Mar 20, 2018

Top Story OSHA Will Enforce Beryllium Standard Starting in May

OSHA will start enforcement of the final rule on occupational exposure to beryllium in construction, shipyard, and general industries on May 11, 2018. The start of enforcement had previously been set for March 12, 2018. In response to feedback from stakeholders, the agency is considering technical updates to clarify and simplify compliance. In the interim, if an employer fails to meet the new exposure limits, OSHA will inform the employer and offer assistance to ensure compliance. For more information, read the news release.

What Is The USEPA Revised Hazardous Waste Generator Rule And How It Affects You

Hazardous Waste Dates: Rule effective May 30, 2017 for EPA administered areas. Becomes effective in a RCRA authorized states when adopted by the state. What Happened The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued the November 2016 final rule that revised the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's (RCRA) hazardous waste generator regulatory program. According to USEPA, the revisions reorganized the hazardous waste generator regulations to make them more user-friendly, address gaps in the existing regulations and, provide greater flexibility for hazardous waste generators to manage their hazardous waste. The final rule is effective initially in states where EPA runs the RCRA hazardous waste program. 

In a RCRA authorized state, the rule will become effective when the state adopts the federal requirements in its own state regulations. States generally have one to two years to adopt federal requirements (expected in most states in 2018). In addition, states can choose to customize the federal requirements to suit their needs by making them more stringent or not adopt them if less stringent than previously. To find out if the rule is effective in your state, check with your state environmental age agency and this web page: 

Impact When the rule becomes effective, the changes in the Federal rules will affect all hazardous waste generators. The extent of impact will depend on the site's generator category and how their state chooses to adopt the rule. Table 1 highlights the rule changes and impacts in more detail. Table 2 summarizes the updated regulatory requirements by generator type. 

Suggested Action
Find out when the rule will become effective in your state. 
Evaluate impacts, prepare for, and implement necessary changes. 
Evaluate whether you can take advantage of certain flexibilities allowed by the revised rule. For example, consolidation of waste generated at other sites at Large Quantity Generator site under common control, use Episodic Generation notification to maintain or downsize lower Generator status. 
Also, evaluate if any the hazardous wastes are eligible to be managed as universal waste in your state rules. States are authorized to add to EPA's lists of universal wastes. If you can reclassify a waste as universal waste, it's possible you can downsize your hazardous waste generator status in addition to using less burdensome requirements. 

Courtesy of: Prokopis Christou, PE, CHMM , March 19, 2018 

Preventing Illness from Pesticide Drift

As the breadbasket for the United States, California has many communities and workplaces surrounded by agriculture. Workers can become ill when pesticide drifts onto workplaces after it is applied incorrectly.

A new fact sheet and poster from the California Department of Public Health's Occupational Pesticide Illness Prevention Program (OPIPP) provides employers and workers with tips for preventing pesticide illness from drift incidents. The fact sheet will help workplaces located near pesticide applications to plan ahead and know who to contact to report drift. A case study illustrates the need to plan in advance and train workers on how to respond.

The companion poster reinforces what to do in a drift situation and provides an easy way to post the contact information for reporting drift.

You can find more information and resources about OPIPP on their website.

Email Occupational Health Watch with feedback about this update or change of address.


Plan Ahead to Prevent Pesticide Drift from Causing Illness – fact sheet

What to Do If Pesticides Drift onto Our Workplace – poster

Occupational Pesticide Illness Prevention Program website

Annual Death Toll From Opioid Epidemic Exceeds That of the Vietnam War

The opioid epidemic — which between 2002 and 2015 alone claimed an estimated 202,600 Americans' lives1 — shows absolutely no signs of leveling off or declining. On the contrary, recent statistics suggest the death toll is still trending upward, with more and more people abusing these powerful narcotics. The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths include2 methadone, oxycodone (such as OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®).

