Updated OSHA Enforcement Response Plan for COVID-19

July 12, 2021
OSHA has issued new instructions and guidance to Area Offices and Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for handling COVID-19-related complaints, referrals, and severe illness reports in workplaces other than healthcare facilities.
The following summarizes OSHA’s updated enforcement strategy for reducing the risk of workplace transmissions of SARS-CoV-2:
  • OSHA will continue to implement the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to OSHA CSHOs during inspections,4 and recommend following current COVID-19 guidelines from the CDC.
  • OSHA will continue using the revised NEP for COVID-19, DIR 2021-03 (CPL 03), to prioritize COVID-19-related inspections involving deaths or multiple hospitalizations due to occupational exposures to SARS-CoV-2, to conduct follow-up inspections, and to target high hazard industries.  In addition, the NEP focuses on ensuring that workers are protected from retaliation.
  • Enforcement of protections for healthcare and healthcare support service workers in settings where people with COVID-19 are expected to be present are covered under the ETS, 29 CFR 1910.502 and 29 CFR 1910.504.  Inspection instructions for entities covered by the ETS are outlined in DIR 2021-02 (CPL-02), issued on June 28, 2021.
  • This Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan outlines inspection procedures to enable CSHOs to identify exposures to COVID-19-related hazards in non-healthcare settings, and to ensure that appropriate control measures are implemented.  Worker protections in non-healthcare industries will be focused on employees who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, including whether such employees are working indoors or outdoors.
  • This memo instructs CSHOs on addressing violations of OSHA standards (other than the ETS) and the General Duty Clause in workplaces not covered by the COVID-19 ETS.
  • When conducting inspections, the following apply:
    • OSHA will perform onsite COVID-19 inspections, in most cases.
    • OSHA will, when appropriate, use phone and video conferencing, in lieu of face-to-face employee interviews, to reduce potential exposures to CSHOs.  In instances where it is necessary and safe to do so, in-person interviews will be conducted.
    • OSHA will minimize in-person meetings with employers if necessary and encourage employers to provide documents and other data electronically or by mail to CSHOs.
  • Area Directors (AD) shall ensure that CSHOs are prepared and equipped with the appropriate precautions and personal protective equipment (PPE) when performing on-site inspections related to COVID-19 and throughout the pandemic.
  • To the extent possible, all inspections will be conducted in a manner to achieve expeditious issuance of COVID-19-related citations and abatement.
  • In cases where on-site inspections cannot safely be performed (e.g., if the only available CSHO has reported a medical contraindication), the AD may approve remote-only inspections.
  • Inspections conducted entirely remotely will be documented and coded as N-10-COVID-19 REMOTE in the OSHA Information System (OIS).

Oregon OSHA Emergency Heat Illness Prevention Rule
Oregon OSHA adopted an emergency rule that strengthens requirements for employers to protect workers from the dangers of high and extreme heat. The requirements expand access to shade and cool water. They also include regular cool-down breaks, training, communication, emergency planning and other measures.
The temporary rule is effective immediately and stays in place for 180 days, as Oregon OSHA continues its work on a permanent heat stress prevention rule with an eye on adopting it this fall. The temporary rule was adopted following direction from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to enact emergency measures. The temporary rule applies to any workplace – outdoors and indoors – where heat dangers are caused by the weather.
Andrew Stolfi, director of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, which includes Oregon OSHA, said the division's emergency measures and ongoing work on a permanent rule underscore the fact that the risks of working in high heat are not going away this, or any, summer. “In the face of an unprecedented heat wave in the Pacific Northwest – and tragic consequences – it is absolutely critical that we continue to build up our defenses against the effects of climate change, including extreme heat events," he said.
“This rule creates greater clarity for employers about the specific steps that need to be taken to protect workers from heat stress dangers at work," said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA “For employees, it further crystalizes their existing rights to protection from heat hazards where they work."
Oregon OSHA encourages a careful reading of the entire rule, which reflects the best available science, and input from labor and employer stakeholders. The division offers free resources for understanding and implementing the rule. The rule incorporates the heat index, which is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature. The following is a summary of the rule's provisions.
When the heat index is equal to or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit employers are required to provide:
  • Access to sufficient shade (specifics below)
  • An adequate supply of drinking water (specifics below)
When the heat index rises above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, all of the rules for 80 degrees apply and, in addition, employers must:
  • Ensure effective communication between an employee and a supervisor is maintained so that an employee can report concerns. 
