August 1, 2003 • Volume 2, Issue 15
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
Virgin Islands Converts to Public Employee Plan
Comment Period Extended on Draft Ergonomic Guidelines for Poultry Processing
Two More Organizations Sign Alliances with OSHA
OSHA Signs Landmark Partnership with Johnson & Johnson
New Web Pages Unveiled on Emergency Preparedness, Small Business
Asian American Worker Protection Program Launched in Houston
OSHA Seeking Comments on Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Benchmarks
Massachusetts Construction Workers Benefit from OSHA Agreements
New Safety and Health Topics, Electronic Tools Available on OSHA's Website
OSHA's Chicago Region Connecting with AGC in Northwest Ohio, Greater Milwaukee
Ergonomics Program Reducing Back Injuries at New York Hospital
Chicagoland Safety and Health Conference Set for August 11-15
Voluntary Protection Program Activity


Virgin Islands Converts to Public Employee Plan
     The U.S. Virgin Islands agreed with OSHA to convert the Territory's comprehensive state plan to a public employee only state plan. Last month, federal OSHA assumed jurisdiction over all private sector employees while the Virgin Islands will continue coverage of Territorial and local government employers and workers. The Virgin Islands also will provide on-site consultation services to the private sector.

Comment Period Extended on Draft Ergonomic Guidelines for Poultry Processing
     OSHA added an additional 45 days for comment on the draft ergonomic guidelines for poultry processing after receiving extension requests from the public. The extension notice was published in the July 25 Federal Register. First published on June 4, the draft guidelines are the third in a series of industry-specific guidelines for the prevention of workplace musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. Comments are now due Sept. 18, 2003.

Two More Organizations Sign Alliances with OSHA
     OSHA formed Alliances last month with two more groups wanting to help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses and advance overall workplace safety awareness. The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association joined with OSHA to focus on forklift safety, recordkeeping issues and reduce injuries sustained by lifting. The American Council of Independent Laboratories also inked an Alliance with the agency to increase awareness of OSHA's Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program.

OSHA Signs Landmark Partnership with Johnson & Johnson
     A worldwide leader in the manufacture and sale of a broad range of healthcare products joined with OSHA to reduce ergonomic injuries in the workplace. Johnson & Johnson entered into a three-year strategic partnership with OSHA July 28 that also allows the company to showcase some of their successful ergonomics programs.

New Web Pages Unveiled on Emergency Preparedness, Small Business
     Employers and workers have access to important information on emergency preparedness in the workplace, and small business assistance, courtesy of OSHA's website. The emergency preparedness page provides links for responders and general worksites on worker safety and health issues related to emergency response efforts. The small business page was redesigned to provide access to the most popular materials for small businesses, such as interactive computer software, and easy-to-follow guides for specific OSHA standards.

Asian American Worker Protection Program Launched in Houston
     OSHA and the Employment Standard Administration's Wage and Hour Division are the Labor Department's representatives on a steering committee for The Information Group for Asian American Rights (TIGAAR) partnership launched in Houston, July 31. The partnership brings government agencies together with community and faith-based organizations to focus efforts on providing compliance assistance to Asian American employers and educating Asian American workers on their rights in the workplace.

OSHA Seeking Comments on Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Benchmarks
     Should OSHA change some of the criteria for applicants and continuing participants to be considered for the VPP Star Program? The agency is asking interested members of the public to comment on whether OSHA should revise some of the VPP benchmarks to take into account fluctuation in BLS injury and illness rates. Comments are due by August 25.

Massachusetts Construction Workers Benefit from OSHA Agreements
     OSHA's offices in the Bay State are making positive strides with various construction organizations for the benefit of the state's workers. The Braintree and Methuen area offices recently signed a local alliance with the Construction Safety Roundtable of Eastern Massachusetts, while the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Building Trades Council inked a partnership agreement with the Springfield, Braintree and Methuen offices to enhance safety and health at construction sites throughout the state.