This dangerous class of drugs promises relief from pain and is filling a hole in human hearts and souls everywhere. According to the most recent data3 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose cases admitted into emergency rooms increased by more than 30 percent across the U.S. between July 2016 and September 2017. Overdose cases rose by:4

  • 30 percent among men
  • 31 percent among 24- to 35-year-olds
  • 36 percent among 35- to 54-year-olds
  • 32 percent among those 55 and older

In the Midwest region — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin — overdose cases rose by 70 percent and opioid-related mortality by 14 percent. Large cities also saw a 54 percent increase in overdose cases in that same timeframe. According to CDC officials, the results are "a wake-up call to the fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic.''

'The Opioid Diaries'

Curiously, opioid abuse appears to be a uniquely American problem. As noted in a recent write-up in New York Magazine,5 the U.S. "pioneered modern life. Now epic numbers of Americans are killing themselves with opioids to escape it." I've written about opioid misuse and addiction on many occasions in recent years, and it seems one cannot discuss this issue enough. Many are still unaware of the dangers involved with filling that first prescription.

As an indication of the need for awareness, the March 5 issue of Time magazine, "The Opioid Diaries,"6 is aimed at exposing the national crisis. For the first time in the magazine's history, an entire issue is devoted to a single photo essay — the work of photojournalist James Nachtwey, who has documented stories for Time for over three decades. In "The Opioid Diaries," Nachtwey's photos detail the stark reality of this all-American crisis.

He and editor Paul Moakley spent months traversing the U.S., interviewing over 200 people along the way. As noted by a deputy sheriff who has seen more than his fair share of the fallout of this epidemic, opioid addiction doesn't discriminate. "It's not just the guy who's never worked a day in his life," he says. "It's airline pilots. It's teachers. I'm sure there's law enforcement, firemen out there hooked on it. It's Joe Citizen that's dying."

A Country in Crisis  

Here are some statistics about the U.S. opioid epidemic that really ought to get everyone's attention:

Leading cause of death for younger Americans

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.7

Annual death toll greater than entire Vietnam War

Preliminary data for 2016 reveals the death toll from drug overdoses may be as high as 65,000,8 a 19 percent increase from 2015; the largest annual increase of drug overdose deaths in U.S. history, and a number that exceeds both the AIDS epidemic at its peak and the death toll of the Vietnam War in its entirety.9

That much-opposed war claimed the lives of 58,000 American troops. Now, we're suffering a death toll exceeding that of the Vietnam War each and every year, courtesy of a drug addiction epidemic created by the pharmaceutical industry.  

Deadlier than breast cancer

Opioids, specifically, killed 33,000 in 2015,10,11,12 and 42,249 in 2016, which is over 1,000 more deaths than were caused by breast cancer that same year.13

Synthetic opioid abuse skyrocketing

Deadly overdoses involving fentanyl, an incredibly potent synthetic opioid, rose by 50 percent between 2013 and 2014 and another 72 percent between 2014 and 2015. Over 20,000 of the drug overdose deaths in 2016 were attributed to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.14 In Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, fentanyl was responsible for at least 70 percent of all opioid-related deaths between July and December 2016.15

While some users will buy fentanyl on purpose, others buy tainted wares and end up taking it without knowing the risks. This is a critical problem, as fentanyl is so potent just a few grains can be deadly.

An inexpensive fentanyl test strip can check for the presence of the drug, and trials where test strips have been given to users show they're more likely to cut back on the amount they're taking when they know it's tainted with fentanyl. As such, fentanyl testing can be employed as "a point-of-care test within harm-reduction programs" aimed at lowering the death toll.16

Significant factor in unemployment rates

Opioid abuse has been identified as a significant factor in rising unemployment among men, accounting for 20 percent of the increase in male unemployment between 1999 and 2015.17 Nearly half of all unemployed men between the ages of 25 and 54 are using opioids on a daily basis.18

Americans use vast majority of global opioid supplies

Americans consume 99 percent of the hydrocodone sold worldwide, and 81 percent of all oxycodone — approximately 30 times more than medically necessary for the population size of the U.S.19 A number of different statistics convey this massive overuse.

