OSHA Launches National Emphasis Program on Indoor and Outdoor Heat Hazards
OSHA recently announced the launch of a National Emphasis Program to protect workers from heat illness and injuries. As part of the program, OSHA will proactively initiate inspections in over 70 high-risk industries – including building service contractors - in indoor and outdoor work settings when the National Weather Service has issued a heat warning or advisory for a local area.
On days when the heat index is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, OSHA inspectors and compliance assistance specialists will engage in proactive outreach and technical assistance to help stakeholders keep workers safe on the job. Inspectors will look for and address heat hazards during inspections, regardless of whether the industry is targeted in the NEP.
OSHA’s area offices will engage in outreach to unions, employers in target industries and other organizations committed to advancing protections for underserved workers. The agency’s On-Site Consultation Program, a free and confidential health and safety consulting program for small- and medium-sized businesses, will assist employers in developing strategic approaches for addressing heat-related illnesses and injuries in workplaces.
A fact sheet on the new National Emphasis Program can be found here.
OSHA guidance on protecting workers from heat illness and injuries can be found here.
OSHA Proposes Rule to Amend Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Regulation
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced a proposed rule to amend its occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulation. The current regulation requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness information – that they are required to keep – to OSHA. The agency uses these reports to identify and respond to emerging hazards and makes aspects of the information publicly available.
In addition to reporting their Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, the proposed rule would require certain establishments in certain high-hazards industries to electronically submit additional information from their Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, as well as their Injury and Illness Incident Report.
The proposed rule would:
- Require establishments with 100 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries to electronically submit information from their OSHA Forms 300, 301 and 300A to OSHA once a year.
- Update the classification system used to determine the list of industries covered by the electronic submission requirement.
- Remove the current requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees not in a designated industry to electronically submit information from their Form 300A to OSHA annually.
- Require establishments to include their company name when making electronic submissions to OSHA.
It is important to note that establishments with 20 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries would continue to be required to electronically submit information from their Form 300A annual summary to OSHA annually, including building service contractors.
BSCAI is currently reviewing the proposed rule and its potential impact on building service contractors. BSCAI will be sure to keep members updated with the latest information and will be prepared to respond to OSHA on behalf of the industry. The comment period for the proposed rule ends on May 31, 2022.
OSHA Initiates Enforcement Program on Form 300A Data
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced they are initiating an enforcement program that identifies employers who failed to submit Form 300A data through the agency’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA). Annual electronic submissions are required by establishments with 250 or more employees currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees classified in specific industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses, including building service contractors. As reported previously by BSCAI, Form 300A data was due to OSHA on March 2, 2022.
The new enforcement program matches newly opened inspections against a list of potential non-responders to OSHA’s collection of Form 300A data through the ITA and reports all matches to the appropriate OSHA area office. If the area office determines that the establishment on the list is the same establishment where the inspection was opened, OSHA will issue citations for failure to submit OSHA Form 300A Summary data.
In addition to identifying non-responders at the establishment level, the agency is also reviewing the 2021 submitted data to identify non-responders at a corporate-wide level. This corporate level review is being conducted for the nation’s largest employers. OSHA developed the program in response to recommendations from the Government Accountability Office to improve reporting of summary injury
Learn more about OSHA’s injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting requirements here.
DHS and DOL Announce Additional H-2B Visas for Second Half of FY 2022
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced the forthcoming publication of a joint temporary final rule to make available an additional 35,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2022. These visas will be set aside for U.S. employers seeking to employ additional workers on or after April 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2022.
The supplemental H-2B visa allocation consists of 23,500 visas available to returning workers, who received an H-2B visa or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years. The remaining 11,500 visas, which are exempt from the returning worker requirement, are reserved for nationals of Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
The H-2B program permits employers to temporarily hire noncitizens to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. The employment must be for a limited period of time, such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal, or intermittent need. Employers seeking to hire H-2B workers must take a series of steps to test the U.S. labor market. They must provide certification from the Department of Labor that proves there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work for which they seek a prospective foreign worker, and that employing the H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
Democrats Push to Restart Budget Reconciliation Negotiations
Following the collapse of President Biden’s $1.7 trillion Build Back Better Act proposal last year, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is pushing to restart negotiations on a new budget reconciliation bill that could garner the support of Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and other moderate Democrats.
The reconciliation process allows Democrats to avoid a Senate filibuster and pass tax and spending legislation with a simple majority vote in each chamber of Congress. According to BSCAI sources, Democrats are discussing a narrow legislative package that would focus on prescription drug reform and climate programs and would be paid for by new taxes on wealthy individuals and large corporations.
It is unclear whether Democratic leaders could marshal enough support for a new budget reconciliation proposal before the mid-term election later this year and there remain several disagreements between Democrats on which policy priorities to include in a potential bill.
BSCAI is closely monitoring budget reconciliation negotiations on Capitol Hill and will keep members updated on any proposals that impact building service contractors.
SBA Announces National Small Business Week Virtual Summit
The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that registration for its 2022 National Small Business Week Virtual Summit, “Building a Better America Through Entrepreneurship,” is now open. This year’s National Small Business Week (NSBW), held May 1-7, 2022, will acknowledge small businesses from across the country for their resilience, ingenuity, and creativity. It will also recognize SBA partners for their involvement in entrepreneurial development, disaster recovery, government contracting, financial development, and overall support for small businesses and entrepreneurship.
This year’s NSBW virtual summit will feature access to federal resources, educational workshops, and networking to help our nation’s 32.5 million small businesses pivot, grow, and seize new opportunities. NSBW will offer entrepreneurs across America in rural, suburban, and urban communities tools, information, and access to resources to help them achieve the American dream of business ownership and success.
To register for National Small Business Week and for other event information, visit www.sba.gov/NSBW.