It makes sense that employees would not even want their employers and/or coworkers having knowledge of their private medical conditions. And there are laws in place which prevent employers from even asking questions related to an applicant’s medical conditions. In my opinion, when it comes to safety sensitive positions and/or safety sensitive tasks, this policy can cause some serious problems for employees and employers alike.
Issued October 19, 2017
MEMORANDUM FOR: REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
THROUGH: THOMAS GALASSI - Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
FROM: PATRICK J. KAPUST, Acting Director - Directorate of Enforcement Programs
Interim Enforcement Guidance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard, 29 CFR 1926.1153
This memorandum provides interim enforcement guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing 29 CFR 1926.1153, Respirable Crystalline Silica. The Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction standard establishes a new 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, and an action level (AL) of 25 µg/m3.
As you know, OSHA has been enforcing the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction standard since September 23, 2017. However, for the first 30 days, OSHA offered compliance assistance in lieu of enforcement for those employers who were making good faith efforts to comply with the new construction standard. Effective October 23, 2017, OSHA will fully enforce all appropriate provisions of the Silica in Construction standard. This memorandum will serve as interim enforcement guidance while the standard's companion compliance directive is proceeding through the review process. It will expire when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field.
This memorandum highlights some of the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.1153, but does not provide guidance on all of the standard's provisions. The attachments provide inspection and citation guidance; as well as flow charts to assist with evaluating employers' control methods. Please consult the Office of Health Enforcement when you need further information or guidance on 29 CFR 1926.1153, Respirable Crystalline Silica.
Further, due to the new requirements in 29 CFR 1926.1153, Respirable Crystalline Silica, OSHA has revoked CPL 03-00-007, National Emphasis Program - Crystalline Silica. However, the inspection procedures for both General Industry and Maritime will remain unchanged until the compliance date for these industries begins on June 23, 2018.
Well, it's that time of year again. That's right, it's fall already. And while many of us may look forward to the changing colors of the leaves, many employers often overlook the importance of planning for the upcoming flu season and the effective strategies that are available to help protect their businesses from the devastating affects of influenza.
According to a Walgreens study from September 2015, influenza was responsible for over 100 million lost workdays during the 2014 - 2015 flu season. In fact, many sources list influenza as a leading cause of employee absence. Some estimates say that 10 - 12% of all employee absences are due to employees contracting the flu virus and each affected employee might miss up to six days of work and need up to two weeks to make a full recovery. That's over $7 billion in lost wages; two-thirds of the missed workdays were employer-paid sick leave, while the flu sliced more than $10.4 billion of company productivity.
Also, imagine the increased potential for workplace accidents as workers attempt to work while self-medicating themselves for symptoms of the flu. Taking medications that may cause drowsiness, delayed reaction times, or just simply poor decision-making. Any such serious accident or injury could damage a company's reputation and could also cause insurance premiums to soar.
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