December 15, 2004 · Volume 3, Issue 24
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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 2003
Henshaw Announces Resignation, New Acting Administrator Appointed
Deputy Assistant Secretary Davis Layne Set to Retire, Heading for VPPPA
OSHA Administrator Discusses Recordkeeping Initiative
Employers Encouraged to Adopt a Safe and Sober Approach to Holiday Parties
"Winter Worker Land" Webpage Focuses on Teen Worker Safety
OSHA Debuts New Webpage on Chemical Reactivity Hazards
National Alliances Focus on Building Service Contractors, Utility Construction Industries
Guidelines to Help Protect Workers in Cold Environments
Denver, Kansas City Regions Spotlight VPP Worksites
OSHA Participates in Seminar on Security at Petrochemical Port Facilities
Regional Alliances Formed in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas
Voluntary Protection Programs Activity
Season's Greetings!


BLS Reports Decline in Workplace Injury and Illness Rates for 2003
     Approximately 4.4 million injuries and illnesses were reported in private industry workplaces during 2003, according to the latest report by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number translates to a rate of 5.0 cases per 100 full-time workers and a 7.1 percent decrease in the actual number of injuries and illnesses reported in 2002. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao issued a statement saying that "the news behind the news" is the importance of health and safety partnerships with organized labor and employer groups and achieving compliance through workplace inspections. "These positive results show that our dual commitment to compliance assistance and enforcement is working."

Henshaw Announces Resignation, New Acting Administrator Appointed
    Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao praised the "outstanding leadership, great wisdom and sincere concern for America's workers" of OSHA Administrator John Henshaw upon announcing his resignation, effective Dec. 31, 2004. Chao announced Dec. 14 the appointment of Jonathan Snare, currently a senior advisor to the Solicitor of Labor, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA and the agency's acting Assistant Secretary upon Henshaw's departure. Kim Lazor, special assistant to the assistant secretary, will also assume a larger role in the agency's operations.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Davis Layne Set to Retire, Heading for VPPPA
   OSHA Administrator John Henshaw announced Dec. 10, three key executive personnel moves at the agency highlighting the upcoming retirement of R. Davis Layne, Deputy Assistant Secretary. Layne will retire from the government on Dec. 31, 2004 after 37 years of government service. Layne has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association (VPPPA). Henshaw appointed Steven F. Witt, current director of OSHA's Standards and Guidance Directorate, as acting deputy assistant secretary, and Dorothy Dougherty to assume Witt's duties. Dougherty is currently deputy director of Standards and Guidance.

OSHA Administrator Discusses Recordkeeping Initiative
   A new recordkeeping handbook with an accompanying interactive program is just one of the pieces of a recordkeeping initiative OSHA Administrator John Henshaw discussed at the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) meeting in Washington, Dec. 8. "This initiative will assure the accuracy and quality of injury and illness data," Henshaw said and, in addition to the handbook, will include updated frequently asked questions for the agency's website, more training for OSHA staff, and increased outreach on recordkeeping. OSHA plans to roll out the new initiative next month. Henshaw also discussed other agency initiatives, including trenching, hazard communication, reactive chemicals, Hispanic outreach, emergency preparedness, and motor vehicle safety.

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 and enjoy the festivities together. And, typical of some workplace parties is the consumption of alcoholic beverages. If that's the case, the Labor Department 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.

"Winter Worker Land" Webpage Focuses on Teen Worker Safety
   A new webpage is up and running to provide employers and teen workers with valuable safety and health materials on working safely during the winter months. "Winter Worker Land" is the latest product from the Federal Network for Young Worker Safety and Health (FedNet), a group of 11 federal agencies that together educate teens, parents, counselors and employers on how young people can stay safe on the job. The new webpage covers safe winter driving, snow removal, cold weather gear, and offers other winter safety tips.

OSHA Debuts New Webpage on Chemical Reactivity Hazards
   Thanks to the efforts of two national Alliances, OSHA unveiled its newest Safety and Health Topics page this month focusing on the hazards associated with reactive chemicals. Chemical Reactivity Hazards provides valuable information for workers and employers involved in the manufacture, distribution, use and storage of chemicals. The page is a product of two Alliances: the Dow Chemical Company, and the Reactives Alliance (consisting of the Environmental Protection Agency and six organizations involved in the chemical industry).

