News and Updates

Construction Confined Spaces Rule Announced 

OSHA has issued a final rule relating to confined space hazards in the construction industry.  The standard will become effective August 3, 2015.

A web page dedicated to the topic can be found here.


OSHA and NIOSH Issue Silica Hazard Alert

OSHA and the National Institue for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have issued a hzard alert related to exposure to silica dust for those involved in manufacturing, finishing and installing natural and manufactured stone countertops. 

The hazard alert can be found here.

OSHA's web page dedicated to silica can be found here.


OSHA Plans Update to Recordkeeping Rule

OSHA will implement changes to the recordkeeping rule for those states under Federal jurisdiction, such as Idaho, starting January 1, 2015.  

All employers, including those who are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records, will be required to report the following to OSHA:

  • All work-related fatalities
  • All work-related in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees
  • All work-related amputations
  • All work-related losses of an eye.

A fact sheet regarding the changes can be found here.

An overview that includes an updated list of employers who are generally exempt from keeping injury and illness records can be found here.

For further information, please visit OSHA's recordkeeping web page.


Electric Space Heater Recall

Vornado Air has issued a recall for its VH110 Whole Room Vortex heater in black.  The heater can overheat, melt and catch fire.  More information can be found at the Consumer Products Safety Commission website.


Welding Torch Handle Recall

Harris Products Group has issued a recall for its welding torch handles.  The handles have the potential to leak and cause a fire hazard.  More information can be found at the Consumer Products Safety Commission website.


Safety Trained Supervisor Exam Prep Opportunity

The Snake River Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers is offering a Safety Trained Supervisor exam preparation course on Thursday, September 25, in Boise.  The class is designed for people whose responsibility for safety is in addition to their other duties, such as managers, supervisors, and superintendents.

For more information, and to register, see this flyer.


Stand Down for Construction Safety!

In 2012, 775 construction employees died while they were at work.  And 269 of those deaths were due to falls from elevation; deaths that could have been prevented.  In fact, falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry.

OSHA, along with groups such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, The Center for Construction Research and Training, and the National Safety Council, is calling for a National Safety Stand-Down any time the week of June 2-6.  The National Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event, designed to give employers the chance to talk directly to their employees about fall hazards and to reinforce the importance of fall prevention.

Resources, including how to conduct a stand-down, participant certificates and training materials, can be found here.


Have You Completed Your GHS Training Yet?

As part of the Revised Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard, which comes in effect on June 1, 2016, OSHA required all employers to train their employees on the new labeling system included in the revision by December 1, 2013. Now that the deadline has passed, your company can be cited if you haven't conducted the training.

The OshCon Lending Library has a few DVDs available. HazCom In Sync With GHS, and Hazcom What You Need to Know include information about the new labeling system.  Please note that you may need to join a waitlist to borrow these programs as they are in high demand at the moment.

Alternatively, the OSHA website has a page dedicated to the revisions to the HazCom standard and it includes plenty of training resources.  You can reach the web page here.


1-Bromopropane (1-BP): OSHA and NIOSH Issue Hazard Alert

1-Bromopropane (1-BP) is a solvent used in degreasing, dry cleaning, spray adhesives, and aerosol solvents. Its use in the workplace has increased over the years, and it is common in products used for a variety of functions. These include dry cleaning, asphalt production, aircraft maintenance, and the cleaning of metals, plastic, electronics, and optics.  Exposure to 1-NP can cause symptoms ranging from eye irritation to serious neurological symptoms such as difficulty walking, slurred speech, confusion, and muscle twitching.  Although the longer the exposure the greater the dangers of complications, health impacts have been observed in exposures of as little as two days. Symptoms can continue even after exposure to 1-BP has stopped.  Animal studies have suggested that exposure to 1-BP causes reduced red blood cells and damages the liver, reproductive system, and nervous system. Rodents exposed to 1-BP also show increased incidences of cancer.


The alert recommends increasing the training for medical personnel in the identification of 1-BP exposure. Further, workers potentially exposed to 1-BP should be evaluated to determine whether dangerous levels of exposure have occurred.  There are a number of methods to control exposure to this substance, the most effective of which include eliminating or substituting 1-BP in the workplace and implementing engineering controls (such as isolation and ventilation).