  • Ensure that employees are observed for alertness and signs and symptoms of heat illness and monitored to determine whether medical attention is necessary.
  • Provide a cool-down rest period in the shade of 10 minutes for every two hours of work. These preventative cool-down rest periods may be provided concurrently with any other meal or rest period required by policy, rule, or law.
  • Develop and implement an emergency medical plan and practices to gradually adapt employees to working in the heat.
To be sufficient, shade must:
  • Be provided by any natural or artificial means that does not expose employees to unsafe or unhealthy conditions and that does not deter or discourage access or use.
  • Either be open to the air or provide mechanical ventilation for cooling.
  • At least accommodate the number of employees on recovery or rest periods, so that they can sit in in the shade.
  • Be located as close as practical to the areas where employees are working.
  • Shade present during meal periods must be large enough to accommodate the number of employees on the meal period that remain onsite.
To qualify as an adequate supply of drinking water, it must:
  • Be readily accessible to employees at all times and at no cost.
  • Enable each employee to consume 32 ounces per hour.
  • Be cool (66-77 degrees Fahrenheit) or cold (35-65 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Drinking water packaged as a consumer product and electrolyte-replenishing drinks that do not contain caffeine (for example, sports drinks) are acceptable substitutes, but should not completely replace the required water.
  • Employers must also ensure that employees have ample opportunity to drink water.
No later than Aug 1, 2021, employers must ensure that all employees, including new employees, supervisory, and non-supervisory employees, are trained in the following topics, in a language readily understood, before they begin work in a heat index equal to or in excess of 80 degrees Fahrenheit:
  • The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness, as well as the added burden of heat load on the body caused by exertion, clothing, and personal protective equipment.
  • The procedures for complying with the requirements of this standard, including the employer's responsibility to provide water, provide daily heat index information, shade, cool-down rests, and access to first aid as well as the employees' right to exercise their rights under this standard without fear of retaliation.
  • The concept, importance, and methods of adapting to working in a hot environment.
  • The importance of employees immediately reporting symptoms or signs of heat illness in themselves, or in co-workers.
  • The effects of non-job factors (medications, alcohol, obesity, etc.) on tolerance to workplace heat stress.
  • The different types of heat-related illness, and the common signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
The emergency rule documents are available on Oregon OSHA's Adopted Rules page: Oregon Occupational Safety and Health : Adopted Rules : Rulemaking : State of Oregon
The following free resources are available to help protect workers from high and extreme heat:
Emergency Use Authorizations for Certain Respirators and Decontamination Systems Revoked by FDA
The FDA announced it has revoked Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) of all non-NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health)-approved disposable respirators, which includes imported disposable respirators such as KN95s, along with revoking EUAs for decontamination and bioburden reduction systems.
These actions are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated recommendations that health care facilities not use crisis capacity strategies and should promptly return to conventional practices. They are also consistent with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) recently published Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect health care workers, which requires health care employers to provide NIOSH-approved or FDA-authorized respirators for workers potentially exposed to COVID-19.
All manufacturers of decontamination and bioburden reduction systems have requested, and the FDA has proceeded with, the revocation of their EUAs, effective June 30, 2021.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, NIOSH has approved more than 875 respirator models or configurations, with some of these manufactured by approximately 20 new, domestic NIOSH-approval holders. In addition, as of today, there are more than 6,400 total respirator models or configurations on the NIOSH-certified equipment list which have met the NIOSH-approved EUA criteria and thus are FDA-authorized. These include:
  • more than 600 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) models (of which there are over 530 N95 FFR models),
  • more than 5,500 elastomeric respirator configurations, including new elastomeric respirators without an exhalation valve, and
  • more than 360 powered air purifying respirator configurations.
FDA has also withdrawn two related decontamination and bioburden reduction guidance documents:
  • Recommendations for Sponsors Requesting EUAs for Decontamination and Bioburden Reduction Systems for Face Masks and Respirators During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency: Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff
  • Enforcement Policy for Bioburden Reduction Systems Using Dry Heat to Support Single-User Reuse of Certain Filtering Facepiece Respirators During the Coronavirus Disease (2019) Public Health Emergency
The FDA recommends health care personnel transition from extended use of disposable respirators to single-use for single-patient interactions as appropriate. See the letter to health care personnel for additional information.
