November 1, 2006 · Volume 5, Issue 21
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
BLS Reports Workplace Injury and Illness Overall Rate Lowest on Record
OSHA Settles Challenge to Hexavalent Chromium Standard
OSHA Updates Fire Protection Standards for Shipyards
Screen Printing Module Added to Printing Industry Ergonomics eTool
New OSHA QuickCard Focuses on Scaffolding
Registration Open for Spanish-language Construction Safety and Health Course
Most Frequently Downloaded Publications
OSHA to Showcase Exhibit at National Conferences
Strategic Partnership Update
Alliance News
Latest VPP Activity
New SHARP Certifications
Upcoming Events
'QuickTips' from QuickTakes

BLS Reports Workplace Injury and Illness Overall Rate Lowest on Record
    The rate of workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry declined in 2005 for the third consecutive year, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. Approximately 4.2 million injuries and illnesses occurred in 2005. The number translates to a rate of 4.6 cases per 100 full-time employees, slightly less than the 4.8 rate reported last year. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said that "the announcement of workplace injuries and illnesses in 2005 were at an all-time low is more good news for America's workers and reflects the department's effective worker health and safety strategy: (1) compliance assistance; (2) health and safety partnerships with labor; and (3) targeted, aggressive enforcement against bad actors."

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OSHA Settles Challenge to Hexavalent Chromium Standard
    OSHA amended its final rule on hexavalent chromium in the Oct. 30 Federal Register as part of a settlement agreement with the Surface Finishing Industry Council (SFIC), Public Citizen Health Research Group, and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union. The agreement resolves SFIC's legal challenge to the standard, and creates an optional, alternative compliance timetable for metal- and surface-finishing operations at eligible facilities. To learn more about how employers can make their eligible facilities parties to the agreement, visit the Hexavalent Chromium Settlement page on OSHA's Web site.

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OSHA Updates Fire Protection Standards for Shipyards
    OSHA issued a direct final rule that adds updated National Fire Protection Association standards to OSHA's shipyard fire protection standard and requires employers to use the more recent versions. The updated standards include newer technologies for fire protection equipment so employees may receive greater protection from shipyard hazards. Details appear in the Oct. 17 Federal Register.

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Screen Printing Module Added to Printing Industry Ergonomics eTool
   Employers and employees in the printing industry will benefit from the launch of a new Screen Printing 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 screen printing.

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New OSHA QuickCard Focuses on Scaffolding
    Employers and employees who use scaffolding in the workplace will benefit from a new OSHA resource. Supported Scaffold QuickCard features illustrations to accompany tips on inspecting scaffolds and scaffold parts. The card can be downloaded from OSHA's Web site on the QuickCards page, or can be ordered by calling OSHA's publications office at (202) 693-1888.

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Registration Open for Spanish-language Construction Safety and Health Course
    Spaces are still available for the Spanish-language version of OSHA's 10-hour construction safety and health course being offered by the OSHA Atlantic Region Training Center and the New York/New Jersey Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center (Universities Occupational Safety and Health ERC). The two-day course will be offered Dec. 7-8 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Hunter College, room 102 East, 425 East 25th St., New York, N.Y. 10010 (between 1st Ave. and FDR Dr.). Registration fee is $25. Students must register in advance by calling Gina DeLeone at (732) 235-9453, or online at http://ophp.umdnj.edu.

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Most Frequently Downloaded Publications
    OSHA offers a wide range of materials both electronically and in print for use by employers, safety and health managers, and employees at all levels of an organization. The most frequently downloaded publications from OSHA's Web site in fiscal year 2006 were: Job Safety & Health Protection Poster; Job Hazard Analysis Guide; Personal Protective Equipment Guide; Motor Vehicle Guidelines for Employers; Heat Stress QuickCard; and Workplace Violence Guide.

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OSHA to Showcase Exhibit at National Conferences
   OSHA will host an exhibit featuring compliance assistance and informative materials for conference attendees at the National Safety Council's Congress and Expo in San Diego this month. The Congress and Expo will run from Nov. 3-10; OSHA's exhibit will be featured during the Expo from Nov. 6-8. The agency will also showcase its exhibit at the Brownsfields Conference and Expo, Nov. 13-15 in Boston.

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Strategic Partnership Update
   Ensuring the safety and health of construction employees is the goal of a strategic partnership recently signed between OSHA's New York Region and Cliff Creek Builders Inc. OSHA's Kansas City, Mo., Region formed a partnership with the Kansas City Masonry Contractors Association and Missouri Consultation Program to promote safe and healthful working conditions within the masonry industry.

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Alliance News
   National Office: The sharing of information about cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillators programs highlights OSHA's successful alliance with the American Heart Association, and resulted in a two-year renewal of the agreement. Region II: OSHA's New York Region renewed an alliance with the Professional College of Engineers and Land Surveyors of Puerto Rico to continue reducing and preventing workplace hazards for construction employees. The region also renewed an alliance with the Society of Professionals for the Prevention of Accidents to continue enhancing safety and health for employees in Puerto Rico. Region V: Enhancing the safety of employees involved in trenching and excavation operations is the focus of an alliance forged between OSHA's Columbus, Ohio, Area Office and the Greater Columbus Damage Prevention Council. Region VII: Protecting employees from exposure to hazards in the grain handling industry is the goal of an alliance renewed between OSHA's Kansas City, Mo., Region and the Nebraska Grain and Feed Association. The region also renewed an alliance with the Safety Council of the Ozarks to improve health and safety in the workplace through training and education. An alliance was formed between the region and the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers to provide training on safety and health management systems and share best practices on preventing employee exposure to workplace hazards. Region VIII: OSHA's Billings, Mont., Area Office and the Montana Contractor Compensation Fund signed an alliance to enhance safe and more healthful working conditions for construction employees.

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Latest VPP Activity
   Visit "recent approvals" on the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) page of OSHA's Web site to see the latest list of employers recently approved for new or continued participation in VPP. We encourage you to examine the entire VPP site to learn more about OSHA's premier cooperative program.

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New SHARP Certifications
   Visit OSHA's "Who's Newly SHARP" Web page to see 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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Upcoming Events
   OSHA updated its events Web page with new safety and health-related meetings and training information. Check for events near you.

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'QuickTips' from QuickTakes
    It's that time of year; that's right - shopping season is back. The holiday season can bring out the best in people while, at the same time, present serious work-related challenges to those employees working in various retail industries. From repetitive stress and musculoskeletal disorders to workplace violence - some important precautions are in order to help ensure this holiday season is truly a joyous time for working men and women in the industry. Here's a few tips, and some helpful resources:
  • To help reduce workplace violence incidents, employers should establish engineering controls including good visibility and lighting, video surveillance, door detectors and buzzers, and alarms.
  • Good administrative and work practice controls include increasing staffing at high-risk locations and times; lock delivery doors and establish rules for employees leaving facilities; and establish emergency procedures and systems of communications.
  • To help reduce debilitating ergonomics-related injuries related to lifting, employers should routinely review the jobsite and activities of employees for possible ergonomics issues, paying particular attention to risk factors of 'force,' 'repetition,' 'awkward and static postures,' and contact stress.
  • Employers should equip stockrooms and central processing areas with turntables and roller bed conveyors to reduce lifting and carrying; when lifting is required, employees should focus on using leg muscles and keeping the back straight.

  •     OSHA has superb resources on its Web site for additional information to help prevent workplace violence as well as reducing musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. 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