The full publication can be found here.



There's an App for That.  And it's Free!

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released a free mobile phone application for both iPhone and Android devices.  The app includes a very useful angle of inclination indicator to assist in setting extension ladders at the proper angle, helping to reduce the risk of falls. It also includes information about ladder selection, inspection, and use.

The app and a user manual is available for download from the NIOSH website.  You can find it here.



  Local Emphasis Program Announced for Idaho

The Boise Area Office of OSHA has implemented a Local Emphasis Program that will focus on Powered Industrial Trucks.  The program covers all of Idaho, and came about partly because the Boise office conducted five fatality investigations involving powered industrial trucks between the years 2006 - 2011.

A complete copy of the directive, which includes a definition of powered industrial trucks and the industries covered by the program, can be found here.



Do You Work With Isocyanates?

If you do, you may be interested to know that OSHA recently implemented a National Emphasis Program that will target inspection and outreach efforts on industries where exposure to isocyanates is known to occur.

Why isocyantes?  The directive released by OSHA includes the following information:

"Isocyanates are powerul irritants to the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat, and gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Irritation may be severe enough to produce bronchitis with bronchospasm. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (inflammation in the lungs caused by exposure to an allergen) has been reported in isocyantes-exposed workers.  Symptoms can continue for months or years after exposure has ceased.  Deaths have occurred due to both asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis from isocyante exposure.

Some isocyantes are also allergic sensitizers. Cross-sensitization, in which a worker is exposed to one isocyante but reacts adversely to others as well, can occur. Studies indicate that dermal exposure is a significant cause of respiratory sensitization.  Thus, workers with skin contact to isocyantes may develop sensitivity, resulting in asthma attacks with subsequent exposures.  Sensitization can occur at very low levels of exposure. Dermal sensitization may also result in rash, itching, hives and swelling of the extremities.  Because isocyantes are not relatively water soluble, they cannot be easily washed off skin or clothing."

Businesses covered by the emphasis program include, but are not limited to, painting and wall covering contractors; glass and glazing contractors; travel trailer and camper manufacturers; wood window and door manufacturers; and urethane and other foam product (expcept polystyrene) manfuacturers.

For a more detailed list of the covered industries, as well as information about how the program is to be implemented, you can read the full directive here.

OSHA has also developed a web page discussing isocyantes.  It can be found here.



OSHA to Focus on Amputation Hazards

Starting on or about August of this year (2012), the Boise Area Office of OSHA will begin conducting compliance inspections in facilities where employees have been identified as being at high risk of sustaining amputation injuries. 

Letters were sent to the companies that are the focus of this initiative in early May.  If you received one of these letters, it doesn't guarantee you will be inspected, but it does increase your chances.  If you're interested in addressing any potential amputation hazards within your workplace, the Consultation Program may be able to help.  Please feel free to contact us!

More information about sources of amputation injuries and OSHA Standards that cover them can be found here.



National Emphasis Program for Residential Care and Nursing Facilities Announced


OSHA has announced a National Emphasis Program that will focus on nursing and residential care facilities in an effort to address the high injury and illness rates associated with these businesses.  Specifically, the program will focus on ergonomics with regard to patient handling; exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials; exposure to tuberculosis; workplace violence; and slips, trips, and falls.

If your facility falls within the NAICS codes 6231, 6232, or 6233, it is likely you received a letter from the Boise OSHA Area Office informing you about the program.  The Boise office plans to begin enforcement inspections related to the emphasis program on or about June 25.  Receiving the letter doesn't guarantee that you will be inspected, but it does increase your chances.

More information about nursing and residential care from an OSHA perspective is available here.

If you have questions, or would like to arrange for an onsite consultation visit from our program, please contact us at (208) 426-3283, or





Hazard Communication Standard Changes are in the Works

 OSHA is changing the Hazard Communication Standard to bring it in line with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).  The new system is being implemented throughout the world by countries including Canada, the European Union, China, Australia, and Japan. 

 Major changes to the standard include:

Hazard Classification: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to determine the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import.  Hazard classification under the new system includes specific criteria to address health and physical hazards, as well as classification of chemical mixtures.

Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category.

Safety Data Sheets: The new format has 16 specific sections to ensure consistency in presentation of protection information.