Instant Water Cleaning Method 'Millions of Times' Better than Commercial Approach
A water disinfectant created on the spot using just hydrogen and the air around us is millions of times more effective at killing viruses and bacteria than traditional commercial methods, according to scientists from Cardiff University. Reporting their findings in the journal Nature Catalysis, the team say the results could revolutionize water disinfection technologies and present an unprecedented opportunity to provide clean water to communities that need it most.
Their new method works by using a catalyst made from gold and palladium that takes in hydrogen and oxygen to form hydrogen peroxide - a commonly used disinfectant that is currently produced on an industrial scale.
Over four million tonnes of hydrogen peroxide are made in factories each year, where it is then transported to the places it is used and stored. This means that stabilizing chemicals are often added to the solutions during the production process to stop it degrading but these reduce its effectiveness as a disinfectant.
Another common approach to disinfecting water is the addition of chlorine; however, it has been shown that chlorine can react with naturally occurring compounds in water to form compounds which, in high doses, can be toxic to humans.
The ability to be able to produce hydrogen peroxide at the point of use would overcome both efficacy and safety issues currently associated with commercial methods. In their study, the team tested the disinfection efficacy of commercially available hydrogen peroxide and chlorine compared to their new catalytic method.
Each was tested for its ability to kill Escherichia coli in identical conditions, followed by subsequent analysis to determine the processes by which the bacteria were killed using each method. The team showed that as the catalyst brought the hydrogen and oxygen together to form hydrogen peroxide, it simultaneously produced a number of highly reactive compounds, known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), which the team demonstrated were responsible for the antibacterial and antiviral effect, and not the hydrogen peroxide itself.
The catalyst-based method was shown to be 10,000,000 times more potent at killing the bacteria than an equivalent amount of the industrial hydrogen peroxide, and over 100,000,000 times more effective than chlorination, under equivalent conditions. In addition to this, the catalyst-based method was shown to be more effective at killing the bacteria and viruses in a shorter space of time compared to the other two compounds.
It is estimated that around 785 million people lack access to water and 2.7 billion experience water scarcity at least one month a year.
In addition to this, inadequate sanitation--a problem for around 2.4 billion people around the world--can lead to deadly diarrheal diseases, including cholera and typhoid fever, and other water-borne illnesses.
Co-author of the study Professor Graham Hutchings, Regius Professor of Chemistry at the Cardiff Catalysis Institute, said: "The significantly enhanced bactericidal and virucidal activities achieved when reacting hydrogen and oxygen using our catalyst, rather than using commercial hydrogen peroxide or chlorination shows the potential for revolutionizing water disinfection technologies around the world. We now have proven one-step process where, besides the catalyst, inputs of contaminated water and electricity are the only requirements to attain disinfection.  Crucially, this process presents the opportunity to rapidly disinfect water over timescales in which conventional methods are ineffective, whilst also preventing the formation of hazardous compounds and biofilms, which can help bacteria and viruses to thrive."
The study was led by Cardiff University's School of Chemistry and School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, accompanied by researchers from Swansea University, Lehigh University, National University of Singapore and the University of Bath, and experts at Dwr Cyrmu Welsh Water.
Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses
The heat is on! Be prepared to protect yourself from heat-related illnesses! Check out the NIOSH Fast Fact tip sheet on the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and preventative steps you can take to avoid them. For more information on heat stress, along with resources to share with your employees, see the NIOSH Heat Stress webpage.
European Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern Now Contains 219 Chemicals that May Harm People or the Environment
Some of the newly added substances are used in consumer products such as cosmetics, scented articles, rubber and textiles. Others are used as solvents, flame retardants or to manufacture plastics products. Most have been added to the Candidate List because they are hazardous to human health as they are toxic for reproduction, carcinogenic, respiratory sensitizers or endocrine disruptors.
The Candidate List includes substances of very high concern that may have serious effects on our health or the environment. These substances may be placed on the Authorization List in the future, which means that companies would need to apply for permission to continue using them. The Candidate List has now 219 entries – some of these cover groups of chemicals so the overall number of impacted chemicals is higher.
Under the REACH Regulation, companies may have legal obligations when their substance is included – either on its own, in mixtures or in articles – in the Candidate List. Any supplier of articles containing a Candidate List substance above a concentration of 0.1 % weight by weight has to give sufficient information to their customers and consumers to allow safe use.
