reach high risk employees and employers with training, education and outreach? What is OSHA doing now that may no longer be necessary?
  8. Are there indicators, other than worksite injuries and illness logs, that OSHA can use to enhance resource targeting?
  9. In the late 1980s, OSHA and its stakeholders worked together to update the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) (exposure limits for hazardous substances; most adopted in 1971), but the effort was unsuccessful. Should updating the PELs be a priority for the agency? Are there suggestions for ways to update the PELs, or other ways to control workplace chemical exposures?

Video replays of this event are available below: (more…)

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Information provided by OHSonline.com

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AIHA Addresses the Stimulus Program and Occupational Health and Safety

aihaSource: AIHA

“AIHA commends the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on its recent decision to implement a multi-tiered enforcement program to ensure worker protection on projects related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Early in the year, the Obama Administration proposed creating more than one million new construction and manufacturing jobs.

In response, the AIHA urged both President Obama and Labor Secretary Solis to ensure that the new jobs created by the stimulus package had adequate workplace protections for these workers. One specific issue AIHA stressed was the need for additional OSHA personnel to work solely on the new job creation projects.

Secretary Solis has announced that OSHA will strengthen enforcement by hiring an additional 36 inspectors to provide guidance training and outreach to employers and workers and by launching a new effort to collect information about injuries and illnesses in the construction industry.”

Read the

  FallProtectionPPT.ppt (3.1 MiB, 3,384 hits)

from AIHA pertaining to occupational health and safety and the stimulus.

A Word from the Acting Assistant Secretary


Jordan Barab


I’ve now been on the job for two busy weeks as Acting Assistant Secretary and my greeting to everyone is overdue. I can first tell you that I’m thrilled to be back at OSHA and ready to work with you to raise the profile of worker safety and health in this country.

Earlier this week I met with Secretary of Labor Solis, and I’m very happy to report that she gets it. She understands working people, she understands and strongly supports the mission of this agency and wants to put her energy into ensuring that this agency succeeds in its mission. The first message I conveyed to her is that OSHA is full of some of the finest, most energetic, most dedicated people in the federal government and that I was proud to help her lead this agency.

Now, it’s no secret to any of you that this agency has come under some heavy criticism and scrutiny over the past few years. From my perspective, that criticism was focused not on what you do every day for working people, but on the lack of strong leadership promoting worker protection, strong regulatory activity, and aggressive enforcement.

I had more than one friend who warned me not to take this job because they felt that OSHA is a terminally sick agency. Nothing can be done to help it. The law is weak, resources lacking, the bureaucracy stifling, the regulatory system glacial, and the staff demoralized.

But I reject those arguments. Clearly there are some changes that need to be made in workplace safety in this country that are beyond OSHA’s control. But I have complete faith in OSHA’s mission, the staff of this agency and that OSHA can fulfill that mission – to protect American workers and assure safe workplaces.


OSHA Announces new Deputy Assistant Secretary


image from congress.nsc.org

(image from congress.nsc.org)

OSHA announces that Secretary Solis has selected Jordan Barab to be Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA and Acting Assistant Secretary, effective Monday, April 13. Jordan comes to us from the House Education and Labor Committee where he is the Senior Labor Policy Advisor for Health and Safety to Chairman George Miller. Prior to that, from 2002 through 2007, Jordan worked at the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

Jordan was with OSHA, where he was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary from 1998-2001.