April 1, 2004 · Volume 3, Issue 7
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
GAO Report Highlights Effectiveness of OSHA's Voluntary and Cooperative Programs
New Initiative Sets Sights on Improving Quality of Hazard Communication
BLS Publishes Report on 2002 Lost-Worktime Injuries and Illnesses
Latest Safety and Health Bulletin Focuses on Suspension Trauma
OSHA's National Alliance Program Grows by Four
Comment Period Extended for Assigned Protection Factors Rule
New York Region Alliances Focus on Hispanic, Construction Issues
New Electronic Assistance Tools Available on OSHA's Website
OSHA's Denver Region Participates in "Safety Fest of the West"
Nebraska Employer Recognized for Safety and Health Management
Avian Flu Subject of Safety and Health Guidance
Construction Partnership Signed in Denver
Voluntary Protection Program Activity


GAO Report Highlights Effectiveness of OSHA's Voluntary and Cooperative Programs
     A year-long study by the Government Accounting Office on OSHA's voluntary compliance programs wrapped up last month saying the strategies "have improved employers' safety and health practices" and noted that many participants interviewed said the programs resulted in not only helping to reduce injury and illness rates but also have fostered "better working relationships with OSHA." Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections said the report "shows that OSHA's voluntary compliance programs have so far proven successful in improving safety at workplaces across the country." OSHA Administrator John Henshaw said the report recognizes that these strategies "are highly effective in extending OSHA's reach" and "complement and augment OSHA's aggressive efforts to enforce occupational safety and health standards." Henshaw said OSHA will more closely evaluate the benefits of such programs through its strategic planning process.

New Initiative Sets Sights on Improving Quality of Hazard Communication
     Compliance assistance and enforcement components make up the foundation of a new initiative announced last month by OSHA to focus attention on safe chemical management programs in the workplace. The Hazard Communication Initiative was developed to improve the quality of hazard communication and help employers and workers comply with the agency's Hazard Communication Standard. A new page on the agency's website contains details and a review of the issues. OSHA Administrator John Henshaw visited Capitol Hill March 25, to brief lawmakers on the initiative.

BLS Publishes Report on 2002 Lost-Worktime Injuries and Illnesses
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported March 25 that a total of 1.4 million injuries and illnesses in private industry required recuperation away from work. During 2002, ten occupations accounted for one third of those cases, with truckers, nursing aides and non-construction laborers topping the list. The 2002 data cannot be compared with prior years due to revisions of OSHA's recordkeeping requirements. OSHA Administrator John Henshaw said in a statement that the report indicates positive advances and further helps the agency to "position our outreach and enforcement resources where they will have the most benefit for workers and employers."

Latest Safety and Health Bulletin Focuses on Suspension Trauma
    Fall arrest systems save lives, but workers who remain suspended for lengthy periods of time in safety harnesses following a fall can develop a condition known as "orthostatic intolerance-the pooling of blood in the veins due to a force of gravity and lack of movement. OSHA has developed a safety and health bulletin that describes the signs and symptoms of the condition, outlines recommendations for preventing such occurrences, and discusses worker training and rescue.

OSHA's National Alliance Program Grows by Four
    OSHA formed four national Alliances last month with associations dedicated to advancing occupational safety and health. The Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) signed on March 17 to focus efforts on fall protection, scaffolding and forklift safety hazards. On March 22, OSHA signed an Alliance with the American Foundry Society (AFS) to highlight personal protective equipment, ventilation and silica issues. The American Petroleum Institute and the National Fire Protection Association signed a joint Alliance with the agency March 29 that will focus on safety and health issues at petroleum and petrochemical liquid storage facilities. Finally, on March 30, OSHA joined with the Environmental Protection Agency and six chemical organizations to form a Reactives Alliance launching a collaborative effort on identification and management of chemical reactivity hazards.

Comment Period Extended for Assigned Protection Factors Rule
    Interested persons wishing to comment on OSHA's Assigned Protection Factors rule now have an additional 30 days to submit their remarks, thanks to an extension announced by OSHA. The agency proposed revisions to the respiratory protection standard last June to incorporate new APFs (numbers that reflect the workplace level of respiratory protection) for respiratory protection programs. Post-hearing comments must now be submitted not later than April 29, while post-hearing briefs must be sent by May 29. The announcement was published in the Mar. 30, 2004, Federal Register.

