March 15, 2008 · Volume 7, Issue 6
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
New Safety and Health Resources Focus on Combustible Dust
OSHA Issues New Ergonomics Guidelines for Shipyards
Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates Notified by OSHA
OSHA Unveils New Interlinked System on its State Plan State Web Site
Alliance Program Update
Strategic Partnership Program Activity
Voluntary Protection Programs News
Latest "SHARP" Certifications
More Information Posted to Events Web Page
"QuickTips" from QuickTakes

New Safety and Health Resources Focus on Combustible Dust
     OSHA posted new resources related to combustible dust on its Web site to help employers understand its associated hazards and ways to prevent those hazards. More OSHA resources on combustible dust include a Safety and Health Information Bulletin, fact sheet, poster and the reissued Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program.

OSHA Issues New Ergonomics Guidelines for Shipyards
     OSHA published new ergonomics guidelines that could help employers and their employees in the shipyard industry prevent musculoskeletal injuries. The guidance, Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders: Guidelines for Shipyards, provides practical recommendations for employers to reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries in their facilities. It also helps employers identify, evaluate and control hazards by using best practices that have been successful in shipyards.

Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates Notified by OSHA
     Approximately 14,000 employers received a letter this month from OSHA alerting them that their injury and illness rates are above the national average, and that the agency can offer assistance to help fix safety and health hazards. The notifications were based on data reported by approximately 80,000 employers surveyed by OSHA last year (the survey collected injury and illness data from calendar year 2006). Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., said the notification process is meant to raise awareness among employers and aid them in their efforts on "eliminating hazards in their workplace."

OSHA Unveils New Interlinked System on its State Plan State Web Site
     OSHA and the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association (OSHSPA) jointly developed a new Web page with interlinked information about State Plans’ responses to new federal OSHA standards or directives issued since June 2006. Links to charts show the user which State Plans have adopted standards or procedures identical to OSHA’s, and which have adopted something different. If different, the chart provides a direct link to the State Plan’s document on its website or how to obtain a copy. In addition, each new Federal standard or directive links back to the specific State response chart. New State charts and crosslinks to the Federal standard or directive will be posted six months after each new Federal issuance.

Alliance Program Update
    Region I: A new alliance between OSHA and the Rhode Island Department of Education will provide safety and health training for career and technical school students on how to identify and prevent work-related hazards. In another alliance, OSHA joined with Konover Construction and the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health to enhance training for construction employees in the state. Region V: OSHA renewed its alliance with the South Central Wisconsin Association of Occupational Health Nurses and the Wisconsin Safety and Health Consultation Services to continue to find ways to reduce and eliminate nurses’ exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other work-related health hazards.

Strategic Partnership Program Activity
     Region VI: Reducing work-related injuries and fatalities at construction worksites is the focus of a partnership renewed between OSHA’s Dallas regional office and the Associated General Contractors of America, San Antonio Chapter. OSHA’s Strategic Partnership Program establishes voluntary and cooperative relationships geared to encourage, assist and recognize employer efforts to eliminate serious hazards and achieve high levels of employee safety and health.

Voluntary Protection Programs News
    Visit "recent approvals" on the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) page of OSHA’s Web site to view the latest list of employers approved for new or continued participation in VPP. We encourage you to examine the entire VPP site to learn more about how OSHA’s cooperative program can help protect employees and reduce workers’ compensation costs.

Latest "SHARP" Certifications
     Visit OSHA’s "Who’s Newly SHARP" Web page to see the current list of companies 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.

More Information Posted to Events Web Page
    OSHA posted more safety and health-related conference and meeting information to the events page on its Web site. Look for activities near you.

"QuickTips" from QuickTakes
     Recently, Americans rolled their clocks forward one hour, initiating the start of Daylight Savings Time. This proverbial “spring forward” reminds us that the sometimes dreaded, but necessary, event of spring cleaning is right around the corner. Usually, an accumulation of dust in office settings signals the need for cleaning. However, “dust” in a more dangerous form can be found in other work environments including industries such as food, grain, tobacco, plastics, wood, paper, rubber, and even metal, just to name a few. If there is a sufficient quantity of combustible dust accumulated, and it becomes airborne and is in the presence of a source of ignition, a dust explosion can occur. In an ongoing effort to keep employees safe while on the job, OSHA has many useful resources to help employers identify and prevent dust explosions. Recommendations for controlling dust include:
  • Contain the dust within enclosures where ignition sources are controlled.
  • Clean "fugitive" dust that accumulates on any surfaces or in hidden spaces.
  • Control ignition sources, such as electrical, smoking, welding, and open flames.
  • Use proper industrial trucks and tools around dust.

  •     OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics Page on Combustible Dust, the Hazard Alert: Combustible Dust Explosions fact sheet and the Combustible Dust poster are resources that offer more recommendations on how employers can help employees stay safe and prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Visit OSHA’s Web site for additional informative materials focusing on safety and health hazards. Look for more “Quick Tips” on another occupational safety and health topic in your next issue.

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