Speeches - (Archived) Table of Contents|
| Information Date:||11/28/2007|
| Presented To:||Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health|
| Speaker:||Edwin G. Foulke Jr.|
Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I would like to welcome you to this meeting of MACOSH. This is the first meeting of FY 08, and we plan to hold one or two more meetings before your charter ends in June.
As always, I am pleased to have committee members who bring experience in the maritime industries, who are thoughtful advocates for workplace safety and health, and who are willing and able to volunteer the time required to do this important work.
I am sure you are wondering about the re-chartering process. At this time, we are preparing a Federal Register notice to solicit nominations to serve on MACOSH. Once we receive the nominations, they are screened for appropriate qualifications, and the Secretary of Labor will select the members to serve. Please, keep in mind that your participation in MACOSH and the workgroup meetings will be considered when the Secretary re-charters this advisory committee.
I would like to welcome Ken Smith of the U.S. Coast Guard. Although you have been to previous MACOSH meetings as a public participant, I understand that you attended your first meeting as a MACOSH member this past August in Oakland. It is good to have you aboard.
Now, I thought I would provide you with an update on some of OSHA's activities over the past three months - including
- Our redesigned publications page,
- new and revised standards,
- a quick look at our enforcement and guidance efforts,
- advances in outreach training that benefit your industries, and
- achievements by our maritime-related Alliances
Our publications page features an extensive list of free publications. With over 300,000 visits every month, it is one of the most popular places on our Web site.
OSHA redesigned this page to support our commitment to making our important information easier to find. We have been working since January to give the Agency's publications page a more customer-focused appearance and new features.
For example, the enhanced search engine now offers a choice of 5 ways for customers to look for products - by publication number, by keyword, alphabetically, by industry/topic, and by type of publication.
We have also adopted popular features that we see in many commercial on-line order sites. New components - such as the "Most Frequently Viewed OSHA Publications" and "Publications Recommended by OSHA" - will make it easier for visitors to obtain additional important materials.
Anything that OSHA can do to help employers prevent workplace accidents from happening in the first place - through education, compliance assistance or outreach - pays immediate dividends in fewer injuries, illness and fatalities.
Therefore, we listened carefully to our stakeholders when they asked for better online service. OSHA responded by making our lifesaving materials more accessible and making the Agency more responsive to the public's needs.
Employer-Paid Personal Protective Equipment
OSHA recently (Nov. 14, 2007) published a final rule on an important workplace safety and health standard: employer-paid personal protective equipment.
Under the rule, employers will be required to provide personal protective equipment - or "PPE" - at no cost to employees, except under specific circumstances.
The rule contains exceptions for certain clothing and gear, and it clarifies OSHA's requirements regarding payment for employee-owned PPE and replacement PPE.
Later this afternoon, you will receive a full report on the PPE payment standard from Bill Perry, our Deputy Director of Standards and Guidance
During your meeting your will also receive details about a number of other standards and guidance products that the Agency is developing for your industry. I will briefly mention them now, but please look to the Standards and Guidance staff for their expertise for specifics. They have been working hard to introduce or revise these standards and guidance documents, and they are eager to provide answers to your questions.
Subpart F - General Working Conditions In Shipyards
For example, at OSHA we are well aware that working in shipyards is one of the most hazardous occupations in the nation. To reduce those risks, OSHA is going to propose revising its standards on General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment (29 CFR Part 1915, subpart F).
The proposal covers several workplace safety and health issues, although many provisions are simply updates and clarifications of existing requirements.
The proposed rule has been cleared by OMB and is being prepared for publication.
The final rule revising the electrical installation requirements for general industry (Subpart S of Part 1910) was published on February 14, 2007 and went into effect on August 13, 2007.
The final rule contained a requirement to provide ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) for temporary wiring involving certain activities.
At the August 1, 2007 meeting, MACOSH asked OSHA to delay enforcement of the GFCI provision until we could clarify the standard. In response to your recommendation, we will be clarifying the standard as it applies to shipyard employment later in this meeting.
