Labor Secretary Issues Statement on World Trade Center Recovery
Safety and Health Training Grants Program Announced
Fall Protection Continues to Save Lives
OSHA Signs Construction Industry Training Partnership
South Carolina Unveils Workplace Security Plan
Comment Period Extended for Whistleblower Complaint Procedures
Voluntary Protection Program Activity
Peoria, Illinois Area Office Begins Partnership with Grain and Feed Association
Heat Stress Card Offers Safety & Health Tips for Employers and Workers
New Publications, Revised Fact Sheet Available
Calling the recovery efforts and cleanup at the World Trade Center a "painful, noble, yet necessary job," Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao issued a statement on May 30 to mark the conclusion of the World Trade Center recovery efforts and cleanup. Chao noted that over an eight-month period and three million work hours, only 35 workers missed workdays due to injury, but "most importantly, no more lives were lost to work at a site where so many innocent lives were lost to terrorism."
OSHA will be awarding approximately $6.6 million in Safety and Health Training Grants this year in two categories: targeted topic grants (including prevention of ergonomic hazards, and homeland security programs), and institutional competency building grants. OSHA's grants are targeted to organizations that focus on worker and employer education in small businesses, non-English speaking workers, and workers in high hazard industries.
A Des Plaines, Ill., contractor has added his company's name to the many who attest to the life-saving value of fall protection for workers. Reliable Brothers, home improvement specialists in roofing, siding, windows and carpentry in the Chicago suburb, was cited in March for not having adequate fall protection on his worksites. The employer did not contest the citation; in fact, he purchased necessary fall protection equipment, including harnesses, on the day of the inspection. That equipment came in handy on May 14, when the employer reported that one of his workers fell off a 27-foot high roof - but was saved from almost certain death thanks to the safety harness he was wearing. The employee, suffering only minor injuries, was back at work in six days.
OSHA joined into a pilot partnership last month with the Iron Workers International Union, and the NEA-Association of Union Constructors to provide training for compliance officers to understand better how the steel erection standard applies to real workplace conditions. The first training session, attended by 30 compliance officers from throughout the nation, was held last month at the Iron Workers training facility in Springfield, N.J. Future training sessions are being planned at other locations around the country.
The State of South Carolina has created a blueprint for state businesses to follow to protect their employees and their job sites from terrorism or sabotage. Gov. Jim Hodges joined his Advisory Committee on Workplace Security on May 23 to unveil the new workplace security guide called "Prepare, Prevent, Protect - Best Practices Workplace Security." OSHA Administrator John Henshaw commended the State for taking a proactive stance for workplace security, saying South Carolina's security plan and new homeland security page "sets an excellent example of how the federal and state governments can work together to complement and reinforce efforts that add value to every workplace and every citizen."
OSHA is extending until June 30, 2002, the period for comments on the interim final rule that establishes whistleblower complaint procedures for airline employees. The rule, published in April, established 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. It protects airline employees against retaliation by air carriers, their contractors, or subsidiaries for providing information to authorities on air carrier safety violations.
A Federal Register notice announcing the extension is scheduled to be published during the week of June 3.
The following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Georgia Pacific, Taylorsville Particleboard Plant, Taylorsville, MS (New Star); United States Postal Service, Scranton Processing & Distribution Facility, Scranton, PA (New Star); Halliburton KBR @ Chevron Phillips, St. James, LA (New Star); Olin Corporation, Chlor Alkali Products, Augusta, GA (New Star); Georgia Pacific Corporation, Leaf River Sawmill, New Augusta, MS (New Star); Hercules Inc., Aqualon Division, Kenedy, TX (New Star); Eaton Hydraulics, Searcy, Facility, Searcy, AR (Cont. Star); GE Lighting, Bridgeville Glass Plant, Bridgeville, PA (Cont. Star); ExxonMobil Chemical, Baton Rouge Plastics Plant, Baton Rouge, LA (Cont. Star).
OSHA's Peoria, Ill., area office entered into a strategic partnership last month with the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois (GFAI). Using cooperative activities and leveraging industry associations to eliminate workplace hazards are the main objectives of the multi area office partnership that includes participants from all Illinois area offices. GFAI will encourage participation of their member companies throughout the state.
The stress of working in hot weather is a concern for many as summer begins. For the thousands of workers exposed to the oftentimes lethal combination of heat, humidity and physical labor, a few precautions can go a long way to preventing many heat-related injuries, or deaths. OSHA's Heat Stress Card offers a good first step in providing needed information. Copies of the laminated card can be ordered, at no cost, through the agency's online publications order form.
OSHA recently issued three new or revised publications: Controlling Electrical Hazards is a revised publication that provides an up-to-date overview of basic electrical safety, and electrical safety standards. The agency also published Todo Sobre La OSHA - the Spanish translation of All About OSHA, a comprehensive guide that highlights job safety, employers' duties and workers rights. Finally, OSHA has added a new fact sheet to the series of five others related to bloodborne pathogens. The latest addition explains protections offered by the agency's bloodborne pathogens standard and provides links for more information on the topic.
Editor: Bill Wright, OSHA Office of Public Affairs, 202-693-1999