BLS Reports Decline in Lost Workday Injuries and Illnesses in 2001
OSHA Marks One Year Anniversary of Ergonomics Plan
American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Aligns with OSHA
New Partnership for Redevelopment of Commuter Train Service in New York
OSHA Seeking Comments on PPE Requirements
OSHA Working with Chicago Hispanic Community
Final Rule on Whistleblower Complaint Procedures for Airline Employees
Seminars on Fall Hazards/Ladder Safety, Machine Guarding Hazards
New Fact Sheet on Whistleblower Protection
FACOSH Scheduled to Meet April 10
OSHA Welcomes New Special Assistant for Emergency Preparedness
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported March 27 that workplace injury and illnesses continued a steady decline in 2001. A total of 1.5 million injuries and illnesses in private industry during 2001 required recuperation away from work, a 7.6 percent drop over the previous year. The report also highlighted a decline of 9.6 percent in musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses.
Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said in a statement that the report is good news and its detailed information "will help us better target our outreach and enforcement efforts in those industries that have more work to do to bring their injury and illness rates down."
Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced one year ago that OSHA would confront the issue of workplace ergonomic injuries and illnesses head-on using a comprehensive approach of industry guidelines, enforcement, outreach, and research. Since that announcement last April, OSHA has made significant progress, including the issuance of the first set of guidelines for the nursing home industry, the formation and inaugural meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics, and the establishment of 12 national Alliances with professional organizations and associations focusing specifically on ergonomics.
Highlights of the program and significant accomplishments are available on the agency's website.
OSHA recently welcomed the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) to the growing list of organizations working with the agency to improve workplace safety and health. The Alliance, signed March 19, will concentrate on preventing ergonomic-related injuries and, according to OSHA Administrator John Henshaw, gives the agency an opportunity to "tap the significant resources of medical experience and expertise that ACOEM occupational and environmental
physicians have in identifying and treating musculoskeletal injuries."
A new partnership between OSHA and construction contractors in New York will pave the way to the redevelopment of commuter train service between New Jersey and lower Manhattan. OSHA's Region II headquarters in New York announced the partnership last month with construction contractor Yonkers/Tully/Pegno Tri Venture, and the general Contractors Association of New York, the Building and Construction Trades Council, and the
Utility & Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey. The partnership covers the ongoing redevelopment of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) Commuter Train service that was destroyed by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
OSHA is requesting public comment concerning its proposal to extend information collection requirements in general industry and shipyard personal protective equipment standards. The agency particularly wants to hear suggestions on ways to minimize burdens on employers, and also whether the proposed requirements are necessary to protect workers and
whether the collected information is useful.
OSHA's Region V headquarters in Chicago has engaged its Hispanic Committee to participate in the Chicago Area Worker Rights Initiative, visiting employers in Chicago area Hispanic neighborhoods. The visits include discussions on issues impacting the local Hispanic worker population, concentrating on workplace laws and worker rights. OSHA's area offices in the Chicago area are part of a coalition of community action groups, federal and state Labor Department agencies, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and interfaith groups that visited more than 100 establishments last month.
OSHA issued a final rule March 21, to protect airline employees against retaliation by air carriers, their contractors, or subsidiaries for providing information to authorities on air carrier safety violations. The rule establishes procedures for handling airline employee complaints under the whistleblower protection provisions of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21). The final rule incorporates comments received
after the interim rule was published last April.
OSHA is offering training in two different regions this month focusing on specific workplace hazards. The Buffalo area office is presenting a seminar on fall hazards while using ladders scheduled on April 3, 10, and 17 in six different New York cities. For more information, contact Gordon DeLeys at the Buffalo office at (716) 684-3891, ext. 244. OSHA's Region V headquarters in Chicago is co-sponsoring training sessions on April 8 and 9 in Crystal Lake, IL, and South Holland, IL, respectively,
to identify and control machine guarding hazards. The contact for the Crystal Lake session is Betty Hendrix at (815) 455-8592. Call MaryAnn Janiga at (708) 596-2000, ext. 2522, for details on the South Holland session.
Whistleblower Protection-General is the latest in a series of fact sheets on various topics that OSHA produces for employers and workers. This new fact sheet discusses worker's rights, the process of filing complaints, and includes general information on the 14 laws with whistleblower protections administered by OSHA.
The Federal Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health will discuss proposed changes to federal agencies' injury and illness recordkeeping systems during an April 10 meeting at the Labor Department in Washington. The 16-member council also plans to talk about the Federal Executive Institute Training Initiative, the Federal Worker 2000 Initiative and the annual Federal Safety and Health Awards Ceremony and Training. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 1:30 p.m.
John Ferris, OSHA's new Special Assistant for Emergency Preparedness, was appointed by OSHA Administrator John Henshaw last month and will coordinate the agency's efforts to address emergency preparedness and response in workplaces throughout the country. Ferris, a technical expert in chemical emergency preparedness and prevention, comes to OSHA following 13 years of service with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Editor: Bill Wright, OSHA Office of Public Affairs, 202-693-1999