2005 Annual Meeting
National Maritime Safety Association
June 23, 2005
- Good afternoon. My thanks to Mark Baker and Marc MacDonald for arranging this opportunity to provide you an OSHA perspective on your rather apt conference theme, "Maintaining Safety Focus in an Environment of Unprecedented Growth" and to let you know what is going on with the overall OSHA program.
- Unquestionably, operational growth is a dynamic challenge to safety professionals, employers and employees. As the global manufacturing economy continues to grow and as the demands increase on your operations to handle more of its goods and products with better efficiencies, we need to make improvements to our safety management systems and reach out for the right combinations of technological innovations that have significant safety payoffs.
- This conference's impressive agenda gives a platform to do just that.
- While I was preparing for this talk, it was interesting to me to learn that some 2.8 million containers had been handled by Los Angeles/Long Beach port alone thus far this year.
- The sheer volume of material being handled underscores for me the pivotal role your industry plays in contributing to our high standard of living. At the same time, it signals that while the precepts of good safety and health management practices need to be adhered to with constant vigilance, the industry also needs creative, nimble and technologically sound solutions to hazards. OSHA, employers, employees and their representatives need to collaborate to drive down injuries in the longshoring industry... especially in light of the many fatalities the industry has experienced in past years. Overall fatalities, however, have decreased over the last 10 years. We have made good progress, but there is still much to be accomplished.
- My message today is straightforward and simple. We want to explore all the opportunities we might have to work together to prevent injuries and fatalities. The opportunities may take different avenues through
- the Maritime Advisory Committee on Safety and Health (MACOSH),
- an alliance,
- a partnership, or
- But first let me update you on where OSHA is heading, our approach and our plan.
Strategic Management Plan -- Roadmap to Success
- Let me begin by explaining a little about what we call our "balanced approach."
- Over the past few years, the agency has developed an effective model for achieving the Agency's goals. This model includes:
- Outreach, education and compliance assistance
- Cooperative and voluntary programs
- Strong, fair and effective enforcement
- Our "balanced approach" is working.
- Workplace injuries and illnesses have been on a downward trend. From 2002 to 2003, recordable cases of injuries and illnesses declined 7.1 percent.
- The U.S. on-the-job fatality rate for 2002 and 2003 is the lowest ever recorded. We intend to continue pursuing our balanced approach because it's working; it's having a positive impact on health and safety.
Toward these, the plan establishes three performance goals for OSHA:
- As you know, we have a detailed five-year Strategic Management Plan. We call this our blueprint for guiding us as we carry out our balanced approach. Our Strategic Plan dovetails with the overall mission and priorities of the Department of Labor and puts us on target to achieve our major objectives by 2008.
- Reduce occupational hazards through direct intervention.
- Promote a safety and health culture through compliance assistance, cooperative programs and strong leadership.
- Maximize OSHA's effectiveness and efficiency by strengthening its capabilities and infrastructure.
- In addition our strategic plan is in line with one of the Department's strategic goals: to foster quality workplaces that are safe and healthy.
Outreach, Education and Compliance Assistance
- Our goals are well aligned with our overall mission and vision and we have the resources to achieve our goals and support our balanced approach.
- Earlier this year, the President announced his budget for FY 2006. He proposed $467 million for OSHA, a $2.8 million increase. This funding will support our existing programs and maintain our staff at 2,208.
- OSHA is committed to expanding outreach, education and compliance assistance and we are creatively using a large variety of resources to communicate with our many audiences -- employers and employees alike.
Other Compliance Assistance Activities
- The OSHA website is a clearinghouse for occupational safety and health information. It contains an extensive array of resources on safety and health issues.
- More than 200 safety and health topics pages address hazards, related standards, guidance for reducing associated risks and links to additional information on a variety of issues.
- The Compliance Assistance section contains resources and information for employers and safety and health professionals.
- Our interactive elements such as eTools guide users step-by-step through critical evaluations of safety and health hazards.
- Finally, OSHA en Espanol features critical OSHA safety and health information in Spanish.
- One of our topic pages is devoted to Maritime safety -- it is accessible from the main home page.