For example, in a five-year span, between 2007 and 2012, 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills were shipped to West Virginia, which has just 1.8 million residents.20 More than 1 in 5 Americans insured by BlueCross BlueShield were prescribed an opioid in 2015, and insurance claims involving opioid dependence rose by nearly 500 percent between 2010 and 2016.21

Declining life expectancy

Life expectancy for both men and women in the U.S. has declined two years in a row,22,23 and this decline is largely attributable to the opioid crisis. Just as the opioid epidemic, declining life expectancy is a uniquely American phenomenon. No other developed countries has experienced this decline in life expectancy.

A Story of Misery

There are compelling reasons to suspect the opioid epidemic was purposely engineered by the drug companies that make them, and that these same companies have, and continue to, shy away from doing what's necessary to curb the use of opioid pain killers for financially-driven reasons.

Moreover, while this was not likely planned, the industry's misleading promotion of narcotic pain relievers appears to have coincided with a growing trend of emotional pain and spiritual disconnect, and opioids satisfy people's need not only for physical pain relief but also psychological and existential pain relief. As noted by New York Magazine:24

"The scale and darkness of this phenomenon is a sign of a civilization in a more acute crisis than we knew, a nation overwhelmed by a warp-speed, postindustrial world, a culture yearning to give up, indifferent to life and death, enraptured by withdrawal and nothingness …

[U]nless you understand what users get out of an illicit substance, it's impossible to understand its appeal, or why an epidemic takes off, or what purpose it is serving in so many people's lives. And it is significant, it seems to me, that the drugs now conquering America are downers: They are not the means to engage in life more vividly but to seek a respite from its ordeals … And some part of being free from all pain makes you indifferent to death itself."

The article cites a number of firsthand accounts of the experience opioids provides — the blissful serenity of being able to stand apart from one's psychological pain in addition to physical pain; the sensation of being connected to some deeper wellspring of peace. These are experiences typically derived from spiritual practices, and hint at a widespread lack of connectedness to the divine in general.

Read on by By Dr. Mercola

Mar 16, 2018

ECHA: New website about chemicals for consumers launched today

New ECHA website has been launched on World Consumers Rights Day. 
It is available in 23 EU languages and gives useful information on the benefits and risks of using chemicals and explains how the EU legislation on chemicals protects us.
The website has a trending section for topical news and is connected to our chemicals database – the largest of its kind. 

You can also explore parts of the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) through articles on nanomaterials and health, the workplace and consumer products. 360-degree interactive apartment shows you where and why nanomaterials are used in our lives.

Mar 15, 2018

Study finds that 90% of bottled water contains tiny plastic particles

BBC News:  Prof Mason and her colleagues filtered their dyed samples and then counted every piece larger than 100 microns – roughly the diameter of a human hair.


Some of these particles – large enough to be handled individually - were then analysed by infrared spectroscopy, confirmed as plastic and further identified as particular types of polymer.

Particles smaller than 100 microns – and down to a size of 6.5 microns – were much more numerous (an average of 314 per litre) and were counted using a technique developed in astronomy for totalling the number of stars in the night sky.

The make-up of these particles was not confirmed but Prof Mason said they can "rationally expected to be plastic".

This is because although Nile Red dye can bind to substances other than plastic - such as fragments of shell or algae containing lipids - these would be unlikely to be present in bottled water.

Graphic: Type

Since the study has not been through the usual process of peer review and publication in a scientific journal, the BBC has asked experts in the field to comment.

Dr Andrew Mayes, of the University of East Anglia and one of the pioneers of the Nile Red technique, told us it was "very high quality analytical chemistry" and that the results were "quite conservative".

Michael Walker, a consultant to the Office of the UK Government Chemist and founder board member of the Food Standards Agency, said the work was "well conducted" and that the use of Nile Red has "a very good pedigree".

Both of them emphasised that the particles below 100 microns had not been identified as plastic but said that since the alternatives would not be expected in bottled water, they could be described as "probably plastic".

One obvious question is where this plastic may be coming from. Given the amount of polypropylene, which is used in bottle caps, one theory is that the act of opening a bottle may shed particles inside.