New York Region Alliances Focus on Hispanic, Construction Issues
    OSHA's area offices throughout OSHA's New York Region have entered into four separate cooperative efforts to improve the safety and health of workers. The Long Island office signed an alliance with the Asociacion de Guatemaltecos-Morazanecos Ausentes en USA (AGMAUSA) to jointly develop Spanish-language training and education programs. AGMAUSA is a community-based organization serving the Guatemalan community in the Long Island area. An ongoing relationship between OSHA's Manhattan office and the Latin American Workers Project, Inc., based in Brooklyn, was formalized on March 24, to provide safety and health training in Spanish for Hispanic day laborers in New York City. OSHA's area offices in Hasbrouck Heights and Parsippany, NJ, have joined forces with Little School and More (LSM) to develop training and education programs in Spanish on fall protection, electrical safety, and machine guarding. LSM is a Palisades Park, NJ-based organization that provides educational and social services to Latino workers in Hudson and Bergen counties. OSHA's Albany area office signed on March 29 with both Albany County and the New York State Department of Labor's On-Site Consultation Program to focus workplace safety and health issues on women- and minority-owned construction companies.

New Electronic Assistance Tools Available on OSHA's Website
    OSHA recently posted two new electronic assistance tools (eTool) to aid workers and employers on safety and health issues. Workers in battery manufacturing plants may potentially be exposed to above normal lead concentrations; the Lead Battery Manufacturing eTool assists the industry in identifying potential engineering and work practice controls to reduce employee lead exposure. The Electric Power Generation eTool complements an earlier safety and health topic page on the issue to provide information and assistance for employers and workers in the electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry.

OSHA's Denver Region Participates in "Safety Fest of the West"
    Colorado's construction industry is the focus of the "Safety Fest of the West" in Denver, April 7 and 8. OSHA and several state associations and training organizations are sponsoring the event which will focus on training to front line workers and supervisors in the areas of fall protection, trenching, scaffolding, confined spaces and more. The event is held in conjunction with the 2004 Industrial Construction and Process Equipment Show. (The press release is also available in Spanish).

Nebraska Employer Recognized for Safety and Health Management
    Lozier Corporation of Omaha, NE, began its third decade in OSHA's prestigious "Star" Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) last month after being recognized for its continued excellence in effective safety and health management. Lozier manufactures office and store fixtures and shelving, and employs 1,245 workers. Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's Regional Administrator in Kansas City, MO, said that top level management's active participation has been a key to the effectiveness of the company's safety and health program. Lozier was initially approved for the "Star" program in February 1984.

Avian Flu Subject of Safety and Health Guidance
    While avian flu primarily impacts birds, there have been human cases confirmed in Asia. Based on possible worker exposure, OSHA recently posted safety and health guidance on its website to alert workers and employers about the hazards of the virus. The guidance provides specific recommendations for farm workers and animal handlers, laboratory workers, medical personnel, food handlers, airline flight crews and travelers.

Construction Partnership Signed in Denver
   The Associated General Contractors/Construction Health and Safety for Excellence Colorado Building Chapter signed a partnership with OSHA's Denver and Englewood, CO area offices, March 25. In addition to reducing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, the partnership's goals include increasing the number of general and specialty contractors who implement effective safety and health programs, providing effective safety and health training for management, supervisors and employees, and recognizing those contractors with exemplary safety and health programs and effective site-specific safety and health plans.

Voluntary Protection Program Activity
    The following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP): Region III: General Electric Transportation Systems, Grove City Diesel Engine Plant, Grove City, PA (Cont. Star); PPL Interstate Energy, Pottstown, PA (Cont. Star) Region IV: WestPoint Stevens, Chipley, FL (Cont. Star); Georgia Pacific, Taylorsville Studmill Plant, Taylorsville, MS (New Star); Masonite Int'l., Laurel, MS (Cont. Star) Region V: International Paper, Cincinnati Technology Center, Loveland, OH (New Star); Smurfit Stone Container Corp., Bridgeview North Facility, Bridgeview, IL (Cont. Star); GE Engine Svcs. E. Edison Drive, Cincinnati, OH (Cont. Star); GE Engine Svcs. Glades, Drive, Hamilton, OH (Cont. Star); GE Engine Svcs. Symmes Road, Hamilton, OH (Cont. Star); GE Engine Svcs. Cresantville Drive, Cincinnati, OH (Cont. Star); Illinois Tool Works, Glenview, IL (Cont. Star); Pactiv Corp., Jacksonville, IL (Cont. Star); General Electric, Ottawa, IL (Cont. Star); Stepan Co., Millside Plant, Northfield, IL (New Star) Region VI: ConocoPhillips, Ponca City Technology Center, Ponca City, OK (New Star); Entergy Louisiana Inc., Little Gypsy Facility, Montz, LA (Cont. Star); Sunoco Bayport, Pasadena, TX (New Star); Frito Lay, Inc., San Antonio, TX (Cont. Star) Region VII: Precise Technology, Inc., Excelsior, MO (New Merit); International Paper, Joplin Treated Wood Products, Joplin, MO (Cont. Star); and Frito Lay, Topeka, KS (Merit to Star).

Editor: Bill Wright, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999