July 1, 2003 · Volume 2, Issue 13
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
Comment Period Extended on Draft Ergonomic Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores
OSHA Issues Final Rule on Recordkeeping Form
Safety and Health Bulletin Issued on Excavation Work
OSHA Updates Workplace Violence Guidelines Related to Social Service Workers
OSHA’s Workplace Violence Awareness Course Wins AXIEM Award
New Subjects Added to OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics Page on the Web
Regional Alliance in Florida Designed to Protect Construction Workers
Idaho Nursing Home Recognized for Outstanding Safety and Health Program
New Fact Sheet ‘Hot’ Off the Press for Summer Workers
OSHA Unveils Improved Search Engine on Public Website
Voluntary Protection Program Activity


Comment Period Extended on Draft Ergonomic Guidelines for Retail Grocery Stores
     The public has 45 additional days to comment on the draft ergonomic guidelines for retail grocery stores, thanks to an extension by OSHA published in the Federal Register, Jun. 27. The agency received several requests from interested members of the public asking for more time to comment on the draft guidelines, originally published in May. The second in a series of industry-specific guidelines for the prevention of workplace musculoskeletal disorders is now available for comment until Aug. 22, 2003.

OSHA Issues Final Rule on Recordkeeping Form
     The OSHA 300 form (used to record workplace injuries and illnesses) will not be modified to include a separate column for musculoskeletal disorders. The agency’s decision not to modify the form, published in the June 30 Federal Register, was based on the conclusion that an additional column would not improve the national injury statistics, nor would it be of benefit to employers and workers because the column would not provide additional information useful to identifying possible causes or methods to prevent injury.

Safety and Health Bulletin Issued on Excavation Work
     A 1998 excavation accident in St. Cloud, MN, that resulted in four fatalities and numerous other injuries prompted OSHA to issue a Safety and Health Information Bulletin outlining the hazards associated with striking underground gas lines during excavation. The advisory bulletin reiterates OSHA’s requirements to prevent damage to underground utility lines during excavations. The bulletin further recommends that the utility operator be notified immediately if damage has occurred and also recommends calling 9-1-1 or other emergency response numbers if the damage results in the release of natural gas or other hazardous substances

OSHA Updates Workplace Violence Guidelines Related to Social Service Workers
     Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers was first published by OSHA in 1996 in response to the increased risk of job-related violence against workers in that industry. The agency recently revised that publication by adding updated statistics and new tools for assessing the potential for workplace violence. The guidelines offer assistance and information to employers to aid in establishing effective workplace violence prevention programs.

OSHA’s Workplace Violence Awareness Course Wins AXIEM Award
     The OSHA Training Institute was recently recognized for its innovative on-line course on workplace violence awareness. OTI received a 2003 AXIEM Award for innovative Internet website development. AXIEM Awards is an international competition that recognizes “Absolute eXcellence In Electronic Media.” OSHA’s course on workplace violence is designed for the general public and provides basic concepts to address the issue. The course addresses situations that fit the definition of workplace violence, risk factors, and prevention programs.

New Subjects Added to OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics Page on the Web
     OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics Page has two new technical subjects that may be of interest to readers. Hantaviruses are usually transmitted to humans from the dried droppings, urine, or saliva of mice and rats living in the wild. This page includes commonly asked questions and links to resources that provide useful safety and health information about the virus. Pneumonic Plague has claimed the lives of millions in a series of epidemics throughout the world’s history. This page includes commonly asked questions and links to resources that provide useful safety and health information, and discusses how a bioterrorist release of plague could result in a rapid spread of the pneumonic form of the disease.

Regional Alliance in Florida Designed to Protect Construction Workers
     An alliance between OSHA’s area office in Fort Lauderdale, FL, with Florida Atlantic University’s Institute for Safety and Construction will provide a safety boon to workers in the state’s construction industry. Formed last month, the alliance is designed to prevent construction-related accidents and improve safety awareness throughout the construction industry through the development of effective training courses, workshop presentations, and sharing of best practices.

Idaho Nursing Home Recognized for Outstanding Safety and Health Program
     The Life Care Center of Treasure Valley in Boise, ID, received OSHA’s Merit Recognition Award, making it the first nursing home in the Northwest to receive such recognition. The award is part of the agency’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and recognizes worksites that have good safety and health programs. Richard Terrill, OSHA’s Regional Administrator in Seattle called the Center a “model of workplace safety excellence in the nursing home industry.” There are a total of 11 VPP sites in Idaho.

New Fact Sheet ‘Hot’ Off the Press for Summer Workers
     OSHA has published a new fact sheet to help employers and workers manage heat-related work hazards during the summer months. Working Outdoors focuses on protecting workers against heat, direct sun exposure, Lyme disease (from ticks), and illnesses associated with the West Nile Virus. The fact sheet also provides several related links from OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

OSHA Unveils Improved Search Engine on Public Website
     Faster, easier to read, and improved results. These are some of the benefits of the New Search implemented on the OSHA public website, June 30. The new OSHA Search adds many familiar elements of some of the most popular search engines on the Internet. New features include the addition of recommended links, document description, sort option, and category searching. The results for the most frequently searched words or phrases on the OSHA Web site have been weighted to ensure that the most useful documents appear at the top of the list.

Voluntary Protection Program Activity
     The following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Access Health Systems, Latham, NY (New Star); USPS, Baton Rouge Processing & Distribution Ctr., Baton Rouge, LA (New Star); Gustafson, LLC, Marsing, ID (New Merit); HDR Engineering, Inc., Omaha, NE (Cont. Demo); ABM Engineering Services, Tarrytown, NY (New Star); March-Westin Company, Two Waterfront Place Radisson Hotel/Conference Ctr. Project, Morgantown, WV (New Star); International Paper, Auburn Container Plant, Auburn, ME (Cont. Star); Albemarle Corporation, West Plant, Magnolia, AR (New Star); Albemarle Corporation, East Plant, Magnolia, AR (New Star); and Albemarle Corporation South Plant, Magnolia, AR (New Star). Also, Marvin Windows and Doors of Grafton became North Dakota’s only VPP site during ceremonies held in May. The company achieved VPP status just five years after opening.

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