Graphic showing the rising number of plastic drinks bottles thrown away
Presentational white space

To check that the process of testing was not itself adding plastic to the bottles, Prof Mason ran "blanks" in which the purified water used to clean the glassware and the acetone used to dilute the Nile Red dye were themselves investigated.

Small quantities of plastic were found in them – believed to be from the air - but these were subtracted from the final results.

A surprise to researchers was the wide variety of findings – 17 of the 259 bottles tested showed no evidence of plastic but all of the rest did, with big differences even within brands.

Read on at:

Mar 14, 2018

EPA Proposes Universal Waste Designation for Aerosol Cans

(PAINT.ORG) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to add hazardous waste aerosol cans to the universal waste program under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. In a pre-publication notice signed March 5 by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency said, "this proposed change, once finalized, would benefit the wide variety of establishments generating and managing hazardous waste aerosol cans, including the retail sector, by providing a clear, protective system for managing discarded aerosol cans."

EPA will accept comments for the 60-day period following the official publication notice in the Federal Register.

The streamlined universal waste regulations are expected to ease regulatory burdens on retail stores and others that discard hazardous waste aerosol cans; promote the collection and recycling of these cans; and encourage the development of municipal and commercial programs to reduce the quantity of these wastes going to municipal solid waste landfills or combustors.

Under the proposed reclassification, aerosol cans, pressurized or spent — including spray paint cans — would be treated and handled as universal waste. In 1995, EPA promulgated the universal waste rule to establish a streamlined hazardous waste management system for widely generated hazardous wastes to encourage environmentally sound collection and proper management of the wastes within the system. Hazardous waste batteries, certain hazardous waste pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, and hazardous waste lamps are already included on the federal list of universal wastes. The universal waste regulations in 40 CFR part 273 are a set of alternative hazardous waste management standards that operate in lieu of regulation under 40 CFR parts 260 through 272 for specified hazardous wastes.

Notably, four states, California, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico, already have universal waste aerosol can programs in place; and two more states, Ohio and Minnesota, have proposed to add aerosol cans to their universal waste regulations. The universal waste programs in all these states include streamlined management standards like 40 CFR part 273 for small and large quantity handlers of universal waste, and a one-year accumulation time limit for the aerosol cans. In addition, the four state universal waste programs, as well as Ohio's proposed regulations, set standards for puncturing and draining of aerosol cans by universal waste handlers.

More information on EPA's Universal Waste Program may be found here.

Contact ACA's Xavier Ferrier or Rhett Cash for more information.

Mar 13, 2018

Milwaukee HazWoper Refresher Seminar March 21, 2018

Annual OSHA HazWoper Refresher

Wednesday, March 21st - NEXT WEEK
Hilton Garden Inn, 11600 W Park Place, Milwaukee
The HazWoper Refresher, hosted by the WI CHMM Chapter, will be held next week on Wednesday, March 21st in Milwaukee.  
The seminar is designed to meet the annual refresher training requirements under OSHA's standards for general industry and the construction industry on hazardous waste operations and emergency response (29 CFR 1910.120 or 29 CFR 1926.65).
The HAZWOPER standard applies to five groups of employers and their employees who may exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, and are engaged in:
  • Mandatory clean-up operations required by the government involving hazardous substances at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • Corrective actions involving clean-up operations at RCRA sites
  • Voluntary clean-up operations at RCRA sites
  • Operations involving hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal (TSDF) facilities
Emergency response operations for release of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances

If you or your employer are or have the potential to fall into one of these groups, you should attend this 8-hour annual refresher training. This program offers Professional Credits.
An agenda and registration information can be found by clicking the program link below or visit the FET website at 

Mar 12, 2018

NEEDED: EHS Regulatory Content Project Manager $1000 finder fee!

Come work with an international team of experts building the world's largest set of regulatory data to keep the world safe and green. Nimonik is growing and needs an EHS Regulatory Content Project Manager who loves technology and data management!

Do you know the perfect candidate?

Receive $1000 if we hire someone you recommend.

Position: EHS Regulatory Content Project Manager

Salary: 30-70k CAD depending on location and experience

Job Description Summary

Create custom legal registers for Nimonik's customers by analyzing legislation to identify requirements that are applicable to their operations.

