Assistant Secretary Henshaw Announces Agency Reorganization
First Set of Ergonomic Guidelines Available for Comment
Voluntary Protection Programs Anniversary Continues
Insurance Organizations Endorse OSHA's Ergonomics Strategy
OSHA Seeking Information on Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium
OSHA to Sponsor Recordkeeping Seminar in Illinois
Nebraska Company Recognized for Workplace Safety and Health Achievements
Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Area Office Partners with Construction Contractors
OSHA to Review Provision of Mechanical Power Press Standard
Job Safety & Health Quarterly - Summer 2002
A dedicated compliance assistance organization, including a new Office of Small Business Assistance, is the foundation of OSHA's reorganization announced August 27 by John Henshaw, OSHA Administrator. In addition to small business, the compliance assistance organization includes offices focusing on partnerships and recognition and outreach services and alliances. The agency's former Compliance Programs office is now the Directorate of Enforcement to better emphasize OSHA's focus on strong enforcement. The reorganization also consolidates safety and health standard functions into one unified activity to address both regulatory and non-regulatory approaches for standards and guidelines, and creates a new office responsible for evaluation and analysis to help the agency track performance goals.
Working in cooperation with nursing home stakeholders, OSHA developed the first draft set of industry-specific ergonomic guidelines--Guidelines for Nursing Homes--part of the agency's comprehensive plan to reduce ergonomic injuries in the workplace. A notice in the August 30 Federal Register has information on procedures to review and comment on the guidelines. The guidelines are arranged into three segments: management practices, worksite analysis, and control methods, and include examples of best practices in the nursing home industry. OSHA's ergonomics plan, announced April 5, includes industry- and task-specific guidelines, plus tough enforcement measures, workplace outreach, advanced research, and dedicated efforts to protect Hispanic and other immigrant workers.
OSHA Administrator John Henshaw will celebrate the 20th anniversary of VPP as the featured speaker September 9 at the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association's 18th annual conference in Orlando, Fla. The summer issue of OSHA's official magazine--Job Safety & Health Quarterly--will commemorate the anniversary with several features written by VPP members. Finally, the following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in VPP: Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, Entergy Operations, Inc., Port Gibson, Miss. (New Star); Seadrift Coke, L.P., Port Lavaca, Tex. (Merit to Star); and EnerSys, Inc., Hays, Kan.
(Merit to Star).
A group of six insurance organizations and associations issued a resolution last month supporting OSHA's plan to reduce ergonomic workplace injuries and illnesses, calling it a "sensible and balanced approach to addressing workplace ergonomic exposures." The group includes: American Insurance Association; Alliance of American Insurers; Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers; National Association of Independent Insurers; National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies; and UWC-Strategic Services on Unemployment & Workers' Compensation.
A request for information was published in the Federal Register August 22 asking interested members of the public to help OSHA determine the best way to address occupational exposures to hexavalent chromium. Exposures to the metal, most commonly used as a structural and anti-corrosive element in stainless steel, iron, and steel production, and in welding and painting, have been associated with lung cancer and skin disorders. OSHA is requesting comment by November 20.
OSHA personnel from Region V in Chicago will present a seminar on the new OSHA 300 log of work-related injuries and illnesses, September 19 at Elgin Community College in Elgin, Ill. The seminar is being conducted in concert with various Illinois agencies, and will be at the college's Business Conference Center. Employers will also have an opportunity to have an OSHA compliance expert review their OSHA 300 logs and answer questions. To register, call the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health at (312) 996-6904.
Aurora Cooperative, Aurora, Neb., will be certified September 4 as a Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) site. Employing 55 workers, Aurora is the first grain elevator receiving such recognition in Nebraska. SHARP recognizes employers who have demonstrated exemplary achievements in workplace safety and health by receiving a consultation visit, correcting all workplace safety and health hazards, and adopting and implementing effective safety and health management systems.
OSHA's Baltimore/Washington D.C. area office entered into an OSHA Strategic Partnership with Centex Construction Co. and contractors at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse Annex project in Washington, D.C. The program's goal is to reduce injury and illness rates on-site, develop a contractor/government partnership that will encourage area construction contractors to improve their safety and health performance, strive for the elimination of serious accidents in the construction industry, and to recognize those contractors with exemplary safety and health programs.
OSHA announced a review of the presence sensing device initiation (PSDI) requirements of the mechanical power press standard. In 1988, OSHA adopted a provision to permit devices that sense when an object--such as a hand--is within the point of operation, to serve not only as a guard to protect the employee, but also to initiate the stroke of the press after "sensing" that the employee has removed his/her extremity. It is widely believed that PSDI increases speed of operation and improves productivity. OSHA asks for comments on the review by Jan. 27, 2003.
In addition to highlighting the 20th anniversary of VPP, the summer issue of JSHQ will introduce a new regular feature--Small Business Update--focusing on the needs of small businesses and the OSHA services available to them. The issue will also include articles about OSHA's ergonomics plan and the agency's outreach to Hispanic workers at its Dallas and Fort Lauderdale area offices. JSHQ is published four times a year and offers a variety of interesting news and feature articles about workplace safety and health. Look for the next issue this month on OSHA's website. You can also subscribe through the Government Printing Office.
Editor: Bill Wright, OSHA Office of Public Affairs, 202-693-1999