OSHA plans sweeping changes for fall protection
OSHA announced in a notice of proposed rulemaking on 24 May that it plans to make sweeping changes in fall protection regulations by requiring improved worker protection from tripping, slipping and falling hazards on walking and working surfaces. The proposed revisions would require fall protection devices such as self-retracting lanyards and ladder safety and rope descent systems for general industry workers. OSHA inspectors would be able to fine employers who allow workers to climb permanent and portable ladders without proper fall protection.
Presently, the agency’s standards for fall protection on walking/working surfaces in general industry (1910) differ from comparable standards for construction work (1926) and maritime (1915). In most instances, employees use similar work practices to perform similar tasks, regardless of whether they are technically doing construction or general industry work.
The existing inconsistencies among the general industry, construction and marine standards create difficulties for employers attempting to develop appropriate work practices for their employees. This proposal attempts to close those gaps.
Comments on the proposed rulemaking will be accepted until 23 August. A public hearing on the revised changes will be held after the public comment period. To read the proposed rulemaking notice and get instructions for submitting comments, go to http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-10418.htm.
Marpol Annex v Garbage restrictions to take effect May 2011
The International Maritime Organization has announced that the Wider Caribbean Region Special Area under regulation 5 of MARPOL Annex V will take effect on 1 May 2011. Member Governments and industry groups are being requested to comply immediately on a voluntary basis with the Special Area requirements, which restrict the discharge of garbage in the Wider Caribbean Region. IADC encourages its members operating in the region, which includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to honor this request. Companies should review internal instructions to assure compliance with both flag State and coastal State regulations.
Shell, DOI win alaskan leases dispute
In a notable victory, the US Ninth Circuit has ruled in favor of Shell Oil, the state of Alaska and the US Department of the Interior (DOI), rejecting challenges on the legality of the DOI’s approval of Shell’s Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea exploration plans. IADC joined an amicus brief supporting Shell and DOI against the claims, brought by Native Alaskan and whaling communities. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has suspended drilling on these leases pending a review of offshore drilling safety.