- The maritime page includes hazard and abatement summaries designed to help employers and workers in the marine cargo handling industry to recognize and control the significant hazards commonly experienced in longshoring and marine terminal operations. The page includes guidesheets that address the most frequent sources of fatalities in the maritime cargo handling industry. Each guidesheet contains a hazard summary describing the circumstances that may have contributed to the hazards and how the specific accident could have been prevented.
Training and Education
- We have a compliance assistance specialist in every Federal OSHA office across the country who is ready to lend a hand. These specialists are ready to answer questions and have the capability to zero in on local needs and issues. They can also provide advice and assistance, outreach, training, education and information sharing. These specialists also participate in, as well as organize, seminars, workshops and speaking events. And they provide services to all businesses, especially small businesses, local trade and labor groups, and community- and faith-based organizations.
- OSHA's Training Institute, outside of Chicago, and 19 OSHA-sanctioned Ed Centers throughout the country offer a variety of programs for workers, safety and health professionals and the agency's compliance officers.
- The Training Institute curriculum includes a one-week course on longshoring safety. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints and the small number of people who requested the course, it was cancelled for this year.
- We are planning to offer the course next year, and possibly expand it to a two week offering. I would encourage you to use this course to get training on the OSHA longshoring standards.
- We will continue this year our work on compliance assistance initiatives for recordkeeping, hazard communication, trenching and reactive chemicals.
- Consultation is a free service through which employers can learn potential hazards at their worksites, improve their occupational safety and health management systems, and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections. The service is delivered by state governments using well-trained professional staff. Most consultations take place on-site, though limited services away from the worksite are available.
- This year marks the 30th anniversary of OSHA's consultation program. More than 500,000 private sector consultation visits have been conducted over the past 30 years, covering more than 25 million American workers.
- The Consultation Program is primarily targeted for smaller businesses. It is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort - no citations are issued or penalties proposed.
- We've had good results, and SHARP illustrates how these visits can lead to long-term positive outcomes.
Cooperative and Voluntary Programs
- The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes small employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system. Upon receiving SHARP recognition, the employer's worksite will be exempt from programmed inspections during the period that the SHARP certificate is valid -- one year for the first certification and one to two years for subsequent certificates.
- SHARP is administered by the Consultation Project in each state. To qualify, the employer must: request a comprehensive consultation visit; involve employees in the Consultation process; correct all hazards; implement and maintain an effective safety and health management system; bring injury and illness rates below the appropriate national average; and agree to communicate with Consultation about changes in working conditions or new hazards.
- Today there are 788 SHARP worksites, and we would like to see even more companies join in the successes we have witnessed.
- The next element in our balanced approach is cooperative and voluntary programs. We're focusing on these programs because we can leverage our safety and health resources for substantial benefits for both employees and employers. Let's now review a few.
- The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is OSHA's premier cooperative program, representing the highest levels of commitment to occupational safety and health. VPP has been incredibly successful for both employers and OSHA. On average, VPP participants have Days Away Restricted or Transferred rates that are 52% lower than other companies in their industries.
- Reducing injuries and illnesses is not only the right thing to do but it also provides benefits to the bottom line -- increased productivity and reduced insurance costs, for example. Entire industries benefit as VPP sites evolve into models of excellence and influence practices industry-wide.
- VPP also benefits OSHA because the agency gains a corps of ambassadors enthusiastically spreading the message of safety and health system management. These partners also provide OSHA with valuable input and augment its limited resources.
- We're expanding it to spread the value of VPP to as many companies and sites as we can. Today we have more than 1,294 sites participating.
- Last year we launched two pilot programs to increase participation in VPP -- Corporate Pilot and Challenge. A third program for construction has been proposed in the federal register.
OSHA Challenge Pilot
- The VPP Corporate Pilot is designed to streamline the VPP application and onsite evaluation process for corporations that have made a corporate commitment to VPP and have internal screening processes to ensure their facilities are VPP ready.
- Corporations submit one corporate application to OSHA describing corporate safety and health policies.
