Volume 12, Issue Number 4 December 18, 2007

New Chair for Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission

/ Horace A. "Topper" Thompson III has been named chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The Mississippi labor lawyer has served on the OSHRC since June 2006. The commission serves as an appeals board, adjudicating contested citations resulting from OSHA workplace inspections.

Thompson succeeds W. Scott Railton, whose term on the commission ended April 27, 2007. After receiving his J.D. from Tulane University in 1968, he concentrated his practice in labor and employment law. Topper Thompson was formerly management co-chair of the Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee, American Bar Section on Labor and Employment Law.

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Final OSHA PPE Rule Holds Contractors Responsible for Providing Workers’ Safety Gear

BETHESDA, MD -- OSHA recently published a new final rule requiring employers to provide personal protective equipment used to comply with OSHA's standards for all employees. Employees are responsible for far fewer costs, but still are responsible for most footwear, everyday clothing, and prescription safety glasses. Employers are financially responsible for purchasing those items worn for protection from workplace hazards, including (but not limited to) non-prescription safety eyewear, hard hats, and electrically insulated tools.

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NECA Publishes Safety Toolbox Talks on CD

/ Bethesda, MD The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) has just released its second in a series, Toolbox Talks 2: 100 Safety Training Talks for Electrical Construction Work.

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H. Brooke Stauffer

/ NECA Standards Director Brooke Stauffer Missing

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NECA Releases Practical Guide to Arc Flash Incident Energy

NECA Tables of Arc-Flash Energy Levels

Bethesda, MD – The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) has just released the brand new NECA Tables of Arc-Flash Energy Levels.

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NECA Members Save with Safety

Bethesda, MD – The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) has just released its second Toolbox Talks in a series. When purchased together with the first Toolbox Talks, Toolbox Talks 2: 100 Safety Training Talks for Electrical Construction Work will be available for $150, a 25% discount.

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More Specifics On PPE-Payment Rule - But Still More Specifics Needed

On November 17, 2007, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) published the Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment; Final Rule (29 CFR Parts 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, and 1926), to be implemented in full by May 2008. The rule has not changed what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required, but rather, what PPE the employer is responsible for providing at no cost to the employee. Amidst some clarity, the document provides confusion with regard to exemptions, definitions, and collective bargaining agreements.

The 90-page, fine-print document addresses a number of public comments and concerns and clarifies exceptions to the rule. Comments cited include those of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), who listed a number of items that potentially could be considered PPE, such as climbing hooks and flame-resistant (FR) clothing, “vary in design and material, have always been very much subject to personal preference, and are not universally transferable from employee to employee,” and, therefore, should not be subject to the provisions of the Rule. OSHA responded to this and other like-minded comments saying that this equipment is subject to employer payment when required by OSHA standards.

Several items are made clear with OSHA’s language. For example, specific items exempted are listed, and include:

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UL Warns on Counterfeit Ground Rods

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) has issued a warning about ground rods with counterfeit UL labels. The ground rods have not been evaluated for safety by UL, and are not permitted to bear the UL Mark.

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NECA Publishes Standard for Fuse Applications

Bethesda, MD — NECA 420-2007, Standard for Fuse Applications (ANSI) has just been published by NECA. This ANSI-approved standard describes installation and maintenance practices and procedures for low-voltage, medium-voltage, and high-voltage fuses. Details about application data for fuses; sizing and selection; design considerations; installation; inspection; and maintenance are included. Installation guidance is complemented troubleshooting information, fuse requirement summaries, and useful industry references.

NECA 420-2007 Standard for Fuse Applications
            “This Standard is the ideal complement to the other Power Distribution standards NECA has published this year,” observed Caity Byrne, NECA’s associate director of standards.  “From ampacity to welder protection, this new NEIS covers everything related to fuses used for overcurrent protection.”

        NEIS are the first performance and workmanship standards for electrical construction. Referencing NEIS saves spec-writing time, and provides unprecedented control over workmanship and long-term performance. As an enforceable part of the contract documents, NEIS significantly reduce misunderstandings among engineers, electrical contractors, owners, and facility managers.

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OSHA Review Commission Targeting Cases on Which It Can Agree

The newly appointed chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), Horace A. “Topper” Thompson III, says that even with only two members, the commission will progress on its caseload. Thompson, who has served on the commission since June 2006, was named chairman by President Bush on June 20.

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