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News // Global EHS Regulatory Updates - June 2015

Date // 1st June 2015

Global EHS Regulatory Updates - June 2015

Americas//

USA 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently published the USA's top regulatory priorities of 2015, which include but are not limited to: regulatory updates concerning the Temporary Worker Initiative, recordkeeping, HazCom implementation, upcoming 2015 Final Rules, and upcoming proposed rules.

  • OSHA is focusing on temporary workers, specifically; the recordkeeping of temporary and contractor workers. The host employer is required to maintain records of temporary employees that are supervised on a day-to-day basis.
  • Effective January 1, 2015, all work-related fatalities are required to be reported within eight hours of the incident, and a new 24 hour reporting criteria (for work-related hospitalization, amputation, loss of an eye) was implemented.
  • Full Globally Harmonized System (GHS) compliance in the workplace is mandated by June 1, 2016. This includes, updating workplace labeling and HazCom programs, and training employees on newly identified physical or health hazards.
  • Effective May 1, 2015, California OSHA mandated new heat stress requirements.
  • Final OSHA rules expected to be released in 2015 include: expansion of confined space regulations to the construction industry (August 2015), revision to Subpart D Walking/Working Surfaces and Subpart I Personal Protective Equipment (close of 2015), and publish of the Final Rule requiring electronic filing for work-related injuries and illnesses (August 2015).
  • Upcoming proposed OSHA rules include amending silica regulations and implementing a standard to protect healthcare workers exposure to infectious agents.

Contact: Sue Swan E-mail: sue.swan@anteagroup.com

 Brazil

The southern portion of Brazil is going through the most severe drought in 80 years, leadin to very significant environment and health & safety considerations. In the recent years amendments to both environmental and labor legislation have recently been implemente or proposed.

  • New legislation, specifically around water, has been drafted for rationing water, with enforcement of non-compliance.
  • Municipal water companies are prioritizing domestic users over industrial users. The focus of quantity of water over quality of water is anticipated to quickly shift as Health and Safety concerns such as diseases become prevalent.
  • Hydroelectric energy is the main electric source in southern Brazil. Consequently, electricity shortage is widespread as a result of the lack of water. Due to the electrical shortage or potential shortage, alternative electrical sources are being evaluated.
  • On December 12, 2014, Decree no. 8373 was implemented, requiring the use of e-Social. E-Social is a project that will collect labor, social security, tax and fiscal information related to the hiring and use of the labor force. Employers are required to electronically submit all information.
  • Project Law no. 4330 (approved by Congress), allows companies to outsource any job outside the organization; however, requires employers to provide the third party workers with key benefits (i.e. health care).

Contact: Hilton Lucio E-mail: hilton.lucio@angelambiental.com.br

Colombia

In 2014, Colombia adopted a new regulation (1443) for the implementation of the Management System for Safety and Health at Work (COPASST). Additionally, Decree 2852/2013 – Resolution 1565/2014, and Strategic Road Safety Plan (PESV) was adopted and implemented.

  • The COPASST replaces the former regulation Occupational Health Program (COPASO). COPASST regulation includes: policy, organization, planning, implementation, evaluation, and audits to improve actions for recognizing, assessing and controlling risks that may affect the safety and health at work.
  • Implementation of COPASST is dependent upon the average total employees, with mandated implementation completed (for greater than 200 employees) by 2017.
  • A PESV and road safety plan will need to be adopted if their company has a team moving periodically by car or public transport. The road safety plan identifies risk, adopts safety standards, determines control/audits, reports campaigns and accompanying audits, and prepares financial reports for the Ministry of Transport, transit agencies and other stakeholders

Contact: Ivan Angel E-mail: ivan.angel@anteagroup.com

Asia Pacific//

India

Emerging economies like India have caught the attention of the developed world not only for the vast potential investment market but also for the huge mass of low cost labor. While occupation health and safety (OHS) is not new to India, over the past few years India has adopted western environmental, health and safety idealisms, aligning regulations an requirements to more developed countries.

