December 1, 2008 · Volume 7, Issue 23
QuickTakes QuickTakes
A twice monthly 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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 Announces Decline in 2007 Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away from Work
Nanotechnology is Focus of New OSHA Safety and Health Topics Web Page
OSHA's Hospital eTool Features New Module on MRSA
OSHA Official Demonstrates Benefits of Workplace First-Aid Training Program
ACCSH Travels to Washington for December Meeting
Agency Cooperative Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary
DCSP Director Welcomes Delta Air Lines into OSHA's VPP Corporate Pilot
Partnership Reduces Injuries and Illnesses and Increases Safety and Health Training
Voluntary Protection Programs Certifications
Upcoming Events
"QuickTips" from QuickTakes

BLS Announces Decline in 2007 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 this month. The 2007 rate was 122 per 10,000 full-time employees, a decrease of 4 percent from 2006. Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Thomas M. Stohler applauded the positive news, saying "These injury and illness results demonstrate that OSHA's balanced approach to workplace safety is working. It's an approach that encompasses education, training, information sharing, inspection, regulation and aggressive enforcement to achieve significant reductions in workplace injuries and illnesses."

Nanotechnology is Focus of New OSHA Safety and Health Topics Web Page

Employers and employees involved in the use or manufacture of engineered nanoscale materials will benefit from a new Safety and Health Topics Web page on nanotechnology posted to OSHA's Web site. This new electronic resource highlights related OSHA standards, current and potential applications of nanotechnology, potential health effects and workplace hazard controls, as well as health and safety research priorities for nanotechnology.

OSHA's Hospital eTool Features New Module on MRSA

OSHA's Hospital eTool features a new resource to help avoid occupational illness. The new Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) module provides links to general information, offers answers to frequently asked questions, and identifies sources for a variety of workplace settings on how to prevent the spread of infection. OSHA's eTools are stand-alone, Web-based training tools on occupational safety and health topics.

OSHA Official Demonstrates Benefits of Workplace First-Aid Training Program

Training in first aid can be an important part of an employer's workplace safety and health management system. Karena Lorek of OSHA's Chicago Region received such training on the job, and her quick thinking and skill were put to use while driving to work one day. She witnessed a car accident and immediately stopped to assist one of the drivers experiencing chest pains and rapid breathing. Lorek assessed the victim and advised her on what to do to alleviate the pain. She stayed with the victim and was constantly evaluating her situation until emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene. She was grateful for Lorek's assistance. OSHA's Medical and First Aid Safety and Health Topics Web page highlights what OSHA standards require first aid and medical services, and how to develop and maintain a workplace first-aid program. 

ACCSH Travels to Washington for December Meeting

Washington, D.C., is the site for the Dec. 4-5, 2008, meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH). The ACCSH work groups will meet Dec. 2-3. All activities will be held at the Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., and begin at 8:30 a.m. ACCSH meetings are open to the public. Details can be found in the Nov. 14 Federal Register.

Agency Cooperative Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary

OSHA's Strategic Partnership Program celebrates its 10th anniversary this month. The program was created Nov. 13, 1998, for employers, employees, associations, unions and other stakeholders to enter into voluntary cooperative agreements with OSHA on reducing workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Each partnership establishes goals, strategies and targeted outcomes on improving employee occupational safety and health. Since its inception, OSHA and its partners have signed 583 agreements positively affecting more than 27,000 employers and one million employees. The goal of a new partnership formed among OSHA's New England Region, Connecticut Department of Labor's Division of Occupational Safety, and Konover Construction Corp. is to equip contractors and employees who will be constructing the new Sierra Hotel in Shelton, Conn., with the tools for identifying hazards and preventing on-the-job injuries.

DCSP Director Welcomes Delta Air Lines into OSHA's VPP Corporate Pilot

Steven F. Witt, director of OSHA's Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs (DCSP), welcomed Delta Air Lines as the newest Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Corporate Pilot participant during a Nov. 18 ceremony at Delta's headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. Founded in 1928, Delta is one of the world's largest commercial airlines with more than 75,000 employees. At the celebration, Witt remarked "I commend you for your accomplishments and your vision for the future. I applaud your willingness to work as a team with OSHA, and all that you have done in cooperation with OSHA and VPP Corporate to prevent injuries and illnesses on the job." Delta is OSHA's eighth participant in the pilot.

Partnership Helps Reduce Injuries and Illnesses and Increase Safety and Health Training

In December 2006, the Virginia Ship Repair Association Inc. formed an OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP) with OSHA's Norfolk, Va., Area Office to increase the number of ship repair employers with effective safety and health management systems, and to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses. Results from the OSP's most recent annual evaluation shows that its averagetotal case incident rate was 50 percent below the 2006 Bureau of Labor Statistics' national average for the shipbuilding industry, and its average days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transferrate was 30 percent below the national average. During the first year, a significant effort was made to increase safety and health training for participants. This resulted in the implementation of a comprehensive training program that provided more than 45,000 hours of training to nearly 6,000 employees, managers and supervisors.

Voluntary Protection Programs Certifications

Visit "recent approvals" on the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) page of OSHA's Web site to view the latest list of employers approved for new or continued participation in VPP. We encourage you to examine the entire VPP site to learn more about how OSHA's cooperative programs can help protect employees and reduce workers' compensation costs.

Upcoming Events

Safety Day, occurring on Jan. 6, 2009, at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, Miss., is the latest workplace safety- and health-related conference posted to OSHA's events Web page. Check the site often for activities in your area.

"QuickTips" from QuickTakes

The calendar says it's almost winter; but, for many employees throughout the nation, the weather doesn't follow the calendar-it's already cold, pure and simple. OSHA is reminding employers and employees to take necessary precautions to prevent and treat cold-related health problems. Employees in construction, commercial fishing, maritime and agricultureare particularly susceptible to the effects of cold. Here are a just a few ways employers can help protect their employees in cold environments:

  • Recognize the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous.
  • Train workers about the signs and symptoms ofcold-induced illnesses and injuries and how to assist.
  • In extreme cold, allow employees to take frequent short breaks in warm and dry shelters.
  • If feasible, use the buddy system - work in pairs so employees can recognize danger signs and take action.

The agency's Cold Stress Pocket Card is available online and provides a reference guide and recommendations to combat and prevent many cold-related injuries and illnesses. For free copies of this laminated card in English or Spanish, visit the Publications page on OSHA's Web site, or call 202-693-1888. Look for more occupational safety and health-related "QuickTips in the next issue of QuickTakes.

Editor: Elaine Fraser, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999, www.osha.gov