National Alliances Focus on Building Service Contractors, Utility Construction Industries
    Helping to advance safety and health for workers in the building service contracting industry is the focus of a Dec. 2 Alliance between OSHA and the Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI). Particular focus will be on reducing injuries and illnesses associated with musculoskeletal disorders, as well as exposure to hazardous materials. OSHA also formed an Alliance Dec. 6 with the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), highlighting hazards associated with trenching and excavation, and confined spaces for workers in the utility construction industry.

Guidelines to Help Protect Workers in Cold Environments
    The calendar says it's almost winter; but, for many workers throughout the nation, the weather doesn't go by the calendar—it's already cold, pure and simple. OSHA is, once again, reminding employers and workers to take necessary precautions to stay safe over the coming months. A Cold Stress Card (available in English and Spanish) provides a reference guide and recommendations to combat and prevent many cold-related injuries and illnesses. While workers in construction, commercial fishing, maritime, and agriculture are particularly susceptible to the effects of cold, the information available on OSHA's website is important for all workers who may find themselves at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Denver, Kansas City Regions Spotlight VPP Worksites
    Two Colorado Springs, CO worksites were recently recognized for their superior safety and health management systems. On Dec. 9, Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc. and Sanmima-SCI, earned membership in OSHA's "Merit" VPP program. Energizer Battery of Maryville, MO was designated a VPP "Star" site in ceremonies Dec. 2. Greg Baxter and Charles Adkins, regional administrators in Denver and Kansas City, respectively, said these companies should be commended for their "commitment to employee workplace safety and health" and that they each represent "excellence in effective safety and health management."

OSHA Participates in Seminar on Security at Petrochemical Port Facilities
   Rutgers Labor Education Center in New Brunswick, NJ, was the site last month of a seminar consisting of several federal, state, labor, and industry representatives to discuss strategies, policies, practices and regulations for security at petrochemical port facilities in the event of a catastrophic event. Referencing lessons learned following 9/11, OSHA's New York Regional Administrator, Patricia Clark, said that "preparation, ongoing working relationships, communication, and coordination are keys to emergency response," and said the seminar "served as an important opportunity to promote these essential activities."

Regional Alliances Formed in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas
   OSHA's Philadelphia Region formed two new Alliances recently through its Wilkes-Barre, PA area office. The Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association signed on with the agency to promote workplace safety and health for more than 250 member companies which include manufacturing and other allied businesses. The Northeastern Pennsylvania Labor Management Council also signed an Alliance with OSHA in which a key goal is to develop safety and health programs that involve employers and workers in identifying and controlling hazards. Training students in safe work practices, and preventing injuries and illnesses among the Hispanic workforce, outline two recent Alliances signed in the Atlanta Region. Joining with OSHA on Dec. 7 was the Consulate General of Mexico and Georgia Tech, followed by the Athens Technical College's Safety Academy on Dec. 15. Advancing the safety and health of electrical workers throughout Louisiana is the goal of an Alliance signed by OSHA's Baton Rouge, LA area office and the National Electrical Contractors Association, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 130, and the Louisiana State Department of Labor.

Voluntary Protection Programs Activity
    The following companies were approved recently for new or continued participation in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP): Region II: Goodyear Chemical, Niagara Falls, NY (New Merit); Pactiv Canandaigua Technology Center, Canandaigua, NY (Cont. Star); Alcoa-KAMA, Avenel, NY (Cont. Star); Stepan Chemical, Fieldsboro, NJ (Cont. Star) Region III: Allegheny Energy, Rivesville Power Station, Rivesville, WV (New Star); US Postal Service, Virginia Main Post Office, Danville, VA (New Star) Region IV: Milliken & Co., Newton Plant, Hartwell, GA (Cont. Star) Region VI: Potlatch Corp., Southern Unit, Warren, AR (Cont. Star), and Region VII: Effigy Mounds National Monument, National Park Service, Harpers Ferry, IA (New Star).

Season's Greetings!
    On behalf of all of us at OSHA, we wish you and yours a happy holiday and a safe, healthy and prosperous new year. QuickTakes will not be published on January 1, so please continue to visit the agency's website for news and updates. Look for your next issue of QuickTakes on Jan. 15, 2005.

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