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March 15, 2011 · Volume 10, Issue 6
In this issue
OSHA issues guide to help small businesses comply with new cranes and derricks rule

OSHA now offers a guidance document to help small businesses comply with the agency's cranes and derricks rule published in August 2010. This new standard was issued to address the number of worker injuries and deaths associated with the use of cranes and derricks in construction. Chapters in the Small Entity Compliance Guide for Final Rule for Cranes and Derricks in Construction correspond to sections of the standard to help employers understand what they must do to protect their workers from dangerous, sometimes fatal injuries. This guide accompanies other OSHA compliance materials on crane-related topics available on the agency's Web site including a PowerPoint overview, Web chat transcript, Webinar, list of frequently asked questions and fact sheets.

Dangers of distracted driving

OSHA's new distracted driving brochure explains to employers and supervisors the importance of preventing texting by their workers while driving. Texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of worker fatalities. Distracted driving crashes killed more than 5,400 people and injured nearly 500,000 in 2009. OSHA encourages trade associations to share this brochure with their members. It can be downloaded or ordered from the Publications page of OSHA's Web site.

This resource is part of OSHA's Distracted Driving Initiative, which OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels discussed with stakeholders in a March 3 teleconference. Participants representing workers, employers, trade associations, insurance companies, small businesses, government agencies and advocacy groups participated in a discussion of strategies and plans to work cooperatively to help inform businesses of the importance of preventing texting while driving. See OSHA's Distracted Driving Web page for more information on the agency's efforts to protect workers from this growing hazard.

State public health officials meet with OSHA to discuss cooperative efforts

Public health officials from around the country attended a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C., with staff from OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to discuss common goals and means of improving joint efforts to protect the health of workers. The historic meeting, held March 9-10, included over 70 people representing OSHA, NIOSH, BLS and 23 state occupational health and safety plans. OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels, an occupational epidemiologist by training, welcomed the state officials as partners in efforts to translate research into actions that can identify and reduce hazards that result in workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. These efforts include working together collecting and innovatively analyzing data to help focus resources on emerging problems, and improving information for development of standards. See the OSHA Web site for more information about this cooperative effort of state and federal agencies to protect the health of America's workers.

Company fined more than $200,000 for exposing workers to lead hazards at outdoor gun range

OSHA fined E.N. Range Inc. $201,600 and cited the company for exposing workers removing lead pellets at a gun range in Oley, Pa., to dangerously high levels of lead. OSHA initiated an inspection in response to a complaint alleging worker exposure to lead as well as deficiencies in the company's respiratory protection program. Inspectors found that the company willfully jeopardized the health of its workers by failing to follow required procedures of OSHA's lead standard. These included failing to provide shower facilities for employees exposed to lead, failing to ensure workers exposed to lead washed their hands and face before eating or drinking, failing to provide exposed workers with a change room and failing to ensure that workers removed their protective clothing in the change room at the end of their shifts. OSHA's lead standard requires employers to protect their workers from lead exposure, which can cause many serious health issues including brain damage, paralysis and kidney disease, as well as death. See the news release for more on the company's health and safety violations. In August 2010 OSHA fined E.N. Range more than $2 million for knowingly exposing workers to lead and other hazards.

Blasting materials manufacturer fined more than $80,000 for failing to protect workers from unsafe equipment and other hazards

OSHA fined U.S. Minerals LLC $83,000 and issued the company seven citations for risking the safety of workers at its Baldwin, Ill., facility. Inspectors found that the manufacturer of abrasive blasting and roofing materials willfully exposed workers to possible injury or death by failing to ensure that machines were isolated from their energy source and rendered inoperative before workers serviced them. The company was also issued repeat citations for failing to install safety features such as machine guards, lockout/tagout hardware and guardrails on a nearly 20-foot-high platform. See the news release for more on the company's failure to protect the safety of its workers.

OSHA issued a $466,400 penalty to U.S. Minerals in September 2010 for willfully exposing workers at the Baldwin facility to dangerously high levels of hazardous dust and failing to provide adequate breathing protection. Later OSHA inspections resulted in fines against the company at its locations in Coffeen, Ill. ($396,000), Harvey, La. ($110,400), and Galveston, Texas ($273,000). As a result of the company's willful and repeat safety violations, U.S. Minerals was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program in December 2010.

