April 15, 2005 · Volume 4, Issue 8
A bi-weekly e-news memo with information, updates, and results from OSHA about safety and health in America's workplaces.
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Testifies on FY2006 Budget
Pipeline Safety Improvement Act Whistleblower Provisions Published
OSHA Plays Prominent Role in Terrorism Response Exercise
Solvent Exposure in Dry-Cleaning Industry Prompts New Publication
Training Video to Reduce Shipyard Fatalities to Debut at World Safety Congress
OSHA's Atlanta Region Signs Two New Partnerships
National Alliance Program Activity
Chicago Region Gearing Up for Emergency Preparedness and Worker Safety Conference
New Alliances Established in Boston, Dallas Regions
Disaster Site Worker Trainer Course Held in New York City


Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Testifies on FY2006 Budget
     Jonathan L. Snare, Acting OSHA Administrator, told Congressional leaders that the agency's FY2006 budget request "is a continuing investment in traditional and innovative strategies that have produced declining injuries, illnesses, and fatalities for the American workforce." Snare testified April 7 before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The President is requesting $467 million for OSHA during FY2006, a $2.8 million increase over FY2005.

Pipeline Safety Improvement Act Whistleblower Provisions Published
    OSHA announced April 8, the publication of a final rule establishing procedures for handling whistleblower complaints under the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. That law, signed Dec. 17, 2002, applies to pipeline facilities that transport natural gas or hazardous liquids in interstate commerce. The rule establishes procedures for the expeditious handling of discrimination complaints made by employees or by persons acting on their behalf, and includes procedures for submitting complaints under the Act, investigations, and issuance of findings and preliminary orders. OSHA's Whistleblower Program responsibilities have grown from one statute (Section 11(c) of the OSH Act) to a total of 14 laws.

OSHA Plays Prominent Role in Terrorism Response Exercise
    A simulated release of biological and chemical agents in the northeast earlier this month set the stage for a terrorism response exercise involving top level public and private officials. OSHA's participation centered on its overall role in emergency response--to ensure that threats to worker safety and health are anticipated, recognized, evaluated and controlled. OSHA employees from the Boston and New York regions, plus the agency's chemical and biological response teams, participated in the exercise. Known as TOPOFF (for "top officials"), the exercise is designed to strengthen the nation's capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to and then recover from terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction. TOPOFF 3 was the third in a series of biennial exercises sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Solvent Exposure in Dry-Cleaning Industry Prompts New Publication
   OSHA published new guidance April 14 to help reduce worker exposure from an organic chemical solvent used in the dry-cleaning industry. The new publication-Reducing Worker Exposures to Perchloroethylene in Dry-Cleaning-provides information on the health hazards and current regulations related to the solvent, and addresses best work practices that can minimize worker exposure. The publication also provides information on training, personal protective equipment, and some of the new technologies available in the dry-cleaning industry.

Training Video to Reduce Shipyard Fatalities to Debut at World Safety Congress
   OSHA's computer-animated video entitled Examining Fatal Shipyard Accidents: Hazards and Solutions, was recently selected for presentation during the World Congress on Safety and Health in Orlando this September. The video will be shown during the Congress' International Film and Multimedia Festival, and features 16 animated re-enactments of fatal accidents investigated by OSHA. The videos (in both VHS and DVD formats) were shipped to OSHA's regional offices and Alliance participants this month; consultation projects and state programs will receive additional copies soon. For more information on the videos, contact Deborah Gabry in OSHA's Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine at (202) 693-1983 or via e-mail at gabry.deborah@dol.gov.

OSHA's Atlanta Region Signs Two New Partnerships
    Two partnerships signed recently in the Atlanta region will focus safety and health efforts on workers in the auto manufacturing and construction industries. OSHA's Birmingham and Mobile Area Offices inked an agreement with Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Hyundai suppliers, and the state's Consultation Office that will cover workers at Hyundai's first automotive facility in the United States. The partnership is also the first to include workers employed by an automobile manufacturer's suppliers. The agency's Atlanta-West Area Office signed a partnership earlier this month with Atlantic Skanska, Inc. (a heavy civil contractor), and the Georgia Consultation Office, to highlight worker safety during the construction of a Rome, GA, water pollution control plant.

National Alliance Program Activity
   Workers in the oil and gas well industry are the spotlight of OSHA's newest national Alliance signed April 5 with the Association of Energy Service Companies (AESC). The Alliance will focus on reducing hand and back hazards in the industry. A September 2003 Alliance with Abbott Laboratories has resulted in the publication of a new series of case studies that help communicate the business value and competitive advantages of an effective safety and health program. The studies highlight a variety of industries and safety and health issues.

Chicago Region Gearing Up for Emergency Preparedness and Worker Safety Conference
   The University of Findlay in Findlay, OH, is the site of a one-day conference highlighting emergency preparedness planning and response activities. Joining the agency in "OSHA 2005 Emergency Preparedness and Worker Safety Conference" is the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Registration for the May 17 event is available online, or by contacting Mark Alliman at (419) 434-4135 or by email at: malliman@findlay.edu.

New Alliances Established in Boston, Dallas Regions
    Maine's telecommunications workers are set to benefit from an Alliance signed last month between OSHA and employer, labor and government entities throughout the state. Joining in the Alliance were the Maine Division of the Federal Highway Administration, the state's Bureau of Labor Standards and Department of Transportation, the local office of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Verizon New England, Inc. The Hispanic Association of Safety Professionals (HASP), signed an Alliance with OSHA's Dallas Region March 14 to promote safety and health for some 10,000 Hispanic workers in west Texas. HASP represents various construction and oil and gas companies in the Midland-Odessa area.

Disaster Site Worker Trainer Course Held in New York City
     The former shadows of the World Trade Center twin towers was the site of New York City's first OSHA Disaster Site Worker Trainer Course held last month. The Atlantic OSHA Training Center, from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's School of Public Health, in conjunction with Homeland Safety Consultants, Inc., presented the course to emergency medical personnel, safety engineers, and various leaders throughout the city's construction safety industry. The course is part of OSHA's Disaster Site Worker Outreach Training Program that develops a cadre of highly-trained workers to respond safely to natural and man-made disasters. Graduates of the trainer course are authorized to teach OSHA's 16-hour Disaster Site Worker Course.

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