|July 15, 2011 · Volume 10, Issue 14||
|In this issue
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis traveled to Florida July 13 to take OSHA's message of Water-Rest-Shade to workers. Taking a tour and meeting with workers at a Florida Power and Light (FPL) generation plant in Dania Beach, the Secretary spoke to local media about the importance of OSHA's Heat Illness Campaign. The FPL site was chosen because the company has worked hard with their unionized employees (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) to put together a program focused on the hazards of heat stress. This site is also a participant in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs.
"We're obviously concerned about utility workers, berry pickers, landscapers and brick layers. But our message is just as important for the baggage handlers who transport luggage across the hot tarmac at Miami International Airport or car salesmen who pace the hot asphalt lots at dealerships that line Northwest 36th Street and 27th Avenue, as well as those working on road crews in heavy safety gear revamping North Miami Avenue and I-195," Solis explained. "Statistically, we know that Latino workers are at the greatest risk of heat illness. They are more likely to work in outdoor industries such as agriculture and construction and are at greater risk of ending up hospitalized or worse from heat stroke."
After the tour and a series of quick interviews, Solis headed for an informal luncheon at the OSHA Area Office in Fort Lauderdale to thank OSHA, Wage and Hour and EBSA employees for their efforts in protecting workers.
OSHA will hold two informal stakeholder meetings July 29 in Washington, D.C., to solicit comments on exposure to infectious diseases in the workplace. OSHA will use information gathered during these meetings to explore the possible development of a proposed rule to protect workers from occupational exposure to infectious agents in healthcare settings where direct patient care is provided and other settings where workers perform tasks with occupational exposure. Based on responses to OSHA's May 2010 Request for Information on Infectious Diseases and an ongoing review of literature on this subject, OSHA is considering development of a proposed program standard to control worker exposures to infectious agents. The two meetings will be held July 29 from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at DOL headquarters in Washington, D.C. See the news release for more information.
OSHA officials held a Web chat July 11 to discuss the agency's new regulatory agenda with the public and members of the press. Executive Order 12866 requires the semiannual publication of an agenda of regulations that contains a listing of all the regulations the Department of Labor expects to have under active consideration for promulgation, proposal, or review during the coming one-year period. During the hour-long Web chat, OSHA staff responded to more than 80 questions.
OSHA issued a hazard alert about the hazards of using scissor lifts to film events and functions. Scissor lifts are portable, hydraulic-powered lifts that are commonly used by colleges and high schools to film athletic and band activities. Hazards associated with scissor lifts include using the equipment during high winds or bad weather; overloading the equipment with heavy objects; removing the guardrails during operation; and driving the lift on uneven or unstable ground. The alert recommends precautions to reduce the risk of these and other hazards. See the news release for more information.
In October 2010, a 20-year-old University of Notre Dame employee was killed during a football practice while filming the team from a scissor lift that was blown over by high winds. The worker, who reportedly was not trained to properly operate the equipment, raised the lift more than 39 feet into the air on a day in which winds exceeded 50 miles per hour. After investigating the incident, the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the university $77,500 and cited it with the most serious safety violation allowable under Indiana law.
The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) recommended at a June 22 meeting in Washington, D.C., that OSHA keep the Injury and Illness Prevention Program proposed rule as the highest priority in its regulatory agenda by keeping it on a timely schedule as it moves through the regulatory process. NACOSH also expressed support for the efforts of OSHA, in consultation with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), to modernize the system for collection of injury and illness data to assure that it is timely, complete, accurate and both accessible and useful to employers, employees, responsible government agencies and members of the public. NACOSH's other recommendations included NIOSH working with employers and employees to assure completeness and accuracy of injury and illness data and OSHA taking whatever steps are necessary and possible to issue the proposed silica rule without further delay. See NACOSH's complete recommendations for more information.
OSHA will hold a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) July 27-28 at DOL headquarters in Washington, D.C. ACCSH, an advisory body established under the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, has advised the secretary of labor and assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health for more than 35 years on construction standards and policy matters. The ACCSH agenda will include remarks from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. The agenda also will include updates from the Directorates of Construction and Cooperative and State Programs, and an update on the Injury and Illness Prevention Program rulemaking. ACCSH work groups will meet July 27, and the full committee will meet July 28. Individuals have until July 21 to submit comments and requests to speak by mail, fax or online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. See the Federal Register notice for details.