- OSHA conducts an onsite review at corporate headquarters of corporate safety and health policies and procedures that are common to all facilities, reviews the corporate pre-screening process and interviews top executives on their commitment to safety and health and VPP.
- After the corporate onsite is completed and the corporation is officially approved, their individual facilities qualify to submit a streamlined VPP application in that they do not have to repeat what was previously submitted in the corporate application.
- Currently there are seven (7) companies participating in or working toward VPP Corporate Pilot approval.
- Another VPP pilot announced last year is the OSHA Challenge Pilot. It provides a roadmap to implementing safety and health management systems in three stages.
- OSHA Challenge offers a process to help workplaces get ready for VPP. We have 12 Challenge administrators working with us in a pilot project to see how well they can shepherd worksites toward the VPP.
- OSHA provides recognition at the completion of each stage.
- The OSHA Challenge Pilot conserves OSHA resources. Qualified volunteer OSHA Challenge administrators (from private companies, federal agencies or non-profit associations) assist employers with improving their safety and health management systems.
Information on Partnerships
- The OSHA Strategic Partnership Program embraces collaborative agreements between OSHA and its partners who agree to work cooperatively to address critical safety and health issues. This approach is proving to be an effective tool for reducing fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace.
- Working together, OSHA, employers and employees identify the safety and health problem they will address and begin to craft a Partnership agreement. The agreement may be national, regional, or local in scope. Partners agree upon individual responsibilities, identify strategies, establish goals and performance measures to verify results.
- Other interested parties, including unions, trade associations, local/state governments, and insurance companies, are often brought into the Partnership to contribute their expertise and resources.
- What is noteworthy about OSHA's partnership programs is that each Partnership is intended to impact multiple worksites or employers.
- OSHA and its partners benefit every time a Partnership demonstrates the value of cooperation among employers, workers, and other stakeholders. These experiences are excellent industry models to encourage other employers to take a proactive approach.
- Almost 800,000 employees and over 13,000 employers have participated in OSHA partnerships since the program's inception in 1998. These Partnerships have addressed serious workplace safety and health issues aimed at reducing fatalities, injuries and illnesses in a myriad of industries. Partnerships have sought to improve worker protection by implementing meaningful safety and health management systems and by tackling occupational hazards such as lead and silica exposure, falls, electrocution, and musculoskeletal disorders.
- The Partnership program benefits employers by helping them develop practical skills to identify and abate hazards and establish effective safety and health management systems. These management systems serve to continually improve worker protections and create a corporate culture that values worker safety as much as production and profit. The Partnership program also offers employers access to technical assistance, educational resources, and training. Employers benefit further from reduced workers' compensation rates and other costs, lower absenteeism, increased productivity and employee morale.
- Through mentoring and the sharing of lessons learned, Partnerships foster enhanced relationships for employers within their industries and communities. Additionally, Partnerships help transform the relationship employers have with OSHA. Instead of viewing OSHA as an adversary, employers within partnerships learn that OSHA can be a willing listener and useful ally.
- We have 200 Strategic Partnerships, including one signed last summer that will benefit more than 750,000 workers in the electrical transmission and distribution industry.
- For more information on entering into a Strategic Partnership with OSHA, contact Cathy Oliver at OSHA's Office of Partnership and Recognition, telephone (202) 693-2213 or the Partnership Coordinator at your OSHA Regional Office.
Starting an Alliance
- In March 2002, OSHA created the Alliance Program. This cooperative program enables organizations committed to safety and health to work with OSHA to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the workplace. OSHA and Alliance Program participants work together to reach out to, educate and lead the nation's employers and their employees in advancing workplace safety and health. Groups that can form an Alliance with OSHA include employers, labor unions, trade or professional groups, and educational institutions.
- We now have 349 Alliances to promote the value of safety and health and increase training and outreach.
- There are many benefits to participating in an Alliance with OSHA. The two-year agreements help organizations to:
- Build trusting, cooperative relationships with the Agency.
- Network with others committed to workplace safety and health.
- Leverage resources to maximize worker safety and health protection.
- Gain recognition as proactive leaders in safety and health.
