OSHA Contacts Worker Families
OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw recently began a new policy of contacting families of workers killed on the job to express the agency's sorrow over their loss. Henshaw announced the new initiative in commemoration of Worker Memorial Day in late May.
"In expressing my deepest sympathies to the families of workers killed on the job, I want to assure them-and the nation-that we are working closely with employers throughout the country to do everything possible to prevent any more workers from dying on the job," Henshaw said.
Ron Hayes, Director of Families in Grief Hold Together and a member of OSHA's National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, says, "Elevating the fatality investigation and notification process to the highest office in OSHA ensures that these tragedies will receive the level of attention they deserve. I praise the Administration and the head of OSHA for taking this most courageous and compassionate stand for the American worker. However, we must continue to reduce the accident and injury rate to the point where this type of initiative is not needed at all."
OSHA to Improve Data Collection
OSHA recently began collecting data on country of origin and primary language capability for all workers involved in fatalities and other serious accidents. The agency also is for the first time collecting site-specific information on construction projects where many immigrants and other workers die every year.
The new data collection will enable OSHA to determine what role language barriers and other risk factors play in fatalities and other workplace accidents. The agency will use the information to determine how to improve safety for these workers.
Chao Announces SBA Initiative
Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced in May that the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy will combine efforts with OSHA to promote worker safety and health, with a particular emphasis on ergonomics. Chao made the announcement during her keynote address to about 70 small business owners from across the nation participating in National Small Business Week activities in Washington, DC.
OSHA Issues Beryllium Alert
A new OSHA hazard information bulletin alerts workers in dental laboratories on how to prevent exposure to beryllium, which can cause chronic beryllium disease (CBD), a debilitating and often fatal lung disease, or cancer.
The bulletin presents a case of CBD recently diagnosed in a dental lab technician and recommends the types of engineering controls, work practices, training, personal protective equipment, and housekeeping procedures that can be used to reduce exposure and the risk of CBD.
Dental laboratory technicians can develop CBD if they inhale dust containing beryllium when working on items such as dental crowns, bridges, and partial denture frameworks made from dental alloys containing beryllium.
For more information, see the hazard information bulletin on the OSHA website at www.osha.gov
OSHA Clarifies Needle Policy
OSHA recently clarified its policy against removing contaminated needles from blood tube holders to reduce the dangers of needlesticks for health-care workers and others who handle medical sharps.
"Removing contaminated needles and reusing blood tube holders can expose workers to multiple hazards," says OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw. "We want to make it very clear that this practice is prohibited in order to protect workers from being exposed to contaminated needles."
OSHA explained in a letter of interpretation that the bloodborne pathogens standard requires blood tube holders with needles attached to be discarded into a sharps container immediately after the device's safety feature is activated. The letter of interpretation is available on OSHA's website at www.osha.gov.
OSHA Focuses on Fall Protection
OSHA's Mobile, AL, Area Office recently took on an expanded role in carrying out a special southeastern regional emphasis program on fall hazards. Across the region, OSHA compliance officers are now authorized to stop at any site where fall hazards might be present. Mobile area compliance officers will take the effort a step further, targeting scaffolding and roofing activities to ensure that a competent person is onsite and has taken the necessary training courses to qualify. Areas targeted for inspections include Mobile, Montgomery, Dothan, and Gulf Shores in Alabama. For more information about the program, contact the Mobile Area Office at (251) 441-6131.
OSHA statistics show that falls caused 33 percent of all fatal workplace accidents in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi last year, and 70 percent of these fatalities occurred at construction sites. During this period, OSHA's southeastern area offices investigated 83 fatalities involving falls, 58 of which were in the construction industry.
OSHA Offers Info on Dentistry, Brownfields
OSHA recently introduced technical links pages on worker hazards in dentistry and recycled industrial property, also known as brownfields, on its website at www.osha.gov
under Safety/Health Topics . The pages address worker safety and health issues and provide a wide range of reference material on hazards at both types of worksites. The dentistry page includes sections on bloodborne pathogens, health-care facilities, and exposure to nitrous oxide and waste anesthetic gases. The brownfields page provides compliance information and links to tools for identifying, evaluating, and controlling employee exposures to hazardous substances at these sites.
DOL Unveils Teen Site
A new Department of Labor website covers a wide range of youth employment issues, including information about workplace safety. The site, Youth Rules!, is part of an ongoing initiative to educate young people, their parents, employers, and teachers about unsafe jobs and appropriate work hours for teenagers. It is available at www.youthrules.dol.gov
. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some 200,000 teens get injured at work every year.
