March 2021 OSHA Quicktakes

OSHA issues stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers identify risks of COVID-19 exposure and contraction

The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus prevention program and better identify risks which could lead to exposure and contraction. Last week, President Biden directed OSHA to release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure.

Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides updated guidance and recommendations, and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA is providing the recommendations to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

“More than 400,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions of people are out of work as a result of this crisis. Employers and workers can help our nation fight and overcome this deadly pandemic by committing themselves to making their workplaces as safe as possible,” said Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor M. Patricia Smith. “The recommendations in OSHA’s updated guidance will help us defeat the virus, strengthen our economy and bring an end to the staggering human and economic toll that the coronavirus has taken on our nation.”

Implementing a coronavirus prevention program is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus. The guidance announced today recommends several essential elements in a prevention program:

Minnesota On-Site Consultation Program Helps Company Find Safety Success

Ceramic Industrial Coatings, founded in 1961, manufactures coatings on a contract basis. Ceramic Industrial Coatings has two business units – wood coatings and contract manufacturing. Wood coatings develop, manufactures, and sells industrial wood coatings to cabinet and furniture manufacturing companies. Contract manufacturing makes and fills chemicals for a variety of companies, specializing in filling unique containers including one-ounce tubes, pouches, bottles, and cans. After attending an industry trade show, the company contacted Minnesota OSHA’s Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) Program. Ceramic Industrial Coatings wanted to improve both worker safety and its safety and health programs.

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US Department of Labor’s OSHA issues proposed rule to update hazard communication standard

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued a proposed rule to update the agency’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align with the seventh revision of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

OSHA expects the HCS update will increase worker protections, and reduce the incidence of chemical-related occupational illnesses and injuries by further improving the information on the labels and Safety Data Sheets for hazardous chemicals. Proposed modifications will also address issues since implementation of the 2012 standard, and improve alignment with other federal agencies and Canada.

Individuals may submit comments identified by Docket No. OSHA-2019-0001, electronically at, which is the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Read the Federal Register notice for details. The deadline for submitting comments is April 19, 2021.

OSHA has preliminarily determined that the proposed modifications would enhance the effectiveness of the standard by improving dissemination of hazard information so employees are more appropriately apprised of exposure to chemical hazards in the workplace. 

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The eighth annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction will be held May 3-7.

Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 320 of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded in 2018 (BLS data). Those deaths were preventable. The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.

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OSHA and the Consulate General of Mexico in Denver have signed a two-year alliance to promote workplace safety and health training

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Denver and Englewood Area Offices and the Consulate of Mexico in Denver, Colorado (the Consulate), hereinafter referred to collectively as “the Participants”;

RECOGNIZING the joint commitment to protect workers’ rights for Mexican workers in the United States; and

RECOGNIZING that OSHA’s Alliance Program provides for the establishment of cooperative relationships for purposes such as training and education, outreach and communication, and promoting a national dialogue on workplace safety and health…

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