Standards and Guidance
- Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao appointed 15 experts
from industry, academia, labor, legal, and the medical professions
to form OSHA's National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics.
The committee met Jan. 22 to advise OSHA Administrator John L.
Henshaw on issues related to reducing ergonomic-related injuries
in the workplace.
- OSHA is soliciting comments and information
to help the agency determine the best way to address occupational
exposure to beryllium through Feb. 24.
- Work on a proposed standard on occupational
exposure to hexavalent chromium is under way at OSHA. Occupational
use of the metal has been associated with lung cancer and other
- The comment period on a proposed standard
to protect shipyard workers from fire hazards ends March 10. The
proposed standard would cover almost 100,000 workers at more than
- OSHA revamped its 30-year-old standard
dealing with exit routes, emergency action, and fire prevention
plans. The revised standard, which took effect Dec. 7, provides clear, consistent,
up-to-date information in simple, straightforward language.
- OSHA clarified three issues related to occupational hearing
loss in the final rule published last July. The issues deal with
audiometric tests for workers in the shipbuilding industry, computation
of a standard threshold shift, and a potential increase in hearing
loss cases due to new recordkeeping requirements.
- Public comments on proposed improvements
to 23 health standards were due Jan. 30. OSHA is reviewing the
comments under the second phase of the agency's standards
Partnerships and Alliances
- Small Business Administration entered into a new partnership to help
small businesses reduce ergonomic injuries. The partners will
establish an inform-ation sharing process to distribute ergonomics
program information to small businesses.
- The American Society of Safety Engineers and OSHA formed an alliance
with a focus on reducing and preventing ergonomic hazards and
improving workplace ergonomic programs.
- OSHA entered into an alliance with the American Meat Institute
to help protect meat industry workers from exposure to ergonomic
- OSHA entered into a collaborative effort to reduce ergonomic hazards
for airline industry workers involved in handling passenger-checked
baggage. The new alliance includes OSHA, 13 airlines, and the
International Air Transport Section of the National Safety Council.
OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw, right, shakes hands Thomas
H. Zarges, Senior Executive Vice President and COO for Washington
Group International, as OSHA and Washington Group International
representatives celebrate a new alliance focused on cranes
and rigging, hearing protection, and ergonomics.
- OSHA is partnering with AMEC Construction Management, Inc., the
Building Trade Employers' Association, and the Building and
Construction Trades Council to protect workers during a 30-month
renovation project at New York's Museum of Modern Art.
- Illinois OSHA area offices entered into a partnership with the Residential
Construction Employers Council and the Chicago and Northeast Illinois
District Council of Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Programs
to protect construction workers. More than 200 contractors in a
seven-county area of northeastern Illinois are involved, along with
the state's Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program.
- A partnership between OSHA and 27 general contractors in Idaho is
credited with dramatically reducing construction injuries and fatalities
in the state-from 25 during 1990 to 1995 to three during 2001
and 2002, and by half during the past 10 years.
- A new partnership between OSHA and Driscoll/Hunt Joint Venture aims
to protect construction workers at the new Philadelphia Phillies
Ballpark. The project consists of a new 1.1 million-square-foot
park featuring a natural grass and dirt field 23 feet below street
- The Georgia branch of the Associated General Contractors joined
with OSHA in a statewide partnership to help reduce fatalities,
injuries, and illnesses in the construction industry. Employers
in the program also agreed to train non-English-speaking workers.
- The Puerto Rico Occupational Safety and Health Office joined with
OSHA's New York Regional Office
to form a partnership with the Puerto Rico chapter of the Associated
- The Washington Group International, a 38,000-employee engineering
and construction company, and OSHA formed an alliance to improve
workplace safety and health related to cranes and rigging, hearing
protection, and ergonomics.
- OSHA's Puerto Rico Area Office entered into a partnership
to protect construction workers in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Joining
OSHA in the partnership are the Virgin Islands Department of Labor-Division
of Occupational Safety and Health; Triangle Construction and Maintenance,
Inc.; Hovensa, LLC Refinery; and Our Virgin Islands Labor Union.
- OSHA is partnering with V&R Drywall, Inc., in El Paso, Texas,
to reduce employee injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the construction
industry. V&R Drywall is a predominantly Hispanic construction
company that employs 83 workers.
Illinois OSHA area offices and the state's Onsite Safety and
Health Consultation Program are partnering with the Illinois Small
Business Development Center Network to address safety and health
issues in small business.
- OSHA released several revised publications: "Construction
Industry Digest" (OSHA 2202); "Hearing Conservation"
(OSHA 3074); "Respiratory Protection" (OSHA 3079);
"Asbestos Standard for the Construction Industry"
(OSHA 3096); and "Crane or Derrick Suspended Personnel Platforms"
(OSHA 3100). All are posted on the agency website at www.osha.gov.
- Four new fact sheets on workplace safety and health topics are now
available on the OSHA website at
The fact sheets are "Farm Safety," "Rights of
Trucking Employees Involved in Safety Activities," "Variances
from OSHA Standards," and "Fire Safety in the Workplace."
- A new online tool helps employers and workers in the maritime cargo
handling industry recognize and control hazards commonly experienced
in longshoring and marine terminal operations. The hazard and
abatement summaries are available online at www.osha.gov.
- Two new eTools are now posted on the OSHA website to help reduce workplace
injuries and illnesses. The eTools, "Legionnaires'
Disease" and "Lead: Secondary Lead Smelter,"
can be found at www.osha.gov.