Information and Training: To help with understanding of the new system, workers are required to be trained by December 1, 2013 on the new label elements and safety data format sheet.  This is in addition to current training requirements.

For a complete explanation of the changes, including a comprehensive FAQ list, you can visit the OSHA website here.

The timeline for the changes is as follows:


Effective Completion Date



December 1, 2013

Train employees on the new label elements and safety data sheet (SDS) format.


June 1, 2015*

December 1, 2015

Compliance with all modified provisions of this final rule, except:

The Distributor shall not ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer unless it is a GHS label

Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers

June 1, 2016

Update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.


Transition Period to the effective completion dates noted above

May comply with either 29 CFR 1910.1200 (the final standard), or the current standard, or both

Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers



 OSHA Issues Hazard Alert for Grain Industry


 Due to a rise in the number of deaths related to suffocation and engulfment in grain bins, OSHA has issued a hazard alert addressing the issue.  The alert explains how  following OSHA's work practices, and providing the training and equipment required by the standard, can help prevent these deaths.  For more information, please visit the following links:

1910.272 Grain Handling Facilities - OSHA Standard (website link)

Hazard Alert: Dangers of Engulfment and Suffocation in Grain Bins (website link)

Hazard Alert: Dangers of Engulfment and Suffocation in Grain Bins (pdf version of above website link)

Grain Hazard Summary Card (pdf)

This card can be printed, laminated and distributed to workers as a reminder of what they need to do and know in order to keep themselves safe around grain bins.

This hazard alert doesn't change the current standard, or mean any new rules for employers to follow; it contains reminders and recommendations regarding the existing regulations.



Water.Rest.Shade: OSHA's Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers


OSHA does not have a specific standard that covers working in hot environments. Nonetheless, under the OSH Act employers have a duty to protect workers from recognized serious hazards in the workplace, including heat-related hazards. As part of its campaign to reduce heat-related illness and injury rates for outdoor workers, OSHA has added a new tool to its campaign web page (campaign home page).

Using the Heat Index: A Guide for Employers offers guidance about to use the heat index to plan and implement protective measures for outdoor work sites. Using four defined risk levels, the document outlines planning steps and speific actions employers can take at each level.

The campaign web page includes a variety of educational and training resources in English and Spanish.




Interim Fall Protection Guidelines Rescinded

OSHA has issued an order to withdraw the Interim Fall Protection Guidelines for Residential Construction.  This means that employers who work in residential construction will have to use conventional fall protection methods such as guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems to protect employees from falls greater than six feet (as required by 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13).  This change came into effect June 16, 2011.

Before the order was issued, the Interim Fall Protection Guidelines let employers working in some areas of residential construction use alternative methods of fall protection such as slide guards or safety monitor systems instead of conventional fall protection.  The interim guidelines were withdrawn because there is still a high number of fall-related deaths happening in residential construction.  There have also been major advances made in the types and capabilities of fall protection equipment that are available.   

If your residential construction job site receives a visit from an OSHA compliance officer between now and September 15, 2011, a couple of things can happen:

1. If you can use conventional fall protection on the site, and are complying fully with the old fall protection instructions, the compliance officer will not issue fines.  You will instead be sent a letter explaining how you can comply.  If you fall protection methods don't even meet the old instructions, then you can expect to be fined.

2.If conventional fall protection is not possible on your job site, then the enforcement officer will determine if you have a) developed a written site-specific plan and used alternative protective measures that comply with 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) and 1926.502(k); or b) the compliance officer will determine if you have put in place alternative measures that comply with the old policy (STD-03-00-001).  If you comply with either of these measures, no citations will be issued. 

If you don't have a written fall protection plan that meets the new standard, you will receive a hazard alert letter. If you don't have a compliant fall protection plan, and you haven't met the minimum requirements of STD 03-00-001 (the old policy), then you can expect to be fined.

More Information

OSHA has published a Guidance Document on Fall Protection in Residential Construction to help you with this change. You can read and download a .pdf of the document here.


You can read and download a fact sheet about the changes here.


Here are some further links to areas on the OSHA website that also address the changes:


Residential Fall Protection Directive


Residential Fall Protection Standard


Residential Fall Protection Compliance Assistance


Construction Fall Protection



You can also contact the consultation program at (208) 426-3283, or email