The job demands careful analysis of applicability and requirements of legislation to determine relevance. Nimonik customers you will work with will be in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia and will be certified ISO 14001, 50001 or 450001.

Larger projects will require you to train and manage junior regulatory analysts.

Read more and Apply now:

Contact: Jonathan Brun


Seven years after Fukushima

Nuclear disaster aftermath affects environment and energy policies today

The Varsity: March 11, 2018 marks the seventh anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the most significant nuclear incident since the 1986 Chernobyl explosion in Ukraine. The disaster has led to extensive scientific research in the affected areas in an effort to learn about its effects.

Triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, a massive tsunami off the coast of Japan destroyed the power and cooling systems of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. With the reactors melting down over the course of a few hours, the disaster caused significant environmental, economic, and psychological damage to the area and its residents.

Environmental research has examined the impact of the release of radioisotopes from the meltdown on terrestrial and marine wildlife. A review from 2015 observed declines in bird, butterfly, and cicada populations in Fukushima forests as well as abnormal morphological growth in aphids and trees.

In addition to environmental harm, researchers estimate that the total human mortality from the event will be around 10,000 with an additional lifetime cancer mortality of 1,500.

The remains of a house in Iwaki, Fukushima. ANDY TAKAGI/THE VARSITY

At the time of the event, over 150,000 people in the area were evacuated en masse, with many ending up in temporary housing. While Japanese authorities claim that the area is safe and are proceeding to move residents back to the area, people remain hesitant.

Skepticism about safety stems from recent reports of robots being destroyed within hours of being sent into the reactor buildings. Likewise, a recent Greenpeace Japan report claims that current radiation levels remain three times higher than government targets despite cleanup work in the area. This suggests that the area may not be habitable just yet.

Globally, there has been growing skepticism toward nuclear energy. While nuclear generation provides cheap electricity and does not emit greenhouse gases, a 2013 study examining 42 countries found that the Fukushima event has shifted views on nuclear energy toward the negative.

Japan shut down its nuclear power enterprise in the wake of the event and currently provides monthly updates to the International Atomic Energy Agency on the status of the Fukushima Daiichi. Germany has shut down several of its reactors and recently reaffirmed its commitment to phase out nuclear power by 2022.

Collected trash and radioactive dirt from government clean-up effort.

Other countries appear open to the idea as well. South Korean President Moon Jae-in promised to eliminate both coal and nuclear power, though there are clear challenges to keeping this promise: nine reactors have opened in South Korea since 2000, and five are currently under construction. Japan has brought five reactors online as of September 2017, with more to come in the future.

Despite changing attitudes, not a lot has changed in relation to the production and generation of nuclear energy since the event, according to Steve Hoffman, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology.

"Among the large nuclear producers, only two nations shifted their nuclear energy policies in a significant way in the wake of the Fukushima disaster – Japan and Germany… [However], the reductions of major producers like Japan and Germany has been offset by the increased production in China, which has been growing their nuclear fleet at an extremely rapid rate," wrote Hoffman.

Read on at:

Nonfatal Injuries among Law Enforcement Officers

Study provides estimates and trends of emergency department visits for both intentional and unintentional on-duty injuries

An estimated 669,100 law enforcement officers were treated in emergency departments across the nation for nonfatal injuries between 2003 and 2014, according to a study by researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The study, which is the first to examine nonfatal injuries among officers on a national scale, was published online this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Law enforcement officers (LEOs) have historically high rates of fatal and nonfatal injuries. The new research shows that officers are three times more likely to sustain a nonfatal injury than all other U.S. workers, and is the first to capture nonfatal injuries sustained from assaults and unintentional injuries such as accidental falls or motor vehicle crashes.

"Studies based on evidence are an important feature of public health and this principle extends to studying the law enforcement community and their work," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "The safety and health of both police and citizens depend on understanding how policing tactics impact officer and citizen injuries."

