On Tuesday, December 3, 2013, in conjunction with the Grain Journal, Eric J. Conn, Head of the national OSHA Practice Group at Epstein Becker & Green, delivered a webinar focused on the OSHA enforcement landscape related to work on top of rolling stock (specifically railcars) at grain elevator facilities. The webinar, including a Q&A session, was recorded, and the Grain Journal has made the recording available online. The recording includes an audio broadcast with a video of the accompanying PowerPoint presentation.
The December 3rd webinar focused on the complex circumstances that require employees to work on top of railcars at grain elevators, and how OSHA has historically and is presently addressing those circumstances through enforcement. Whether it’s prepping cars down track away from the elevator, helping to guide a load out spout into a railcar, or allowing state or federal grain inspectors access to railcars for stowage inspections and sampling, there are numerous work activities that require employees to stand on and walk between the tops of railcars. With potentially miles of track where work may need to be done on top of the railcars, there often is no feasible way to provide anchor points to which employees can tie off fall protection over the tracks. To complicate matters more, OSHA’s requirements regarding Railcar Fall Protection are among the most confusing and inconsistently enforced. The webinar covered:
- The history of OSHA enforcement as it relates to rolling stock fall protection, from the 1996 "Miles Memo" to the most recent court decisions upholding the Miles Memo;
- OSHA’s active enforcement agenda that includes a targeting of railcar fall protection issues in the grain industry;
- OSHA's ongoing Walking & Working Surfaces rulemaking activity, which may introduce new railcar fall protection requirements; and
- Recommendations for how best to avoid OSHA citations while performing work on railcars.
This was the second in a series of OSHA law related webinars Mr. Conn will be delivering for the grain industry in conjunction with Grain Journal. The first webinar in the series, presented in September 2013, was entitled “New OSHA Sweep Auger Enforcement Policies... How They Will Affect You.” Here is a link to the OSHA / Sweep Auger webinar recording.