OSHA’s Dan Hobelman Provides OSHA Update in November

by Renee Witherspoon, CSP, CIH, CHMM, Past-President (2012-2015)

OSHAs Dan Hobelman provides an update to ASSE members and guests at the November meeting.

OSHAs Dan Hobelman provides an update to ASSE members and guests at the November meeting.

On November 15, 2016 the ASSE South Plains Chapter hosted Mr. Dan Hobelman, Compliance Officer with the Lubbock Area OSHA Office for the annual OSHA Update.

Dan provided an update on several issues including:

  • Final rule on tracking of injury and illness data.

The January 1, 2017 implementation requires certain employers (see below) to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms. The rule also prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness.

Who are these “certain employers?”

Company’s with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017. These same employers will be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018.

Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.  For more information see

  • Adjustment of OSHA penalties as of August 2016.

The new penalties took effect August 2, 2016. For more information see:

Violation Current Maximum Penalty New Maximum Penalty
Posting Requirements
$7,000 per violation $12,471 per violation
Failure to Abate $7,000 per day beyond the abatement date $12,471 per day beyond the abatement date
Willful or Repeated $70,000 per violation $124,709 per violation


There was a question and discussion on OSHA delaying rule enforcement related to post-incident drug testing, a article was referenced. OSHA delayed the anti-retaliation provision in it’s injury and illness reporting rules until December 1, 2016.  OSHA’s intention was to enforce polices that could restrict mandatory post-incident alcohol and drug testing.  AGC (The Associated General Contractors of America) has called on Congress to withdraw its position on this.

In 2017 OSHA Region VI which includes Lubbock will be focusing on an initiative in an effort to decrease amputations, increasing their inspections in those industries that may have amputations, including Metal Fab industries having machines with machine guarding.

In conclusion, he finished up with a review of OSHA’s Top 10 in General Industry and Construction and Q&A session.

Key is the Final Rule update in General Industry for Walking and Working Surfaces and Fall Protection.  The rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The new rule benefits employers by providing greater flexibility in choosing a fall protection system. For example, it eliminates the existing mandate to use guardrails as a primary fall protection method and allows employers to choose from accepted fall protection systems they believe will work best in a particular situation.  For more information see:  and Fact Sheet

New provisions:

  • Ensure workers are trained on fall hazards (6 months),
  • Ensure workers who use equipment covered by the final rule are trained (6 months),
  • Inspect and certify permanent anchorages for rope descent systems (1 year),
  • Install personal fall arrest or ladder safety systems on new fixed ladders over 24 feet and on replacement ladders/ladder sections, including fixed ladders on outdoor advertising structures (2 years),
  • Ensure existing fixed ladders over 24 feet, including those on outdoor advertising structures, are equipped with a cage, well, personal fall arrest system, or ladder safety system (2 years), and
  • Replace cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet (20 years)

On behalf of the South Plains Chapter we would like to thank Mr. Hobelman for providing an excellent summary and update.  He can be reached at:

A copy of his program is available here: top-10-violations-fy-16

Patrick Brady with BNSF speaks at Lubbock County LEPC on Hazmat Safety

Patrick Brady, CIH, CSP, General Director Hazardous Materials out of Fort Worth office of

Patrick Brady, CIH, CSP, with BNSF discusses Hazmat release trending at the LEPC meeting.

Patrick Brady, CIH, CSP, with BNSF discusses Hazmat release trending at the LEPC meeting.

BNSF Railway was the special guest speaker at the Lubbock County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) meeting on November 3rd 2016. A copy of his PowerPoint presentation is available below.

As the General Director of Hazardous Materials one of his many duties is leadership of the extensive network of emergency responders that cover BNSF’s over 32,500 mile network of rail. Stationed strategically throughout the country, the emergency responders are trained and equipped to handle both small and major releases.

His team of more than 250 skilled professionals is responsible for all emergency responses, mobilizing remediation, response contractors and technical assistance. As part of his organization’s adoption of Responsible Care (a global voluntary safety and environmental performance standard) BNSF is committed to health, safety and environmental excellence that prioritizes planning and processes that help communities prepare for a hazmat incident it it were to occur.