- For example, the shipyard industry has established three national alliances and five regional alliances. The alliances have worked with OSHA to produce several safety and health educational products, including animated safety videos, Safety and Health Injury Prevention Sheets (SHIPS), and e-tools that provide safety and health information over the internet. The alliances helped OSHA complete these projects, and even more importantly, helped make sure that the safety and health information makes sense for a specialized industry.
There are few formal program requirements for Alliances and the agreements do not include an enforcement component. However, OSHA and the participating organizations must define, implement and meet a set of short and long-term goals that fall into three categories:
- Training and Education, such as developing training and education programs and seminars aimed at reducing workplace hazards, providing the OSHA Training Institute with educational and training materials on specific safety issues upon request, and providing peer review of OSHA training curricula.
- Outreach and Communication, such as sharing the most up-to-date ergonomic information for educational purposes, promoting participation in OSHA's cooperative programs, and providing information in Spanish and other languages.
- Promoting the National Dialogue on Workplace Safety and Health by sharing data on safety and health hazards, participating in various forums and groups to discuss ways of improving workplace safety and health programs, and demonstrating the effectiveness of safety and health programs.
OSHA and the Alliance participants form implementation teams. The teams, consisting of representatives from OSHA and the organizations, are responsible for developing strategies and implementing programs or processes that meet the defined goals.
Products and Activities
Current Alliances have developed a number of products and undertaken many activities, including:
- Assisting OSHA in developing interactive, web-based training tools on occupational safety and health topics;
- Helping develop Safety and Health Topics pages;
- Appearing at trade shows and conferences.
For information about national Alliances, contact Lee Anne Jillings at OSHA's Office of Outreach Services and Alliances, telephone 202-693-2340. For regional or local Alliances, contact your area's Regional OSHA Office. Visit OSHA's website at www.osha.gov for more information about the Alliance Program and the Regional Offices. We have had alliance discussions with NMSA in the past. I hope the organization will continue to consider forging an alliance with OSHA, and we are open to discussion with any other organizations that have an interest in working together on an alliance improve safety and health in the industry.
Site Specific Targeting
- We intend to continue a strong, fair and effective enforcement program. We are projecting 37,700 inspections for FY 2005 -- the same number planned for FY 2003 and 2004. The proposed budget for FY 2006 envisions the same number.
- In March, testifying before the Congress on the FY 2006 budget, Secretary Chao said: "We have set records in enforcing worker protection laws. For example, worker fatalities are at an all time-low, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has consistently exceeded its inspection targets. More precisely, in 2004, we exceeded our target, completing 39,167 inspections."
- Let's review a few numbers on citations.
- We issued 83,539 violations in FY 2003, 86,708 in FY 2004 and 45,545 so far in FY 2005.
- In FY 2004, we conducted 191 federal inspections in SIC 4491, resulting in nearly 242 violations and about $240,000 in penalties. The most common citations involved were respiratory protection, hazard communication, cranes, and powered industrial trucks. The states conducted another 26 inspections.
- So far in FY 2005, we conducted 135 federal inspections and the states 19.
- Unfortunately, over the last year we have had too many opportunities to inspect marine terminals and stevedores that have experienced serious accidents and fatalities.
National Emphasis Programs
- OSHA does not have unlimited resources. We must focus our resources. Our mainstay for zeroing in on the right sites to inspect is Site Specific Targeting. SST identifies individual employers in general industry and maritime with the highest injury and illness rates. We will continue this program as one of our key strategies in enforcement.
- In March, we sent letters to 14,000 sites from the 80,000 surveyed earlier on injury and illness rates. The letter informs the sites that their rates are significantly higher than average and suggests strategies for reducing injuries and illnesses among their workers. We're beginning inspections at several thousand sites with the highest rates.
- The industry has several characteristics that make it difficult to collect data for SST purposes. Despite these limitations, longshoring and marine terminal employers in federal jurisdictions received 14 letters last year and 16 employers were placed on the SST federal and state inspection lists.
- A study in 2004 of Site Specific Targeting shows that it is making a difference. That evaluation, sponsored by the Department, found that companies that received our letter, but were not inspected, reduced injuries and illnesses about 5 percent over the three years following the letter. But the sites that were actually inspected had injury and illness declines ranging from 12 to 13.8 percent over the three years following our inspection.
