Top Ten Global EHS Updates–September 2017

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Top EHS Updates

Australia

1. Western Australia Introduces New WHS Bill

The Western Australian government introduced a bill on July 12, 2017, that will update and consolidate the State’s workplace health and safety legislation. The Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill, based on the federal WHS Act, will ensure improved alignment with Australia’s legislation and will replace the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994, and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Safety Levies Act 2011. The Bill is anticipated to be introduced into Parliament in mid-2019, following a lengthy consultation period.

Canada

2. Quebec- New permits and certificate rules for the sale and use of pesticides
Users and sellers of pesticides should be aware that new standards for the sale and use of pesticides in agricultural and urban areas may soon be in force. These new standards would:
  • Prohibit the application of certain pesticides and putting into ground of insecticide coating the seeds of certain crops, except if they have been justified in advance by an agrologist;
  • Require to update and keep a register of their use of pesticides;
  • Prohibit the sale and the application of insecticide on grass;
  • Establish safe distances when putting into ground insecticide coating the seeds of certain crops;
  • Require to have a fumigation permit or certificate to use sulfuryl fluoride and magnesium phosphide.

These changes would be put in place by amending the Pesticides Management Code and the Regulation respecting permits and certificates for the sale and use of pesticides.

3. New data breach reporting requirements proposed

Organizations that collect, use, or disclose personal information in the course of a commercial activity should be aware that new data breach reporting rules may soon be in force.

The new rules would:

  • Specify minimum requirements for providing a data breach report to the Commissioner and for notifying affected individuals of a data breach; and
  • Establish the scope and retention period for data breach record-keeping.

These rules would be put in place by creating the Breach of Security Safeguards Regulations under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Interested persons can comment on the proposed rules by October 1, 2017.

4. Quebec- New mine health and safety requirements in place

Mine worker safety rules have changed to create new requirements for high-visibility safety apparel, air quality monitoring after a mine has been abandoned, and training of hoistmen and rescuers.

In particular, the new rules:

  • Require that high-visibility safety apparel be worn both above and below ground. This requirement would start on January 1, 2018.
  • Establish mandatory conditions for the training of hoistmen.
  • Apply stricter safety conditions and training to the rescuers monitoring air quality in a mine where work has been abandoned.

These changes are in force and have been put in place by amending the Regulation respecting occupational health and safety in mines.

 France

 5. French Government Begins Overhaul of Labour Code

French ordinances were published on August 31, 2017, containing what ministers said were “concrete and major measures” to overhaul and simplify the present Code du Travail, which covers every aspect of working life in France. The proposed reforms include the provision that in companies with more than 50 employees, the works’ council, the health and safety committee, and the workers’ representatives will now be merged into a single representative body called the economic and social committee. Additional provisions would permit some companies to make local agreements with regard to working hours and conditions, bypassing national union officers. Enactment of the decrees is expected at the end of September. Previous presidents have tried and failed for 20 years to make France’s lengthy and complex Labour Code more flexible.

6. France Presents Bill to Combat Climate Change

France’s Minister of State presented a bill on September 6, 2017, to end research and exploitation of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons and various provisions relating to energy and the environment. “Leaving fossil energies in the subsoil” is one of the main thrusts of the Climate Plan to combat climate change. France now becomes the first country in the world to propose a bill to prohibit the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons on its territory, as foreseen in the presidential campaign project. The bill begins the gradual exit from the production of oil and gas on French territory in 2040, and is the prohibition of the research and exploitation of shale gas. The bill also contains a provision on the transposition of Directive 2016/2284 on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants.

United States

7. Rules and Regulations: Freedom of Information Act Program

Applies to: 40CFR-1601 This interim final rule revises the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board’s (CSB) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) rule. The purpose of this revision is to ensure consistency with the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 and to update certain other provisions of the CSB’s current rule. This interim final rule supersedes all previous CSB rules and guidance that supplement and implement the CSB FOIA Program.

8. Rules and Regulations: Bylaws of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

Applies to: 29CFR-4002 The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is amending its bylaws regulation to conform to changes in the bylaws adopted by the Board of Directors.

9. Delay proposed for crane operator certification deadline

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing to extend the deadline by which all crane operators must be certified from November 10, 2017 to November 17, 2018. As a stopgap measure, employers must ensure that their crane operators are trained and competent until the effective date of mandatory certification.

10. Proposed Rules: Emergency Preparedness and Operations Reliability Standards

Applies to: 18CFR-40 The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposes to approve Emergency Preparedness and Operations (EOP) Reliability Standards EOP-004-4 (Event Reporting), EOP-005-3 (System Restoration from Blackstart Resources), EOP-006-3 (System Restoration Coordination), and EOP-008-2 (Loss of Control Center Functionality).

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