OSHA and Small Business Administration Sign Memorandum of Understanding
OSHA Seeking Information to Address Effects of Occupational Exposure to Beryllium
NIOSH Study Identifies Industries/Occupations Prone to Chronic Lung Disease
OSHA's Alliances Program a Valuable Tool in Advancing Safety & Health
OSHA and Georgia Associated General Contractors Form Partnership
Voluntary Protection Program Activity
Puerto Rico Construction Partnership Joins Three Organizations
Strategic Partnership Program Activity
Upcoming Speeches for the Assistant Secretary
An agreement to work together to help small businesses reduce ergonomic hazards is the foundation of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by OSHA and the Small Business Administration, Nov. 21. OSHA Administrator John Henshaw said the partnership would enable OSHA to "better educate the small business community" on support available to them. It also includes provisions for small businesses to provide input and feedback to OSHA. Thomas Sullivan, SBA's Chief Counsel for Advocacy, called the cooperative effort "great news for small business owners and their employees alike." OSHA and SBA will establish an information sharing process to distribute ergonomics program information to small businesses.
OSHA is asking for comments and information to help the agency determine the best way to address occupational exposure to beryllium. The agency published the notice in the Nov. 26 Federal Register. The lightweight metal is found in coal, oil, some rock minerals, volcanic dust and soil, and is used by the aerospace, nuclear, and manufacturing industries. It is also found in dental appliances, golf clubs and some electronic applications. The metal is also toxic and can cause lung cancer and skin disease. OSHA has published two hazard information bulletins on the topic in the past three years.
The agency is requesting comment by Feb. 24, 2003.
A new study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) identifies industries and occupations with an increased risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The study validated earlier research that showed workers in the rubber, plastics, leather manufacturing, textile, food products, agriculture and construction industries had an increased risk of chronic lung disease. Workers in the utilities industry and in office building services have also been identified as having an increased risk. COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema and is the fourth leading cause of death in the general U.S. population. NIOSH, a part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, undertook the study to help advance research in this critical area of public health.
OSHA's newest cooperative program - Alliances - has been moving forward rapidly since its inception last March when the agency joined with the Hispanic Contractors of America, Inc. Since then, a total of 12 Alliances have been signed, with another scheduled for Dec. 4. The program involves a cooperative agreement between OSHA and other groups - often trade associations, professional organizations and societies - to focus resources on one or more elements such as training and education, outreach and communication or promoting the national dialogue on the value of safety and health. "We believe Alliances are useful tools for bringing together parties that want to work together toward common goals," says OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "Alliances provide excellent opportunities to begin new working relationships or expand upon existing ones. They supplement but do not replace the other
programs and services the agency provides."
The Georgia branch of the Associated General Contractors joined with OSHA in a statewide partnership Nov. 20 at OSHA's Region IV headquarters in Atlanta, to help reduce fatalities, injuries and illnesses in the construction industry. The partnership, commonly known as the Construction Health and Safety Excellence (CHASE) Program, focuses on reducing the four leading causes of fatal accidents at construction sites; falls, being struck by objects, being caught in or between objects, and electrocution. Participating employers in the program also agree to train non-English speaking workers.
The following companies were recently approved for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Georgia Pacific's Claxton Chip-N-Saw Mill, Claxton, GA (Cont. Star); Canam Steel Corp., Jacksonville, FL (Cont. Star); Entergy's Sterlington Fossil Generation Plant, Sterlington, LA (New Star); Maytag Appliance, Searcy Laundry Products, Searcy, AR (New Star); Occidental Chemical Corporation's Convent Plant, Convent, LA (Cont. Star); Exxon Mobil Films, Shawnee, OK (Cont. Star); General Electric, GE Plastics Facility, Burkville, AL (Cont. Star); and PPL Holtwood, LLC Hydroelectric Station, Holtwood, PA (New Star).
The Puerto Rico Occupational Safety and Health Office has joined with OSHA's Region II headquarters in New York to form a partnership with the Puerto Rico chapter of the Associated General Contractors. Signed Nov. 21 in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, the agreement will enhance worker safety and health at Puerto Rico construction sites while recognizing employers in the industry that have excellent safety and health programs. The partnership encourages all AGC members in Puerto Rico to reach the same level of excellence, and provides avenues for them to attain that goal.
Various area offices entered into OSHA Strategic Partnerships (OSP) last month. A statewide Construction Leaders Agreement for Safety Partnership was formalized between several Wisconsin area offices and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce/Safety Consultation and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). OSHA's Baton Rouge office and the Louisiana Department of Labor (Workplace Safety Office) entered into a partnership with the Louisiana Nursing Home Association to work toward reducing the high incidents of injuries in the nursing home industry. The CoorsTek Norman facility and the Moore Norman Technology Center-Business & Industry Services have joined with OSHA's Oklahoma City office to reduce injury and illness rates and work toward participation in VPP. Finally, OSHA's Harrisburg, PA office, York County and
contractors at the York County Judicial Center inked a partnership to improve worker safety and health performance in the local construction industry.
Approximately 35 contractor representatives from the National Erectors Association will learn the latest about OSHA from John Henshaw, OSHA Administrator, when he speaks at the NEA and Association of Union Constructors Joint Forum on Labor/Safety & Health in Washington, Dec. 4. He'll provide a similar update to 75 engineers at the Annual Assembly of the American Association of Engineering Societies, Dec. 5, also in Washington. Henshaw travels to Orlando, FL on Dec. 6 to speak to an audience of 300 at the American Road & Transportation Builders Association's Second International Conference on Roadway Construction Work Zone Safety. An OSHA update by Henshaw awaits approximately 350 safety and health professionals in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico at the 9th Occupational Safety & Health Conference, Dec. 10. Finally, Henshaw will speak to 1,500 ergonomic professionals on the agency's comprehensive approach to ergonomics
at the National Ergonomics Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, Dec. 11.
Editor: Bill Wright, OSHA Office of Public Affairs, 202-693-1999