January 15, 2007 · Volume 6, Issue 2
A bi-weekly e-news memo with information, updates, and results from OSHA about safety and health in America's workplaces.
Archive Notice - OSHA Archive
NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.


In This Issue
OSHA Seeking Comments on Third Phase of Standards Improvement Process
OSHA Issues Guidance on Abrasive Blasting in Shipyards
Direct Final Rule to Update Fire Protection Standards for Shipyards Effective This Month
DOL to Help "SHARE" Success
New OSHA Whistleblower-related Fact Sheet Available
All About OSHA Now Available in Spanish
OSHA Becomes "Set in Stone"
New Strategic Partnership Formed
Alliance Activity Update
Voluntary Protection Programs Activity
OSHA Certifies Newest "SHARP" Companies
New Event Information Posted to Web Site
'QuickTips' from QuickTakes

OSHA Seeking Comments on Third Phase of Standards Improvement Process
    OSHA is seeking comments until Feb. 20 on phase three of its Standards Improvement Project, the third in a series of rulemaking actions intended to improve and streamline OSHA standards and lessen regulatory burdens without reducing employee protections. An advanced notice of proposed rulemaking is featured in the Dec. 21, 2006, Federal Register.

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OSHA Issues Guidance on Abrasive Blasting in Shipyards
    Abrasive Blasting Hazards in Shipyard Employment is the focus of a new guidance document recently published by OSHA alerting shipyard employers about the potential hazards, including specific air contaminants, which employees may be exposed to during abrasive blasting and how to avoid such hazards.

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Direct Final Rule to Update Fire Protection Standards for Shipyards Effective This Month
    An updated direct final rule that incorporates more recent National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards into OSHA's fire protection standard for shipyards will go into effect Jan. 16. The rule adds 10 updated NFPA standards and requires employers to use the more recent versions. The updated standards also incorporate some newer technologies for fire protection equipment so employees may receive greater protection from shipyard fire hazards.

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DOL to Help "SHARE" Success
   The Department of Labor (DOL) will host a ceremony to recognize the progress federal agencies have made during the Presidential Safety, Health and Return-to-Employment (SHARE) Initiative Feb. 15. The DOL will recognize five agencies for the exemplary performance results they achieved during the Initiative's first three years. The ceremony will be held from 10 a.m. noon in the DOL auditorium, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.

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New OSHA Whistleblower-related Fact Sheet Available
    OSHA posted on its Web site a new fact sheet entitled "Filing Whistleblower Complaints under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act," which explains how the Act provides civil and criminal protections for employees in publicly traded companies as well as their contractors, subcontractors, or agents. The Act prohibits employers from firing, demoting, harassing, or taking other adverse action against employees for providing information to their supervisors or the government relating to securities fraud.

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All About OSHA Now Available in Spanish
    OSHA's updated and refurbished informational guide All About OSHA is now available for download from the agency's Web site in Spanish. The guide is designed in a brochure format, rather than the standard magazine-style design, and provides a broad overview of OSHA and its operation. OSHA's mission, who is covered by OSHA, state programs, enforcement activities, standards setting, reporting requirements, cooperative programs, and whistleblower procedures, are just some of the topics covered within the brochure's pages. Printed copies will be available through OSHA's publications office at the end of the month.

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OSHA Becomes "Set in Stone"
    OSHA's Chicago Region and the Marble Institute of America presented a Stone Shop Safety seminar last month as part of its ongoing alliance to help create a safe and healthy work environment for the natural stone industry. Stone professionals from eight states attended the event which covered topics including: Developing a Safety & Health Program, Preparing for an OSHA Inspection and Slab Handling & Other Safety Hazards on the Job. The seminar was well received by the attendees as they recognized the value of ongoing educational seminars about safety and steps that can be taken to minimize dangers in the workplace.

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New Strategic Partnership Formed
    Employees in the ship repair industry will benefit from a new strategic partnership formed between OSHA's Norfolk, Va., Area Office and the Virginia Ship Repair Association Inc.

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Alliance Activity Update
    National Office: Registered nurses and other healthcare providers will benefit from a safer workplace as a result of a new alliance signed between OSHA and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses. Region I: OSHA's New England Region formed a new alliance with the New England Concrete Masonry Association and the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety's Consultation Program to improve safety and health for Massachusetts employees who make concrete landscaping products. Region VII: Providing information, guidance and access to training resources that will help protect Hispanic employees' safety and health is the focus of a renewed alliance between OSHA's Kansas City, Mo., Region and the Centro Latino de Apoyo, Recursos y Oportunidades in Marshall, Mo.

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Voluntary Protection Programs Activity
    Visit "recent approvals" on the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) page of OSHA's Web site to see the latest list of employers recently approved for new or continued participation in VPP. We encourage you to examine the entire VPP site to learn more about OSHA's premier cooperative program.

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OSHA Certifies Newest "SHARP" Companies
    Visit OSHA's "Who's Newly SHARP" Web page to see the latest list of companies recently certified as Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) sites. The SHARP program recognizes small employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system.

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New Event Information Posted to Web Site
    OSHA recently added even more safety and health-related training information to its events Web page. Check for events near you.

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'QuickTips' from QuickTakes
    The calendar says it's winter, so OSHA is reminding employers and employees to take necessary precautions to stay safe over the coming months, especially while driving in snow and ice. Here are a few tips to help prevent motor vehicle injuries during winter storms.
  • Maintain your car-check the battery, tire treads, and windshield wipers, keep your windows clear, put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir, and check your anti-freeze.
  • Have on hand a flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication and cell phone.
  • Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if necessary), be familiar with the maps/directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.
  • Slow down and increase distances between cars.

  •     More safety tips are featured in OSHA's Safe Winter Driving fact sheet. Visit OSHA's Web site for more resource information that will help employers further prevent employee injuries and fatalities on the nation's roadways. Look to OSHA for more safety and health 'QuickTips' in your next issue.

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    Editor: Elaine Fraser, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999