Shipyard Industry Next for Ergonomics Guidelines
OSHA Develops Information on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Model Health & Safety Plan for Cleanup of Anthrax-Contaminated Facilities
Postal Service Partnership to Focus on Reducing Ergonomic Hazards
New Alliances with Georgetown University, Nursing Directors Association
Madison, WI Compliance Officer To Receive Industrial Hygienist Award
Bridgeport, CT Area Office Aligns with Advertising Corporation
OSHA Recordkeeping Seminar Scheduled for Illinois Employers
Cost of Disabling Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Rising
Peoria's Compliance Assistance Specialist Honored by Illinois State University
Voluntary Protection Program Activity
OSHA Administrator John Henshaw announced April 1 that the shipyard industry would be the focus of the next set of industry-specific guidelines to reduce ergonomic-related injuries. Henshaw said several associations and labor unions representing the industry have expressed willingness to work with OSHA to develop the guidelines. He also applauded the industry's commitment to worker safety and health, citing a January 2003 Alliance with the Shipbuilders Council of America as an example. This is the fourth industry OSHA has designated to receive guidelines since first announcing its comprehensive plan on ergonomics last April. Guidelines for the nursing home industry were published March 13, while
work continues on guidelines for the retail grocery store and poultry processing industries.
The first identified case of the sometimes-fatal respiratory illness known as SARS occurred in China late last year. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported very few cases of occupationally-acquired SARS in the United States, they have issued a number of recommendations for workers in health care, laboratories, airline flight crews and airport personnel, and air medical transport workers. OSHA has compiled this and other relevant information about SARS and the workplace and posted it on the agency's website. The link includes guidance on employee training, steps to take for suspected exposure, and where to obtain updated information from CDC.
OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency have developed a template for safety and health professionals to use to create a site-specific health and safety plan for cleanup of facilities contaminated with anthrax spores through bioterrorism. The template includes 13 chapters with information such as site control, medical surveillance, personal protective equipment, exposure monitoring, decontamination and emergency response, to name a few. The template meets requirements of the agency's
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Standard.
A national Ergonomic Work Group is the foundation of a partnership agreement signed April 4 to promote early identification of muscoloskeletal disorders and control ergonomic risk factors for postal employees. The partnership teams OSHA with the United States Postal Service, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and the American Postal Workers Union. OSHA Administrator John Henshaw said the agreement represents the kind of "commitment from management and cooperation from unions and employees" that will assure a safer workplace for employees.
An ergonomic risk-reduction process will be tested now at 10 postal sites, with a goal of expanding to 30 sites this year.
OSHA recently added Georgetown University and the National Association Directors of Nursing Administration in Long-Term Care (NADONA/LTC) to the growing list of organizations allied with OSHA to focus on worker safety and health. Georgetown's Center for Business and Public Policy will focus on training, education, and the advancement of workplace safety and health as topics for business schools' curricula. Solutions to ergonomic hazards in long-term care facilities highlight the Alliance with NADONA/LTC.
This agreement will also help raise awareness of OSHA's recently published ergonomic guidelines for nursing homes.
Kimberly Nipko, an industrial hygiene compliance officer at the Madison, WI area office, will be honored next month at the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists annual meeting when she receives the John J. Bloomfield Award for 2003. The annual award recognizes industrial hygienists who have made significant contributions to the profession by pursuing occupational health hazards, primarily through field work. Nipko has worked at the Madison office for nearly three years.
OSHA and the Bridgeport, CT office of Lamar Outdoor Advertising are joining to promote safe and healthful working conditions for outdoor advertising workers in southwestern Connecticut. The two-year alliance was signed April 8 and focuses on reducing and preventing exposure to injuries from falls, electrical, ladder, and other hazards inherent to the industry.
An advanced recordkeeping seminar will be held April 24 for Illinois employers to help identify and analyze accident trends. The seminar was born out of a partnership among OSHA and the state of Illinois, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Safety and health professionals from the government and private sector will discuss how accident trends affect workers compensation premiums and how to calculate specific recordkeeping statistics. The seminar will be held at Elgin Community College, Elgin, IL, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Cost is $125.
Register online or call Northern Illinois University at 1-800-345-9472.
The cost of disabling workplace injuries and illnesses outpaced inflation between 1998-2000, according to the annual Workplace Safety Index compiled by Liberty Mutual. The report said the top three injury causes - overexertion (e.g., excessive lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying), falls on the same level, and bodily reaction (e.g., from bending, climbing, slipping or tripping without falling) - accounted for 51 percent of workers compensation direct costs in 2000, a five percent increase from 1998. The annual index identifies the direct costs of disabling workplace incidents and the top 10 causes based on data from
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and Liberty Mutual.
For almost two years, Brian Bothast, OSHA's compliance assistance specialist in the Peoria, IL area office, has been speaking on various occupational safety and health issues to students in the College of Applied Science and Technology's Environmental Health Classes. Illinois State University will award him the College's Associate's Award for 2003 during their spring faculty meeting on April 24. The award is presented to recognize outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to the College's programs.
Bothast's presentations have included recordkeeping, sampling methods, mechanics of a compliance inspection, confined space requirements, and OSHA's outreach program.
The following companies were approved this/last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Ash Grove Healthcare Center, Ash Grove, MO (New Star); Marvin Windows and Doors, Grafton, North Dakota (New Merit); Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co., Macon, GA (Merit to Star); JE Merit Constructors, Inc., Corpus Christi, TX (New Star); Avaya, Inc., Omaha, NE (1-yr Conditional); Tenneco Automotive, Seward, NE (Merit to Star); International Paper, Saybrook Converting Center, Ashtubula, OH (New Star).
Editor: Bill Wright, OSHA Office of Public Affairs, 202-693-1999