Nebraska Grain and Feed Association
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OSHA PROPOSES TO MODIFY INSPECTION INCENTIVES FOR PARTICIPATING IN VOLUNTARY SAFETY, HEALTH CONSULTATION PROGRAMS

The NGFA has informed us that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed to modify several inspection-related incentives that have been used in the past to encourage employers to participate in voluntary safety and health consultation programs sponsored by the agency.  The changes would affect employers participating in two OSHA programs, namely: 1) its on-site consultation program that assists employers in identifying and correcting workplace hazards, and provides advice on compliance with OSHA standards and regulations; and 2) the agency’s Safety and Health Achievement and Recognition Program  (SHARP), for which employers are eligible after successfully completing on-site consultation and which is intended to recognize employers demonstrating “exemplary achievements in workplace safety and health.”

Among the incentives OSHA currently provides to participants in both programs is an exemption for at least one year from programmed inspections.  However, non-programmed inspections currently can be conducted of workplaces participating in the on-site consultation and SHARP initiatives if the facility is involved in an imminent danger, fatality or catastrophe, or formal complaint. OSHA proposes to change that by adding a fourth category under which inspections would be authorized – “other critical inspections as determined by (the OSHA administrator).”  As justification, OSHA’s proposed rule states that there may be times that the agency needs to conduct inspections of all facilities within a specific industry category because of a “particular hazard or substance.”  OSHA concedes that its proposed terminology – “other critical inspections” – is “very general,” but says its intent by requiring that such inspections be authorized only by the OSHA administrator is an attempt to use the authority “only in exceptional circumstances where an onsite investigation is clearly warranted.”

In addition, OSHA proposes to change its existing rules to allow it to terminate an in-progress on-site consultation and trigger an inspection based upon a referral.  OSHA proposes to trigger an enforcement inspection of SHARP facilities, too, based upon referrals.  Currently, OSHA is allowed to trigger an enforcement inspection during an in-progress on-site consultation or of a SHARP-participating facility only for: 1) imminent danger investigations; 2) fatality/catastrophe investigations; 3) complaint investigations; or 4) “other critical inspections” as determined by the OSHA administrator.

Finally, OSHA proposes to change its rules to limit to no more than one year the exemption from programmed inspections awarded to on-site consultation and SHARP-participating facilities, and indicates that “on balance,” no facility would be eligible to be omitted from its programmed inspection schedule for more than two years.  Currently, OSHA’s regulations provide that participating facilities are eligible for exemptions from programmed inspections for a “period of not less than one year.”

 

 

calendar of events

August 4, 2017

NeGFA Summer Meeting & Golf Outing

York Country Club

York, NE

 

 

 

 

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Nebraska Grain and Feed Association
4600 Valley Road, Suite 416
Lincoln, NE 68510-4844
Phone: 402-476-6174
Fax: 402-476-3401