October 15, 2004 · Volume 3, Issue 20
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
Labor Department Alliance with Labor Unions Highlights Drug-Free Workplaces
Safety and Health Bulletin on Logger Boots Alerts Workers to Potential Hazards
New OSHA Webpage Focuses on Workplace Substance Abuse
FACOSH Schedules November Meeting in Washington
OSHA/NIOSH Group Reports Productive October Meeting
American Biological Safety Association Renews Alliance with OSHA
OSHA’s Chicago Region Participating in Ergonomic Seminars for Long Term Care Facilities
Alliances Launched in Boston, Chicago Regions
Construction Partnership in New Jersey, Renewed VPP “Star” Site in Alaska
Voluntary Protection Programs Activity


Labor Department Alliance with Labor Unions Highlights Drug-Free Workplaces
     Calling it a “ground-breaking agreement to protect workers’ health and safety,” U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao signed an Alliance October 12 with leaders of four international labor unions to focus on encouraging alcohol- and drug-free workplaces and mines. “We are pledging to work together to reduce the serious hazards posed by substance abuse at work,” said Chao as she welcomed the participants, which included the International Union of Operating Engineers; the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers; and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. They will work with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and the Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace Program, to provide information, guidance and training resources that will communicate the benefits of drug-free workplace programs.

Safety and Health Bulletin on Logger Boots Alerts Workers to Potential Hazards
    Preventing fatal accidents associated with mislabeled steel toe logger boots is the purpose behind OSHA’s latest Safety and Health Information Bulletin published September 30. Georgia Boot, a manufacturer of steel toe safety boots, recently discovered that three models of its logger boots may have been mislabeled by incorrectly indicating that they were resistant to electrical current. That mislabeling may result in an increased risk to workers of electric shock or electrocution. The Franklin, TN-based company, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, voluntarily recalled approximately 10,000 pairs of the boots. OSHA’s bulletin describes the issue in detail, and reminds workers of the agency’s requirements for electrical protective equipment.

New OSHA Webpage Focuses on Workplace Substance Abuse
   OSHA unveiled a new Safety and Health Topics webpage this month, providing important information on programs and approaches to help foster drug-free workplaces. The Workplace Substance Abuse page provides recommendations for small businesses to effectively address substance abuse in the workplace and suggests ways to develop drug-free workplace programs. Links to further information are provided on federal and state laws, state and community resources, training and education materials for supervisors, and resources for more information on addiction, treatment and recovery.

FACOSH Schedules November Meeting in Washington
   The Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH) will meet Nov. 8, 2004, in Washington. The 16-person council advises OSHA on issues concerning the safety and health of federal employees. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 1:30 p.m. in Room N-3437 at the Labor Department Building, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. Agenda items include the federal recordkeeping change, Federal Agency Training Week, seatbelt safety, and more. Details on the meeting are in the October 13 Federal Register.

OSHA/NIOSH Group Reports Productive October Meeting
    The Issues Exchange Group (IEG) of OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) wrapped up their fourth meeting on October 12 in Washington. Co-chaired by OSHA Administrator John Henshaw and NIOSH Director John Howard, the internal group was established last fall following a recommendation by the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH). The IEG consists of six subgroups that focus on specific occupational safety and health topics including: strategic and emerging issues; standards and guidance; technology, science and medicine; data quality, evaluation and analysis; training and education; and marketing and communication.

American Biological Safety Association Renews Alliance with OSHA
    OSHA Administrator John Henshaw signed a two-year renewal October 13 of the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) Alliance that will continue focusing on the control and mitigation of biological hazards in the workplace. Originally signed on Sept. 23, 2002, the ABSA Alliance identifies emerging biological safety issues and potential methods to address those issues. ABSA members continue to participate on biological hazard-related editorial boards for various OSHA Safety and Health Topics web pages and electronic assistance tools including: bloodborne pathogens; hazardous waste operations; emergency response; indoor air quality; and Legionnaires' Disease.

OSHA’s Chicago Region Participating in Ergonomic Seminars for Long Term Care Facilities
   Cooperative efforts between OSHA’s Chicago Region and the Illinois Health Care Association, the Illinois Council on Long Term Care, and the Illinois Department of Health, are targeting ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses throughout the Prairie State. One such effort is the region’s participation in two upcoming seminars that address ergonomic hazards and control methods and will further highlight success stories in the nursing home industry. Titled “Strategies for Safety and Success in Long Term Care,” the seminars are scheduled for October 19 at Richland Community College in Decatur and November 3 at the College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn.

Alliances Launched in Boston, Chicago Regions
   OSHA’s Alliance participants grew by four this month, thanks to two new regional agreements signed in Boston and Chicago. OSHA’s Massachusetts Area Offices Area Offices (Braintree, Methuen and Springfield) joined together on October 8 with the Massachusetts Nurses Association and the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety Consultation Program to focus on workplace safety and health efforts for nurses and other healthcare workers throughout the state. OSHA’s Des Plaines, IL Area Office formed an Alliance October 5 with the Chicago Medical Society and the Chicago Dental Society to reduce and eliminate worker exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

Construction Partnership in New Jersey, Renewed VPP “Star” Site in Alaska
    Improving safety and health for workers in New Jersey’s construction industry is the focus of a new partnership signed October 4 between the Associated General Contractors of New Jersey (AGCNJ) and all of OSHA’s New Jersey Area Offices (Parsippany, Avenel, Hasbrouck Heights and Marlton). The partnership’s overall goal is to develop a statewide industry partnership among the construction industry, labor and government throughout New Jersey. BP Exploration Alaska, Endicott Field (Prudhoe Bay, AK), will continue to fly the VPP “Star” Flag after being recognized in an October 7 ceremony for its excellence in safety and health management. The company, which employs about 120 workers producing crude petroleum, was initially approved as a VPP “Star” site in December 2000.

Voluntary Protection Programs Activity
    The following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Region IV: Georgia Pacific, Louisville Particle Board Plant, Louisville, MS (New Star); Milliken & Co., Live Oak Complex, LaGrange, GA (New Star); Boeing Payload Svcs., John F. Kennedy Space Center, FL (New Star); PQ Corporation, Augusta, GA (New Star); General Electric, Norcross Tool Center, Duluth, GA (New Star) Region V: Diamond Innovations, Inc., Worthington, OH (Cont. Star) Region VI: Boise Cascade Corp., Oakdale Plywood Plant, Oakdale, LA (New Star); Jacobs Maintenance at Huntsman/Rubicon, Geismar, LA (New Star); Entergy Louisiana Inc., Chalmette Svc. Ctr. (New Star); JE Merit Constructors at ExxonMobil Chemical, Baton Rouge Plastics Plant, Baton Rouge, LA (New Star); John Zink Company, Tulsa, OK (New Star); Superior Industries International, Inc., Fayetteville Plating Plant, Fayetteville, AR (New Star) Region VII: Energizer Battery Manufacturing, Inc., Maryville, MO (New Star); Chief Industries, Custom Products Division, Grand Island, NE (New Star); Cargill North American Sweetners, Blair, NE (Cont. Star); Colonial Springs Healthcare Facility, Buffalo, MS (Cont. Star) Region VIII: Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO (New Merit), and Region IX: Gustafon, LLP, Marsing, ID (Merit to Star).

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