December 1, 2003 • Volume 2, Issue 23
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 Secretary Announces Successful Year in Enforcement
Latest Alliances Target Highway Work Zones, Heart Disease in the Workplace
DOL Enhances Website on Drug-Free Workplaces
Needlestick Safety and Prevention Subject of Seminars in Dallas Region
NACOSH Meeting Scheduled for December 16
New York Region Schedules Safety and Health Classes
Cleveland Area Office Forms Alliance with Landscapers Association
Cranes and Derricks Committee Schedules Meetings in Washington, D.C., Las Vegas
Two Regional Partnerships Focus on Long-Term Care, Construction Industries
Missouri Healthcare Facility Receives VPP "Star" Designation
Voluntary Protection Program Activity


Labor Secretary Announces Successful Year in Enforcement
     U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao said Nov. 18 that American workers are safer at their work sites, thanks to the strong enforcement and compliance assistance activities of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In the last few years, OSHA has placed increased enforcement priority on repeat offenders by targeting enforcement at high hazard facilities and recalcitrant employers. The desired outcome is compliance and a safer workplace. Chao released the 2003 enforcement statistics during a press conference at the Labor Department, saying those numbers "are an indication of how seriously this Administration takes its commitment to protect the safety and security of America's workers." The recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows a significant decrease in workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.

Latest Alliances Target Highway Work Zones, Heart Disease in the Workplace
     OSHA established Alliances last month with two organizations to help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses and advance overall workplace safety awareness. Keeping roadway workers safe is the goal of an agreement OSHA formed with both NIOSH and the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Coalition on Nov. 18. Coalition members include the National Asphalt Pavement Association, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, the Laborers' International Union of North America, and the International Union of Operating Engineers. The American Heart Association signed an Alliance with OSHA on Nov. 20 to focus on reducing death and disability from heart disease and stroke in the workplace. Training on, and implementation of, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the workplace is a key element of the accord.

DOL Enhances Website on Drug-Free Workplaces
     The U.S. Department of Labor wants to help businesses benefit from being drug-free. That's the purpose of the Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace website, recently revamped to help further that goal. New tools on the website will better connect employers to valuable online information and resources available to help them establish drug-free workplace programs, while complementing other safety and health initiatives.

Needlestick Safety and Prevention Subject of Seminars in Dallas Region
     OSHA's Little Rock, Ark. Area Office is conducting free seminars for employers and workers in the healthcare industry to highlight the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act. The programs will focus on the agency's bloodborne pathogens standard, including the proper disposal of contaminated needles and blood tube holders following blood-drawing procedures. The programs are scheduled for Dec. 8 at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock; Dec. 9 at the Fort Smith, Ark. public library; Dec. 10 at the Brinkley, Ark. Convention Center, and Dec. 11 at the University of Arkansas Community College in Hope. Contact the Little Rock Area Office at (501) 324-6291 for details.

NACOSH Meeting Scheduled for December 16
     The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) has scheduled a Dec. 16 meeting at the Labor Department in Washington. Discussions will center on OSHA and NIOSH activities, plus whistleblower updates, employee fatality trends, and workplace violence. Details on the meeting are in the Nov. 20, 2003, Federal Register.

New York Region Schedules Safety and Health Classes
     Ergonomics and general safety issues around office environments are the topics of six separate seminars being offered by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office this month. The training, co-sponsored by area organizations and colleges, will be held at six locations throughout upstate New York beginning at Orchard Park and Lockport on Dec. 4, followed by Jamestown and Olean on Dec. 11, and Batavia and Rochester on Dec. 18. Contact the Buffalo office at (716) 684-3891 for more information.

Cleveland Area Office Forms Alliance with Landscapers Association
    OSHA's Cleveland, Ohio, Area Office joined with the Ohio Landscapers Association last month in a safety alliance to focus on a "Safer 2004" for some 500 landscaping contractors throughout the state. The 18-month alliance will highlight implementation of safety and health programs, training, and participation in conferences and forums. Rob Medlock, Cleveland Area Director, said the alliance is a "positive approach to preventing accidents rather than investigating tragedy."

Cranes and Derricks Committee Schedules Meetings in Washington, D.C., Las Vegas
     The fifth and sixth meetings of OSHA's negotiated rulemaking committee on cranes and derricks in construction are set for Dec. 3-5 in Washington, D.C., and Jan. 5-7 in Las Vegas. Details of both meetings are in the Nov. 18, 2003, Federal Register. The 23-member committee is composed of representatives of government and industry that will be impacted by a proposal for a construction safety standard for cranes and derricks.

Two Regional Partnerships Focus on Long-Term Care, Construction Industries
     OSHA's Kansas City Region is working with Nebraska agencies to reduce injuries and illnesses in the state's long-term care industry. A partnership was signed last month between OSHA and the Nebraska Healthcare Association and the state's Department of Labor's Workforce Development Office. The partnership will cover more than 200 nursing home members throughout Nebraska. The agency's Augusta, Maine office signed a partnership Nov. 13 with the Associated Constructors of Maine, Inc. (ACM) to provide safer, more healthful work environments for construction employees statewide. The agreement is part of the Construction Health and Safety Excellence (CHASE) Program developed by OSHA and ACM's parent organization, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Missouri Healthcare Facility Receives VPP "Star" Designation
    OSHA Administrator John Henshaw traveled to El Dorado Springs, Mo., last month to present the Voluntary Protection Programs "Star" award to Community Springs Healthcare facility. The 120-bed facility is one of six Missouri nursing home facilities owned by Bolivar, Mo.-based Citizens Memorial Healthcare, to participate in the program. More than 1,000 worksites nationwide have earned the right to fly the VPP "Star" flag.

Voluntary Protection Program Activity
     The following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP): Wheelabrator North Andover, Inc., North Andover, MA (New Star); Allegheny Energy Company, Harrison Power Station, Haywood, WV (New Star); Flint Hills Resources, LP, West Plant, Corpus Christi, TX (Cont. Star); and Flint Hills Resources, LP, East Plant, Corpus Christi, TX (Cont. Star).

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