OSHA Advises Overseas Travelers
A new technical information bulletin on the OSHA website at www.osha.gov
offers advice for international business travelers. The bulletin, Safety and Health During International Travel, suggests that international business travelers follow recommendations for immunizations published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that are available at www.cdc.gov/travel
. In addition, the bulletin urges business travelers to consult the U.S. Department of State consular information sheet for individual countries they plan to visit. These country guides are posted at www.travel.state.gov
"Many employees now travel to countries where they risk contracting infectious diseases that could be prevented through vaccinations and simple precautions while traveling," OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw said. "Our new technical information bulletin will help international travelers take care of their health while they take care of business."
OSHA Releases Revised Publications
OSHA has released two newly revised publications to protect workers from on-the-job hazards and inform employers about how to comply with OSHA standards.
Controlling Electrical Hazards, OSHA 3075, provides an up-to-date overview of basic electrical safety, OSHA electrical safety standards, and information employers need to comply with those standards. The booklet addresses employees who work with electricity directly, such as engineers, electricians, electronic technicians, and power-line workers, as well as the millions of people who deal with electricity indirectly in the course of their everyday work.
Hand and Power Tools, OSHA 3080, provides a summary of the basic safety procedures and safeguards associated with hand and portable power tools. It offers practical information for employers and employees in general industry as well as construction by identifying various types of tools and their potential hazards and ways to prevent workplace injuries. Both publications are available electronically on OSHA's website at www.osha.gov
and through the OSHA Publications Office at (800) 321-OSHA.
OSHA Publishes New Spanish Publication
A new Spanish-language publication, Todo Sobre la OSHA, will help Spanish-speaking employers and their employees understand more about safety and health in the workplace. The publication is a translation of All About OSHA, a 61-page booklet that covers job safety, employers' duties, and workers' rights and offers extensive information on how to make workplaces safer.
The manual is part of OSHA's growing outreach to Spanish-speaking constituents. It includes a Spanishlanguage website, new data collection efforts for non-English-speaking employees and employers, and Spanish-language options for OSHA's toll-free number, (800) 321-OSHA.
Todo Sobre la OSHA is available on the agency website at www.osha.gov
and also through OSHA's Publications Office at (800) 321-OSHA
NSC Plans Congress Expo
The National Safety Council's 90th Annual Congress and Expo is scheduled for October 4 to 11 in San Diego, CA. The exposition dates are October 7 to 9. The congress will offer more than 200 educational sessions, including both technical sessions and professional development seminars and an expanded agenda of sessions in Spanish. Registration information is available at www.nationalsafetycouncil.org
NIOSH Releases Violence Report
A new National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) publication addresses the problems of U.S. hospital workers exposed to violence in the workplace. The report, Violence: Occupational Hazards in Hospitals, NIOSH Publication 2002-101, discusses activities that put workers at risk and offers strategies for reducing risk factors. For a copy of the publication, call (800) 35-NIOSH or visit the NIOSH website at www.cdc.gov/niosh
NIOSH Offers Terrorism Guidance
A new NIOSH publication identifies actions that a building owner or manager can take to help protect occupants from an airborne chemical, biological, or radiological attack. NIOSH Publication 2002- 139, Guidance for Protecting Building Environments from Airborne Chemical, Biological, or Radiological Attacks, offers specific recommendations on how to increase building security. It discusses physical security, ventilation and filtration, maintenance, administration, and training. The publication is available on the NIOSH website at www.cdc.gov/niosh
or by calling (800) 35-NIOSH.
Manual Covers Electrical Safety
A new NIOSH student manual offers easy-to-understand information about recognizing, evaluating, and controlling hazards associated with electrical work. The publication, Electrical Safety, Safety and Health for Electrical Trades, NIOSH Publication 2002-123, is part of a safety and health curriculum for secondary and postsecondary electrical trade courses. The publication is available on the NIOSH website at www.cdc.gov/niosh
or by calling (800) 35-NIOSH.
The "Partnering for Shipbuilding Safety" article in the Spring issue did not clarify that shipyard injuries have dropped significantly during the past 3 years only for Shipbuilders Council of America member facilities. The average Total Recordable Incident Rates (TRIRs) for the industry as a whole (Standard Industrial Classification 3731), as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, remained relatively stable between 1998, when the rate was 22.4, and 2000, when the rate was 22. TRIRs for Shipbuilders Council of America member facilities showed a drop from 12.94 in 1998 to 11.76 in 2001.