September 15, 2008 · Volume 7, Issue 18
QuickTakes
A twice monthly 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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 Staff and Resources Aid in Hurricane Ike Cleanup and Recovery Efforts
New Director Appointed to Newly Named OSHA Directorate
Forthcoming Training Opportunities at OSHA Training Institute Education Centers
OSHA to Host Forum to Assist Small Businesses in Complying with Regulations
New Emphasis Programs Target Cranes and Hexavalent Chromium
Drug-Free Work Week Observance Slated for October
Larry Shaffer is Winner of VPP's Fourth Annual National SGE of the Year Award
Partnership Exceeds DART Goal Through Increased Safety Training and Effective SHMS
Alliance Program News
Strategic Partnership Program Update
Upcoming Events
"QuickTips" from QuickTakes

OSHA Staff and Resources Aid in Hurricane Ike Cleanup and Recovery Efforts

OSHA has deployed occupational safety and health professionals to Texas and Louisiana to provide technical assistance during ongoing hurricane cleanup and recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast. Employees from OSHA's Dallas region are focusing on the safety and health of employees involved in power restoration, oil and chemical facility startup, tree trimming, and debris removal. Officials will maintain a presence in impacted areas to continually monitor recovery operations. Similar actions were taken by officials in OSHA's Atlanta and Dallas regions in response to Hurricane Gustav. The agency has produced public service announcements (PSAs), read by Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., to help protect employees from hazards such as electrocution and falls from heights. The PSAs are available in both English and Spanish from the Labor Department's audio news releases page and OSHA's hurricane recovery Web page. Employers and employees looking for more information or with specific questions should call the department's toll-free helpline at 866-4-USA-DOL (487-2365).

New Director Appointed to Newly Named OSHA Directorate

Thomas Galassi has been appointed the new director of the newly named Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management (DTSEM), formerly the Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine. Galassi most recently served nine years as the deputy director of OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs. "Tom has been an invaluable member of the OSHA team for the past 22 years and I am confident that we will continue to benefit from his vast experience as we move forward to accomplish the agency's mission," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. DTSEM will include a new Office of Emergency Management to formalize the agency's commitment to emergency preparedness and response and centralize our role in emergency management.

Forthcoming Training Opportunities at OSHA Training Institute Education Centers

OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Center at the University of South Florida will offer the #5400 Maritime Train-the-Trainer course from Oct. 6-9, 2008, in Charleston, S.C., and the #5600 Disaster Train-the-Trainer course from Nov. 10-13, 2008, in Miami, Fla. These programs are designed for individuals who want to become OSHA-authorized 10- and 30-hour maritime course trainers and #7600 Disaster Site Employee course trainers respectively. For more information and registration details, please visit www.usfoticenter.org or email dray@health.usf.edu. This fall, the Eastern Kentucky University OTI Education Center is offering OSHA training opportunities including Outreach Trainer and update courses in Louisville, Ky. Course descriptions and registration details are available at http://www.ceo.eku.edu/osha/doc/Louisville_2008.pdf. For more information, contact Kathy Murphy at 859-622-2961 or kathy.murphy@eku.edu.

OSHA to Host Forum to Assist Small Businesses in Complying with Regulations

OSHA's Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs will host its next quarterly small business forum on Sept. 30, 2008, from 10 a.m. to noon in conference room C-5515 at the Labor Department's headquarters in Washington, D.C. This event is part of "The Business of Small Business Forum Series" providing opportunities for small businesses to share the challenges they face in today's global business climate as they strive to comply with regulatory requirements. Featured panelists include Nicholas N. Owens, national ombudsman, assistant administrator for regulatory enforcement fairness, U.S. Small Business Administration; Elyce A. Biddle, Ph.D., senior economist, Division of Safety Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; and Vincent Santoro, vice president of global manufacturing, Ideal Jacobs Corporation. The panel will discuss fostering stronger relationships between small businesses and the regulatory community. For more information or to register, contact Russell Jones at jones.russell@dol.gov or 202-693-2532, or Charlene Crawford at crawford.charlene@dol.gov or 202-693-2165.

New Emphasis Programs Target Cranes and Hexavalent Chromium

OSHA's Dallas region launched a Regional Emphasis Program (REP) covering employees operating cranes in the construction industry. Safety inspections will occur in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and at New Mexico worksites under federal OSHA jurisdiction. The REP was established as an enforcement initiative for the inspection of cranes, with the goal of preventing serious and fatal injuries to employees working on or around them. OSHA's Kansas City, Mo., region started a Local Emphasis Program in Kansas and Eastern Missouri to help reduce workplace health hazards affiliated with exposure to hexavalent chromium in general industry and construction. Regional and local emphasis programs are intended to address hazards or industries that pose particular risks to employees within an OSHA regional or area office jurisdiction.