Importers and producers of articles containing a Candidate List substance have six months from the date of its inclusion in the list (8 July 2021) to notify ECHA. Suppliers of substances on the Candidate List (supplied either on their own or in mixtures) have to provide their customers with a safety data sheet.
As of 5 January 2021, suppliers of articles on the EU market containing Candidate List substances in a concentration above 0.1% weight by weight must notify these articles to ECHA’s SCIP database. This duty comes from the Waste Framework Directive.
More information on these obligations and related tools are available on ECHA’s website.
Companies must follow their legal obligations and ensure the safe use of these chemicals. Companies in the US that export to the EU will have to notify ECHA under the Waste Framework Directive if their products contain substances of very high concern. This notification is submitted to ECHA’s SCIP database and the information will later be published on the Agency’s website.
Entries added to the Candidate List on 8 July 2021:
Substance name
EC number
CAS number
Reason for inclusion
Examples of use(s)
2-(4-tert-butylbenzyl)propionaldehyde and its individual stereoisomers
Toxic for reproduction
(Article 57 c)
Cleaning agents, cosmetics, in scented articles, polishes and wax blends.
Orthoboric acid, sodium salt
Toxic for reproduction
(Article 57 c)
Not registered under REACH.
May be used as solvent and corrosion inhibitor.
2,2-bis(bromomethyl)propane1,3-diol (BMP);
2,2-dimethylpropan-1-ol, tribromo derivative/3-bromo-2,2-bis(bromomethyl)-1-propanol (TBNPA);
2,3-dibromo-1-propanol (2,3-DBPA)
3296-90-0, 36483-57-5, 1522-92-5,  96-13-9
(Article 57 a)
BMP: manufacture of polymer resins and in one component foam (OCPF) application.
TBNPA: polymer production manufacture of plastics products, including
compounding and conversion and as an intermediate.
DBPA: registered as an intermediate.
Respiratory sensitizing properties (Article 57f - human health)
Biocides, leather tanning, x-ray film processing, cosmetics.
Medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCP)
(UVCB substances consisting of more than or equal to 80% linear chloroalkanes with carbon chain lengths within the range from C14 to C17)
PBT (Article 57d)
vPvB (Article 57e)
Flame retardants, plasticizing additives in plastics, sealants, rubber and textiles.
Phenol, alkylation products (mainly in para position) with C12-rich branched alkyl chains from oligomerisation, covering any individual isomers and/ or combinations thereof (PDDP)
Toxic for reproduction (Article 57c)
Endocrine disrupting properties (Article 57f - human health and environment)
Preparation of lubricant additive materials and of fuel system cleaners.
(Article 57a)
Equivalent level of concern having probable serious effects to the environment (Article 57f -environment)
Equivalent level of concern having probable serious effects to human health (Article 57f –human health)
4,4'-(1-methylpropylidene) bisphenol
Endocrine disrupting properties (Article 57f - human health and environment)
Not registered under REACH.
May be used in mfg of phenolic and polycarbonate resin.
Allied BioScience Ordered to Stop Selling and Distributing SurfaceWise2
In August 2020, after reviewing the available data and information, EPA issued the initial SurfaceWise2 emergency exemption for specific locations under Section 18 of FIFRA. SurfaceWise2 was expected to kill coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces for up to seven days when used as a supplement to a List N disinfectant. List N is a list of products that EPA expects will kill SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, when used according to the label directions.
In January 2021, EPA revised the terms and conditions under which SurfaceWise2 could be used after an initial review of internal laboratory data revealed that exposure to moisture could adversely impact the product’s durability, reducing its residual efficacy. EPA’s revised terms of use applied to Texas and two additional states that received emergency use exemptions in January—Arkansas and Oklahoma.
In May 2021, EPA received a revocation request from Oklahoma indicating the emergency situation was no longer applicable in the state. Also, EPA investigations found the company was marketing, selling, and distributing SurfaceWise2 in ways that were inconsistent with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA’s regulations, and the terms and conditions of the emergency exemption authorizations. Specific use sites included American Airlines aircraft and airport facilities and two orthopedic facilities in Texas.
EPA has accepted Oklahoma’s rationale and revoked the state’s emergency exemption on those grounds. This action is in addition to revoking the emergency exemptions for Arkansas and Texas. The revocation was issued as a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order (SSURO) to Allied BioScience for their product SurfaceWise2. SurfaceWise2, a residual antimicrobial surface coating, was previously authorized for emergency use in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SSURO that requires Allied BioScience, the product manufacturer, to immediately stop selling and distributing SurfaceWise2. The SSURO will remain in effect unless revoked, terminated, suspended or modified in writing by EPA.
