Alliance -- An OSHA Cooperative Program << Back to Concluded Regional Alliances - Region V

  1. Alliance Background

    Date Signed: 2/24/06

    Renewed: 3/10/08

    Alliance Overview: OSHA and MIA formed an Alliance to provide MIA members and others with information, guidance and access to training resources that will help them protect employees' health and safety, particularly in reducing and preventing exposure to silica hazards and addressing safety related hazards in natural stone fabricating businesses, including, but not limited to material handling, with emphasis on slab handling issues. Due to the success of the first term of this alliance, all parties agreed to continue to work together for another two year period, and renewed it in March 2008. This report summarizes activities for the last year of the alliance as it is comes to a successful close.

    Implementation Team Members.

    Julie Weis, CAS, Cleveland OSHA Office
    Gary Distelhorst, Executive Vice President, MIA
    Jim Hieb, Vice President, MIA
    Michael Loflin, Industry Research & Information Manager, MIA
  2. Implementation Team Meetings

    The Implementation Team continued meeting periodically throughout the year. Discussions were also held many times via phone conferences. All face to face meetings were held at the MIA headquarters in Westlake, OH.
  3. Activities and Products

    Evaluation Period: This report covers activities from March 10, 2008 to March 10, 2009.

    Alliance Activity
    • Training and Education
    • Outreach and Communication
    • Promoting the National Dialogue on Safety and Health
    Alliance Products
    • Training and Education
      • MIA applied for a Susan Harwood Training Grant to secure additional funds to provide further education to the industry on the effects of silica exposure. The grant was denied.
      • Cleveland Compliance Assistance Specialist and Regional Machine Guarding Coordinator assisted with a day long Safety and Health Workshop that took place on June 6, 2009 in the Cleveland area. Topics included Stone Shop Hazards, How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection, Silica Exposure in the Stone Industry, Developing a Safety and Health Program, A Mock OSHA Inspection, Sponsor/Vendor Demonstrations, and Question and Answer Period.
      • MIA continued with their Management Tool Kit Series; included Forklift Training Manual to provide outreach for handling slabs of stone in fabricating businesses.
      • Distributed Spanish and Canadian French translations of “Silicosis: Incurable but Preventable” video.
    • Outreach and Communication
      • Produced Spanish translation of MIA's Safety Meetings Tool Kit.
      • Produced technical module Silicosis: an Industry Guide to Awareness and Prevention.
      • Updated the consumer brochure, Truth about Granite & Radon/Radiation to include frequently asked questions and statements from leading authorities on indoor environmental exposure.
    • Promoting the National Dialogue on Safety and Health
      • Numerous MIA newsletter articles promoting S & H in various industry venues.
      • Continued monthly 'Safety Tip' published in MIA newsletter.
    Contributors not part of the Implementation Team:

    Marc Rosenkrantz, President, Schechner Lifson Corporation, Summit, NJ
    Chuck Muehlbauer, Technical Director, MIA
    William V. Levy, President, Levy Media Group, Cleveland, OH
    Susan D. Meyers, Clear Blue Sky Design, Cleveland Heights, OH

  4. Results

    This report outlines the successful activities that have been accomplished during the final year of this Alliance.

    Type of Activity
    (Conference, Training, Print and Electronic Distribution, etc.)
    Number of Individuals
    Reached or Trained
    2009 Newsletter: publish monthly safety tip 67
    2009 Continued to promote new Management Tool Kit, Forklift Safety Training Manual 3
    June 2009 Day long Stone Shop Safety and Health Seminar, Cleveland 6
    7/09 Offered both the English and Spanish
    versions of the technical module, “Safety in the Stone Business” downloadable

  5. Upcoming Milestones
    • This had been a very successful alliance since its inception four years ago. Included below is the success story from the OSHA website about the alliance capturing accomplishments made through the cooperative relationship MIA has with OSHA.
    • MIA has stated that it would like to continue the cooperative relationship it has had with OSHA over the past several years. This may include additional joint seminars or other projects to continue the efforts to make the stone industry safer and healthier for the employees who work in it and to educate the businesses that employ them.
    • The Cleveland Office would like to acknowledge the professionalism of the entire MIA staff over the course of this alliance. It has been such a pleasure to work with a dedicated and committed group of individuals striving to make a difference in the safety and health of this industry, lead by MIA's Executive Vice President Garis Distellhorst.
OSHA Region V Alliance With The Marble Institute of America Works to Provide
Hazard Recognition in the Stone-Cutting Industr

Since the success story was posted in June 2007, the OSHA and Marble Institute of America (MIA) Alliance has created, produced and distributed additional safety and health training videos, conducted seminars, developed a tool kit "Tool Box Talks" and written many articles for The Cutting E-dge, the MIA electronic news resource. Based on the successes of the Alliance during its first 2 years, OSHA and MIA renewed their Alliance in May 2008 for two more years.