The study researchers, whose aim was to provide national estimates and trends of nonfatal injuries to law enforcement officers from 2003 – 2014, found the following:

  • The LEO nonfatal injury trend increased across the 12-year period studied; this is in contrast with the trend for all other U.S. workers which significantly decreased.
  • Assault-related injury rates significantly increased almost 10% annually from 2003 to 2011.
  • The three leading reasons for on-duty injuries were assaults & violent acts (36%), bodily reactions & exertion from running or other repetitive motions (15%), and transportation incidents (14%).

The study used nonfatal injury data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – Occupational Supplement (NEISS-Work). Data were obtained for injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments from 2003-2014.

To access the paper, please visit Nonfatal injuries to law enforcement officers treated in U.S. emergency departments:  A rise in assaults

NIOSH Releases Updated Strategic Plan

In February, NIOSH released its updated Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2019–2023. This new plan covers the breadth of the research and service work at NIOSH and is organized into the following seven strategic goals, representing the health and safety issues facing the U.S. workforce:

  1. Reduce occupational cancer, cardiovascular disease, adverse reproductive outcomes, and other chronic diseases.
  2. Reduce occupational hearing loss.
  3. Reduce occupational immune, infectious, and dermal disease.
  4. Reduce occupational musculoskeletal disorders.
  5. Reduce occupational respiratory disease.
  6. Improve workplace safety to reduce traumatic injuries.
  7. Promote safe and healthy work design and well-being.

To support the seven strategic goals, NIOSH created two sets of intermediate and activity goals. The first set is comprised of research goals that are shared by multiple NIOSH programs, fostering collaboration across the Institute. Sector, cross-sector, and core and specialty programs first reviewed the draft National Occupational Research Agendas (NORA) for the third decade of NORA written by NORA councils, thinking about which objectives or parts of objectives NIOSH is well suited to undertake. NIOSH programs also weighed additional factors, such as mandates from Congress and the Executive Branch, stakeholder input, innovative ideas, and emerging issues. The programs developed research priorities from these inputs using the Burden, Need, and Impact Method (BNI Method). This method helps NIOSH to decide how to allocate its research dollars since NIOSH is always faced with more research needs than we have resources to address. While the BNI method has been used at the individual project level for the past several years, this is the first time it has been used on a broader programmatic level.

Read on:

New NIOSH Studies Examine Hearing Loss Prevalence in Workers

  • This study found that the prevalence of hearing loss among noise-exposed workers in the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (AFFH) sector is 15%. However, when researchers examined industries within the sector, they found as many as 36%—or 1 in 3 noise-exposed workers—have hearing loss. This is the first study to estimate prevalence and risk for hearing loss for subsectors within the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting industry sector. The study was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Learn more.
  • This study breaks down the prevalence of hearing loss experienced by workers in the Health Care and Social Assistance (HSA) sector. The overall prevalence of hearing loss among noise-exposed workers was found to be 19%, while some subsectors within the HSA had up to 31% prevalence of hearing loss. The study was published recently in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental MedicineLearn more.

SBA Office of Advocacy - Regional Regulatory Roundtable - Milwaukee, WI

Regional Regulatory Roundtables
Advocacy is hosting small business roundtables in order to hear firsthand from small businesses facing regulatory burdens. Come tell us which federal agency regulations should be considered for reform or elimination. Let us know which regulations are problematic for your business.

Please join the Office of Advocacy for a roundtable discussion of federal regulatory issues impacting your small business. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon is expected to join us for this event. Advocacy is also inviting Wisconsin Congressional offices and key federal agencies to hear your concerns about federal regulations and other issues you may be facing with your small business. The Milwaukee roundtable will take place at Schlitz Park on Rivercenter Drive in Conference Room #3 beginning at 8:30am on March 16.

President Trump has made regulatory reform a center piece of his agenda and signed two executive orders addressing the regulatory burden faced by the private sector. As the independent voice for small business within the federal government, The Office of Advocacy has a unique and important role to aid agency implementation of the new executive orders. To assist in accomplishing the goals of the executive orders, we have developed a Regulatory Reform Action Plan.

