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Department of Safety and Health FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I file a workplace safety & health complaint?

A: If you are a Public Employee and encountering a situation at your workplace that you believe is a violation of a safety or health standard, you should file a complaint with PESH and let us determine its validity. There is more information (including a downloadable version of the complaint form) on the NYS DOL website, which is www.labor.state.ny.us. From the main page, click on “Working in New York” then, under Your Rights as a Worker, click on “Safety & Health”. You’ll want to click on and read the info available in the PESH Bureau section of this page. Complaints must be submitted in writing.


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Q: Can you give me information about the Illness and Injury logs? How long do I have to save them for? When do they have to be posted?

A: There is a lot of information about the SH 900 (Illness & Injury log), SH 900.1 (Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and SH 900.2 (Injury & Illness Incident Report) on the NYS DOL website, which is www.labor.state.ny.us. From the main page click on “Working in New York” then, under Your Rights as a Worker, click on “Safety & Health”. Downloadable versions of the forms, instructions on how to maintain them, and other useful information is housed in the PESH Bureau section of this page, but briefly:

An employer must save the SH 900 Illness & Injury Log, the privacy case list (if one exists), the Annual Summary, and the SH 900.2 Incident Report forms for five (5) years following the end of the calendar year these records cover.

The SH 900.1 Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses must be posted at the place of employment Feb 1 through April 30 of each year; this details injuries and illnesses for the previous calendar year.

Fatalities and multiple hospitalization incidents (defined as two (2) or more employees being admitted in-patient after a work related incident) must be orally reported to the nearest PESH office within eight (8) hours.


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Q: Can you give me information about Right To Know /Hazardous Communication?

A: Hazard Communication (Haz-Com) is a Federal Law adopted by state law through the PESH Act, which is enforced by PESH. RTK (Right To Know) is a State Law which PESH monitors for compliance. The RTK Law guarantees employees the right to information, training and education regarding toxic substances in the workplace. There are differences between the two standards.   Included in the RTK program are the following:

  • Annual training and information about hazardous chemicals in the workplace
  • A listing of hazardous chemicals used, stored or produced in the workplace
  • A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each hazardous chemical used, stored or produced in the workplace
  • Procedures to assure that containers of hazardous chemicals are properly labeled
A RTK poster must be posted in the workplace; a PDF version of the poster is available here. Additionally, employers must keep a record of the name, address, and social security number (for tracking purposes) of every employee who handles or uses toxic substances (listed in Subpart Z of 29 CFR 1910). These records must be maintained for forty years and shall be made available to affected employees, former employees, a designated physician, or a representative of the Commissioner of Health.


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Q: I need to know the regulations for firefighters and firehouses. Can you provide this information?

A: OSHA does have specific regulations for interior firefighters which PESH enforces. Some of the areas covered are Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), required training (initial and refresher), and medical evaluations. Additional information can be obtained in the OSHA Informational Manual NYS Association of Fire Chiefs Occupational Safety and Health Program (revised May 1998). For further information, contact the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs at 1670 Columbia Turnpike, Castleton, NY 12033; their website is www.nysfirechiefs.com.


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Q: What are the requirements for limiting smoking in the workplace?

A:

These are health department regulations and additional information can be found at: http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/clean_indoor_air_act/general.htm.


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Q: Where can I get a copy of the OSHA standards?

A: You can access the standards by clicking on the following link: Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) Information on ordering OSHA publications is available at: Publications


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Q: Why does my boiler have to be inspected and why do I have to pay for it?

A:

In accordance with Chapter 31, Article 7, Section 204 of the New York State Labor Law, all boilers, except those listed under the exceptions, must be inspected by an authorized boiler inspector. The inspections are safety oriented to provide a safe environment for the owner, the labor force as well as the public. The fees are regulated by the Legislature and are imposed to offset some of the actual costs in providing the inspections.


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Q: What type of boilers have to be inspected and how often

A: All high-pressure boilers (steam pressures over 15 psi & hot water over 160 psi) must be inspected annually. All low pressure heating boilers (steam 15 psi or under & hot water 160 psi or under) must be inspected biennially (every 2 years). Boilers used for heating domestic hot water supply are not included in the inspection requirements. Code Rules 4 & 14. www.labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/safetyhealth/DOSH_CODE_RULES.shtm


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Q: Who can do the inspections

A: Boilers may be inspected by either an inspector from the New York State Boiler Safety Bureau or by a certified boiler inspector from an authorized insurance company. Code Rules 4 & 14.


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Q: How can you charge such an outrageous penalty for late or non- payment of the fee?

A: The late fee penalties are also regulated by the New York State Legislature under Chapter 31, Article 7, Section 216 of the Labor Law. (Failure to pay Statutory Inspection Fees) The statute provides for the imposition of an additional penalty of 3 times the original fee for those that fail to pay the original fee in a timely manner.


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Q: I have my boiler serviced annually, so why does it also have to be inspected?

A: Service means cleaning and adjusting the heating unit. Our inspection entails checking for the proper installation, clearances and operation of the boiler and all safety controls. Also checked are the safety/relief valves for operation, size and sufficient relieving capacity. The emergency controls such as the low water cut-off and high limit manual reset pressure/temperature controls are tested and checked for proper installation and operation. The boiler is checked for leakage or weak spots. The chimney, flue pipe and draft are checked to ensure proper and safe operation to prevent excessive carbon monoxide emissions. Internal inspections (water side) are conducted on those boilers that provide accessibility to the waterside.


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