September 1, 2004 · Volume 3, 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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
OSHA Administrator Announces New Initiative at VPPPA Conference
Safety Information Available for Hurricane Cleanup and Recovery Workers
Partnership Unites OSHA, Electrical Contractors, Labor, Industry Associations
New Safety and Health Bulletins Focus on Elevator Wiring, Hydraulic Excavators
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Symposium Coming to New Orleans Sept. 14
Whistleblower Provisions under Sarbanes-Oxley Act Published
Fact Sheet on Medical Catheters Provides Valuable Information
New Alliances Focus on Sheet Metal/Air Conditioning Contractors, Construction Workers
OSHA Strategic Partnership Program News
Seattle Region Maximizes Partnerships/Alliances to Develop Training for Young Workers
Voluntary Protection Programs Activity


OSHA Administrator Announces New Initiative at VPPPA Conference
     VPP for Construction (VPPC), the last of three new Voluntary Protection Programs initiatives raised by OSHA two years ago, was announced by OSHA Administrator John Henshaw, Aug. 30 in Las Vegas during his keynote address at the 20th meeting of the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association (VPPPA) conference. VPPC joins VPP Corporate Pilot and OSHA Challenge Pilot as the newest member of OSHA's premier cooperative program. The agency is seeking public comment on the proposal, published in the Aug. 31 Federal Register. VPPC creates two categories of participation; one for long-term, site-based construction projects, and the other for companies, divisions, and other business units that employ mobile workforces.

Safety Information Available for Hurricane Cleanup and Recovery Workers
    More than 30 safety and health experts from OSHA are on the ground in Florida providing technical assistance to thousands of workers involved in cleanup and recovery operations in the wake of Hurricane Charley. OSHA Administrator John Henshaw said OSHA's presence is making a difference by providing important information on a myriad of safety issues, including electrical work, fall protection, and the safe operation of chain saws. Henshaw recorded public service announcements on specific hazards workers are routinely exposed to. Hurricane season is in full swing (at press time, "Frances" was headed toward the east coast of the United States). The agency has developed a special page on its website to provide information and resources to ensure workers safety during these operations.

Partnership Unites OSHA, Electrical Contractors, Labor, Industry Associations
   "Mutual respect and trust" is how OSHA Administrator John Henshaw described the foundation upon which a major strategic partnership was formed Aug. 20 when representatives of five electrical contractors, two trade associations, and a labor union joined him in signing an agreement that will benefit thousands of workers in the electrical transmission and distribution industry. The partnership defines five goals to help reduce fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the industry: identifying target areas; implementing best practices; training development; outreach and communication; and evaluation.

New Safety and Health Bulletins Focus on Elevator Wiring, Hydraulic Excavators
   OSHA published two new Safety and Health Bulletins last month to highlight specific workplace hazards. Hazards of Improper Elevator Controller Wiring outlines recommendations regarding proper maintenance and wiring procedures, and identifies potential hazards associated with elevators. OSHA's Houston South Area Office investigated a worker fatality caused by the improper wiring of an elevator controller panel that allowed the elevator to move with the doors in an open position. The risk of injury or death from hydraulic excavators with quick coupling devices is the reasoning behind the bulletin Hazards of Unintended Release of Buckets from Quick Couplers on Hydraulic Excavators. Since 1998, 15 incidents of the release of buckets have resulted in the deaths of eight workers. The bulletin alerts workers and employers about this hazard, describes a recent accident investigated by OSHA's Madison, WI Area Office, and offers detailed actions and safety measures to prevent such accidents.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Symposium Coming to New Orleans Sept. 14
    The deadline for registering for the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Symposium is fast approaching. OSHA, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is sponsoring the symposium scheduled for Sept. 14, during the National Safety Council Congress & Expo in New Orleans. The symposium was developed to help "drive" the message to the federal workforce that seat belt usage while traveling on business is smart and potentially life-saving. The symposium is free; however, registration not later than Sept. 10 is required.

Whistleblower Provisions under Sarbanes-Oxley Act Published
    Last month, OSHA published the final rule establishing procedures for the handling of whistleblower complaints under the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, commonly referred to as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The rule, published in the Aug. 24 Federal Register, establishes procedures for the expeditious handling of discrimination complaints made by employees or by persons acting on their behalf. The rule outlines procedures for submitting complaints under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, investigations, and issuance of findings and preliminary orders.

Fact Sheet on Medical Catheters Provides Valuable Information
   Healthcare workers who use medical catheters, including vascular access devices and chest tubes, face a serious risk of hazards associated with needlesticks. To help eliminate or minimize those hazards, OSHA recently revised its fact sheet, Securing Medical Catheters. Information includes a general discussion of the hazards posed to healthcare workers, options to safely secure catheters, and highlights of the agency's requirements pertaining to medical catheters under the bloodborne pathogens standard. The medical catheters fact sheet is one of six related to bloodborne pathogens that's accessible from OSHA's bloodborne pathogens website.

New Alliances Focus on Sheet Metal/Air Conditioning Contractors, Construction Workers
   OSHA signed a national Alliance Aug. 16 with the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) to focus on fall protection, motor vehicle safety, and personal protective equipment issues within the industry. OSHA's El Paso, TX Area Office formed an Alliance Aug. 13 with El Paso-based 21st Century Resources, Inc. to promote construction safety. The organization is an employee leasing company representing more than 130 area construction companies that primarily employ Hispanic workers.