  • The Shop and Establishment (2011) provides statutory obligation and rights to employees and employers in unregulated sector (i.e. shops), to control working conditions limiting number of hours allowed to work, restricting child labor, and focusing on workplace hygiene and environment.
  • In 2011, the Food Safety and Standards Rules / Regulations were implemented. Rules and regulations set forth food safety structure and procedures, required food vendor and distributors to obtain licenses to operate, and mandated packaging and labeling of food. Additionally, the 2011 rules and regulations set food production standards, and set prohibitions and restrictions on sales.
  • The Road Transport and Safety Bill (2014) was drafted to provide framework for a safer, cost-effective and comprehensive movement of people, and will pave the way for new vehicle regulations and road safety.
  • E-waste is one of the most rapidly emerging problems in the world. E-waste comprises of multiple components, some which contain toxic substances that can have adverse impacts on human health and the environment. India's management of e-waste assumes greater significance not only due to generation of its own waste, but also disposal of e-waste from developed countries. This is coupled with India's lack of infrastructure and procedures for e-waste disposal and recycling.

Contact: Arul Arasu K. E-mail: inquiry@cholams.murugappa.com

China

China is facing tremendous challenges on air, water and soil pollution, food safety, and occupational safety. These challenges and issues are being tackled through legislation and planning.

  • The 2014 revisions to the Environmental Protection Law (EPL), almost 25 years after the enactment of the original 1989 EPL, went into effect in China on January 1, 2015. The 2014 EPL's legislation commits to transparency and public participation, mandates disclosure of environmental information and the engagement of the public, and introduces a daily penalty provision.
  • Due to extremely poor outdoor air quality, Chinese residents are required to limit their time outdoors. However, indoor air is often as bad if not worse than outdoor air. The prevalence of VOCs or ammonium emissions from buildings, and vapor intrusion from contaminated groundwater and soil, combined with the low health and safety awareness results in significant vapor hazards.
  • Recent studies concluded that nearly 60% of China's groundwater is polluted, with approximately 44% reported as "relatively poor" and 15.7% reported as "very poor."
  • Findings from the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) and Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) nationwide soil pollution survey concluded that soil pollution is severe in certain part of China, soil quality of arable land is worrying, and soil environment problems in abandoned industrial and mining sites are prominent.
  • Food supply and food safety are major global public health issues, particularly important in heavily populated areas such as China. Historically, food security played a crucial role in public health in China. In the recent years, a shift in focus from food supply to food safety and public engagement has occurred. The Chinese Government has amended legislation reforming food safety laws and reinforces vital surveillance and monitoring systems.
  • China's Occupational Disease Control Law sets out prevention and control measures for employees against occupational diseases and other toxic and harmful substances. The law was amended for Strengthening Role of Trade Union, increasing violation costs.

Contact: Michael Liang E- mail: mjliang@esdchina.com.cn

 Southeast Asia (Singapore and Malaysia)

The 2013 and 2014 Southeast Asia haze crisis affected several countries in the Southeast
Asia region and was notable for causing hazardous and record high levels of pollution.
These increasing pollution levels and frequency have resulted in overall changes in the
environment, health and safety culture in Singapore and Malaysia.
  • The Ministry of Manpower advises employers to follow the haze support plans and come up with various steps to protect and minimize employee's exposure to haze. Noncompliance to Stop Work (by either the employee or employer) can result in significant fines (500K) or imprisonment (not to exceed 12 months)
  • In January 2014, the Workplace Safety and Health (Incident Reporting) requirements were amended. Key changes include: reporting work-related injuries for employees that are unfit for more than three days (consecutive or not), and all work-related traffic accidents.
  • The Company Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Safety Committee schemes were expanded to include broader groups of the public and industrial realm. For example, in the public sector, a CERT for a public building is required if the building is nine stories high or greater, may be used as a hospital, has a floor area of 5,000 square meters or more, and has an occupant load of at least 1,000 persons
  • The ever-increasing and rapid growing volume of electrical and electronic equipment waste is a serious environmental threat in many countries. E-wastes are governed by Environmental Quality Regulations (1989 and2005), Guidelines for Classification of Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment (2nd Edition 2010).

contact: Tze Ko Mah E-mail: tzeko@envirosc.com

Australasia//

Australia and New Zealand

New Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Legislature has been implemented for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). Emerging enforcement trends associated with the OSH Legislature include waste and psychosocial OSH concerns

  • ANZ's Work Health and Safety Act (2015) are both similar, focusing on broadening the definition of worker, employee and "work place," and increases non-compliance penalties.
  • The focus of e-waste targets recycling or disposal of e-waste such as televisions and computers, with some jurisdictions banning the disposal of e-waste to landfills.
  • Penalties for harassment in the workplace have increased. The definition of harassment is no longer defined as within the work place or work related event, stating that harassment need not be within the confines of a workplace
  • Emerging OHS concerns pertaining to sedentary work, work stress and preparing companies for an aging work force.