As part of this plan, we are hosting Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables across the country in an effort to hear from small businesses first-hand about what federal regulations most concern and/or impact them. In order for this Regulatory Reform effort to be successful, we need small business participation. This will be an opportunity for small business leaders to educate Advocacy and federal agencies through first-hand accounts of how federal regulations impact their small business. The information gathered at these roundtables will be utilized to inform agencies, Congress and the public on what specific regulations can be modified or removed to help small businesses.

Registration for this event is free, however please fill out the registration form below so that we will be prepared to discuss various regulatory issues. If you are unable to attend but would still like to provide us with federal regulatory small business concerns, please fill out the form.

The Office of Advocacy is an independent office housed in the SBA that serves as an independent voice for small business within the federal government, the watchdog for the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and the source of small business statistics. Advocacy advances the views and concerns of small business before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, federal courts, and state policy makers.

The agenda will be created based upon registrations. All small businesses are welcome to attend for as little or as long as their schedule will permit. Small Businesses do not need to attend all day, Advocacy staff and Federal Agency staff will be in attendance to hear your comments and concerns.

Don't see your industry on the agenda? No problem.
ALL small businesses are welcome to comment on federal regulations at any time during the roundtable or you can come during the final segment of general small business concerns.

*Registration will begin at 8:00 and the event will begin at 8:30*
8:00-8:30am: Registration and networking
8:30-8:50am Opening Remarks and Welcome
8:50-9:00am: Who is Advocacy and Why are we here?
9:00-9:30am: Input from the Transportation, Hospitality, and Retail Industries
9:30-10:00am: Input from the Financial Services and Real Estate Industries
10:00-10:30am: Input from the Construction and Manufacturing Industries
10:30-10:45am: Break
10:45-11:30am: Input from the Agriculture, Energy, and Land Use Industries
11:30-11:45am: General Small Business Regulatory Concerns
11:45-12:00pm: Closing Remarks
12:00-12:30pm: Networking

The purpose of each roundtable is to hear directly from local small businesses in various industries. Depending upon the feedback from the registration comment form, the roundtable agenda may be modified to fit the interests of the small businesses in attendance. Please let us know your regulatory concerns and issue areas by filling out the comment form when registering.

Fri, March 16, 2018
8:30 AM – 12:30 PM CDT

Schlitz Park
1555 N Rivercenter Drive
Conference Room #3
Milwaukee, WI 53212

Register free here:

Mar 7, 2018

Final Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States” Addition of Applicability Date to 2015 Clean Water Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of the Army (the agencies) finalized a rule adding an applicability
date to the 2015 Rule defining "waters of the United States." The final rule published in the Federal Register on February 6,
2018. The 2015 Rule will not be applicable unƟl February 6, 2020. This amendment gives the agencies the Ɵme needed to
reconsider the definition of "waters of the United States."

For additional information, visit or



Wisconsin Company Achieves Injury-Free Workplace with Help From On-Site Consultation Program

Rotating Equipment Repair (RER), a company in Sussex, Wis., that provides parts and services for high-energy pumps, reached out to OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program for help improving its safety and health program. After abating the hazards identified during the consultant's visits, the company continued to make improvements. As a result, RER was accepted into OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). The company most recently renewed its SHARP status last year by maintaining an injury and illness rate below the national average for its industry. In fact, RER has had no recordable incidents of worker injuries in the last six years, leading to lower workers' compensation insurance premiums. For more information, see the company's success story.

OSHA Announces Agency Goal to Reduce Trenching and Excavation Hazards

OSHA's Agency Priority Goal for 2018 aims to reduce trenching and excavation hazards. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, excavation and trench-related fatalities in 2016 were nearly double the average of the previous five years. OSHA's goal is to increase awareness of trenching hazards in construction, educate employers and workers on safe cave-in prevention solutions, and decrease the number of trench collapses.

OSHA plans to issue public service announcements, support the National Utility Contractors Association's 2018 Trench Safety Stand Down, update online resources on trench safety, and work with other industry associations and public utility companies to create an effective public-private effort to save lives. OSHA's trenching and excavation national emphasis program is also currently under revision. For more information on trench safety, visit OSHA's safety and health topics page.

