Michael’s reaction to OSHA’s ‘aggressive’ mandate, state success and failure in OHS performance, Germany’s amazing renewable investments and more on EHS This Week

We discuss top stories from the world of environment, health and safety news for the past seven days, including OSHA head David Michael’s defending the administration’s record, Washington’s success in minimizing OHS fatalities, the GHS final rule announcement and more.

Come back on a weekly basis or subscribe for our rundown of the week’s top EHS Stories.

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Our Top 5 most popular blog posts of 2011

Between sweeping new regulations, ambitious new OHS programs, and environmental controversy in the U.S. and Canada, EHS issues were top of mind throughout 2011. To wrap up a year that had no shortage of headlines, we’ve analyzed last year’s Intelex blog stats to determine the most popular posts of 2011. Without further adieu, here are the Top 5:

  1. I2P2, hazardous chemicals, high-risk construction among top OSHA priorities for 2011: OSHA Secretary of Labour Dr. David Michaels kicked off the year with an online chat outlining some of OSHA’s top priorities for 2011. While many of his priorities – including the ambitious I2P2 program and the addition of an MSD column to OSHA Form 300 reports – did not make it through the gates by the end of the year, this overview provided some guidance on where OSHA’s priorities lie in the very near future.
  2. Start preparing for new OSHA

The Top 5 upcoming OHS regulatory events you need to know about: #5

U.S. agencies and regulatory bodies are constantly proposing, reviewing, and finalizing new rules that often mean significant changes for businesses across the nation. Almost any company of any size needs to be aware of forthcoming changes that will impact how they manage their impacts and responsibilities related to occupational health and safety (OHS).

However, between proposed rules, final rules, pre-rules, long-tem actions and the dozens upon dozens of rules being reviewed at any given time, it can be hard for businesses to separate the wheat from the chaff and determine which events will directly affect how they do business.

In an attempt to ensure the most important issues are on your radar, I’ve put together a list of the Top 5 OHS regulatory events on the immediate horizon business leaders as well as OHS managers and staff need to know about.

We’ll start with number five and countdown to number … Read more...

Sweeping OHS Bill passes in Ontario

After months of debate and consultation, Bill 160 has passed in Ontario, Canada after a 79-0 vote in the provincial assembly late last week. The Occupational Health and Safety Statute Law Amendment Act will take full effect when it achieves Royal Assent, as soon as next month.

The Act will create the position of a provincial Chief Prevention Officer as well as a Prevention Council to work with the Ministry of Labour to develop a comprehensive occupational health and safety strategy and determine training standards.

The act will affect almost all businesses across the province, so make sure you are up to speed with all the bill’s implications by checking out OHS Insider’s very handy and comprehensive Ontario OHS Reform Blog, which features detailed information on the nuances on Bill 160.

As the blog notes, establishing provincewide training standards will be central to the Act after it becomes law.… Read more...

Prevention, training central to Ontario OHS reforms

Ontario is poised to dramatically rework how it manages occupational health and safety.

Earlier this month Bill 160 was amended by the province’s standing committee on social policy and is now headed to the provincial legislature for a third reading and vote, meaning it could be law by as early as June. The proposed bill flows from the work of an expert panel formed in the wake of a string of workplace-related deaths across the province.

Focused on training and prevention, some of the bill’s key elements are as follows:

  • Training standards: The bill would call upon the Minister of Labour to set training program standards and ‘approve’ compliant organizations accordingly.
  • Training provider: In addition to minimum standards for training programs, those who administer training would also be required to achieve “approved training provider” status, though those certified under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act would be automatically approved.
  • Prevention

Picturing Safety: OSHA celebrates 40 years with photo contest

In celebration of 40 years of making workplaces safer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a new photo contest to boost awareness of workplace safety issues.

Anyone with a camera is invited to take a photo of a scenario or setting they believe represents an image of occupational health and safety (OHS) and submit it to OSHA. The administration is looking for outstanding portrayals of occupational health and safety in terms of artistic value, and capacity to inspire conversations on OHS issues. Other judging criteria include: the clarity and quality of the photo; the inclusion of worker, employer or workplace imagery; originality; and the suitability of the image for print in OSHA publications. The winners will be determined by a panel of expert judges with backgrounds in photography and labour issues.

In addition to being featured on OSHA’s website, first, second and third-place photographs will be framed … Read more...