Contact: Julie Moriarty BE E-mail: julie.moriarty@pjra.com.au

Europe//

United Kingdom

Development in the United Kingdom has shifted focus to Environmental Planning, requiring developers to apply the five ‘guiding principles' of sustainable development during planning and development of operations: living within the planet's environmental limits; ensuring a strong, healthy and fair society; achieving a sustainable economy; promoting good governance; and using sound science responsible.

  • Environmental Planning falls under the umbrella of the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 or local derivatives
  • Environmental Planning is required during the development and construction phases, and during the overall lifetime operation. A comprehensive assessment of environmental and social matters is required in order to develop the plan and to obtain regulatory approval.

Contact: Alex Ferguson E-mail: alex.ferguson@deltasimons.com

European Union

The EU Council has recently amended EU Directive 2013/34/EU, adopting Directive 2014/95/. EU on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information, and adopted the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) (2012/27/EU) for every Member State to set indicative efficiency target for total energy consumption in 2020. 

  • The 2014/95/EU Directive was initiated by EU regulators to provide sustainabilitytransparency by corporations, is enforced by law, and establishes new environmental,social, and governance reporting requirements. Member States have until December 6, 2016 to transpose the 2014 Directive into national law, and companies are required to come into compliance in 2017.
  • The 2014/95/EU Directive will not only impact EU Member States, but U.S. companies that are EU exchanged-listed, and U.S. companies with presence within a Member State. This Directive specifically targets "large" companies.
  • The 2014/27/EU Directive mandates to increase annual energy efficiency by 1.5%. The EU has three climate and energy targets to reach before 2010, 20% reduction in GHG emissions, 20% of energy derived from renewables, and 20% increase in energy efficiency. The EED has three implementation principles: saving obligations, auditing or management system, and increase public awareness and funding. 

Contact: Christian Plas E-mail: christian.plas@denkstatt.at

Germany

The 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive (EDD) establishes a set of binding measures to assis the EU to reach the 20% efficiency target by 2012. In the EDD, energy audits are used t identify, quantify and report existing energy use profiles and energy saving opportunities. Additionally, Germany, such as many other countries, is facing many health and safety challenges.

  • EU's aim through EED is to reduce the EU energy bill, create new jobs, reduce energy dependence, improve energy trade balance, reduce CO2 emissions, and limit and reduce environmental degradations.
  • Energy audits are required for all large industry, to be carried out by accredited experts by December 5, 2014, and are required to be completed at least every four years from the date of the previous energy audit.
  • The Federal Industrial H&S Ordinance is facing challenges such as an aging work force and work place stress or burnout. Requirements set in place include ergonomically design of the workplace, and set in place procedures to reduce and control mental stress. 

Contact: Holger Hillen E-mail: holger.hillen@hpc.ag

Netherlands

Work-related stress is one of the most common work-related health problems. Accordingly, the promotion of a preventative culture against psychosocial hazards and work-related stres is a European health and safety priority. Currently, none of the European Union Countries have work-related regulations; however, all countries' general legal frameworks refer topsychosocial risk factors that are the cause of work-related stress.

  • The negative outcome of work-related stress includes: significant employee and employer costs, employee absentee and retention, and the overall productivity.

  • Early intervention, awareness or recognition, and improving work culture and environment are crucial programs and initiatives that can assist with identifying the work-related stress problems on an organizational and employee level

Contact: Nico van Roden E-mail: nico.vanRoden@anteagroup.com

Scandinavia

Industrial production processes account for a considerable share of the overall pollutionin the Scandinavian region. The introduction of environmental permits and the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) will result in significate benefits to the environment and human health by reducing harmful industrial emissions across the EU.

  • The initiation of the EU's IED Directive 2010/74/EU will take place in Denmark between2015 and 2016. Three important documents that may be required per Danish Law include: Environmental Permits, Wastewater Permits, and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
  • The IED is based on several principals including: an integrated approach, best available techniques (BAT), flexibility, inspections and public participation.
  • New businesses and major changes in production will require a Baseline Report, and control investigation will be required for soil and groundwater every five and 10 years following start of production.

Contact: Allan Tougaard Christensen E-mail: atc@dge.dk

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