March 1, 2008 · Volume 7, Issue 5
A twice monthly 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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
Reminder to Employers about Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program
OSHA Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health
New OSHA Maritime Outreach Training Program Website
New Guidance Document on Portland Cement Issued
OSHA Posters and Publications: Free for the Asking
Latest Alliance Activity
"QuickTips" from QuickTakes

Reminder to Employers about Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program
    OSHA is currently investigating a major accident involving combustible dust. The agency reminds all employers that combustible dust can present a dangerous workplace hazard, and encourages employers with such hazards to reference OSHA's Safety and Health Information Bulletin on this topic. In October 2007, OSHA launched its National Emphasis Program on Combustible Dust to ensure compliance with existing standards, educate the industry on the hazard and methods of abatement, and to collect data for analysis. For more information, visit OSHA's new Combustible Dust Safety and Health Topics page.

OSHA Seeks Nominations for Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health
    OSHA is seeking nominations for candidates to serve on the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH). ACCSH members advise the Secretary of Labor on developing construction safety and health standards and address policy matters that arise in carrying out these responsibilities. Nominations are being accepted to fill vacancies for three employer representatives, three employee representatives, and one public representative. Details on the nomination procedure are in the Feb. 13, 2008, Federal Register. Nominations must be submitted by March 14, 2008.

New OSHA Maritime Outreach Training Program Website
     OSHA's new Maritime Industry Outreach Training Program and website provides information on becoming an OSHA authorized Maritime Outreach Trainer and provides schedules for the associated OSHA #5400 Trainer Course in OSHA Standards for the Maritime Industry. For Maritime trainers, the website provides program guidelines, including the requirements to qualify to conduct the 10- and 30-hour training classes in Shipyard Employment, Marine Terminals, and Longshoring. There are also many useful websites referenced to help trainers develop their training courses.

New Guidance Document on Portland Cement Issued
     A new guidance document entitled "Preventing Skin Problems from Working with Portland Cement," was recently released to educate employers and employees about techniques to prevent skin-related injuries common in the cement industry. Portland cement, a generic term used to describe building materials with strong adhesive properties when mixed with water, is used in concrete, mortar, plaster, grout, stucco and terrazzo. The new guidance addresses ways to prevent or minimize skin problems through the use of various types of personal protective equipment.

OSHA Posters and Publications: Free for the Asking
     Advertisements and sales practices suggesting that OSHA workplace posters must be purchased from private companies may be misleading some employers. OSHA reminds employers that official posters - such as the OSHA Workplace Poster - are available at no cost. Posters, and most other OSHA publications, are available by visiting the Publications page on the agency's Web site, or by calling the Publications office at 202-693-1888.

Latest Alliance Activity
    National Office: A new alliance between OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Hearing Conservation Association was formed to address ways to reduce and prevent occupational exposure to noise and ototoxic (hearing damaging) chemicals. OSHA joined in an alliance with the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, the Council on Certification of Health, Environmental and Safety Technologists, and the American Board of Industrial Hygiene to help enhance the expertise of professionals in the safety and industrial hygiene fields, as well as promote the value of safety and health accredited certifications. In addition, guidance on the safe use of mast climbing and aerial lift equipment, as well as addressing ways to reduce and avoid exposure to fall and caught in/between hazards are the goals of OSHA's new alliance with the Scaffold Industry Association. Region II: OSHA's New York regional office, the Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Brooklyn and the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 joined in an alliance to protect LICH staff who serve as first receivers of victims from mass casualty incidents involving hazardous substances or weapons of mass destruction. Another alliance was formed between OSHA's Avenel, N.J., area office, the New Jersey Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health and the Somerset County Business Partnership to encourage workplace safety and health among area businesses. OSHA's Puerto Rico area office recently formed an innovative alliance with the Puerto Rico Shipping Association to help reduce hazards and injuries, and increase awareness of safety issues among employers and employees in Puerto Rico's maritime industry. Region VII: A new alliance between OSHA's Omaha, Neb., area office and the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 21 will focus on reducing and preventing exposure to fall hazards in the steel erection industry.

"QuickTips" from QuickTakes
     Millions of employees work in places where exposures to loud noises are everyday occurrences. At first, it may not appear harmful, but overexposure to loud noise can result in hearing damage or loss of hearing. OSHA provides a few recommendations to employers and employees to help reduce the risk of hearing damage:
  • If it is too loud to hear another voice from three feet away, do not work without hearing protection.
  • When choosing hearing protectors, such as earplugs or earmuffs, select one that fits comfortably.
  • Always turn off loud machinery before removing hearing protection.
  • Have an annual hearing test if you are regularly exposed to loud noise.

  •      OSHA's Safety and Health Topics pages provide useful resources on a variety of issues. The Noise and Hearing Conservation page offers links to information on how to prevent hearing hazards in the workplace. Noise and Hearing Conservation (Construction) will benefit employers and employees in the construction industry. Visit OSHA's Web site for more informational materials focusing on safety and health hazards. Look for more safety and health "QuickTips" on a new occupational safety and health topic in your next issue of QuickTakes.

    Editors: Elaine Fraser & Kimberly Tucker, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999