October 15, 2007 · Volume 6, Issue 20
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 Acts to Protect Employees Exposed to Butter Flavorings
DOL Awards More Than $10 Million in Safety and Health Training Grants
OSHA Issues New General Industry Guidance on Selection and Use of Slings
OSHA Lookback Review Indicates Lead in Construction Standard Still Necessary
Alliance Program Activity
Voluntary Protection Programs Update
“QuickTips” from QuickTakes

OSHA Acts to Protect Employees Exposed to Butter Flavorings
    To address concerns regarding diacetyl exposure in the workplace, OSHA announced it has taken the following three actions:(1) Initiated a rulemaking under section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act;(2) Issued a Safety and Health Information Bulletin; and (3) Provided Hazard Communication Guidance. These actions build upon the National Emphasis Program, announced in April 2007, focusing on health hazards resulting from exposure to microwave popcorn butter flavorings containing diacetyl. A stakeholder meeting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 17, 2007, at the Crowne Plaza Washington National Airport Hotel. The meeting will focus on issues regarding occupational exposure to diacetyl and food flavorings containing diacetyl. If more than 50 people register, a second meeting will be held Oct. 18 at the same location.

DOL Awards More Than $10 Million in Safety and Health Training Grants
    OSHA awarded more than $10.1 million in grants for safety and health training and educational programs to 55 nonprofit organizations. The Susan Harwood Grants support programs to educate employees on safety issues such as construction and general industry hazards, and health topics including pandemic flu. The grants also assist in the development of training materials for small business employers, and employees with limited English proficiency, those who are hard-to-reach, and those in industries with high fatality rates. The training grants are named in honor of the late Susan Harwood, a former director of the Office of Risk Assessment, who helped develop OSHA standards on protection from bloodborne pathogens, cotton dust, benzene, formaldehyde, asbestos, and lead in construction.

OSHA Issues New General Industry Guidance on Selection and Use of Slings
   A new guide on the selection and use of slings when handling and moving materials was recently issued. The document, Guidance on Safe Sling Use, updates the 1975 standard by including information on synthetic round slings, and newer grade materials being used in alloy steel chain and wire rope slings. Improper selection and use of slings can result in sling failure or load slippage which can lead to injuries or death. According to OSHA accident data, there were four fatalities from 1994 to 1996 due to the misuse or failure of slings.

OSHA Lookback Review Indicates Lead in Construction Standard Still Necessary
    The lookback review of OSHA’s Lead in Construction Standard concluded that the standard remains necessary for employers and employees in the construction industry. Certain construction jobs continue to experience high levels of airborne lead. The standard is an essential resource to ensure that employees are protected from lead exposure. Details on the lookback review appear in the Sept. 27 Federal Register.

Alliance Program Activity
    National Office: OSHA formed a new alliance with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) to provide rough terrain forklift or telehandler owners and operators with information and training resources to protect employees in the construction industry. The alliance will focus on hazards related to operating telehandlers such as ground conditions, machine mobility and overloading, and hoisting employees improperly. AEM is comprised of 750 member companies that manufacture equipment, products and services used worldwide in the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining, and utility industries. Construction employers and employees will benefit from a new alliance between OSHA and the National Construction Safety Executives which will focus on falls, electrical, struck-by, and caught in-between hazards. Region VIII: OSHA’s Bismarck, N.D., area office and the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives established an alliance to improve the safety training and education programs offered to electric co-op employees in North Dakota. The alliance provides managers, supervisors, and employees working for electrical co-ops with best practices for eliminating or reducing hazards in the electrical industry.

Voluntary Protection Programs Update
    Visit “recent approvals” on the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) page of OSHA’s Web site to view the latest list of employers approved for new or continued participation in VPP. We encourage you to examine the entire VPP site to learn more about how OSHA’s premier cooperative program can help protect employees and lower workers’ compensation costs.

“QuickTips” from QuickTakes
    For years, scientists have been studying avian influenza viruses that cause disease in humans. The H5N1 virus has been studied most since it has killed millions of poultry overseas and has caused disease in over 300 people that have had close contact with infected birds. Although it has not frequently infected humans, very serious illness and death can occur when people become infected. In the United States, no cases of H5N1 infection have been reported in either birds or humans. Although the H5N1 virus only rarely passes between humans, there are concerns that it might change into a form that is readily transmissible between humans and could then cause the next influenza pandemic. Therefore, in preparation for a possible H5N1 outbreak in the United States, employees should be aware of how they can protect themselves if the occasion should arise. Poultry and laboratory employees, animal and food handlers, and healthcare workers would be among those particularly in danger should an H5N1 outbreak occur. Here are some steps that can be taken by those in the above industries to reduce the risk:
  • Know the symptoms of avian influenza, including fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, diarrhea, eye infections, pneumonia, and severe respiratory diseases;
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, for 15 to 20 seconds, preferably with soap and water;
  • When possible, avoid contact with sick poultry or surfaces soiled with discharges from their mouths or beaks, or with feces; and
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment including gloves, safety goggles, shoe covers, and respiratory protection when handling sick poultry.

  •     OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics Page on Avian Flu is a resource for information on preparing for and protecting against an avian influenza outbreak. The items featured on the page, such as OSHA’s Guidance Update on Protecting Employees from Avian Flu Viruses (English/Spanish) and OSHA’s Avian Flu Fact Sheet (English/Spanish), are references for preventing exposure to hazards associated with H5N1 in the event of an outbreak in the United States. Turn to your next issue of QuickTakes for more "QuickTips" on another safety and health topic.

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