|February 15, 2011 · Volume 10, Issue 4|
|In this issue
April 28, 2011, marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of OSHA. Since OSHA's creation, the nation has seen remarkable progress in worker health and safety. Throughout 2011, OSHA is presenting a series of activities to celebrate these accomplishments. We will begin with an interactive timeline that marks important moments in the history of OSHA's efforts, along with those of its state partners, to reduce workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The page will also include a special message from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. We invite our stakeholders to check out the OSHA at 40 Web page and join us in celebrating four decades of healthier workers, safer workplaces and a stronger America.
OSHA has produced a new training video for healthcare employers and workers that explains the proper use of respirators and the procedures to follow to assure that respirators protect workers from airborne hazards in healthcare settings. The 33-minute video explains the major components of a respiratory protection program including fit-testing, medical evaluations, training and maintenance. The video also discusses the difference between respirators and surgical masks, features a segment on common respiratory hazards found in healthcare settings, and demonstrates how respirator use helps protect workers from exposure to airborne chemicals. See the news release for more information on this video and visit OSHA's Safety and Health Topics: Respiratory Protection page to learn more about respirator safety and health.
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels participated in an international panel discussion on green job safety at a Feb. 4 Trilateral Roundtable that included representatives from the United States, Canada and the European Union. Michaels discussed ways that government can work with the scientific and engineering community and with employers and workers to prevent green job worker injuries and illnesses. More than 50 U.S., E.U. and Canadian participants took part in two days of roundtable panel discussions at Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C., to exchange information, best practices and ideas on preparing workers and employers to meet the increasingly complex demands of transitioning to a green economy. See the OSHA Web site for more information on green job safety.
OSHA's Office of Construction Services continues to reach out to stakeholders with in person and webinar presentations explaining key elements of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction Final Rule that went into effect Nov. 8, 2010. OSHA personnel have presented information to more than 900 participants from organizations including the Associated General Contractors of America, Crane Certification Association of America, Building Trades Employers Association and Operating Engineers International Union. A recording of the Webinar, a 60-minute PowerPoint presentation, is available on OSHA's Cranes and Derricks Web page, along with a slide show, fact sheets, frequently asked questions and other resources to help ensure that workers operating or working near cranes and derricks remain safe on the job.
OSHA fined North Central Power Co. Inc. of Radisson, Wis., $199,800 following an investigation into the death of a lineman who was electrocuted while working to repair a 7,200-volt power line in August 2010. OSHA issued the electrical power generation, transmission and distribution company six safety violations that include willfully exposing workers to electrocution hazards. This investigation meets the requirements for OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program. See the news release for more information.
OSHA fined Oberdorfer LLC $220,000 and issued the company 26 citations for violations that include willfully exposing workers to potentially fatal safety and health hazards. The Syracuse, N.Y., manufacturer of aluminum castings was also issued two notices for failing to abate hazards for which it had previously been citied by OSHA. These previously cited violations involved overexposing workers to airborne concentrations of silica, a human lung carcinogen. Breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling or even fatal. Visit OSHA's Web site for detailed information on silica hazards and safeguards. See the news release for more information on Oberdorfer's disregard for the safety and health of its workers.
Dean McDaniel, Jr., former OSHA Regional Administrator for Region VI, passed away Jan. 31 in Dallas. He was 59. McDaniel had a 35-year career with OSHA. As Regional Administrator, McDaniel supervised the agency's activities in five states and managed 12 offices with 275 workers. In 2009, McDaniel oversaw the largest fine ever assessed by OSHA, more than $87 million against BP Products North America for failing to correct potential hazards at its Texas City, Texas, refinery after a 2005 massive explosion that killed 15 people and injured 170 others. Prior to his appointment as Regional Administrator, McDaniel served as a special assistant to the Assistant Secretary of OSHA from December 2004 to May 2007. He also served on the Board of Experts for the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. There he helped develop the code of practice since adopted by the ILO to prevent major explosions and catastrophes associated with chemical facilities and refineries. For more information read his obituary in his hometown newspaper, the Chickasha Express-Star.
OSHA hosted a free regional Latino Workforce Outreach and Education Stakeholders Conference on Safety, Health and Worker Rights Feb. 1, in Oakland, Calif. The one-day event, organized in coordination with California OSHA, federal OSHA and the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, featured informational booths and several health and safety workshops. The conference was attended by nearly 60 representatives from community organizations, organized labor groups, faith-based community groups, educators, consulates, employer associations and others. This was the latest in a series of OSHA outreach events following the agency's 2010 National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health & Safety. Check future issues of QuickTakes for information on upcoming events including Latino worker summits to be held April 10 in South Jersey and April 12 in Philadelphia, and the Latino Worker Training and Education Fair scheduled to take place in Los Angeles in July.
Flame Engineering Inc., a La Crosse, Kan., manufacturer of metal products used in the propane gas industry, noticed a trend of increasing accidents and rising workers' compensation insurance premiums in the mid-1990s. The company recognized the need to improve its safety and health performance and contacted OSHA's On-site Consultation Program to schedule a free, confidential on-site visit to assist the company in detecting potential hazards. A consultant conducted an initial visit that focused on machine guarding hazards. The consultant identified equipment that posed a serious hazard due to lack of proper guarding, and provided an expert to help the company install a proper guarding system. The company requested additional consultation visits over several years, and as a result of implementing the recommended changes, in 2000 Flame Engineering became a participant in the On-site Consultation Program's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. See OSHA's Web site for more information on this safety and health success story.
The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division, referred to as Oregon OSHA, will soon adopt changes to its cranes and derricks standard based on federal OSHA's Cranes and Derricks in Construction Final Rule, which was published in the Federal Register Aug. 9, 2010. The rule is generally identical to the federal rule but includes several additional provisions: more detailed requirements for operators working around power lines, more responsibilities for general contractors and a requirement that training and certification for crane and derrick operators and riggers be carried out by third parties. The new rule will also require construction companies to update their own crane programs by incorporating the new requirements. See the February issue of Oregon OSHA's newsletter, Resource, for more information. (Note: All OSHA-approved State Plans were expected to adopt a revised cranes and derricks standard, equivalent to the federal standard, within six months of the federal rule's publication.)
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Editor: Richard De Angelis, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999.
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