Labor Secretary Announces OSHA/SBA Initiative for Worker Safety and Health
Fall Hazard Program Gets Spotlight in Mobile
Professional Safety Magazine Provides Firsthand Account at WTC Disaster
North Aurora, Illinois Area Office Begins Construction Partnership
OSHA Establishes Whistleblower Complaint Procedures for Airline Employees
Voluntary Protection Program Activity
OSHA, Shipbuilders Council of America, Welcomes First Partners in Shipbuilding
OSHA, State of Oregon Form Partnership for Work at Chemical Disposal Facility
New Publication, Updated Fact Sheets Available
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced this month that the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy would 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 attending National Small Business Week in Washington, May 7.
OSHA's area office in Mobile, Ala. recently implemented a southeastern regional emphasis program to reduce accidents attributable to fall hazards. Last year, about 33 percent of all fatal workplace accidents in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi were caused by falls; 70 percent of those occurred at construction sites. OSHA will provide technical assistance to the Associated General Contractors, which will conduct training next month in Mobile for workers identified as "competent persons" - those responsible for identifying existing and predictable hazards on the job site.
The May 2002 issue of Professional Safety Magazine, official journal of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), features an article highlighting safety and health efforts at the World Trade Center disaster site. Safety, health and engineering professionals from Bechtel Group, Inc., all members of ASSE, compiled the article. Within hours of the Sept. 11 attack, the SH&E professionals were on-site with city, state and federal agencies -- including OSHA - to respond to immediate needs. The article describes the "sights and experiences" in the days and weeks that followed the attack.
OSHA's North Aurora, IL, area office entered into a six month OSHA Strategic Partnership last month with Hollywood Casino-Aurora Dockside Gaming Facility to develop a contractor/government partnership. The partnership encourages Aurora Casino construction contractors to improve their safety and health performance, strive for the elimination of serious accidents, and to recognize those contractors with exemplary safety and health programs.
OSHA issued an interim final rule last month 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 rule explains requirements for filing complaints and provides investigation and due process procedures. OSHA, under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, enforces whistleblower complaints related to occupational safety and health activity. In addition to the OSH Act and AIR21,
OSHA is responsible for whistleblower cases governed by 10 other federal statutes.
The following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Columbia Foods/Kraft - Columbia, MO (Star Re-approval); 3M Company, Aberdeen, SD (New Star); Frito-Lay, Inc., Williamsport, PA (New Star); Monsanto, Ashton Soybean Production Facility, Ashton, IL (New Star); JE Merit Constructors, Inc., @ Huntsman Chemical Plant, Conroe, TX (New Star); International Paper's Riverdale Wet Storage, Selma, AL (New Star); International Paper's Folkston Mill, Folkston, GA (Continue Merit); IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY (Star Re-approval); Agere Breinigsville, Breinigsville, PA (Star Re-approval); Aeroquiq-Inoac Company, Fremont, OH (New Star); Chief Industries, Inc. (Building Division) Grand Island, NE (New Star); International Paper, Dry Creek Woodyard, Prattville, AL (New Star);
International Paper, Washington, PA (Star Re-approval); Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre, PA (New Merit); and NASA, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA (New Star).
OSHA and the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) welcomed First Wave Marine, Inc., and Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., both of Houston, Tex., as the first partners in the first national partnership in the shipbuilding industry. Signed in April 2001, the partnership requires potential partners to meet specific SCA lost work day injury rates that are lower than those published by BLS for the shipbuilding industry. Member sites are located in and around the Houston area and are involved in the building, repair and cleaning of all types of vessels. OSHA's Consultation Service provides assistance to the partners in safety and health program enhancement.
The OSHA Division of Oregon's State Department of Consumer and Business Services, and OSHA Region X in Seattle, have formed a partnership establishing the framework for a joint federal/state presence with specific roles and responsibilities for each agency, during the start-up, operation, and tear down of the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (UMCDF) at the U.S. Army Umatilla Chemical Depot in Hermiston, Ore. The agreement was signed in order to assure the safety of workers at the depot, address the concerns of the U.S. Army in its desire to have contractors operate within an efficient regulatory framework, abide by the desires of the Oregon Governor, and clarify jurisdictional issues with regard to property, contractors, OSHA, and state and military personnel.
OSHA recently issued a new publication to help employers prevent amputations in the workplace. Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Workers from Amputations addresses a broad range of related issues on the topic, focusing on prevention, identification of hazards, and OSHA standards covering machine safeguarding. OSHA also released updated fact sheets on selected topics. Hazardous Chemicals in Labs covers potential threats to laboratory workers and addresses respirator requirements, and Job Safety and Health identifies employees covered by the OSH Act and outlines rights and responsibilities of both employers and workers.
Editor: Bill Wright, OSHA Office of Public Affairs, 202-693-1999