The New Mexico Environment Department announced that it has strengthened food safety rules for restaurants and food establishments—with the first set of rules now in effect. The stronger rules incorporate more state‐of‐the‐art food preparation technologies and increase clarity for workers and customers with more comprehensive guidance.
“It is absolutely imperative that we have strong food safety rules to help prevent New Mexicans from getting sick,” said New Mexico’s Environment Secretary Butch Tongate.
Improved food safety is associated with preventable death and illness. With these changes, the state is now in alignment with the United States Food and Drug Administration’s model food handling rules. The Environment Department aims to educate and assist approximately 7,000 food service facilities in its jurisdiction to comply with the enhanced rules. “We are working with New Mexicans so that, together, we can reduce the incidence of foodborne illness and death in our state,” said Secretary Tongate.
Adopted by the state’s Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) in 2016, the revised food rules were discussed at 15 stakeholder meetings across New Mexico. Trainings were conducted statewide and presentations made to the Greater Santa Fe Restaurant Association, the Small Business Association, the New Mexico Health Care Association, and the State Public School Food Nutrition Conference with over 7,000 flyers distributed which explained the food regulation changes to food establishments. A dedicated website was also developed for 24/7 access to the revised food rules’ resources at: https://www.env.nm.gov/fod/Food_Program/Regulation_Update.htm.
The New Mexico Environment Department has jurisdiction for food safety across the state, except for Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque, which have implemented their own food codes and programs.
Although the enhanced food safety measures were adopted by the state’s EIB in 2016, this year the department is revisiting the certification rules for the Food Handler Cards and Certified Food Protection Manager requirements—which are slated to go into effect next year on March 1, 2018. Secretary Tongate said, “We want to ensure that the rules for handling unpackaged foods are applied to the appropriate food service entities.”
New Mexico’s strengthened food regulations and the provision for Food Handler Cards are supported by the New Mexico Restaurant Association, and have been cited as a contributing factor to reduced rates of foodborne illness and death in other states adopting similar requirements.
Marathon Pipe Line Facility Achieves STAR Status in State Safety and Health Program
The Marathon Pipe Line, located in Griffith, Indiana, achieved certification in the Indiana Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) as a STAR worksite for excellence in workplace safety and health. The site hasn’t had a recordable workplace injury or illness in the past three years.
With 21 employees working at the Griffith location, the Marathon Pipe Line transports refined petroleum products to and from Marathon-owned facilities and other third-party pipelines. Because emergency preparation is considered a vital component of pipeline industry responsibilities, the Griffith Area facility’s priority is to operate pipelines safely and responsibly, while providing a positive impact to the communities in which they operate.
“In VPP, the STAR level certification is reserved for worksites who’ve gone above and beyond to exceed expectations in occupational safety and health, and Marathon Pipe Line has done just that with a clean slate for the past three years and counting,” said Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Rick J. Ruble. “Our team looks forward to continuing to work with management and the staff of this Hoosier company.”
The culture of management commitment and employee involvement are strong factors in the facility’s spotless occupational injury and illness record for the past three years. This rate is 100% below the national industry average of 1.8 per 100 workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
MSHA to Award Up To $1M in Grants for Mine Safety Education, Training
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced the availability of up to $1 million in grants for education and training programs to help identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions in and around the nation’s mines.
The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 established the Brookwood-Sago grant program to promote mine safety in honor of 25 miners who died in Brookwood, Alabama, in 2001 at the Jim Walter Resources #5 mine, and in Buckhannon, West Virginia, in 2006 at the Sago Mine.
Funding will enable grant recipients to develop education and training programs on safety and health for mine operators and miners, with special emphasis on programs that target workers at small mines.
Each grant recipient will receive at least $50,000 with a maximum individual award of $250,000. MSHA may incrementally fund these grants based on milestones and availability of funds.
To submit a grant application, go to www.grants.gov. The closing date for applications is March 24, 2017.
Updated Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements Topic at February 21 CONN-OSHA Employer Roundtable
Updated federal recordkeeping requirements for workplace injuries and illnesses, and accurate electronic submission of these records, will be discussed at the February 21 Breakfast Roundtable Discussion Group meeting sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA).
The Roundtable will be held 8:15 to 9:45 a.m. at the Labor Department’s Central Office, 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield. CONN-OSHA employees Grayson Gregory and Catherine Zinsser will review and explain the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s revised guidelines and answer questions.
“OSHA’s revised requirements now require that certain information pertaining to workplace injuries and illnesses be submitted electronically for posting to the OSHA website,” explains John Able, CONN-OSHA Occupational Safety Training Specialist and breakfast roundtable project coordinator. He noted that many employers will be required to electronically submit Form 300A (Summary of Injuries and Illnesses) by July 1, 2017, and several other related reports by July 1, 2018.
Admission to the breakfast is free but pre-registration is required. Contact John Able at firstname.lastname@example.org to register or for additional information.