- As you know, we also have other strategies for inspection targeting.
- We currently have five National Emphasis Programs focusing on specific safety and health issues including amputations, lead, silica, ship breaking and trenching that we've determined warrant special attention. We also have more than 140 Local Emphasis Programs, developed by our 10 regional offices and our 67 local offices on the basis of what hazards they think need special emphasis. Three of those are oriented toward your industry: About 20,000 of our inspections result from emphasis programs.
- The agency also in taking a special focus -- both in enforcement and compliance assistance -- on the seven priority industries identified in our strategic plan:
- Oil and gas field services
- Fruit and vegetable processing
- Concrete and concrete products
- Steel works
- Ship building and repair
- These industries were selected because of their high incidence rates.
- We're also continuing with the Enhanced Enforcement Program. EEP zeroes in on employers with the gravest violations who have failed to take their safety and health responsibilities seriously.
- The EEP is the Agency's newest enforcement program, established in September, 2003.
- The EEP includes a five-prong approach:
- Enhanced follow-up inspection;
- Targeted inspections for other worksites of the employer;
- Increased company awareness of OSHA enforcement;
- Enhanced settlement provisions;
- Federal court enforcement under section 11(b) of the OSH Act.
- In Fiscal Year 2004, we had 313 inspections classified as EEP cases. These are the cases and violations we really want to focus and follow-up on.
- By far the largest number of these EEP cases -- more than 80 percent -- involve fatalities with high gravity violations. About 55 percent of the EEP cases involved construction. Of the rest, about half were in manufacturing, and the rest were in other industries. There are six EEP cases in the marine terminal and stevedoring industries resulting from fatality investigations.
- Our Office of Maritime Enforcement is updating OSHA's "Tool Shed" Directive which is a comprehensive document that directly applies to the Marine Cargo Handling Industry - it contains an appendix that has over 60 Q & A's based on letters of interpretation on cargo handling issues listed numerically by standard.
- The result of our enforcement efforts, combined of course with our compliance assistance, outreach and education, is clear -- fewer injuries, fewer illnesses and fewer deaths in the workplace.
- The facts are clear -- recordable injury and illness rates have declined 7.1 percent from 2002 to 2003 and lost workday rates have declined 7.7 percent from 2002 to 2003; both of these rates are at the lowest level since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting this information in the 1970s. Total fatalities have declined 6 percent from 2001 to 2003 and workplace fatalities among Hispanic workers have fallen by 11.6 percent since 2001. And the trend continues downward, as it should.
Now let's talk about the maritime industry in particular.
- Of course, the Agency also produces safety and health standards and we are currently working on many important standards. General industry standards include chromium VI, beryllium, walking and working surfaces, electrical safety, explosives, and payment for personal protective equipment (PPE). In construction, we are working on a crane and derrick standard using the negotiated rulemaking process. We are also working on a standard for general working conditions in shipyard employment.
- I'm sure you are more interested in the vertical tandem lifting rulemaking. As most of you know, the Agency held hearings on this issue last year. At the end of the hearing, the participants agreed that it would be helpful to conduct additional testing on twistlocks and corner castings using dynamic testing methods. To give adequate time to complete the testing, Chief Administrative Law Judge Vittone allowed a 90-day post hearing comment period and a 30-day period for post hearing briefs.
- Unfortunately, the testing was not completed within that time frame. As a result, after OSHA received the data, we worked with Judge Vittone to allow hearing participants to comment on the new engineering data. The deadline for comment is June 27, and we look forward to working on a final rule when that comment period closes.
- OSHA has issued a request for information (RFI) concerning its radiation standards. This has been an issue of great interest to the longshoring industry because of the increase in container screening for homeland security purposes. The RFI is part of our effort to review our ionizing radiation standard to determine whether or not it should be updated. The issues we are most interested in are: whether the current PEL is adequate, employee exposure levels, health effects of ionizing radiation exposure, and workplace programs to control such exposure. We are accepting comments until August 1, 2005, and would encourage all interested parties to provide us with their views on this important issue.
