April 25, 2002

As part of the nonprofit NFPA's commitment to enhancing public safety through the adoption and enforcement of key safety codes and standards, the Association announced that it would make two prominent consensus codes available for review online by the public. Following its scheduled August 2002 issuance, NFPA 5000, Building Code, will be available along with NFPA 1, Fire Prevention Code, through NFPA's web site.

Free access to NFPA's safety documents will make available important safety information to people who may not use the codes in their daily work. With the convenience of hyperlinks, the public can quickly access the NFPA documents directly from an adopting jurisdiction's site.

"Free online access will allow interested citizens to review the consensus documents whenever they like," said NFPA President George Miller. "In addition to being a resource for information, I believe this will help us to interest and involve more people in the consensus code development process."

NFPA 5000 is the first building code being developed through an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited process. NFPA 1 and the Uniform Fire Code (UFC), the two most widely adopted fire codes in the U.S., are being merged in 2003 to become NFPA 1, Uniform Fire Code, addressing basic fire prevention requirements necessary to establish a reasonable level of fire safety and property protection from the hazards created by fire and explosion. Both NFPA 5000 and NFPA 1 will be part of the only full set of integrated consensus-based safety codes and standards, currently being developed by NFPA and its partners, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Western Fire Chiefs Association (WFCA).

NFPA is also committed to making training and code documents available to code enforcers. When a state adopts a major NFPA safety code, NFPA will make available free training and codebooks for code enforcers in the state, at no cost to taxpayers.

All NFPA safety codes and standards are developed through an ANSI-accredited process. The 250 technical committees responsible for developing and updating all codes and standards include 6,000 volunteers, representing enforcing authorities, installation and maintenance, labor, research and testing, insurance, special experts, consumers, and other users. All interested parties and members of the public can review and comment on the codes and standards. All NFPA members have the opportunity to vote before the document is published. Virtually every building, process, service, design, and installation in society today is affected by NFPA's codes and standards.



A new Hazard Information Bulletin issued by OSHA alerts dental laboratories on how to prevent exposure to beryllium, which can cause chronic beryllium disease (CBD), a debilitating and often fatal lung disease, or lung cancer.

"Inhaling Beryllium dust at some concentrations is extremely hazardous-sometimes deadly," said OSHA Administrator John. Henshaw. "We are concerned that dental lab technicians are continuing to contract the disease associated with Beryllium exposure. This bulletin informs dental labs and workers of the potential hazards and offers effective methods to prevent exposure to beryllium."

The Hazard Information Bulletin presents a case of CBD recently diagnosed in a dental lab technician and recommends the types of engineering controls, work practices, training, personal protective equipment and housekeeping procedures that can be used to reduce beryllium exposure and the risk of CBD. It also provides information on a health surveillance tool that can be used to identify workers with CBD, or beryllium-sensitized individuals, who are at a high risk of progressing to CBD.

Dental laboratory technicians can develop CBD if they inhale dust containing beryllium when working on items such as dental crowns, bridges, and partial denture frameworks made from dental alloys containing beryllium. CBD may develop within months after initial exposure to beryllium or may have a very slow onset and not develop until years after exposure to beryllium has occurred.

Not all dental alloys contain beryllium. Dental laboratories and technicians should inquire about the contents of the alloys they are using. Information about the contents of dental alloys can be found in the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) that accompany these products to the dental laboratory.

Under OSHA's current beryllium standard employees cannot be exposed to more than 2 micrograms of beryllium per cubic meter of air for an 8-hour time-weighted average. Recent information suggests that compliance with this exposure limit is not adequate for preventing the occurrence of CBD. The Hazard Information Bulletin calls for, to the extent feasible, the use of improved engineering controls and work practices.

The Hazard Information Bulletin underwent an extensive review process, both inside and outside the Agency. 


National Safety Council (NSC) President Alan C. McMillan responded to the announcement by OSHA that it will implement a comprehensive ergonomics plan to address workplace musculoskeletal disorders.

"In its announcement, OSHA declared its intent to establish four fundamental components to its plans to address ergonomics hazards in the workplace - guidelines, enforcement, compliance assistance and research," McMillan said. "We are optimistic that this approach, rigorously pursued, will produce effective, targeted results.

"Ergonomics injuries affect many American workers and it was necessary that OSHA take action to address this very real issue. While we recognize and respect that many stakeholders are understandably dissatisfied with OSHA's plan to issue guidelines rather than regulations," McMillan said, "it is important to note that other OSHA guidelines have been effective in reducing worker injuries. The real measure of success will be in the comprehensive nature of the guidelines and the extent to which they are communicated, implemented and enforced.

"The National Safety Council stands ready to assist OSHA in any way it can to implement this important plan," McMillan said. "In particular, NSC may be in position to assist in three areas OSHA identified as key aspects of its ergonomics plan: expanding compliance assistance on ergonomics to employers, providing a specialized focus to Hispanic and other immigrant workers (many of whom work in industries with high ergonomic hazard rates), and identifying current gaps in scientific research and stimulating and encouraging needed ergonomics research."