Secretary of Labor Discusses Efforts to Protect Children from Lead Exposure

On Feb. 15, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta joined Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt and fellow Cabinet members to outline a federal strategy to reduce childhood lead exposure and associated health risks.

"Far too many Americans are exposed to lead in their workplace," said Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. "Finding solutions to better protect these workers and minimize the amount of lead that is taken home, and potentially exposed to their children, is a priority."

OSHA's resource, If You Work Around Lead, Don't Take It Home!, highlights the dangers to children of lead being transported home from work, and offers precautions that can be taken.

For more information, read the EPA news release.

Mar 5, 2018

Promoting Hearing Health Across the Lifespan

Globally, one in three adults has some level of measurable hearing loss, and 1.1 billion young persons are at risk for hearing loss attributable to noise exposure. Although noisy occupations such as construction, mining, and manufacturing are primary causes of hearing loss in adults, nonoccupational noise also can damage hearing. Loud noises can cause permanent hearing loss through metabolic exhaustion or mechanical destruction of the sensory cells within the cochlea. Some of the sounds of daily life, including those made by lawn mowers, recreational vehicles, power tools, and music, might play a role in the decline in hearing health. Hearing loss as a disability largely depends on a person's communication needs and how hearing loss affects the ability to function in a job. The loss of critical middle and high frequencies can significantly impair communication in hearing-critical jobs (e.g., law enforcement and air traffic control).

Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
A recent analysis of 2011–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data estimates that approximately 14% of U.S. adults aged 20–69 years (27.7 million persons) have hearing loss. After adjustments for age and sex, hearing impairment was nearly twice as prevalent in men as in women; age, sex, ethnicity, and firearm use were all important risk factors for hearing loss (1).

CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous levels of noise in their workplaces (2). The estimated prevalence of hearing loss among noise-exposed workers is 12%–25%, depending on type of industry. Reductions in workplace noise and increased use of hearing protection might have contributed to a decreased prevalence of hearing loss over time in some sectors, including agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (3). The risk for incident hearing loss (i.e., the likelihood of observing a new case of hearing loss in a worker's longitudinal audiometric data) decreased by 46% from the periods 1986–1990 to 2006–2010 (3).

For high exposure levels such as firearm or aircraft noise above 140 decibels sound pressure level (dB SPL), engineering and administrative controls might not reduce noise exposures adequately. Such situations require hearing protection devices (HPDs) providing upwards of 30–40 dB of noise reduction when worn properly. Despite the existence of occupational regulations for hearing protection, many workers fail to achieve adequate protection because their earplugs or earmuffs do not fit properly. Hearing protector fit testing provides an opportunity to train workers to properly fit hearing protectors and to encourage effective use. The NIOSH HPD Well-Fit hearing protector fit-test system is a simple, portable solution for testing in quiet office spaces. Other fit-testing systems are commercially available (4).

Nonoccupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Primary sources of nonoccupational hearing loss in the United States include noise exposure from recreational hunting or shooting, use of personal music players, overexposure at concerts and clubs, and certain hobbies (e.g., motorsports and woodworking with power tools). In 2016, CDC began initiatives to raise awareness about the risk for permanent hearing damage attributable to nonoccupational noise exposures, including the development of new communication tools about noise-induced hearing loss. An analysis of 2011–2012 NHANES audiometric data from 3,583 adults aged 20–69 years identified persons with high-frequency audiometric notches suggestive of noise-induced hearing loss (5). Persons with normal hearing can detect sounds equally soft at all frequencies. When hearing is damaged by noise, the hearing test will show a loss of acuity in a narrow range of middle to high frequencies (3–6 kHz) with better hearing at both lower and higher frequencies. Often, the earliest sign is a notched configuration in the audiogram

Read on at:
​​CDC Grand Rounds: Promoting Hearing Health Across the Lifespan
Weekly / March 2, 2018 / 67(8);243–246

William J. Murphy, PhD1; John Eichwald, MA2; Deanna K. Meinke, PhD3; Shelly Chadha, PhD4; John Iskander, MD5