Through the Alliance, in February 2008, MIA representatives distributed 11,000 copies of the newest silicosis training DVD, "Silicosis: Incurable but Preventable" to its members; the Spanish and French versions were distributed in June 2008. OSHA staff members participated in the making of the DVD by supplying technical information on silica, including sampling strategies. Approximately 50 participants attended MIA's "OSHA Stone Fabricating Safety Seminar" when it was held in Oakland, New Jersey in July 2007, Fort Lauderdale, Florida in January 2008 and Boston, Massachusetts in April 2008. Compliance Assistance Specialists (CASs) from the local OSHA Area Offices assisted in making presentations, fielding questions and distributing OSHA literature. The MIA seminars included safety and health topics from OSHA inspection protocol to safe handling of stone slabs and silica exposure as well as specific safety and health regulations and how to comply with OSHA standards; three more seminars are planned for later 2008--Minneapolis, Minnesota, San Diego, California, and Cleveland, Ohio. (See sandiego082008_stoneshopsafety.cfm for an agenda.) The MIA Management Tool Kit, which is available in English and Spanish, contains outlines for discussing personal protective equipment, electrical safety, hazard communication, respiratory protection, slab handling, compressed air safety, OSHA requirements and general safety topics at weekly safety meetings. The printed version is packaged in a 3-ring binder; the electronic version is formatted using Microsoft Word; both versions can be modified and adapted for an employer's specific use in the workplace and have three MIA DVDs on Safety-"Basics of Stone Shop Safety," "Basics of Safe Slab Handling" and "Basics of OSHA Compliance for the Natural Stone Industry." Since June 2006, The Cutting E-dge, which has a circulation of 2,500, has published articles on the safety and health seminars, winter shop safety, OSHA recordkeeping, and the OSHA and MIA Alliance, as well as four articles on silicosis.

Future plans for this Alliance include releasing a 2-DVD set of five MIA safety videos and presenting a new MIA Stone Safety Seminar that features a mock OSHA inspection of an operating stone fabrication shop.

-- As of July 2008
The dangers associated with silica and slab-handling represent two of the hazards involved in working in the natural stone fabricating business and are the focus of the Alliance signed on March 10, 2006 between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Region V Cleveland, Ohio, Area Office and The Marble Institute of America (MIA). The Alliance was also signed by the OSHA On-site Consultation Programs in Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. MIA, a trade association serving the natural stone industry, represents professionals working with marble, granite, limestone, quartz-based stone, slate, travertine and other materials.

To meet the Alliance goals of increasing the national dialog and helping to educate employers and employees in the natural stone industry, OSHA and MIA sponsored a day-long seminar in December 2006 for stone industry companies. Fifty representatives from companies located in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin attended the event and listened to presentations given by members of OSHA's Cleveland, Ohio, Area Office. For example, Rob Medlock, Area Director, discussed OSHA policies and procedures; Aaron Priddy, Safety Specialist, discussed safe slab-handling techniques; and Julie Weis, Compliance Assistance Specialist (CAS), discussed prevention of silica exposure. In addition, Dave Roll, consultant for the Ohio On-site Consultation Program, discussed Ohio's On-site Consultation Program's ability to work with employers. Each attendee was provided OSHA and MIA compliance assistance materials including safety videos and brochures. Several companies requested more information on how to contact their state's On-site Consultation Program representatives to schedule an evaluation. "This regional Alliance demonstrates our commitment to find cooperative ways to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses," said Michael Connors, OSHA Region V regional administrator in Chicago. "Enlisting the help of The Marble Institute of America in this effort furthers our joint objective of improving safety in natural stone fabricating businesses through enhanced communication about safety issues and development of safety programs."

In addition, a representative from a Cleveland, Ohio, company that had recently been inspected by OSHA offered insight to the audience from a personal perspective. According to Gary Distelhorst, Executive Vice President of MIA, "This highly informative session provided the necessary details for company owners to take back and reassess their own facilities' strengths and weaknesses in their safety and health programs." At the end of the day, OSHA representatives had a panel discussion during which seminar participants were encouraged to ask questions about workplace safety and health hazards.

In November 2006, Julie Weis gave an update on the OSHA and MIA Alliance at MIA's Annual Conference (StonExpo) in Las Vegas, Nevada. She provided information on specific safety and health regulations and ways to comply with OSHA standards. In addition, she answered questions from some of the 150 attendees. MIA representatives found her presentation so informative that they requested a similar talk be given at the StonExpo in Atlanta, Georgia in March 2007. As a result, Jonathan Worrell, CAS in OSHA's Atlanta East, Georgia, Area Office, spoke at the event. Gary Distelhorst commented, "The Marble Institute is very pleased with the positive relationship that we have developed with OSHA, and in particular the OSHA Cleveland, Ohio, Area Office. Following the formalization of our Alliance, we have worked together on safety training videos, safety modules, articles for our newsletter, safety seminars at our annual convention and trade show, and a stand-alone safety workshop here in the Cleveland area."

Through the Alliance, OSHA and MIA representatives also worked together to develop two DVD videos--"Basics of Safe Stone Slab Handling," which is available in English and Spanish, and "Basics of OSHA Compliance for the Natural Stone Industry"--for stone fabricators and distributors. The videos were distributed to MIA member companies and others and inserted in its magazine, StoneWorld, which has a circulation of more than 10,000 subscribers. The videos describe OSHA's basic policies and procedures and OSHA's emphasis on silica exposure and material handling. OSHA personnel, including the Cleveland, Ohio and Phoenix, Arizona Area Office Directors and the Cleveland, Ohio CAS appear in the videos.

Further, to promote the national dialog on safety and health, Alliance representatives worked together to produce a video Web cast about silica exposure in the stone industry. Bill Perry, Acting Deputy Director, Directorate of Standards and Guidance in OSHA's National Office was interviewed extensively during the production about OSHA's silica emphasis program. He explained the background on silica and silicosis and OSHA's official position on the topic of silica. Dr. Peter Mazzone, a pulmonary specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, also participated and described silicosis symptoms. According to OSHA's Perry, where fabrication is done, wet or dry or a combination of both, fabricators should monitor their employees' exposure to the dust. The video was posted on in early May 2007.

Said MIA's Gary Distelhorst, "The outcome has been a heightened awareness of safety and safe working conditions throughout the stone industry, and while a lot remains to be done, I am confident that our Alliance with OSHA will contribute to, and facilitate, more and better programs to raise safety awareness and compliance."
Report Prepared by: Julie Weis, Assistant Area Director, Cleveland, OSHA Office, 216-615-4266.