OSHA Announces Harwood Training Grant Recipients
Comment Period Extended on OSHA's Draft Ergonomics Guidelines for Nursing Homes
Alliances with Plastics Industry and Biological Safety Association Established
OSHA Joins Program to Promote Safety of Hispanic Workers
Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases 2001 Workplace Fatality Data
North Carolina Forms Alliance with American Furniture Manufacturers Association
Final Rule Published Streamlining Process for Changing State Plans
Voluntary Protection Program Activity
OSHA Strategic Partnership Program Activity
Upcoming Speeches for Assistant Secretary Henshaw
More than $11 million in Susan Harwood Training Grants will be awarded to 64 nonprofit organizations for safety and health training programs. The grants were announced Sept. 27. Of the 64 grants awarded, 20 were to new grantees selected through a national competition announced last May. The remaining 44 awards are one-year extensions of existing grants. Emphasis for this year's grants is in the area of ergonomics, workplace emergency response, and training for small businesses and non-English speaking workers.
In order to accommodate requests made by various industry and labor groups, OSHA extended until Oct. 30, the period for public comments on its draft ergonomics guidelines for nursing homes. The guidelines, announced in August, are intended to provide practical solutions for reducing ergonomics-related industries and illnesses in nursing homes. The agency also announced it will hold a one-day stakeholder meeting in the Washington, D.C., area on Nov. 18. Meeting location will be announced following the comment period.
OSHA established Alliances last month with two industries to promote worker safety and health. The Society of the Plastics Industry joined with the agency on Sept. 19 to enhance safety and health programs with a particular focus on identifying and eliminating hazards likely to result in amputations, and reducing and preventing exposure to ergonomic hazards. On Sept. 23, an Alliance was formed with the American Biological Safety Association to address the evolving biological safety issues facing American employers and workers. John Henshaw, OSHA Administrator, called Alliances such as these the "cornerstone in our efforts to enlist the business community's help in making sure workplaces are safe and healthy."
Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced Sept. 26 that OSHA would join the Justice and Equality in the Workplace Program designed to help protect the well being of the more than 14.5 million Hispanic workers in the country. The partnership program includes the Department's Wage & Hour Division; the Consulates General of Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, and El Salvador; the EEOC; the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund; and the Office of the Mayor-Immigration and Refugee Affairs. (Press release En Espanol).
The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Sept. 25 that 8,786 fatal work injuries were reported in 2001. More than one third of that number was attributed to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Excluding fatalities on Sept. 11, the overall workplace fatality count of 5,900 was down less than one percent from 2000. The construction industry reported the largest number of fatal work injuries of any industry, while manufacturing reported its lowest recorded level since 1992. OSHA Administrator John Henshaw said in a statement that the data was a "grim reminder to us all of the importance of job safety and health and the value of human life." Henshaw pledged to continue to improve upon worker safety and health programs and to work harder to drive fatality numbers down.
Assistant Secretary John Henshaw lent OSHA's support to an Alliance signed Sept. 13 between the American Furniture Manufacturers Association and the North Carolina Department of Labor. The goal of the Alliance is to produce a voluntary guideline to help furniture manufacturers reduce ergonomic hazards and injuries. Citing the Alliance's unique aspects, Henshaw said North Carolina's example "serves as an outstanding model for other states interested in reducing ergonomic-related injuries." Federal OSHA will provide promotion and publication of the resulting voluntary guidelines.
OSHA published a revised rule Sept. 24 streamlining the process for state submission and federal approval of changes to state OSHA plans, including legislation and standards. Under the new rule, OSHA will require states to submit written supplements only when the state change is different from the federal program. Procedural changes include streamlining the federal review and approval of plan supplements, and seeking public comment if a state plan change differs significantly from the comparable federal program component.
The following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's
Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): BP Solvay Polyethylene North America, Deer Park, TX (Merit to Star); Blake Medical Center, Bradenton, FL (Merit to Star); Georgia Pacific's Panelboard Medium Density Fiberboard, Monticello, GA (New Merit); International Paper, Edinburg Sheet Contained Division, Edinburg, TX (New Star); Spring Window Fashions, LP, Montgomery PA (New Star); Georgia Pacific, Marble Hardwood Lumber Sawmill, Mable, PA (New Star); General Electric, Ravenna Lamp Plant, Ravenna, OH (New Star); Kennemetal, Inc., Orwell, OH (Merit to Star); Louisiana Pacific, Tomahawk, WI (Merit to Star); International Paper's Corrigan Facility, Corrigan, TX (Cont. Star); and Olin Corporation, Niagara Falls, NY (New Star).
OSHA Area Offices throughout the Chicago vicinity entered into a Strategic Partnership with the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association last month. The partnership focuses on enhancing training to all CRCA members and encourages the association to increase the number of companies that implement aggressive safety and health programs. The Austin, TX Area Office also joined last month with the South Texas Chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors in a program to help reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities by three percent annually. That partnership will focus on the elimination of the top four hazards in construction--falls, struck-by, caught-between, and electrocution.
OSHA Administrator John Henshaw will address the Genesee Valley Safety Conference in Rochester, NY on Oct. 2, discussing safety and health lessons learned after Sept. 11. He will also visit Syracuse and speak before the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce and their Government Relations Committee. On Oct. 8, Henshaw is scheduled to visit San Diego to co-deliver the keynote address at the National Safety Council's 90th Annual Congress and Exposition.
Editor: Bill Wright, OSHA Office of Public Affairs, 202-693-1999