The National Safety Council is a not-for-profit, nongovernmental public service organization, Chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1953, and dedicated to protecting life and promoting health. NSC members represent over 37,500 business and labor organizations, schools, public agencies, private groups and individuals.


More than 5,000 workers lose their lives and nearly four million suffer disabling injuries on the job each year in America. When the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues its 2001 report in August, the number of workers reported killed and injured is expected to increase because of the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

"The National Safety Council (NSC) joins the observance of Workers Memorial Day by remembering those who have lost their lives or been injured on the job," NSC President Alan C. McMillan said, "especially those who lost their lives on September 11. At the National Safety Council, every day is dedicated to protecting lives and preventing injuries. This Workers Memorial Day, we rededicate ourselves to the mission of protecting workers both on and off the job."

The Council along with its 37,500 member organizations and 50 chapters around the country will join the observance in a moment of silence on Friday, April 26 to remember those who have died or been injured at work.

Workers Memorial Day is a worldwide annual event to honor workers killed or hurt on the job. Hundreds of similar events around the country will take place on April 26, the last weekday before the event. Workers Memorial Day is officially on Sunday, April 28.


The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has announced its intention to relocate the agency's headquarters office next month to a new location within Arlington, Va.

"We hope to make this transition seamless and we're confident we can complete the move without any reduction in the services we provide," said Dave Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "This office will be moving just a short distance within the same northern Virginia area."

The new location for MSHA headquarters will be in the Rosslyn area of Arlington County, at 1100 Wilson Blvd., 21st Floor, Arlington, Va., 22209-3939. The move will take place beginning Friday, May 17. All agency offices are expected to be in full operation by Monday, May 20.

The move will also change telephone numbers for reaching the agency's headquarters. Beginning May 20, the agency telephone number for general inquiries will be 202-693-9899. Mine operators and mining industry groups are being notified of the move by letter and will be provided a listing of new telephone numbers for key agency officials at the new location prior to the move.

MSHA, which promotes miner safety and health through a program of inspection, education and training, compliance assistance and technical support at mining operations nationwide, has offices in 38 states. The impending move will only impact the headquarters personnel and offices located in Arlington, Va. The headquarters move is necessary due to the termination of the agency's lease for its current headquarters site in Arlington County's Ballston area.


The latest national data on the use of hospital emergency departments show that there were 108 million visits in 2000, up 14 percent from 95 million visits in 1997. Because the number of hospitals providing emergency care decreased from 4,005 to 3,934 between 1997 and 2000, the number of annual visits per emergency department has increased about 16 percent since 1997 from 24,000 to 27,000 and waiting time for non-urgent visits has increased 33 percent, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The most seriously ill or injured patients (with needs deemed emergent) continue to get care about as quickly as in 2000 as in 1997. However, for non-urgent visits, patients on average waited about 68 minutes to see the doctor for non-urgent visits, up from 51 minutes in 1997.

The increase in visits to the emergency department is a result of overall population growth as well as increases in the number of seniors. Older Americans, those 75 years of age and over, had the highest rate of emergency department visitsù65 visits per 100 persons per year while the national average was 39 visits per 100 persons per year.

"The emergency department plays a critical role in our nation's health care system, whether for treatment of a broken bone or as the first line of defense against bio-terrorism," said David Fleming, MD, Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stomach and abdominal pain, chest pain, and fever were the most commonly recorded reasons for a visit to the emergency department. Since 1997, an increase in visits with a primary diagnosis of chest pain or abdominal pain was found for women aged 45 and over. There were 1.3 million visits due to adverse drug reactions or other complications from medical care in 2000.

Persons aged 15 to 24 years had the highest injury visit rate. The most frequently recorded injury diagnoses were open wounds, 18 percent, and the most commonly mentioned body site injured was hand, wrist and fingers, 13 percent.

CDC's National Center for Health Statistics conducts this annual survey of visits to the emergency department as part of its National Health Care Survey, which also covers doctors' offices, hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and home health care.

The survey found that medications were used in 74 percent of all visits, virtually unchanged from 1999. There was an average of 1.6 drugs used or prescribed per emergency department visit. Since 1997, drug prescription rates increased for persons 15-44 years old. Medication for pain relief was the most frequent class of drugs administered.

The use of the emergency department varied by age and other patient characteristics. The African-American population used the emergency department at a rate 67 percent higher than of the white population in 2000.

About 14 percent of patients arrived at the emergency department by ambulance. About 16 percent of the visits were deemed to be emergent, that is, the patient should be seen within 15 minutes of arrival; another 31 percent of the visits were classified as urgent enough for the patient to need to see the doctor within an hour. About 12 percent of patients seen in the emergency department were admitted to the hospital.

The National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey is a national probability survey of visits to hospital emergency departments of non-Federal, short-stay and general hospitals in the United States.



  • May 26, 2002 - Employers subject to process safety management standards must update and revalidate the hazard analysis of their process conducted pursuant to 29 CFR 1910.119(e)(1)