September 1, 2003 • Volume 2, Issue 17
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
Major Addresses on Tap for OSHA Administrator
Trinational Occupational Safety and Health Working Group Meets in Mexico City
Federal Safety and Health Council Conference Scheduled for Chicago
Safety and Health Bulletin Issued on One Phase of Oil Refinery Operations
Boston Region Forms Alliance with Liberty Mutual Research Institute
OSHA Adds Important Subjects to Safety and Health Topics Web Page
Revised Whistleblower Investigations Manual Published
Safety and Health Seminars Offered in New York
Electronic Assistance Tool Available on Computer Workstations
All About OSHA Publication Revised and Available Online
Voluntary Protection Program Activity


Major Addresses on Tap for OSHA Administrator
     Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, John Henshaw, will be making two major addresses this month on OSHA's progress on several fronts. The Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association (VPPPA) national conference in Washington, D.C., Sept. 8, will provide the forum for Henshaw to lay out specific plans to expand VPP. The next day, Henshaw travels to Chicago where he will deliver a keynote address at the National Safety Council's Congress and Exposition. He plans to discuss the agency's accomplishments during the current fiscal year as it enters into the homestretch. Stay tuned to OSHA's website for details.

Trinational Occupational Safety and Health Working Group Meets in Mexico City
     The leaders of the Trinational Occupational Safety and Health Working Group met in Mexico City, Aug. 26, to review and discuss results achieved by individual working groups over the past year. The group is headed by the top occupational safety and health official in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Mexico City meeting included discussion on rights of migrant workers in the U.S., a workshop on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), and a seminar to share each country's best practices in the construction industry.

Federal Safety and Health Council Conference Scheduled for Chicago
     The 58th annual Federal Safety and Health Council (FSHC) training conference will be held in Chicago, Sept. 9-12. Open to federal agencies, this year's conference will include training for federal agency collateral duty (part-time) safety and health personnel, best practices for federal employees on organizing and maintaining a FSHC, and recordkeeping requirements for federal agencies.

Safety and Health Bulletin Issued on One Phase of Oil Refinery Operations
     OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency recently compiled information to increase awareness of hazards associated with Delayed Coker Unit (DCU) operations during crude oil refinery processes. The result of that compilation is a new Safety and Health Information Bulletin that targets the most significant hazards involving the coke drums-large cylindrical metal vessels that can measure 120 feet tall and 29 feet in diameter. The bulletin includes preventive actions to minimize risks, and also discusses effective emergency response programs and procedures.

Boston Region Forms Alliance with Liberty Mutual Research Institute
     A strategic alliance focusing on the principal causes of work-related injuries was formed between OSHA's Boston Region and the Boston-based Liberty Mutual Research Institute, Aug. 19. OSHA Administrator John Henshaw said that Liberty Mutual's long expertise in tracking and developing solutions to work-related injuries will be of great value to OSHA's mission of reducing injuries and illnesses in the workplace.

OSHA Adds Important Subjects to Safety and Health Topics Web Page
     The latest additions to OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Page include information on a toxic metal, and discussions on the safe operation of forklifts. Occupational exposure to mercury often occurs during mining production, including the refining of gold and silver ores. Commonly found in thermometers, batteries, etc., mercury is also used for dentistry, lubricating oils, and other uses. The page includes overall discussion on the properties and health effects of mercury and provides links to additional resources for more information. Injuries associated with the operation of powered industrial trucks (forklift-related injuries) are often attributed to a lack of safe operating procedures and safety-rule enforcement, plus insufficient training. This page provides information on specific OSHA requirements on the operation of the trucks, as well as details on loading and unloading, working with hazardous materials, and vehicle maintenance.

Revised Whistleblower Investigations Manual Published
     A revised compliance directive for OSHA's whistleblower protection program was published Aug. 22. OSHA is responsible for investigating employee complaints of employer discrimination against workers involved in safety and health activities under 14 federal statutes. The revised directive includes new chapters on complaint investigations under the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, and the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002.

Safety and Health Seminars Offered in New York
     Working safely with electricity and portable hand tools is the goal of seminars being offered by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office this month. The training, co-sponsored by area organizations and colleges, will be held at six locations throughout upstate New York beginning at Orchard Park and Lockport on Sept. 4, followed by Jamestown and Olean on Sept. 11, and Batavia and Rochester on Sept. 18. Contact the Buffalo office at (716) 684-3891 for more information.

Electronic Assistance Tool Available on Computer Workstations
     OSHA has created a web-based assistance tool to provide simple and inexpensive principles to create safe and comfortable computer workstations. The eTool provides basic design goals to consider when setting up computer workstations or performing computer-related tasks and includes photographs and images for detailed illustrations. OSHA's eTools are interactive, Web-based products that provide guidance information for developing comprehensive safety and health programs. They also include recommendations for good industry practice that often go beyond specific OSHA mandates.

All About OSHA Publication Revised and Available Online
     An overview of basic topics related to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is what's offered in the updated publication, All About OSHA, available online. The publication includes discussion of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, information on state programs, and details on standards and guidance. Also highlighted in the publication are the agency's enforcement programs, plus outreach, education and compliance assistance, and partnerships and other cooperative programs including Alliances and the Voluntary Protection Program.

Voluntary Protection Program Activity
     The following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP): Torcon, Inc. at Roche Molecular Systems, PCR Manufacturing Facility, Branchburg, NJ (New Star); General Electric, Buffalo Service Center, Tonawanda, NY (Cont. Merit); Kraft Pizza Company, Medford, WI (New Star); FLEXcon Company, Inc., Columbus, NE (New Star); Weyerhaeuser, St. Joseph, MO (Merit to Star); Kraft Foods, Kirksville, Kirksville, MO (Cont. Star); LPR Construction Co., Loveland, CO (Cont. Star Demo); Akzo Nobel Polymers Chemicals, LLC, Edison, NJ (Return to Star); Allegheny Energy Supply, Willow Island Power Station, Willow Island, WV (New Star); Allegheny Energy Supply, Pleasants Power Station, Willow Island, WV (New Star); Texas Genco, Cedar Bayou Plant, Baytown, TX (New Star); Austin Commercial, LP, Southwestern Medical Center Project, Dallas, TX (New Star); Drilling Specialties Co., LLC, Conroe, TX (New Merit): DOI's Bureau of Reclamation, Elephant Butte Field Division, Truth or Consequences, NM (Merit to Star); Monsanto Co., Stuttgart Soybean Site, Stuttgart, AR (New Star); Entergy Corp., Nelson Plant, Westlake, LA (New Star); Superior Industries Int'l Inc., Fayetteville Plant, Fayetteville, AR (New Star).

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