“Pesticides can cause serious harm to human health and the environment, which is why EPA requires their registration before being distributed for use,” said Larry Starfield, EPA acting assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA is committed to holding companies accountable for not adhering to federal environmental laws.”  
Additionally, EPA has revoked SurfaceWise2 emergency exemptions for Arkansas and Texas due to the company misconduct described above and scientific concerns regarding product performance.
Since January, new data have become available, leading EPA to comprehensively review new and existing information. EPA laboratory testing indicates the product's performance is less reliable under real-world conditions, particularly when it is exposed to moisture or abrasion. Therefore, based on all the available efficacy data for SurfaceWise2, EPA does not support its continued emergency use.
Given the product’s limited approved scope of use and CDC guidance that states the risk of transmission for SARS-CoV-2 by touching a contaminated surface is considered to be low, removing this unregistered product from the market does not endanger human health or limit the fight against the virus. EPA has registered many other products for decontaminating surfaces when the need arises.
Section 18 of FIFRA authorizes EPA to exempt state and federal agencies from provisions of FIFRA and allow unregistered uses of pesticides to address emergency conditions. Under such an exemption, EPA allows limited use of a pesticide in defined geographic areas for a finite time once EPA confirms the situation meets the statutory definition of "emergency condition" and the product will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment.
To ensure emergency exemptions are effectively addressing an emergency, EPA’s regulations require additional recordkeeping and reporting beyond those that apply to registered pesticides. EPA’s regulations also include provisions for EPA to unilaterally modify or revoke emergency exemptions if deemed necessary.
California Takes Major Step to Protect Residents from Harmful Chemicals in Carpets and Rugs
Moving to protect the health of Californians, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has taken action to require manufacturers of carpets and rugs sold in the state to consider safer alternatives to a group of hazardous chemicals that have been linked to serious health impacts and pose a particular exposure risk to children when used in carpets and rugs.
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which are sometimes found in carpets and rugs designed to repel soil and stains, have been linked to a variety of health effects including liver problems, kidney and testicular cancer, and disrupted hormone functions. Infants and children are particularly at risk of exposure if these chemicals are used in rugs and carpets because children crawl on floors and put their fingers in their mouths.
PFASs, often called “forever chemicals” because they don’t easily break down, are commonly found in the environment and have been found in the bodies of almost every human studied. Research shows that PFASs can also be passed to babies through the placenta and through breast milk.
“PFASs are some of the most persistent toxic chemicals in existence,” said DTSC Director Meredith Williams. “Using them in carpets and rugs is of particular concern because so many homes and offices have them as floor coverings, subjecting many people to prolonged exposure every day. This action is a major step forward in the Department’s mission to protect Californians from harmful chemicals in the environment and in the products they purchase and use.”
Under the new regulation, adopted by the Department July 1, carpets and rugs containing PFASs are now DTSC’s fourth “Priority Product”, which have been identified by the Department as containing one or more chemicals that can harm people or the environment.
DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products program is currently considering regulating other consumer products sold in California, including:
Recall of LeadCare® Blood Lead Tests Due to Risk of Falsely Low Results
Magellan Diagnostics, Inc. and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued a recall notice concerning the use of some LeadCare® Blood Lead Tests (certain LeadCare II, LeadCare Plus, and LeadCare Ultra test kit lots). These lots were distributed between October 27, 2020, and June 15, 2021. The use of these devices may cause serious injuries because they might underestimate blood lead levels. The FDA has identified this as a Class I recall, the most serious type of recall.
The purpose of this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory is to notify healthcare providers and state and local health departments about this recall notice and to recommend appropriate follow-up actions.
Magellan Diagnostics, Inc. is recalling its LeadCare II, LeadCare Plus, and LeadCare Ultra Blood Lead Tests due to a significant risk of falsely low blood lead level results. The FDA has concerns that the falsely low results may contribute to health risks in special populations such as young children and pregnant individuals. A pregnant or lactating individual’s exposure to lead is concerning because it may cause health problems for the parent and the developing baby. Obtaining falsely low blood lead level results may lead to inappropriate follow-up assessments, which may result in patient harm, including delayed puberty, reduced postnatal growth, decreased IQ, and inattention and behavior problems in children.