Selected MACOSH recommendations and OSHA Actions
- The charter for our Maritime Advisory Committee on Safety and Health has expired. We're working to get the best new members we can for a reconstituted committee.
- I'm very pleased to announce today that the Agency is publishing a Federal Register Notice asking for nominees to MACOSH. The nomination period will last 45 days, so I encourage you to make your nominations in a timely fashion.
- We are seeking new members because we've gained significant guidance and recommendations from the Committee. We appreciate all their hard work and collective expertise.
- I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have participated at MACOSH, either as a member or by attending the meetings. Thanks to Jimmy Burgin, Mike Freese, and Captain John McNeil for their efforts as members of MACOSH. I would especially like to recognize Captain McNeil for his many years of service on MACOSH. He has announced that he will not be a nominee for the next committee, and we will miss his expertise, dedication, and perhaps most of all, his sense of humor. Captain McNeil has been a great advocate for safety and health in the industry, and has provided thoughtful and useful advice over the years.
- I would also like to thank those of you who have attended MACOSH meetings and participated in workgroup meetings. I know Marc MacDonald has attended most of the meetings, and the ILWU safety committee attends on a regular basis. Public participation adds to the ability of the committee to recognize safety issues, openly discuss alternatives for solving problems, and helps the committee draft better recommendations to the Agency.
- The last MACOSH was organized differently than earlier MACOSHs. OSHA established issue-specific workgroups in five areas: health, container safety, outreach, traffic safety, and safety culture.
- The workgroups allowed committee members to work on issues in between full MACOSH meetings, where they could look into issues and better prepare to make recommendations to the full committee at its full meetings. The workgroups helped the full committee provide more comprehensive and well thought out advice to the Agency. The workgroups also provided the shipyard and longshoring members with an opportunity to work together, share solutions to safety problems, and collaborate on safety and health issues.
- We also continued to provide industry-specific breakout sessions so shipyard and longshore interests could discuss issues specific to each industry.
- OSHA believes that this method of organizing MACOSH was much more productive, and we are planning to continue this model for the next MACOSH.
- Let me share with you the status of OSHA's progress in implementing some of MACOSH's recommendations.
World Class Leadership
- MACOSH recommended that OSHA produce a traffic safety guidance product as an e-tool for the longshore industry to help employers and employees reduce traffic accidents and injuries.
- We accepted that recommendation and drafted a guidance product. MACOSH members reviewed the document, gave us additional suggestions, and we're now working on the final product. Once a written document is approved, it can be used to develop an e-tool when funding is available.
- MACOSH recommended that OSHA develop a longshore standard to require fall protection when employees are inside a cage being lifted by a crane. The recommendation calls for employers to install anchor points at a low point in the cage, and employees to tie off to the anchor points to reduce fall injuries.
- MACOSH also asked us to publish a guidance product on this issue that would help protect workers until an OSHA standard is published.
- We have accepted the recommendation for a guidance product, and have written a first draft of the document. We will continue to consider the issue for future rulemaking.
- MACOSH recommended OSHA produce a guidance product for the longshore industry outlining safety and health training issues for maintenance and repair staff. The guidance product, an e-tool, the Committee said, should cover mandatory training under OSHA's longshore standards as well as training commonly used by shipyard employers for maintenance and repair workers.
- We are working on a first draft of this e-tool.
- MACOSH recommended that OSHA continue to develop alliances in the maritime industry, with appropriate union involvement. MACOSH further recommended that OSHA support regional alliance meetings with maritime and other interests to allow alliances to network on safety and health matters and facilitate the sharing of safety and health best practices information between alliances.
- We're doing this. As I mentioned previously, we have several shipyard alliances. We would be delighted to work with you in forging an agreement for the longshore and marine terminal industry.
- MACOSH recommended that OSHA work with the U.S. Coast Guard to address ship design issues that may create hazards for U.S. longshore workers, including lighting, cell guide design, pedestal fall protection, and ergonomics issues related to lashing and unlashing containers.
- At the March 31, 2005, meeting MACOSH amended this recommendation, urging OSHA to participate in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) committee process to help create international standards to deal with shipside safety issues affecting U.S. longshore workers.
