September 1, 2006 · Volume 5, 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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 Revises Respiratory Protection Standards
OSHA Certifies New York State Plan for Public Employees
OSHA Schedules MACOSH Meeting
Flexography Module Added to Printing Industry Ergonomics eTool
Quick Action and Safety Harnesses Avert Falls
Spanish-language Version of Worker Safety and Health Training Set for Chicago
Safe Patient Handling Conference a Success
General Electric Company Joins OSHA's VPP 'Corporate Pilot' Family
OSHA Alliance Update
Regional Strategic Partnership Activity
Latest SHARP Certifications
'QuickTips' from QuickTakes

OSHA Revises Respiratory Protection Standards
    New Assigned Protection Factors (APFs) for respiratory protection programs are being incorporated in OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard. APFs are numbers that indicate the level of workplace respiratory protection that a respirator, or class of respirators, is expected to provide to employees when used as part of an effective respiratory protection program. The standard will now contain provisions necessary for a comprehensive respiratory protection program, including selection and use of respirators, training, medical evaluation, and fit testing. Details are in the Aug. 24 Federal Register.

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OSHA Certifies New York State Plan for Public Employees
    OSHA encourages states to develop and operate their own safety and health programs. Last month, OSHA approved and certified the state of New York's occupational safety and health plan for its public employees as "at least as effective" as the federal program. While most state plans cover both private sector and public sector employees, New York is one of four jurisdictions that cover only public sector employees; the others are Connecticut, New Jersey and the Virgin Islands. An Aug. 16 Federal Register notice has more details on New York's certification.

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OSHA Schedules MACOSH Meeting
   The Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C., is the site for the two-day meeting of the Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH), beginning Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. The meeting is the first since the committee's re-establishment last month that saw the addition of nine new members. MACOSH focuses on occupational safety and health issues for maritime employees involved in shipbuilding, ship breaking, ship repair, and longshoring. Details on the meeting are published in the Aug. 30 Federal Register.

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Flexography Module Added to Printing Industry Ergonomics eTool
    Employers and employees in the printing industry will benefit from the launch of a new Flexography Module as part of OSHA's interactive Web-based Ergonomics in the Printing Industry eTool. The module and eTool are products of the agency's alliance with the Graphic Arts Coalition. The module identifies potential ergonomic hazards and possible solutions to reduce injuries from flexography printing.

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Quick Action and Safety Harnesses Avert Falls
   On Aug. 22, Compliance Safety and Health Officer Anthony Nozzi of OSHA's North Aurora, Ill., Area Office, while driving by a Chicago-area residential construction site, observed employees working at approximately 30 feet above grade performing roofing work. He stopped at the worksite and saw an employee trip on a slide guard and nearly fall off the roof-the employee caught himself on the side of a chimney. Nozzi initiated an inspection and asked the employer to cease work until employees were provided adequate fall protection.
    In an unrelated incident the next day, two Primasteelisa Company employees were 10 stories up inspecting the fašade of a building in downtown Chicago when the motor to the scaffold they were working from stalled and caused it to tilt. The safety harnesses they wore kept them from falling. Within 30 minutes, the motor started working again, and the employees lowered themselves safely to the ground.
    OSHA's Fall Protection Tips QuickCard (English/Spanish) can be downloaded from the agency's Web site on the QuickCards page, or obtained by calling the publications office at (202) 693-1888.

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Spanish-language Version of Worker Safety and Health Training Set for Chicago
    OSHA is joining forces with the Illinois On-Site Consultation Program, Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Truman College to offer the Spanish-language version of the agency's 10-hour general industry safety and health course. The two-day course will be offered September 29-30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Chicago's West Side Technical Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave. Information on the training is available through Truman College at (773) 907-3994 (bilingual). Space is limited.

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Safe Patient Handling Conference a Success
    OSHA's Chicago Region was a proud co-sponsor of the Creating a Safer Environment-A Value Added Program for Resident Care Conference, recently hosted by the Wisconsin Committee for Safe Resident/Patient Handling in Mosinee, Wis. The event was well received by some 170 participants from professional associations, insurance carriers, and hospice, hospital and nursing home establishments. Special guests included Dr. Audrey Nelson and Guy Fragala from the Patient Safety Center in Tampa, Fla., and Karen Clapp, a Wisconsin employer who demonstrated cost-savings through safe work practices at her 16 nursing facilities, especially the use of mechanical lifting devices.

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General Electric Company Joins OSHA's VPP 'Corporate Pilot' Family
    The General Electric Company was recently recognized by OSHA as a Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) "Corporate Pilot" program. The VPP Corporate Pilot program streamlines the application and onsite evaluation processes for corporations that have made a commitment to VPP. GE's PowerSuite business system featuring modules on tracking hazards and employee training, and viewing thousands of material safety data sheets online is a particular area of excellence. The company joins Georgia-Pacific, International Paper, U.S. Postal Service, Dow Chemical Company, and the Washington Group International to be formally admitted into the program.

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OSHA Alliance Update
   National Office: OSHA and the Mason Contractors Association of America renewed an alliance to encourage employers, including small businesses, to increase employee access to safety and health information and training resources, particularly in reducing and preventing exposure to hazards associated with masonry wall bracing, scaffolding, silica and forklift operations. The alliance renewal was signed Aug. 21. Region I: OSHA's New England Region signed a new alliance with Ledgewood Builders LLC to foster safe and healthful working conditions for employees building the Highland Green residential project in Topsham, Maine. Region IV: OSHA's Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Area Office formed a new alliance with the Construction Association of South Florida to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities in South Florida's construction industry. An alliance was signed between OSHA's Birmingham, Ala., Area Office and the Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama to promote safer construction work.

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Regional Strategic Partnership Activity
   OSHA's Jacksonville, Fla., Area Office will continue a strategic partnership with JEA and the University of South Florida that has significantly reduced injuries among JEA contractors' construction employees.

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Latest SHARP Certifications
   Visit OSHA's "Who's Newly SHARP" Web page featuring the latest list of companies recently certified as Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) sites. The SHARP program recognizes small employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system.

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'QuickTips' from QuickTakes
    Emergencies can be the result of man-made or natural causes, and include hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, explosions, civil disturbances, fires, toxic gas releases, chemical spills, radiological accidents, workplace violence, and unfortunately, terrorism. All too often, people are forced to evacuate their workplace without warning and when they least expect it. Few people can think clearly and logically in a crisis, and that is why it is so important to prepare for an emergency before it happens. The best way to protect yourself, those you work with, or your business, is to expect the unexpected and develop an emergency action plan to guide you when immediate action is necessary. While OSHA does not require all establishments to have an emergency action plan, the agency certainly encourages all businesses to have one. At a minimum, an emergency action plan should include:
  • A preferred method for reporting fires and other emergencies.
  • An evacuation policy and procedure.
  • Emergency escape procedures and route assignments, such as floor plans, workplace maps, and safe or refuge areas.
  • Names and contact information for individuals both within and outside your company for additional information or explanation of responsibilities under the emergency plan.
  • Procedures for employees who perform or shut down critical plant operations or perform essential services that cannot be shut down before evacuating.
  • Rescue and medical duties for any employees designated to perform them.

  •     OSHA has more resource information in its Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool to help employers prevent severe employee injuries during emergencies.
        September is National Preparedness Month designed to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action. Visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's "Ready" Web site to learn more about how you and your family can get involved.
        Look for more safety and health 'QuickTips' in the next issue.

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    Editor: Elaine Fraser, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999