Standards Improvement Process Phase III
As part of a long-range review of all OSHA's standards, OSHA is considering changes in the Maritime Industry Standards - specifically, Parts 1915, 1917, 1918, and 1919.
For example, in Subpart G of Part 1915, covering Gear and Equipment for Rigging and Materials Handling, OSHA is considering revising the sling standard.
OSHA is also considering adding definitions of "ship's stores" to Parts 1917 and 1918.
Ergonomics Guidelines for Shipyards
Because shipyard work is hazardous and physically demanding, OSHA has worked with your industries to develop proposed ergonomics guidelines.
These guidelines provide recommendations for shipyards to help -
- reduce the number and severity of work-related musculoskeletal disorders,
- increase employer and employee awareness of risk factors,
- eliminate unsafe work practices,
- alleviate muscle fatigue, and
- increase productivity
OSHA realizes that some shipyards, particularly small ones, may need help with the implementation of some of the ergonomic solutions. To meet these needs, I want to emphasize the availability of the Agency's free consultation services.
Pandemic Influenza Guidance
While on the subject of guidance products for employers, I want to mention an ongoing effort by OSHA that is designed for shipyards and every other place of employment in the United States.
Medical experts predict that a worldwide influenza outbreak in the coming years will cause disease in many people. When it hits, businesses everywhere will likely experience increases in employee absenteeism, changes in consumer demand, and interruptions in supply and delivery schedules.
To help prepare our nation's workforce to meet the potential challenge of an influenza pandemic, OSHA has developed two major guidance documents - one for general industry practices, and the other which addresses the specific needs of employees working in the health care industry.
The guidance for general industry explains:
- How influenza is spread,
- How employers can maintain operations,
- How to protect employees,
- Steps for low, medium and high-risk workplaces, and
- Tips for employees to stay safe and healthy while traveling or living abroad for work.
Turning to our Enforcement efforts, I am pleased to inform you that OSHA set a goal for FY 2007 of conducting 37,700 inspections. We exceeded our goal by 4 percent.
In addition, OSHA remains committed to maintaining up-to-date and accurate directives and other guidance for the Maritime industries. Most of OSHA's maritime directives have been issued in 2005 and 2006. Revisions on 2 of these maritime directives are close to completion, and we expect to issue updated directives for Shipyard PPE and Maritime Jurisdiction in the spring of 2008.
Tom Galassi, Deputy Director of our Directorate for Enforcement Programs, will have the details for you later in your meeting's agenda.
OUTREACH TRAINING PROGRAM
I want to turn next to another important part of OSHA's mission to assist employers. We have been looking at the needs of your industry and how we can offer support through the OSHA Training Institute.
This year, Region 4 completed and presented a 10- and 30-hour train-the-trainer course and a 30-hour training course designed for the maritime industry. Topics include:
- Shipyard Employment (including ship repairing, shipbuilding, and shipbreaking),
- Marine Terminals, and
Shipyard/Maritime Industry National Alliances
Finally, I would like to remind you that we have 4 national Alliances with the maritime industry:
- American Shipbuilding Association (ASA)
- National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP)
- Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA)
- National Maritime Safety Association (NMSA)
Through our Alliances, we are developing for the Maritime Industry a new fact sheet, "Safety Alert: Electrocution." The Safety Alert is being designed to inform shipyards about electrical hazards, such as arc flash. We are developing this fact sheet with the assistance of 3 of our maritime industry Alliance partners - ASA, NSRP and SCA - along with 2 other Alliance partners - the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Society of Safety Engineers.
Meanwhile, our Maritime Industry Safety and Health Topics page on OSHA's Web site is being updated to reflect input from OSHA and our ASA, NSRP and ASA Alliance partners.
You have a full agenda ahead of you, so I will not keep you from your work.
Thank-you for your service and commitment. I value your insight and welcome your comments.
|Speeches - (Archived) Table of Contents|