OSHA Quick Takes 9/1/2009

In This Issue

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis responds to decline in worker fatalities

A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated the preliminary Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries dropped to 5,071 fatal work injuries in 2008 – down from 5,657 reported in 2007. Although there has been a decline in fatalities, Secretary Hilda L. Solis said “it does not lessen the need for strong enforcement to ensure that safety is a top priority in every workplace.” Solis affirmed that the “Department of Labor will not be satisfied until there are no workplace deaths due to failure to comply with safety rules.”

Advisory council will discuss federal workforce H1N1 flu preparedness at special meeting

The Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health will meet Sept. 15 in Washington, D.C., to review a draft report on activities related to federal agency pandemic H1N1 influenza preparedness and planning for the federal workforce. More information appears in the Aug. 19 Federal Register.

Pandemic influenza and small business preparedness is topic of OSHA forum

OSHA will present a small business forum on pandemic influenza workplace planning and preparedness Sept. 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the U.S. Labor Department’s Francis Perkins Building auditorium. An expert panel of OSHA, state and county health officials and a small business representative will discuss the current H1N1 (swine flu) threat, explore preventive measures and identify resources for small businesses on preparing their workplaces for a pandemic. For more information or to register, contact Charlene Crawford at 202-693-2165 or crawford.charlene@dol.gov.

OSHA grantee offers free training on construction hazards

The University of Puerto Rico’s School of Medicine, an OSHA Susan Harwood Training Grant Program recipient, is offering free occupational safety training in Spanish Sept. 9-10 at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo Campus. Topics offered are on fall, electrical, struck-by and caught-in between hazard prevention; ergonomics; hearing conservation; hazard communication; and an introduction to OSHA. Employers and workers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act are eligible to participate. For more information and to register, contact the Division of Voluntary Programs at 787-754-2172 ext. 3338.

Annual AIHA/ASSE North Texas OSHA regulatory update seminar slated for Sept. 15

OSHA’s Dallas Regional Office is co-hosting the American Industrial Hygiene Association and American Society of Safety Engineers OSHA regulatory update seminar Sept. 15 at the Ruthe Jackson Center in Grand Prairie, Texas. Directorate of Standards and Guidance Director Dorothy Dougherty, Region VI Administrator Dean McDaniel and other OSHA officials will explain emphasis programs and agency policies to local safety and health professionals. For more details and to register, contact Kira Cox at The University of Texas at Arlington, 817-272-2581.

Strategic partnership leads to lower injury and illness rates on construction project

OSHA formed a strategic partnership with the Nationwide Children’s Replacement Hospital Project in May 2008 to promote workplace safety and health during the construction of the hospital’s 1 million square foot expansion. Results from the annual evaluation show a days away from work, restricted, and job transferred rate of nearly 50 percent below the 2007 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ national average. Other achievements include performing 123 self-inspections that resulted in the abatement/correction of 209 potential hazards.

National SGE of the Year award recipient honored at the VPPPA conference

Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab presented Robert Sander with the 5th National Special Government Employee (SGE) of the Year award at the annual Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association (VPPPA) Conference recently held in San Antonio. Sander, a U.S. Postal Service employee, has participated on nine VPP on-site evaluations and is a member of the VPPPA Region VII Mentoring Committee. This award recognizes an SGE who epitomizes and exhibits exceptional mentoring, outreach and OSHA support in VPP.

QuickTips for employers to plan now for upcoming flu season

The Department of Labor and three other federal agencies announced new guidance for employers to plan and respond to the upcoming flu season. The guidance, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides employers with help on preparing now for the impact that seasonal and 2009 H1N1 influenza could have on their workers and operations during the fall and winter. Plans should include encouraging workers with flu-like symptoms to stay home, allowing highly-susceptible staff to work from home and encouraging workers to get flu vaccinations.

For more information on Department of Labor news, visit DOL’s electronic newsletter at http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/.

Editor: Kimberly Tucker, OSHA Office of Communications, 202-693-1999
For more information on occupational safety and health, visit OSHA’s Web site.

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