December 1, 2005 · Volume 4, 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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
BLS Reports Decline in Workplace Injury and Illness Rates for 2004
Safety and Health Bulletin Addresses Hazards of Manually Lifting Framed Walls
Construction Advisory Committee Meeting Scheduled
Resources Available on Hospital Emergency Preparedness
Employers Encouraged to Adopt a Safe and Sober Approach to Holiday Parties
OSHA's Seattle Region Co-sponsoring "SafetyFest of the Great Northwest"
Nebraska Meat Processing Facilities Recognized for Workplace Safety Achievements
National Alliance Program Update
Regional Alliances/Partnership Formed with OSHA
Dallas Region Spotlights VPP Worksites
Voluntary Protection Programs Activity

BLS Reports Decline in Workplace Injury and Illness Rates for 2004
    Approximately 4.3 million injuries and illnesses were reported in private industry workplaces during 2004, according to the latest report by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number translates to a rate of 4.8 cases per 100 full-time workers, slightly less than the 5.0 rate reported last year. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said that the "improved health and safety data once again demonstrates the effectiveness of the department's three-pronged approach to protecting workers." That approach includes strong, fair and effective enforcement; outreach, education and compliance assistance; and cooperative and voluntary programs.

Safety and Health Bulletin Addresses Hazards of Manually Lifting Framed Walls
    The risk of injury or death from collapsing framed walls during construction is the reason behind OSHA's newest Safety and Health Information Bulletin, Hazards of Manually Lifting Balloon Framed Walls. OSHA has recorded 22 incidents involving collapse of balloon framed walls during the five-year period ending in July 2004. During that period, five workers were killed and 28 others injured as a result of these incidents. The bulletin describes how such incidents occur, and offers safe lifting methods and recommendations to help prevent collapse of the walls.

Construction Advisory Committee Meeting Scheduled
   The Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) has scheduled its next meeting for Dec. 8-9 in Washington, D.C. Discussions will center on trenching and excavation issues, standards updates, OSHA hurricane response, the agency's role in the National Response Plan and an update on VPP for Construction. Individual work groups are scheduled for Dec. 6-7. Detailed information on the meeting is in the Nov. 23 Federal Register. ACCSH is a continuing advisory body of 15 members who provide advice and assistance in construction standards and policy matters to the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA.

Resources Available on Hospital Emergency Preparedness
   OSHA and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations sponsored a popular and highly successful conference in October to help prepare hospital employees to respond to victims of mass casualty incidents involving hazardous substances. For those unable to attend the National Conference for Hospital-Based First Receivers, an audio CD set and resource book is available for purchase through Joint Commission Resources (JCR). The set is comprised of 11 CDs and features presentations of all plenary sessions. A conference resource book containing copies of all presentations delivered at the conference is included. To purchase the set, contact the JCR customer service center at 877-223-6866.

Employers Encouraged to Adopt a Safe and Sober Approach to Holiday Parties
    The holiday season has arrived and, with it, the opportunity for workers and employers to gather together and enjoy the festivities. And, typical of some workplace parties is the consumption of alcoholic beverages. If that's the case, the Department of Labor strongly encourages employers to take every precaution that will prevent tragedy during the season. The department's Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace program has a special Web page that addresses steps employers can take all year round, but particularly during the holidays, to ensure the safety of their workers. The page focuses on impaired driving and offers tips for safe office celebrations.

OSHA's Seattle Region Co-sponsoring "SafetyFest of the Great Northwest"
   Some 300 employees and managers, representing a wide range of industries throughout Idaho, Oregon and Washington, are attending the "SafetyFest of the Great Northwest" training conference in Boise which began Nov. 29. The conference is sponsored by OSHA's Seattle Region, the Washington Group International, the Idaho chapter of the Associated General Contractors, and the Idaho Division of Professional Technical Education. Safety training sessions (offered in both English and Spanish) include crane, rigging and equipment safety, accident investigation, hearing conservation, environmental awareness, and safety management. OSHA's 10-hour training certificate will be presented to participants attending construction, general industry, or highway construction training. The conference is scheduled to conclude Dec. 2.