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels is seeking nominations for membership on the Federal Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH), which advises the secretary of labor on all matters relating to the occupational safety and health of federal employees. This includes providing advice on how to prevent injuries and illnesses in the federal workforce and how to encourage the establishment and maintenance of effective occupational safety and health programs in each federal agency. FACOSH is comprised of 16 members, eight representing management and eight representing labor organizations. Michaels is seeking nominations to fill three positions each from management and labor. Interested parties have until Sept. 6 to submit nominations online, by mail, or by fax. See the Federal Register notice for more information.
OSHA recently revised a directive that provides guidance on OSHA procedures aimed at eliminating hazards and reducing worker injuries, illnesses and deaths during commercial diving operations. OSHA's commercial diving standard (29 CFR 1910 Subpart T), issued in 1977, applies to diving and related support operations in the general, construction and maritime industries. Changes in the current directive include:
Included in the directive are inspection procedures for before, during and after dives; equipment maintenance; and recordkeeping requirements. The directive is available on OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page on Commercial Diving, along with commercial diving standards specific to shipyard employment, marine terminals and longshoring, hazards and solutions, and safety and health programs. See the news release for more information.
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels traveled to Brussels, Belgium, to speak at a July 13 meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. Michaels spoke to the committee members about the state of occupational safety and health in the United States and the opportunities for global progress by working with the European Union. Speaking about the importance of Injury and Illness Prevention Programs, Michaels said, "Our successful collaboration can serve as a blueprint to develop the tools employers and workers need to successfully implement these programs. We benefit from each other's perspectives, and we move forward to improve conditions for our workers, our economies and our societies."
As part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor, Black Mag LLC, doing business as BMI and as Black Mag Industries, and Craig Sanborn, the company's president, managing member and primary owner, have surrendered Black Mag LLC's explosives manufacturing license and will permanently refrain from employing workers in any explosives-related business enterprise. OSHA fined Black Mag LLC $1.2 million in October 2010 and cited the company for more than 50 willful, egregious and serious violations of safety standards in connection with a May 14, 2010, explosion at the company's Colebrook, N.H., facility. The explosion killed two employees who were manufacturing a gunpowder substitute. The employer contested the citations and fines to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, but has since withdrawn its notice of contest and agreed to entry of an order that it violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act. See the news release for more information.
OSHA fined contractor P. Gioioso & Sons Inc. $354,000 after exposing its workers to cave-in hazards at Massachusetts work sites in Cambridge and Framingham. The company, which is primarily engaged in the construction of underground water and sewer mains, has a long history of violating workplace safety standards. Since 2000, Gioioso was cited seven times for repeat violations of OSHA's trenching and excavation safety standards prior to these most recent citations. The Cambridge inspection was opened when an OSHA inspector observed a Gioioso employee working in an unprotected trench. During the inspection, a section of the trench wall collapsed while the employee was still in the trench. The second inspection began after a concerned passer-by informed OSHA of workers in an unguarded trench. In both cases, OSHA found that the trenches lacked cave-in protection and a ladder or other safe means for workers to exit the trenches. See the news release for more information.
Rynone Manufacturing Corporation, a family owned and operated manufacturer of marble countertops, contacted OSHA’s free On-site Consultation Program to request assistance in improving their safety and health management system. During an initial comprehensive visit at Rynone’s Sayre, Pa., facility the consultant identified hazards related to process operations and provided training on hazard recognition. As a result of the assistance it received from the On-site Consultation personnel, the company enhanced its safety and health management system and achieved recognition in the On-site Consultation Program’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). See the online success story for more information.
The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Wyoming Oil & Gas Industry Safety Alliance (WOGISA) signed an alliance June 15 to increase safety in the oil and gas industry. WOGISA comprises oil and gas employers throughout the state, including producers, drillers, service companies, support activities and others. The three major goals of the Wyoming OSHA/WOGISA alliance are to:
In addition to education efforts, the alliance will facilitate better communication between Wyoming OSHA and industry safety and health professionals. See the news release for more information.
OSHA initiated its national Heat Illness Campaign to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in the heat. OSHA is leveraging relationships with other state and local partners, employers, trade organizations, unions, community groups, educational institutions and healthcare professionals, to disseminate training materials across the country. Online resources include educational materials, a curriculum for workplace training and print ads in color and black & white, all available in English and Spanish. Multiple copies of heat campaign publications can be ordered from OSHA’s Web site. OSHA is also partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on weather service alerts to incorporate worker safety precautions when heat alerts are issued across the United States. NOAA is also including pertinent worker safety information on its Heat Watch Web page.
Are you interested in a career with the Department of Labor? DOL has job opportunities throughout the country, including openings in OSHA for a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist (Construction) and Director, Cooperative and State Programs.
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Editor: Richard De Angelis, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999.
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