OSHA Strategic Partnership Program News
    OSHA's New York Region recently signed a site-safety and health construction partnership to promote worker safety at a 24-story residential high-rise building at Battery Park City in Manhattan. Joining the region was Turner Construction Company, the Building and Construction Trades Council, the Building Trades Employer Association and the New York State On-Site Consultation Program. Johnston Contractors, Inc., and the Illinois Department of Commercial and Economic Opportunity are partnering with OSHA's Peoria, IL Area Office during construction of a 160,000 square foot multi-use community center in Bloomington, IL. OSHA's Baton Rouge, LA Area Office signed a partnership Aug. 26 with James Construction Group LLC and the Louisiana Department of Labor to protect construction workers during the two-year I-10/Picardy Interchange Project. Ensuring the safety of workers erecting a new 1,400-foot telecommunications tower in Omaha, NE, is the driving force of an agreement signed Aug. 24 between OSHA's Omaha Area Office and KETV (Hearst-Argyle Properties, Inc.), Richland Tower Services, LLC, and Radian Communications Services Corporation. Finally, OSHA's Denver Area Office is joining with the M.A. Mortenson Company and Civil Technology to promote job safety and health in the construction of the Denver Stapleton Redevelopment site. The project, expected to take up to 15 years to complete, consists of about 4,700 acres being developed into a network of urban villages, employment centers and open space. OSHA's Strategic Partnership Program enables OSHA and its partners to work cooperatively to address critical safety and health issues.

Seattle Region Maximizes Partnerships/Alliances to Develop Training for Young Workers
    Thanks to the efforts of OSHA's Boise, ID Area Office, many students and instructors in Idaho's Vocational Education Program will have the opportunity to receive OSHA construction and general industry safety and health training next month. OSHA's Seattle Region, in concert with the Idaho Associated General Contractors (Idaho AGC), the Washington Group International and American Society of Safety Engineers (both OSHA Alliance participants), and Idaho's Department of Professional Technical Education, has scheduled OSHA's 10-hour course for safety and health for Oct. 7-8 at the MK Plaza Auditorium in Boise. The agenda includes such topics as fall protection, hand and power tools, excavation and trenching, personal protective equipment, electrical, hazard communication, material handling, and much more. The course is free; however, pre-registration is required. For details, contact Lisa Losness, Idaho AGC Safety Program Manager at (208) 344-2531 or lisal@agcidaho.org.

Voluntary Protection Programs Activity
   The following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Region I: Dominion Millston Power Station, Waterford, CT (New Star) Region II: General Electric, Contractual Svcs, Bayonne Cogen Plant, Bayonne, NJ (New Star); Wyeth Research/Drug Safety Facility, Chazy, NY (New Star) Region III: Allegheny Energy Supply LM 6000, Maidsville, WV, (New Star); FiberMark, Reading, PA (New Merit) Region IV: Georgia Pacific, Fayette Chip-n-Saw, Belk, AL (New Star); Georgia Pacific, Bay Springs Chip-n-Saw, Bay Springs, MS (New Star); Montenay Power Corporation, Miami, FL (New Star); Jones Lang LaSelle Americas, Inc., Plantation, FL (New Merit); Shaw Maintenance, Inc., Pace, FL (New Star) Instrument Transformers, Inc., Clearwater, FL (New Star) Region V: Pro-Tech Co., Leipsic, OH (New Star); Jacobsen, Johnson Creek, WI (New Star) Region VI: International Paper, Leola, AR (Cont. Star); Entergy Operations Riverlake East Service Center, Jefferson, LA (New Star); Entergy Transmission & Substations, West Monroe, LA (New Star); Entergy Operations New Orleans East, New Orleans, LA (New Star); Entergy Arkansas Nuclear One, Russellville, AR (Cont. Star); Temple Inland Southwest Louisiana Lumber Operations (New Star); Dell Inc., Round Rock Building Eight, Round Rock, TX (New Star); Payne & Keller, Inc., Geismar, LA (New Star); DSM Nutritional Products, Inc., Freeport, TX (New Star); Chevron Phillips, Kingwood Tech Center, Kingwood, TX (New Star); Georgia Pacific, Fordyce Plywood, Fordyce, AR (New Star); Entergy Gulf States, Inc., Louisiana Station, Baton Rouge, LA (New Star); L&M Technologies, Inc., NASA White Sands Testing Facility, Las Cruces, NM (New Star); Huntsman, Conroe Plant, Conroe, TX (Cont. Star); Int'l Paper, Russellville, AR (Cont. Star); Dell, Inc., Round Rock Building Seven, Round Rock, TX (New Star); Crompton Corp., Geismar Facility, Geismar, LA (Cont. Star); Kelsey Seybold @ NASA-JSC, Houston, TX (New Star); Comprehensive Health Services @ Kelsey Seybold@ NASA-JSC, Houston, TX (New Star); Pactiv Advanced Packaging Solutions, Arlington, TX (New Star); Washington Group Int'l, NASA White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces, NM (New Star); Frito-Lay, Lubbock, TX (New Star); Wyle Labs, Life Sciences, Systems, & Services, Houston, TX (New Star) Region VII: Kiewit Construction, Omaha Performing Arts Center, Omaha, NE (New Star), and Region VIII: Yellowstone National Park, WY (New Merit).

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