Drug-Free Work Week Observance Slated for October

This year, the "Drug-Free Work Week" will occur from Oct. 20-26. The effort is being coordinated by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and members of its Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, a cooperative agreement focused on improving safety and health in the construction industry through drug-free workplace programs. However, employers and employees in all industries may implement Drug-Free Work Week activities. For specific ideas, visit DOL's Working Partners Web site.

Larry Shaffer is Winner of VPP's Fourth Annual National SGE of the Year Award

During the Aug. 25 opening session of the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association (VPPPA) Conference in Anaheim, Calif., Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., presented the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) National Special Government Employee (SGE) of the Year plaque to Larry Shaffer of International Paper. This award recognizes an SGE who epitomizes and exhibits exceptional mentoring, outreach and OSHA support in VPP. Shaffer has been an SGE for the past five years and is a member of the Philadelphia region VPPPA Board of Directors.

Partnership Exceeds DART Goal Through Increased Safety Training and Effective SHMS

Originally signed in 2000 and renewed in 2004, the Kanawha Valley Builders Association OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP) continues to exceed its goal of maintaining a days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer (DART) rate below the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) national average for the construction industry. Prior to the renewal, the OSP had a three-year DART rate average that was 50 percent below the BLS national average. Results from the partnership's most recent annual evaluation show its DART rate 53 percent below the BLS industry average. In the past year, the 21 OSP participants conducted nearly 14,000 hours of safety training for employees and supervisors, including the OSHA 10- and 30-hour general industry and construction courses, first aid, and drug awareness. Almost half of them received recognition from OSHA for implementing effective Safety and Health Management Systems (SHMS).

Alliance Program News

National Office: Promoting the safety and health of employees in the marine cargo handling industry is the focus of an alliance renewed between OSHA and the National Maritime Safety Association. Region I: Enhancing construction safety in Massachusetts is the goal of an alliance formed among OSHA's Braintree, Mass., area office, the Massachusetts Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABCMA), and Gould Construction Institute, the ABCMA's training affiliate. OSHA's New England region formed an alliance with the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association Workers' Compensation Trust and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services' safety consultation program to help minimize job-related hazards and enhance safety and health for employees in New Hampshire's automotive, repair and service industries. Region IV: Reducing work-related injuries and illnesses among young employees is the focus of a new alliance signed among OSHA's Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., area office, the Palm Beach County School Board, and the Gold Coast Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers. Region V: The alliance renewed between OSHA's Des Plaines, Ill., area office and the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association will continue to target reducing and eliminating employee exposure to safety and health hazards in the landscaping industry. Region IX: OSHA's San Francisco region, California OSHA (federal OSHA-approved State Plan state), and the West Coast Chapter of the International Association of Foundation Drilling created an alliance to provide the chapter members with information on drilling and tunneling hazards and the safeguards for eliminating those hazards.

Strategic Partnership Program Update

Region I: Employees constructing the new cancer treatment center at the Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems Brewer Professional Center in Brewer, Maine, stand to benefit from a partnership formed among OSHA's New England region, Barr & Barr Builders Inc., and the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards 21(d) safety consultation project.

Upcoming Events

OSHA periodically lists a schedule of occupational safety- and health-related conferences and meetings, as well as training opportunities, on its Web site. Check often for events near you.

"QuickTips" from QuickTakes

Falls are one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death. Falls are caused by improper scaffold construction, the misuse of portable ladders, unprotected floor holes, and other unaddressed safety hazards. These hazards can be countered through the use of proper protective equipment and procedures. OSHA recommends that employees:

  • Cover or guard fall holes as soon as they are created during new construction.
  • Construct all floor hole covers so they will effectively support two times the weight of employees, equipment, and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time.
  • Use guardrail systems and personal fall arrest systems for scaffolds more than 10 feet above a lower level.

OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page on fall protection is a resource containing information on OSHA's standards for safeguarding employees against falls. Additionally, OSHA's Construction eTool has a section devoted specifically to falls that employers and employees can study to prevent accidents and injuries at their jobsites. Look for more occupational safety- and health-related "QuickTips" in your next issue of QuickTakes.

Editors: Elaine Fraser & Kimberly Tucker, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999