|July 1, 2009 · Volume 8, Issue 13|
|A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.|
In This IssueOSHA begins evaluating Voluntary Protection Programs
Oil refineries urged to comply with process safety management standard
OSHA launches reduced lead exposure regional emphasis program
Asbestos-contaminated vermiculite insulation poses health hazard
Advisory committee will discuss recordkeeping and ethics at July meeting
OTI Education Center offers new certificate programs
Upcoming seminar focuses on combustible dust
Grantee offers free training on safety and health management systems
OSHA to share workplace safety and health information at SIA conference
National Guard site is first to earn VPP recognition
Strategic partnership helps improve workplace safety and health in construction
"QuickTips:" Eye Injury Prevention Month
OSHA will address problems indentified in its Voluntary Protection Programs in response to a new Government Accountability Office report, "OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs: Improved Oversight and Controls Would Better Ensure Program Quality." The report recommends improved oversight and additional controls to ensure participating companies maintain effective workplace safety and health management systems. OSHA will also conduct a comprehensive evaluation of its VPP and Alliance Program to determine how the agency should best allocate its resources among cooperative programs, enforcement and other agency activities.
Oil refineries nationwide received letters from OSHA providing them with data on compliance issues found under the Refinery National Emphasis Program and urging the refiners to comply with their obligations under the process safety management standard. To assist in compliance efforts, OSHA recommends that employers review the directive or contact their local OSHA offices.
OSHA's Kansas City, Mo., Region launched a regional emphasis program focusing on reducing exposure to lead in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska workplaces. The program includes targeted inspections at worksites where there is a potential for lead exposure, and also covers complaints and referrals.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is warning the public and electricians, plumbers and other contractors who perform work in attics about the potential risks of asbestos exposure from contaminated vermiculite insulation. Vermiculite from a Libby, Mont., mine containing asbestos was sold from 1919 to 1990 and used in the majority of vermiculite insulation in the United States. EPA's guidance document (English/Spanish) and vermiculite Web page offer ways to help reduce exposure.
The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health will meet July 15 in Washington, D.C., to discuss the agency's recordkeeping initiative and ethics rules, among other issues. More information appears in the June 22 Federal Register.
The University of Alabama OSHA Training Institute Education Center is offering two new certificate programs in general industry and construction safety and health. Each certificate requires participants to complete specific OSHA workplace safety- and health-related courses. All of these courses will be offered in one-week periods during August, September and December. Reduced rates apply to those who register for the one-week cycles. Details are available on the OTI Education Center's Web site, or by calling 877-508-7246.
The Iowa-Illinois Safety Council, which formed an alliance with OSHA's Des Moines, Iowa, Area Office, will host a combustible dust seminar July 22 in Urbandale, Iowa. The seminar will offer instructions on OSHA standards relating to combustible dust and best practices to protect workers against dust explosions. To register, visit IISC's Web site.
Goodwill Industries International, an OSHA Susan Harwood Training Grant Program recipient, is offering free, online and in-person training to help organizations design a safety and health management system. Visit Goodwill's Web site for course details.
OSHA will showcase an exhibit and distribute compliance assistance and other informative materials to attendees at the Scaffold Industry Association annual convention and exhibition July 19-24 in San Francisco.
After forming employee committees to address workplace safety and health, the Army Aviation Support Facility No. 1 of Fort Indiantown Gap in Annville, Pa., became the first Army National Guard unit in December 2008 to attain Voluntary Protection Programs star status. The base's injury and illness rates declined resulting in a 3-year average total case incidence rate and days away from work, job transfer or restriction rate of 50 and 28 percent, respectively, below the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2006 national average.
The Home Builders Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri and the Carpenters' District Union Council renewed their OSHA strategic partnership in August 2006 to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the construction industry. According to the partnership's 2008 evaluation, more than 3,000 employees received at least 32,000 hours of job safety and health training leading to the abatement of more than 1,200 potential job hazards.
In recognition of Eye Injury Prevention Month, OSHA is reminding workers and their employers that the best way to prevent eye injuries in the workplace is to use proper protective eyewear. OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Web page on eye and face protection features information about applicable standards, hazards and possible solutions.
Look for more "QuickTips" on another occupational safety and health topic in your next issue.
Editor: Elaine Fraser, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999