- We accepted this recommendation and we are working with the Coast Guard on proposals to improve the IMO's Code of Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSC). We are pleased with the progress on this issue. The IMO recently referred the issue to its sub-committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers and the sub-committee is expected to begin consideration of the issues at its next meeting.
- MACOSH recommended OSHA accept information from the Container Safety Workgroup on the use of fully automatic twist locks (FATLs), and continue to consider their safety and health implications.
- FATLs, which are increasingly being used by the container cargo industry, may improve longshore safety by eliminating the need to manually unlock twistlocks, thus reducing the need to work aloft and in other areas where fall protection is an issue.
- We are monitoring this trend, and have high hopes that this new technology will improve safety.
- MACOSH recommended that OSHA continue to monitor research and developments concerning worker safety issues caused by radiation-based security screening of cargo at U.S. ports, and develop guidance for longshore workers who are working near screening devices.
- As you all know, this screening is conducted by the U.S. Customs Service. Customs has been conducting testing to determine whether the radiation levels are safe, and we have participated in some of that testing. We're continuing to monitor this issue and are considering guidance products. However, there are issues concerning the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's jurisdiction that need to be resolved.
- These accomplishments show the impact that MACOSH can have on OSHA. We don't accept every recommendation, and sometimes we adapt the recommendations to fit the OSHA program, but the committee helps steer us in the right direction to deal with real hazards and reduce injuries and illnesses. We are looking forward to working with the next committee and expect it to be as productive as the last MACOSH.
- And finally, OSHA is involved in international initiatives surrounding occupational health and safety. The World Congress on Health and Safety at Work is one of those activities.
- For the first time in its 50-year history, the United States is hosting the World Congress, which is a conference put together by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Social Security Association (ISSA), and the National Safety Council (NSC) along with OSHA and other Department of Labor organizations.
- This September in Orlando, 3,000 professionals will meet to discuss a variety of topics associated with this year's World Congress theme "Prevention in a Globalized World - Success Through Partnerships."
- Some of the topics that will be discussed include:
- Impact of Globalization: Opportunities and Risks
- Leadership in Safety and Health
- Challenges in a Changing World of Work
- Prevention is a Value in a Globalized World
- I look forward to seeing many of you in Orlando this September. The NSC has an active Maritime section, and I'm sure they would like to see more participation in the marine cargo handling segment of the industry.
- Of course, we have other international initiatives. In a continuing effort to gain a global perspective on health and safety, officials from the EU and OSHA meet bi-annually to improve working conditions.
- We also brief a large number of international visitors on the OSHA program, and we have OSHA staff on a number of international committees.
- Coming back to the theme of the conference, how to keep a focus on safety in a high growth environment. Rapid growth and change bring many challenges to the workplace, especially for safety. I applaud your efforts to keep a focus on safety, because that is really the answer.
- I know I'm preaching to the choir; you all know that focusing on safety is the right thing to do. Much of that focus is on new technologies, and they have promise for creating safer working conditions. Another focal point needs to be basic safety and health. A lot of the issues facing the industry involve traditional hazards, such as fall protection, personal protective equipment, and motor vehicle safety. It never hurts to focus on the basics.
- In closing, I want to emphasize our willingness to work with you to solve these important workplace safety and health issues. MACOSH, Alliances, Partnerships and VPP all provide opportunities to work together, and we look forward to a safer and healthier future for you and your employees.
- We expect to be busy the rest of this year. We're headed in the right direction. BLS data released in March, along with the seven-percent decline in workplace injuries and illnesses from 2002 to 2003 that BLS reported last December, validates OSHA's policy of targeting outreach and enforcement resources where they will have the most impact. This data tells us our Strategic Management Plan is on the right track.
- In a large measure, our successes depend on safety and health professionals like you. My challenge to all of you is to build on our successes as we continue to drive down on-the-job injuries, deaths and illnesses.
- Not only is workplace safety the right thing to do for America's workers, it also makes good business sense because time and time again it's been proved that good safety leads to reduced workers compensation costs, increased productivity and higher employee morale.