PaintSquare.com


The First Word in Protective & Marine Coatings

A Product of Technology Publishing / PaintSquare
JPCL | PaintSquare News | Durability + Design | Paint BidTracker

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Shutdown Slashes Safety Oversight

Monday, October 7, 2013

Comment | More

Most federal workplace health and safety inspections have been halted and most federal inspectors are off the job as a result of the U.S. government shutdown, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports.

As of late Friday (Oct. 4), OSHA had furloughed 90 percent of its personnel and suspended most of its operations, including regular inspections, following the Contingency Plan for Suspension of Agency Operations after September 30, 2013, issued Sept. 10 by Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA.

OSHA inspection
OSHA

During the shutdown, OSHA will investigate only major emergencies, including fatalities and catastrophes. This OSHA team responded at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 attack.

The plan took effect at midnight Tuesday (Oct. 1), stripping OSHA and other agencies to bare-bones crews of personnel deemed essential. Overall, about 800,000 federal workers have been idled without pay.

In OSHA's case, the agency has retained only enough staff (230 of its approximately 2,235 personnel) to respond to the most major workplace emergencies, including deaths and catastrophes (defined as an accident that fatally injures two or more employees or leaves three or more employees hospitalized).

Who's Left

At the national office, OSHA's remaining staff includes just four senior compliance staff, six members of the executive staff, and the agency emergency manager.

Each of OSHA's 10 regional offices retains a Regional Administrator and Assistant Regional Administrators (ARAs) for Administration and Management, Enforcement, and Technical Support.

OSHA Inspector OSHA Salt Lake City Technical Center
NAHB (left); OSHA (right)

Most of OSHA's approximately 2,200 inspectors have been furloughed. All regular health and safety inspections and routine activities have been cancelled, and OSHA's Salt Lake City Technical Center staff (right) is down to four people.

In addition, each of OSHA's 92 Area Offices nationwide has a Senior Health Compliance Officer and a Senior Safety Compliance Officer. And the agency's Salt Lake City Technical Center kept two senior chemists and two industrial hygienists.

Although routine activities have been cancelled, it is not clear how the shutdown will impact employers who face various deadlines in contesting a case, according to a report by labor attorneys with Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

Other Safety Agencies Closed

Other agencies with workplace health and safety responsibilities have also slashed staff. The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) Plan for Shutdown retains only two of the agency's 58 employees. The commission is an independent agency that reviews OSHA decisions.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, an independent federal agency that investigates chemical accidents, has kept just three of its 40 employees. No federal employees will investigate industrial chemical spills/accidents that happen during the shutdown, and all current investigations are frozen.

Williams Olefins explosion
CSB

All investigations are on hold at the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, including the case of the Williams Olefins plant explosion and fire that killed two workers in Geismar, LA, in June.

The National Transportation Safety Board, is still investigating major accidents and continuing ongoing investigations. All conferences and events, however, have been postponed or cancelled.

Most major federal agency websites are now unmonitored and are not being updated.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has a different funding mechanism, remains open. However, the agency announced Friday (Oct. 4) that it was cancelling an open house and meeting set for Wednesday (Oct. 9) on concrete degradation at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant.

Building Woes

The shutdown is taking a bite out of more than construction safety.

Furloughs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development have left public housing authorities, cities and states waiting for federal loan and grant checks; and operations at the Department of Energy have been slashed.

As of Friday afternoon, HUD had closed all 80 field offices and furloughed all but 337 of its 8,709 employees, impacting lenders and borrowers that work with HUD programs to various degrees, under a Contingency Operating Plan the agency submitted Sept. 27.

New loan activity will be hardest hit, but delays could affect many commercial and residential construction programs. The National Council of State Housing Agencies has summarized the key programs affected.

The Department of Energy, whose funding mechanism allowed all 13,800 employees to remain on the job when the shutdown began, has now updated its Lapse of Appropriations Plan to retain fewer than 950 workers. About 140 of those retained are involved in nuclear weapons management.

   

Comment from WAN MOHAMAD NOR WAN ABDUL RAHMAN, (10/7/2013, 6:32 AM)

We can never compromise safety at anytime any conditions. Please priortize .


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Industrial Vacuum Equipment Corp.
Hurricane Vacuums
& Dust Collectors

Vacuum and dust collector hose, filters and related accessories.
IndustrialVacuum.com


KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office
KTA-Tator EH&S Services

• Ambient & Worker Exposure Air Monitoring
• Safety & Health Program Development
• Lead Paint Assessments
& Specifications
• Health Hazard & Jobsite Safety Assessments
Call 1-800-245-6379


LS Industries
LS Blasters: Optimum Steel Cleaning Efficiency

Simplify surface prep with the precise shot control of LS Blasters. Our blast technology delivers optimum coverage and finish. 800-533-8008


Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste $$ on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint!


CHLOR*RID International Inc.
Surface cleanliness is
ESSENTIAL to coating
performance.

* TEST FOR SALTS
* PREVENT FLASH RUST
* REMOVE SALTS
More information at
www.chlor-rid.com,

800-422-3217


International Paint LLC

Maximize Coating Productivity

  • Rapid cure
  • Ease of application
  • Time savings
  • Improved handling times
  • Reduces number of coats
  • Low VOC emissions
  • Color retention
  • UV resistance


    ITW Binks
    Built for Tough Jobs

    From Epoxies to Urethanes to other high solid coatings, the new Binks Airless 75 delivers a great finish using an ergonomic design. Visit binks.com for more information.

  •  
     
     
    Technology Publishing

    The Technology Publishing Network

    The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
    Durability + Design Paint BidTracker JPCL Europe

     
    EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
    REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
    MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
     

    © Copyright 2000-2014, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
    2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com