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New OSHA and MSHA rules to be issued

Several new rules that will be issued during the remainder of 2015 by the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Occupational Health and Safety Organization may impact workers in Oklahoma. MSHA announced that it will issue two final rules sometime this year, and OSHA has eight new rules that it says will be completed this year as well.

One of the new MSHA rules will make changes to a system that the agency already has in place for assessing civil penalties for workplace safety violations. Right now, MSHA assigns a certain number of points to different safety and health violations and then issues fines based on the number of points. With the new rule, mine operators will face bigger fines for negligence and repeat violations. MSHA also says that it will issue a final rule concerning fees for evaluating mine products.

OSHA plans to issue final rules on a number of different areas of workplace safety including eye and face protection, fall protection equipment and the federal agency's access to employee medical records. OSHA is also planning to make rules about beryllium and amend its existing respiratory safety standard. OSHA is planning to issue a final rule concerning crystalline silica, but no release date for that rule has been set.

Employers are expected to stay abreast of all of the new workplace safety standards and guidelines that affect their workplace and employees. A worker who is injured because of an unsafe work environment may be able to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits that could provide medical care as well as a percentage of the wages that have been lost due to an absence from work. An attorney can often provide assistance to an injured worker throughout this process.

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