Funding for Multilingual Outreach Highlights OSHA's FY2004 Budget Request
Alliance Formed with American Apparel and Footwear Association
OSHA Launches Electronic Training Tool on Anthrax
Construction Partnership Formed for Queens Power Plant Project
NACOSH to Meet February 27
OSHA Forms Partnership for Wisconsin Shopping Center Construction Project
Voluntary Protection Program Activity
Partnerships in North Dakota and Montana Result in Injury/Illness Reductions
Safety Continues to Add Value at Igloo Corporation
On the Road with the OSHA Administrator
"This Administration recognizes the value of safety and health in America's workplaces," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw when he announced the President's FY2004 budget request for the agency. The total request for
$450 million includes, for the first time, additional funding of $2.2 million earmarked for outreach to Spanish- and other non-English-speaking workers.
Joining a long list of associations dedicated to worker safety and health, the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) signed an Alliance with OSHA Feb. 14 to help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses, with a focus on ergonomics.
OSHA Administrator John Henshaw said AAFA was the eighth organization to join the agency in an "ergonomic-specific" Alliance that makes the issue "a focused effort to identify and reduce ergonomic hazards in the workplace."
To complement its anthrax matrix developed last year, OSHA recently launched a web-based training tool that provides detailed information on anthrax, including its potential impact on the workforce and development and implementation of emergency action plans. The e-Tool also provides a list of links associated with anthrax response.
Both tools can assist employers and employees in dealing with possible workplace exposures to anthrax.
Workers at the Ravenswood cogeneration power plant construction project in Long Island City, NY, will reap the benefit of a new partnership established last month between OSHA, construction contractors, and labor officials. OSHA's Regional headquarters in New York and the agency's Long Island Area Office formed the partnership with construction contractor Slattery/Skanska, Inc., KeySpan Energy Development Corp., Stone & Webster Construction, Inc., and the company's labor safety liaison.
The partnership, which also includes the New York State OSHA Consultation Program, grew out of a relationship between OSHA and Slattery/Skansa during an earlier construction project of the Air Rail System at JFK Airport in New York.
The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) will meet Feb. 27 in Washington. Agenda items include an update on activities of both OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Discussion on OSHA's enforcement program, as well as compliance assistance and partnership activities, and regulatory issues, is also scheduled. The two-day meeting is open to the public and will begin at 8:30 a.m. in Room N3437 at the Labor Department Building, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.
The 12-person committee advises the secretaries of labor, and health and human services, on occupational safety and health programs.
OSHA's Madison, WI, area office entered into a partnership with a construction company in Middleton to protect workers involved in the construction of a new shopping center complex. Kraemer Brothers Construction and RED Development, a safety award winner from the Wisconsin Associated Builders and Contractors, signed the partnership, along with the Wisconsin Safety and Health Consultation Services office.
The partnership stresses stringent safety guidelines and a safety and health program that ensures employee involvement. More than 400 workers will be involved in the yearlong project.
The following companies were approved recently for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Wheelabrator North Broward, Pompano Beach, FL (New Star); International Paper, Canton Woodyard, Canton, MS (New Star); Montenay Bay LLC, Panama City, FL (New Star); Norbord Georgia, Inc., Cordele OSB Mill, Cordele, GA (Cont. Star);
Turner Construction Co., Cincinnati Business Division, Cincinnati, OH (New Mobile Workforce Star Demonstration); and Kerr-McGee Chemical LLC, Theodore, AL (Cont. Star).
Success is measured in many forms, but where worker safety and health is concerned, it's often gauged in the reduction of injury and illness rates. Two partnerships in Region VIII show that collaborative efforts are one means of achieving that success. OSHA's Bismarck, ND, area office joined with Cloverdale Foods Co. and the Cloverdale Employees Association in 2000, to reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). In just over two years, the company's MSD-incident rate was reduced by 71%. Yellowstone National Park joined with OSHA's Billings, MT, office in 1998 after an inspection the previous year identified more than 700 workplace hazards.
Five work-related fatalities occurred in the three years prior to signing the partnership. Since then, no work fatalities have occurred and the park's injury/illness rate has declined by 40%. OSHA's partnership program is designed to encourage, assist, and recognize employer's efforts to eliminate serious hazards and achieve a high level of worker safety and health.
What a difference 2 ½ years makes for an employer when worker safety and health is more than a good catch phrase. The Igloo manufacturing plant in Houston continues to realize that safety and health does add value thanks to the more than $1 million investment they made in safety and health at the site. Follow-up visits to the plant by OSHA (after an initial December 1999 inspection) has revealed that Igloo reduced their recordable injuries by 90% while their injury and illness costs plummeted from $1.6 million to $172,000. The company also decreased their once large turnover rate in workers by bringing temporary laborers on as full-time employees, and has begun multilingual training programs. Said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw:
"This is yet one more example of how a company can realize value when sound safety and health programs are implemented and eliminating hazards is a day-to-day focus."
John Henshaw, OSHA Administrator, will deliver the keynote address at the 8th Annual National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) Conference and Exposition on Feb. 19. About 800 NATE members are expected. On Feb. 26, Henshaw will spend the day in Rhode Island, first in Warwick to talk about OSHA's homeland security activities to first responders and emergency management directors of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. He'll then travel north to Providence to participate in a partnership signing between OSHA, the Rhode Island Building Trades, and the Associated General Contractors of America. This is the first Construction Health and Safety Excellence (CHASE) Program partnership in New England.
He'll wrap up his Rhode Island trip back in Warwick to discuss benefits of the VPP program to 30 representatives of Johnson & Wales University (Providence campus).
Editor: Bill Wright, OSHA Office of Public Affairs, 202-693-1999