Nebraska Meat Processing Facilities Recognized for Workplace Safety Achievements
    Calling them "outstanding leaders" in workplace safety, Chuck Adkins, OSHA's Kansas City regional administrator, presented workplace safety awards Nov. 18 to five Nebraska meat processing facilities. Farmland Foods, Omaha Steaks (two facilities), Albion Lockers, and Hausman & Son's Processing were recognized for reductions in injury and illness rates and, in the case of Albion Lockers and Hausman & Son's Processing, for accident-free workplaces since 2000. OSHA's Kansas City Region has enjoyed a partnership with Nebraska's meat processing industry since 2000.

National Alliance Program Update
    OSHA's national alliance program continues to expand after the renewal of one existing agreement last month, followed by the addition of four new organizations into the alliance family. Highlighting safety and health training resources for the health care industry is the focus of a two-year renewal with Abbott, a global health care company that develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceuticals and other medical products, including devices and diagnostics. Organizations joining OSHA in new alliances include the following: American Forest & Paper Association and the Pulp and Paper Safety Association, stressing prevention of ergonomic-related hazards throughout the forest, pulp, paper and paper-converting industries; American Chemistry Council (ACC), with a focus on OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs and ACC's Responsible Care initiative; Precision Metalforming Association, highlighting amputation and ergonomic-related hazards in the metalforming industry; and Altec Industries Inc., to further health and safety for construction workers with a specific focus on cranes, digger derricks, and aerial devices.

Regional Alliances/Partnership Formed with OSHA
    Region I: Worker safety and health during emergency preparedness and disaster recovery operations throughout New England is the goal of a new alliance between OSHA's Boston Region and the New England Disaster Recovery Information X-Change. Region III: The Lehigh Valley Area Labor Management Council signed an alliance Nov. 23 with OSHA's Allentown, Pa., Area Office to promote workplace safety and health, and improve relations between labor and management, for workers and employers throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Region V: Workers involved in the construction of a 500-megawatt coal-fired electric generation plant near Wausau, Wis., stand to benefit from a partnership signed Nov. 10 between OSHA's Chicago Region and the Wisconsin Public Service Corp., project contractors and subcontractors, and labor representatives. The partnership will remain in place throughout the four-year project.

Dallas Region Spotlights VPP Worksites
    Entergy Operations service centers in Jennings and Lafayette, La., were designated VPP "Star" sites in ceremonies, Nov. 15. John Miles, regional administrator in Dallas, cited both centers' "excellence in safety and health management" and singled out their efforts in maintaining injury and illness rates far below the national average for the industry. Miles also presented the VPP "Star" flag to MWH Constructors in recognition of their highly successful workplace safety and health programs at the Northeast Purification Plant Expansion Project in Houston.

Voluntary Protection Programs Activity
    The following companies were approved last month for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Region I: Acushnet Company, Ball Plant III, New Bedford, Mass. (New Star) Region IV: Smurfit Stone Container, Covington, Ga. (Cont. Star); International Paper, Opelika Sawmill, Opelika, Ala. (Cont. Star); Sherwin Williams, Olive Branch, Miss. (Cont. Star); Georgia Pacific, Taylorsville Particleboard Plant, Taylorsville, Miss. (Cont. Star) Region V: O&D Inc., Lima, Ohio (Cont. Star); Honeywell International Inc., Ohio Service Center, Strongsville, Ohio (New Star); Honeywell Sensing and Control, Freeport Plant 1, Freeport, Ill. (New Merit) Region VI: Turner Industries Group LLC at Occidental Chemical, Taft Plant, Hahnville, La. (Cont. Star); Saint Gobain Vetrotex America Inc., Wichita Falls, Texas (Cont. Star); ConAgra Foods, RFG, Turkey Business Unit, Ozark, Ark. (New Star); Texwood Industries, Cedar Hill Plant, Cedar Hill, Texas (New Merit); Texwood Industries, Duncanville Plant, Duncanville, Texas (New Merit) and Region VII: International Paper, Kansas City, Mo. (Cont. Star).

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