On November 16th, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a draft Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines document. According to OSHA, the document represents the agency’s best thinking and experiences from employers that have successfully adopted safety and health management systems (SHMS) focused on identifying, assessing, preventing, and controlling workplace hazards. These guidelines are intended to help small- and medium-sized employers find and fix hazards before workers are injured, become ill, or are killed. While the draft only includes guidelines, and not binding regulations, it is important for members to understand what OSHA considers to be good practices in developing a safety and health management system. OSHA is accepting public comments on the draft through February 15, 2106. The guidelines and a link to the open docket to which comments can be submitted are at: www.osha.gov/shpmguidelines.
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On November 13th, the Food and Drug Administration released the final Food Safety Modernization Act Rules for Produce Safety, the Foreign Supplier Verification Program and Accredited Third-Party Certification. According to FDA:
· The Produce Safety rule establishes science-based standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce that are designed to work effectively for food safety across the wide diversity of produce farms.
· The FSVP rule requires food importers to verify that foreign suppliers are producing food in a manner that meets U.S. safety standards. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that imported food accounted for about 19 percent of the U.S. food supply, including about 52 percent of the fresh fruits and 22 percent of the fresh vegetables consumed by Americans.
· The Accredited Third-Party Certification rule establishes a program for the accreditation of third-party certification bodies to conduct food safety audits and to certify that foreign food facilities and food produced by such facilities meet applicable FDA food safety requirements.
FDA also announced a series of webinars to provide more information on the rules.
More information on the final rules can be found at the links below:
On November 2nd, the FDA announced that it has submitted the final produce safety, foreign supplier verification and third party accreditation rules to the Federal Register for publication. FDA was required by court order to finalize these rules by the end of October 2015. Documents submitted to the Federal Register can publish several days after they are submitted, with larger documents taking longer to process and display. This means that the final text of the rules may not be available for a few days. Updates on the status of the rules can be found by clicking here.
In response to the recent outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease, the State of New York has implemented new regulations governing the inspection of cooling towers. This applies to cooling towers, evaporative condensers and fluid coolers that are part of a recirculated water system incorporated into a building’s cooling, industrial process, refrigeration or energy production system. Owners will need to inspect their equipment, and have processes and procedures for cleaning and disinfecting. All cooling towers must be certified as complying with all regulatory requirements by November 1, 2016, and thereafter annually by November 1 of each year.
More information on the new regulations can be found through the following links:
On October 6th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its FSMA Training Strategy outlining its evolving vision of how the agency will work with public and private partners on the development and delivery of food-industry training. The strategy outlines the options for those who must comply with the new food safety regulations and introduces the FDA’s partners in promoting training to the global community of food suppliers. FDA stated that the most important goal of any training program is the outcome—that it advances knowledge among the food industry to meet FSMA requirements. FDA acknowledged that there is more than one way to get there and there will be a variety of training options and delivery formats. The FSMA Training Strategy outlines those options and formats, in addition to introducing the partners in government, industry and academia who are working with the FDA on the development and delivery of training to the global community of food suppliers. More information can be found at: FDA’s Strategy for FSMA Training.