Construction Depot Newsletter

Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

January 16, 2012

confined space

Rulemaking updates

Confined Spaces

Oregon OSHA proposes to adopt new rule, 437-002-0146, Confined Spaces, which replaces 1910.146, Permit-Required Confined Spaces, in Division 2/J General Environmental Controls. This expands the scope of the new rule to include the construction industry.

In 2011, several issues were discovered with the proposed rule and Oregon OSHA reconvened its stakeholder groups to address them including revising and adding several definitions, adding language for closing permits, ensuring employee access to written materials, ensuring all actions required by the permit are followed, and clarifying when alternate entry cannot be used.

One public hearing for comments is scheduled for 9:30 am, May 2, 2012, in the Labor and Industries Building, Conference Room F.

For more information, see the proposed changes to Confined Spaces in General Industry and Construction Administrative Rules on Oregon OSHA's website.

Hazard communication

By now, many of you may know that federal OSHA released its final hazard communication standard, which includes the globally harmonized system of classification and labeling of chemicals (GHS). Although the effective date of the new standard is May 25, 2012, it will be a while before employers in Oregon are directly affected by the requirements.

Oregon OSHA must first adopt the federal OSHA standard within six months of its May 25 effective date. And the first of the standard's four implementation dates doesn't kick in until Dec. 1, 2013, when employees must be trained on the new label system and on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) format.

Full implementation for the standard is June 1, 2015, with one exception for distributors. Distributors have until Dec. 1, 2015, to re-label their old stock of chemicals. After Dec. 1, 2015, they must dispose of the old inventory, send it back to the manufacturer, or put new labels on it before they ship it to a customer.

Finally, employers have until June 1, 2016, to comply with sign and labeling requirements for substance-specific rules such as lead, asbestos, and MDA.

Major changes to the hazard communication standard include:

  • Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classifying health and physical hazards, and mixtures.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
  • Safety Data Sheets: Must have a specified 16-section format.
  • Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by Dec. 1, 2013, on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format.

For more information about the hazard communication/GHS standard, see OSHA's hazard communication webpage.


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