OSHA cites hospital for failing to protect staff from workplace violence

OSHA cited Franklin Hospital Medical Center in Valley Stream, N.Y., and fined the facility $4,500 after a nurse at the hospital was attacked and severely injured while performing normal duties that included providing group therapy sessions to psychiatric patients. OSHA inspectors found that her employers had failed to implement adequate measures to protect employees from assault in the workplace. Measures that could be taken to abate this hazard include screening for potential weapons at the facility, screening patients for potential violence before admittance to the hospital and providing extensive training to ensure that all affected staff are aware of the hospital's workplace violence plan. OSHA's Workplace Violence Safety and Health Topics Page offers guidelines and recommendations to reduce worker exposures to this occupational hazard. OSHA's Hospital eTool and Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care & Social Service Workers provide practical measures for safeguarding nurses and other workers in healthcare settings. OSHA will soon issue a directive instructing enforcement officers on investigating and inspecting worksites that the agency identifies as vulnerable to workplace violence.

New Jersey summit will promote Latino worker safety and health

On April 10 OSHA and the Department of Labor's Wage & Hour Division will host the Southern New Jersey Action Summit for Latino and Immigrant Workers. The summit will bring together workers and representatives from faith-based and community organizations, worker organizations, consulates, and government officials to discuss workplace safety and health issues, workplace wage and hour issues, worker rights and how to voice concerns when rights are violated. Current strategies and collaborative efforts to reach the Latino worker population will also be shared. To address the particular needs of the area's Latino workforce, summit organizers will focus on migrant and farm worker issues. Information related to other industries such as construction, landscaping and restaurants will also be provided. See the flier in English or Spanish for more information, and visit OSHA's National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health & Safety Web page for more resources.

Equipment manufacturer gets help from OSHA's free On-site Consultation Program

R-V Industries Inc., an industrial process equipment manufacturer in Honey Brook, Pa., contacted OSHA's On-site Consultation Program to request a review of its safety and health program and to ask for help addressing specific workplace hazards. Following recommendations offered by the consultant who visited R-V's Honeybrook facility, the company made changes to protect workers, such as ensuring the proper use of personal protective equipment and installing engineering controls to eliminate hazards at their source. The consultant also worked with R-V's managers and workers to initiate a shift in their workplace safety culture, with a greater commitment to creating and following an effective injury and illness prevention program. This led OSHA to award the company Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program status. In 2002, R-V corporate wide had 41 OSHA recordable injuries and 132 reported injuries. Last year eight injuries were reported among the company's three facilities. See OSHA's Web site for more information on this safety and health success story.

Washington OSHA fines company nearly $440,000 for exposing workers to asbestos

Washington's Department of Labor & Industries fined state certified abatement contractor Spenser Abatement Services Inc. $437,300 and cited the company for willfully exposing workers to asbestos hazards at two separate abatement projects involving a former high school and a building used by the state's Department of Transportation. Inspectors determined that the company ignored basic safety measures, and performed open dry removal that exposed workers to unsafe levels of asbestos. Asbestos is an extremely hazardous material that can lead to asbestosis, a potentially fatal lung disease, as well as mesothelioma and lung cancer. See the news release for more information. Washington is one of 27 states that operates an OSHA-approved State Plan that is responsible for the adoption and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards throughout the state.

New OSHA brochure explains workers' rights to a safe and healthful workplace

OSHA's new brochure, We Are OSHA -- We Can Help, provides information to help workers understand their rights under the OSH Act and what OSHA can do to help protect them. The brochure covers topics including: employer responsibilities, who OSHA covers, OSHA safety and health standards, the right of workers to request an OSHA inspection of their workplace, and the right of workers not to be punished or discriminated against for using their OSHA rights. Visit the Publications page of OSHA's Web site for more occupational safety and health resources.

Abstracts sought for national conference on protecting vulnerable workers

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is seeking abstracts for poster presentations at the first national conference to examine how social, cultural and economic factors impact worker safety and health. Abstracts must be submitted online by the April 1 deadline. The poster presentations may address topics including Work Organization; Workplace Injustice; Approaches to Education and Training; The Health of the Low-income Workforce; and The Effects of Social, Economic, and Labor Policies on Occupational Health Disparities. Presentations will take place Sept. 14-15 in Chicago at the Eliminating Health and Safety Disparities at Work conference cosponsored by NIOSH, OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency.

OSHA celebrates 40 years of helping to ensure healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America

Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of resources and activities to celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary. Visit the OSHA at 40 Web page for an interactive timeline of the agency's history, an anniversary message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels and a commemoration of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire.

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Editor: Richard De Angelis, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999.
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