December 1, 2006 · Volume 5, 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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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
OSHA Administrator Announces New Appointments
BLS Announces Decline in 2005 Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work
Tips for Employers on Safe and Sober Workplace Parties
New and Updated Fact Sheets Available
Training Classes Offered
Latest Alliance News
New SHARP Certifications
'QuickTips' from QuickTakes

OSHA Administrator Announces New Appointments
    Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. announced key executive personnel appointments at the agency, including the appointment of two deputy assistant secretaries, a new chief of staff and two new directorate heads. C. Bryan Little and Donald G. Shalhoub were appointed deputy assistant secretaries; Gabe Sierra is the new OSHA chief of staff; Steven F. Witt is the new director of the Directorate of Construction, and Dorothy Dougherty is the new director of the Directorate of Standards and Guidance.

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BLS Announces Decline in 2005 Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work
    The rate of workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry requiring time away from work declined again last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported last month. A total of 1.2 million injuries and illnesses in private industry required recuperation away from work during 2005-a four percent decrease from 2004. Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. applauded the positive news, saying in a statement that the report, while encouraging, reminds the agency "that much work remains to further reduce workplace injuries and illnesses" and that the data gives the agency "important insights on how best to continue positioning and enhancing our services to employers and their employees."

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Tips for Employers on Safe and Sober Workplace Parties
    The holiday season and workplace parties often go hand-in-hand. However, when alcohol is served, these celebrations can have dangerous consequences if someone drives home under the influence. DOL's Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace Web site offers a number of tips for employers and employees on how they can work together to help prevent impaired driving in their communities and send a safe and sober message about workplace parties and drinking.

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New and Updated Fact Sheets Available
   OSHA has posted on its Web site a new "Your Rights as a Whistleblower" fact sheet, which explains employee rights if an employer retaliates against the employee for participating in protected workplace safety and health activities. In addition, OSHA posted an updated fact sheet on "The OSHA Consultation Program."

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Training Classes Offered
    A number of free training courses are being offered this month in Metairie, La. Excavation and Trenching Competent Person is scheduled for Dec. 4 and 19; Scaffold Competent Person for Dec. 12; OSHA 7600 16-hour Disaster Site Worker for Dec. 13-14; and Forklift/Lull Competent Person for Dec. 20. All courses are free to private company employees under OSHA jurisdiction, and who are actively involved in hurricane recovery work. For more information, contact Beverlee at bcarrick@buildsafe.org or Greg Honaker, director, OSHA's Baton Rouge, La., Area Office, at 225-298-5458.

Latest Alliance News
    National Office: Employees working in the machine automation industry will continue reaping benefits from an alliance renewed between the Association for High Technology Distribution and OSHA. Region IV: Highway and road construction workers will benefit from an alliance to be signed Dec. 5 between OSHA's Atlanta Region and the Georgia Department of Transportation which is aimed at preventing highway construction worker fatalities and serious injuries.

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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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'QuickTips' from QuickTakes
    Perhaps we can all be forgiven for wanting to focus a bit on a festive holiday spirit over the next few weeks. But, while we're doing that, let's not lose sight of some workplace safety issues that, while important each day of the year, have a dynamic ring during this season. For example, let's talk electrical and carbon monoxide hazards.
  • Use only factory-assembled electrical cord sets and extension cords that are 3-wire type.
  • Visually inspect all electrical equipment before use; remove any equipment with frayed cords, missing ground prongs, cracked tool casings, etc.
  • Ground all power supply systems, electrical circuits, and electrical equipment.
  • Ensure space heaters and stoves are in good working order to reduce carbon monoxide (CO) buildup.
  • Never use a generator indoors or in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces; generators need 3-4 feet of clear space for adequate ventilation.
  • CO monitors with audible alarms should be employed whenever possible.

  •     Visit OSHA's Web site for more resources on reducing and preventing accidents involving electrical and carbon monoxide hazards. Look for more safety and health 'QuickTips' in the next issue. Stay safe, and happy holidays!

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