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Occupational Safety & Health AdministrationWe Can Help

December 9, 2013 · Volume 12, Issue 23
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In this issue

OSHA seeks public comment on agency standards to improve chemical facility safety
Whistleblowers can now file complaints online with OSHA
Sign up by Dec. 12 to participate in public hearings on OSHA's silica rulemaking

OSHA seeks public comment on agency standards to improve chemical facility safety

Chemical facility

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced a request for information seeking public comment on potential revisions to its Process Safety Management standard and related standards, as well as other policy options to prevent major chemical incidents.

The RFI is in response to executive order 13650, which seeks to improve chemical facility safety and security, issued in the wake of the April 2013 West, Texas, tragedy that killed 15 in an ammonium nitrate explosion.

As stated in the Federal Register notice, the public will have until March 10, 2014 to submit written comments. Interested parties may submit comments at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments may also be submitted by mail or facsimile.

For more information, please see the news release and visit the Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security Web page.

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Whistleblowers can now file complaints online with OSHA

Whistleblower Protection Programs

Whistleblowers covered by one of 22 statutes administered by OSHA will now be able to file complaints online. The online form will provide workers who have been retaliated against an additional way to reach out for OSHA assistance.

"The ability of workers to speak out and exercise their rights without fear of retaliation provides the backbone for some of American workers' most essential protections," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Whistleblower laws protect not only workers, but also the public at large and now workers will have an additional avenue available to file a complaint with OSHA."

Currently, workers can make complaints to OSHA by filing a written complaint or by calling the agency's 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) number or an OSHA regional or area office. Workers will now be able to electronically submit a whistleblower complaint to OSHA by visiting www.osha.gov/whistleblower/WBComplaint.html. Read the press release and visit www.whistleblowers.gov for additional details.

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Sign up by Dec. 12 to participate in public hearings on OSHA's silica rulemaking

X-ray of silicosis lungs
X-ray of silicosis lungs.

Members of the public who wish to participate in public hearings on OSHA's proposed silica rule must submit a notice of intention to appear by Dec. 12. Hearings are scheduled to begin on March 18, 2014 at the Department of Labor's Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C.

"We strongly encourage the public to assist in the process of developing a final rule by participating in public hearings," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "We especially hope to hear from employers, workers and public health professionals who have experience in successfully protecting workers from silica-related diseases."

Additional information on the proposed rule, including a fact sheet on how the public can participate, is available at www.osha.gov/silica. Members of the public may comment on the proposal by visiting www.regulations.gov.

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