The FDA notified CDC on June 24 that some Magellan Diagnostics blood lead test kits were undergoing a voluntary recall by the manufacturer. The FDA is now recommending that Magellan Diagnostics customers discontinue the use of all affected test kit lots identified as part of the recall and quarantine remaining inventory.
  • Discontinue use of all affected test kit lots identified as part of the recall.
  • Retest children who were tested with the recalled LeadCare test kits whose results were less than 5 μg/dL, the current CDC-recommended blood lead reference value. Retesting should be done with a venous blood sample analyzed with higher complexity testing.
  • Retest children who were previously tested with a LeadCare test kit if the lot number of the initial test kit is unknown and the test was done between October 27, 2020, and June 15, 2021.
  • Priority for retesting should be given to—
  • Children where there is clinical concern that symptoms or developmental problems may be related to lead exposure,
  • Populations at higher risk of elevated blood lead levels, such as children tested due to Medicaid-required screening or due to other state or local requirements, and o Individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If retesting indicates blood lead levels in excess of the current CDC Blood Level Reference Values (BLRV) or state or local action level, the healthcare provider or public health official should refer to CDC guidelines or state/local guidelines for appropriate follow-up action.
  • Discuss the recall and retesting recommendations with a parent and/or caregiver of children who meet the retesting criteria.
Per CDC guidance, children with blood lead levels at or greater than 5 μg/dL should have had a subsequent test with a venous blood sample for confirmation. LeadCare instruments are currently approved for use only with capillary or finger/heel stick samples. Venous blood confirmation levels are performed with higher complexity testing such as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) or graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy (GFAAS) and are generally considered more accurate.
More information about blood lead testing can be found by visiting—
More information about the recall can be found by visiting—
CSX Transportation, Inc. Ordered to Pay Worker Who Raised Safety Concerns Nearly $222K in Back Wages, Damages
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found that CSX Transportation violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act and demonstrated a pattern of retaliation after firing a worker in December 2019 for reporting safety concerns. OSHA ordered the company to pay $71,976 in back wages, interest, and damages, and $150,000 in punitive damages.
“CSX Transportation’s actions are unacceptable,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric Harbin in Dallas. “Federal law protects employees who report hazards in the nation’s transportation sector and OSHA is committed to enforcing these rights to keep workers safe.”
This investigation is the latest example of CSX retaliating against workers for reporting safety concerns. In October 2020, OSHA ordered CSX to reinstate an employee who reported an unsafe customer gate and an on-the-job injury and pay more than $95,000 in back wages and $75,000 in punitive damages. Similar whistleblower investigations resulted in reinstatements and payment of back wages and damages in the New York region in 2016 and 2010.
Based in Jacksonville, Florida, CSX Transportation Inc. is one of the nation’s leading transportation suppliers. The company provides rail-based transportation services including traditional rail service, intermodal containers and trailers, and operates on about 20,000 route miles of track in 23 states.
Pennsylvania to Consider Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Final Regulation
The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board will hold a meeting on Tuesday July 13, 2021 to consider the final form rulemaking for Pennsylvania to take part in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The meeting will be held at 9:00 AM and will be streamed at pacast.com/live/dep. The Rachel Carson State Office Building remains closed to the public.
The final RGGI regulation takes into account the thousands of comments received across 10 virtual public hearings and 60 day comment period. The final version of the regulation, along with supporting documents, can be found at dep.pa.gov/rggi under “Consideration of Final Rulemaking: CO2 Budget Trading Program (25 Pa. Code Chapter 145).”
Benefits of the regulation, if enacted, include:
  • Less air pollution – RGGI would eliminate more than 188 million tons of carbon pollution over 10 years
  • Improved health by preventing $6.3 billion of health care costs due to cleaner air
  • Up to 30,000 new jobs created and an increase in Gross State Product by $2 billion
More information about RGGI and Pennsylvania can be found at dep.pa.gov/rggi.
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
Annual training is required by 40 CFR 262.17(a)(7). Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course is available via live webcasts. If you plan to also attend DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, call 800-537-2372 to find out how you can get your course materials on an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
Job Openings at Environmental Resource Center
Environmental Resource Center has openings for EHS consultants and trainers. If you are looking for a new challenge, send your resume and salary requirements to Brian Karnofsky at brian@ercweb.com.
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