Assistant Secretary Henshaw Addresses National Ergonomics Conference
OSHA Exceeds Inspection Targets for Fiscal Year 2002
OSHA Increases Number of Training and Education Centers
Labor Secretary Selects Members for Ergonomics Committee
Occupational Hearing Loss Recordkeeping Issues Clarified
Alliances Formed with ASSE, Washington Group International
Hexavalent Chromium Proposal Planned, Shipyard Fire Protection Proposal Published
Voluntary Protection Program Activity
Job Safety & Health Quarterly
At the National Ergonomics Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, Dec. 11, OSHA Administrator John Henshaw highlighted OSHA's message that "safety and health add value" before more than 1,000 attendees, while also updating them on the agency's comprehensive approach to tackle musculoskeletal disorders. Henshaw said that the number of professionals attending the conference was "one good measure of the importance that ergonomics has in American business today and reflects businesses' keen interest in finding ways to solve ergonomic problems."
"Inspections of workplaces are up, and we are more effectively targeting where the hazards exist," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, when she announced that OSHA exceeded its inspection goals for the past fiscal year. OSHA inspected 37,493 workplaces, nearly 1,100 more than was targeted. Serious violations of workplace safety and health laws accounted for 70% of all OSHA violations and the average penalty for those violations increased from the previous year.
Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced Dec. 11 a significant expansion of OSHA's Educational Centers at community and state colleges. Twenty Training Institute Education Centers at 35 locations throughout the country were selected to offer courses on OSHA standards and occupational safety and health issues. Over the next two years, OSHA expects to double the number of students to nearly 30,000. The centers complement OSHA's Training Institute in Arlington Heights, IL, and train employers and workers and federal personnel from agencies outside OSHA. They also assist the agency in administering its Outreach Training Program - OSHA's primary means to train workers in the basics of occupational safety and health.
Fifteen individuals from industry, academia, labor, legal and the medical professions were selected Dec. 3 to form OSHA's new National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics (NACE). The committee is part of OSHA's comprehensive approach to reducing ergonomic-related injuries and illnesses in the workplace, announced last April. Selected from a field of more than 250 candidates, the members will advise the OSHA Administrator on a number of issues related to OSHA's approach on the topic, with a particular focus on finding practical applications and solutions to the recognition and control of ergonomic hazards. The committee's first meeting is expected early next year.
OSHA has clarified three matters in relation to the final rule issued last July on recording occupational hearing loss. The issues deal with audiometric tests for workers in the shipbuilding industry, the applicable baseline for computing a standard threshold shift, and how OSHA will treat an expected increase in the number of recorded cases resulting from new recordkeeping definitions requirements.
OSHA joined with two organizations this month to continue its collaborative efforts in advancing worker safety and health. The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) signed on Dec. 4 with a particular focus on reducing and preventing ergonomic hazards and improving ergonomic programs in the workplace. The Washington Group International, a 38,000-employee engineering and construction company, joined with OSHA Dec. 12 to focus on reducing workplace hazards specifically in the areas of cranes and rigging, hearing protection, and ergonomics.
Take a look at OSHA's newly-established web page,"OSHA Alliance Program." The page lists all Alliances and provides general information on the agency's newest cooperative program.
OSHA announced Dec. 4 that it plans to go forward with proposed rulemaking on occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium. Use of the metal, often as a structural and anti-corrosive element in the production of stainless steel, iron and steel, and in electroplating, welding and painting, has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer and other respiratory problems. The agency is also seeking comment on a proposed standard that will protect thousands of shipyard workers from fire hazards. That proposal, sent to the Federal Register Dec. 11,
will cover an estimated 98,000 shipyard workers at more than 700 establishments.
The following companies were recently approved for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Georgia Pacific, Cross City Chip-N-Saw, Cross City, FL (New Star); United Technologies, Carrier East Texas Plant, Tyler, TX (Cont. Merit); Potlatch Corp., Post Falls Particleboard Plant, Post Falls, ID (Cont. Star); International Paper, Conway Container, Conway, AR (Cont. Star); 3M, Valley Plant, Valley, NE (Cont. Star); BBA Nonwovens, Griswoldville Plant, Colrain, MA (Merit to Star); Kanzaki Specialty Paper Co., Ware, MA (1 year Conditional Star); International Paper, Augusta Lumber Mill, Augusta, GA (New Star); Georgia Pacific, Wood I Beam Plant, Ocala, FL (New Star); International Paper, Opelika Sawmill, Opelika, Al (Cont. Star); Solutia, Inc., Anniston, AL (Cont. Star);
Honeywell Aerospace, Anniston, AL (Merit to Star); Delta Airlines, Inc., Technical Operations Ctr., Atlanta, GA (Cont. Merit); International Paper, Camden Complex, Camden, TX (Cont. Star); Monsanto - Kearney Corn Production Site, Kearney, NE (New Star); BP Amoco Fabrics and Fibers Co., Hazlehurst, GA (Cont. Star); General Electric Appliances, Decatur Plant, Decatur, AL (Cont. Star); Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, Illinois Refining Division, Robinson, IL (Cont. Star); International Paper, Carrollton Container, Carrollton, TX (Cont. Star); KOCH Pavement Solutions, Fort Worth, TX (New Star); L'OREAL, USA Products, North Little Rock, AR (New Star); Forbo Adhesives, LLC, Omaha, NE (Cont. Star); International Paper, Riverdale Mill, Selma, AL (Merit to Star); and NASA's Sonny Carter Training Facility, Houston, TX (New Star).
The next issue of JSHQ will highlight OSHA's message, "Safety and Health Add Value. To Your Business. To Your Workplace. To Your Life." The issue also includes stories about professional certification, outreach to Hispanic workers and small businesses, the diverse work of OSHA's industrial hygienists, and a historical feature on health and safety pioneer Frances Perkins. Look for the issue this month on the JSHQ page of OSHA's website or subscribe through the Government Printing Office.
On behalf of all of us at OSHA, we wish you and yours a happy holiday and a safe, healthy and prosperous new year. Please continue to visit the agency's website for news and updates. See you New Year's Day!
Editor: Bill Wright, OSHA Office of Public Affairs, 202-693-1999