He also discussed other important topics including:

  • Positive Train Control (PTC) a new digital wireless technology that enhances communication to prevent train-to-train collisions and enforce speed limits.
  • New Tank Car Standards where new tank cars built after October 1, 2015 must meet an enhanced DOT 117 design that includes increased thickness in the steel plate and required thermal protection.

BNSF provides free railroad hazmat response training to emergency responders thoughout the US and also has free online hazmat training available.

Although exact percentages of hazardous materials shipped by rail through Lubbock County is confidential and the information used for emergency planning and training purposes, the percentages are similar to other transportation modes, such as highway transport along I-27 between US 84 and East 19th St. where approximately 51% are Flammable and Combustible Liquids.


Railroads carry hazardous freight so Patrick’s experience as a Certified Safety Professional and Certified Industrial Hygienist benefits his organization in being able to anticipate and prevent accidents and injury before they happen.

On behalf of the Lubbock County LEPC and South Plains Chapter ASSE we would like to thank Patrick and BNSF for their commitment to safety of our communities and the environment.

More about our Speaker:

Patrick is the BNSF Railway, General Director Hazardous Materials, Fort Worth, Texas He started with Burlington Northern Railroad in 1991 as a Corporate Industrial Hygienist. He became the Assistant Director Hazardous Materials Safety in 1992. Upon Burlington Northern’s merger with Santa Fe in January 1996, Patrick became the Manager of Hazardous Materials Field Operation and Emergency Response and was promoted to the Asst. Director of Hazardous Materials in 2002, Director Hazardous Materials in 2014 and to General Director, Hazardous Materials Safety in 2015. Patrick is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and a Certified Safety Professional.

A copy of his PowerPoint presentation is available here: patrick-brady-presentation-to-the-lepc-11-03-16

If you would like to contact Patrick he can be reached at: or 817-352-3652.

Additional LEPC information:

Top Awards at the TEHA Annual Educational Conference (AEC) go to Panhandle/West Texas Chapter Members

By Renee Witherspoon, RS, CSP, CIH, CHMM, TEHA Panhandle/West Texas Chapter President (2015-2016)

In May 2016, the awards committee completed nomination packages for some of the top Texas Environmental Health Association (TEHA) awards, the Ruth Hendy Award of Excellence in Food Safety that recognizes entities that achieve a high degree of professionalism and commitment to the communities they serve and, the Thomas E. Edmonson Meritorious Award that recognizes an individual for a career of outstanding service to TEHA.

On October 12 TEHA State President (2015-2016) Monty McGuffin, RS, announced the winners of the Ruth Hendy Awards, they are:

  • City of Lubbock Environmental Health. Lead applicant: Stevan Walker, REHS/RS, CPO
  • Texas Tech University Environmental Health and Safety. Lead applicant: Timmy Riojas, RS.
Stuart Walker, RS, gives acceptance speech at the Awards Banquet.

Stuart Walker, RS, Director of Code Enforcement for the City of Lubbock, gives his acceptance speech at the Awards Banquet.

On October 13 at the Annual Awards Banquet, the winner of the Thomas Edmonson award was announced.  Congratulations to Stuart Walker, RS, with the City of Lubbock, Code Enforcement. Stuart is a TEHA Chapter Past President and currently serves as TEHA State Parliamentarian.

The Panhandle/West Texas Chapter Meritorious Service awards went to Shaun May, REHS/RS, with the City of Amarillo, Environmental Health Department and Stevan Walker, REHS/RS, CPO, with the City of Lubbock, Environmental Health Department.

Stevan Walker also found out that he had won the election to the TEHA State Governing Council for a 3-year term.

Congratulations to all of these outstanding Chapter members and their organizations that support them in their efforts.  You represent the finest examples of professional excellence in Environmental Health and service to TEHA.

A big thanks goes out to our Chapter Award Committee members: Leslie Morgan, RS, City of Lubbock, Parks and Recreation; Anthony Spanel, RS, City of Amarillo Environmental Health, and Stevan Walker, REHS/RS, CPO, City of Lubbock Environmental Health.

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