New Safety and Health Topics, Electronic Tools Available on OSHA's Website
     OSHA recently made available on its website several new or revised information products to aid workers and employers on various safety and health issues. The Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention site provides a roadmap to numerous resources on the topic. Workers involved in all facets of electricity can benefit from valuable information provided by a new page on electrical safety and a new ergonomics eTool for electrical contractors. Two new sites dedicated to teen workers in restaurants include a safety and health topics page as well as a separate eTool. Finally, the machine guarding eTool has been updated to include horizontal injection molding machines. This addition was developed in cooperation with the Society of the Plastics Industry as part of OSHA's Alliance with that association formed last September.

OSHA's Chicago Region Connecting with AGC in Northwest Ohio, Greater Milwaukee
     Construction safety in Ohio and Wisconsin is getting a major boost thanks to the outreach efforts of OSHA's Chicago Region. The Associated General Contractors of Northwest Ohio sponsored a breakfast meeting last month with representatives of OSHA's Toledo area office and safety and health representatives from 15 construction contractors. Discussions focused on reducing construction fatalities and the agency's five-year Strategic Plan. A strategic partnership was signed July 18 between OSHA and the AGC of Greater Milwaukee to focus efforts on improving construction safety throughout metropolitan Milwaukee. A major goal of the partnership is to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities by three percent each year.

Ergonomics Program Reducing Back Injuries at New York Hospital
     Glen Falls Hospital in upstate New York has a "strong commitment to worker safety and health" according to John Tomich, OSHA's Albany, NY Area Director, and part of that commitment relates to ergonomics. Tomich said the hospital introduced a new ergonomics program in January 2002 to reduce employee injuries associated with improper lifting and handling techniques. In a year and a half, patient handling injuries were cut in half while related workers compensation costs decreased by 45 percent. The hospital's ergonomic program incorporates both lifting devices and low-friction transfer sheets in both patient care units and the emergency care center.

Chicagoland Safety and Health Conference Set for August 11-15
     Construction and general industry safety, machine guarding, recordkeeping and effective safety management are among the topics on the slate at the 15th annual Chicagoland Safety and Health Conference scheduled for Aug. 11-15 at the Northern Illinois University's (NIU) campus in Naperville, IL. The conference is sponsored by OSHA, the American Society of Safety Engineers (Northeastern Illinois, Three Rivers, and Greater Chicago Chapters), NIU, American Industrial Hygiene Association (Chicago section), and the Illinois Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program.

Voluntary Protection Program Activity
     The following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Sherwin Williams Company, Waco, TX (New Star); Rubicon Inc., Geismar, LA (New Star); Hunter Douglas-Tupelo, Shannon, MS (New Star); Optical Fiber Solutions (OFS), Norcross, GA (One year Star conditional); NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA (Cont. Star); P&WC Component Repairs, Wichita Falls, TX (New Star); Zachry Construction Corp., @ Alcoa, Rockdale TX (New Star); Ticona Polymers, Inc., Bishop, TX (Cont. Star); Mundy Maintenance & Services, Inc. at Ticona Polymers, Bishop, TX (Cont. Star); Zachry Construction Corp @ Rohm and Haas, Deer Park, TX (New Star); Allegheny Energy Supply Co., Albright Power Station, Albright, WV (New Star); ATOFINA Chemicals Inc., Beaumont, TX (New Merit); Equistar Chemicals, LP PD, Glycol Plant, Beaumont, TX (Cont. Star); Akzo Nobel Polymer Chemicals, LLC, Pasadena, TX (Cont. Star); International Paper, El Paso, TX (Cont. Star); Potlatch Corporation, Ozan Unit, Prescott, AR (Cont. Star); Rohm & Haas Texas, Inc., Deer Park, TX (Cont. Star); Arkansas Eastman, Eastman Chemical Division, Batesville, AR (Cont. Star); General Electric, Dallas Service Center, Dallas, TX (Cont. Star), and Frito Lay, Arlington, TX (Cont. Merit).

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