OSHA Revises Respiratory Protection Standards

August 28, 2006

New Assigned Protection Factors (APFs) for respiratory protection programs are being incorporated into OSHA’s respiratory protection standard.

This APF final rule completes the revision of the reserve sections of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard as published in 1998. The Respiratory Protection Standard will now contain provisions necessary for a comprehensive respiratory protection program, including selection and use of respirators, training, medical evaluation, and fit testing.

“This standard helps employers and employees select the right respirator for the job,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. “And with the right respirator employees will have adequate protection to be safe and healthy at work.”

APFs are numbers that indicate the level of workplace respiratory protection that a respirator or class of respirators is expected to provide to employees when used as part of an effective respiratory protection program. An APF table is being included in the final standard to guide employers in the selection of air-purifying, powered air-purifying, supplied-air (or airline respirator), and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) respirators. (The table is attached to this release).

Employers must follow these new requirements and use APFs to select the appropriate type of respirator based upon the exposure limit of a contaminant and the level of the contaminant in the workplace. Employers select respirators by comparing the exposure level found in the workplace and the maximum concentration of the contaminant in which a particular type of respirator can be used (the maximum use concentration, or MUC). Employers generally determine the MUC by multiplying the respirator’s APF by the contaminant’s exposure limit. If the workplace level of the contaminant is expected to exceed the respirator’s MUC, the employer must choose a respirator with a higher APF.


OSHA and Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama Form Alliance for Safer Construction Work

OSHA and the Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama (ABC) have formed an alliance to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the construction industry.

"The primary goal of this alliance is to promote the value of establishing and maintaining safety and health programs to construction contractors," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA’s Birmingham, Ala., area director. "The alliance will also provide safety and health materials to workers."

OSHA has created more than 453 alliances with organizations committed to fostering safety and health in the workplace.


OSHA, JEA and the University of South Florida Renew Successful Safety and Health Partnership

OSHA, JEA and the University of South Florida will continue a partnership that has significantly reduced injuries among JEA contractors' construction employees.

Between 1999 and 2005, the recordable injury rate dropped from 6.11 to 2.71; the lost time incident rate dropped from 2.08 to 0.92; and the contractors' average experience modification rate dropped from 0.92 to 0.89.

"The partnership's goal - to improve safety at all JEA electric power, water and sewage supply worksites - is reflected in these numbers," said James D. Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director. "We look forward to working together for the next three years."

Since the partnership was signed in April 2000, a total of 29,360 employees and 2,901 supervisors have completed either the 10-hour OSHA construction safety course or the National Center for Construction Education 8-hour contractor safety orientation course. Supervisors also completed an additional 8-hour safety leadership development program.

During the past six years, JEA has required pre-certification for all contractors bidding for construction jobs on JEA projects. Contractors must have a written safety and health program, a drug and alcohol free workplace, safety orientation training for all employees and supervisors, and a low injury and illness rate.

Since the inception of OSHA's Strategic Partnership Program in 1998, more than 410 partnerships have been formed, impacting more than 20,000 employers and 1 million employees across the United States.


OSHA Cites Pyramid Mouldings for Repeat Violations

OSHA has cited Pyramid Mouldings, Rossville, Ga., for allegedly exposing workers to repeated and serious safety and health hazards. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $176,000.

"This inspection was conducted because of a programmed safety inspection that was expanded to include a health inspection," said Andre C. Richards, OSHA's Atlanta-West area director. "We found that significant safety and health issues still exist."

OSHA issued five repeat citations with proposed penalties totaling $100,000. The citations were issued for hazards associated with machine guarding, mechanical power presses, eye protection and potentially dangerous energy that exposed workers to amputation and crushing risks.

Repeat violations occur when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The company also received 20 serious citations with proposed penalties of $76,000. These were issued for hazards relating to locked exits; exit markings; electrical systems; personal protective equipment; eyewash and shower facilities; hazard communication guidelines; lockout/tagout procedures to prevent injuries during machinery servicing; and other safety and health conditions.

OSHA issues serious citations when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.


Forklift Accident Results in Worker Death and $47,000 Fine

Allied Building Products Corp., doing business as John J. Gallagher, faces $47,000 in proposed fines from OSHA. The building-products supplier was cited for two alleged serious and two alleged repeat violations of safety standards for the use of forklifts following the March 17 death of a worker who was crushed between a load of drywall on a forklift truck and a stack of drywall boards.

OSHA's inspection found that the forklift truck's brakes had not been set to prevent its movement, and several employees who operated forklift trucks had not been trained to operate the vehicles safely.

Two serious citations carrying $12,000 in proposed penalties were issued for these conditions. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Two repeat citations carrying $35,000 in fines were issued for failure to inspect forklift trucks daily and for failure to identify any defects and to remove a defective forklift truck from service. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has been cited for a substantially similar hazard in the past and that citation has become final. Allied Building Products was cited in March 2005 for similar hazards at a Hicksville, N.Y., workplace.

"The OSHA standard governing forklift trucks is specific and stringent," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Massachusetts. "It requires that employees be effectively trained and equipment be inspected and kept in proper working order. Failure to ensure these safeguards leaves employees vulnerable to accidents such as this one."


OSHA Praises Partners in Safe Construction of Fox Energy Center Power Plant

OSHA praised "a dedication to workplace safety in the construction of the Fox Energy Center that undoubtedly spared many families the pain of workplace injuries," according to Melvin Lischefski, OSHA area director, Appleton, Wis.

Seventeen contractors and labor groups with 2,420 employees worked 1,450,319 hours constructing the 550 megawatt power plant. Total recordable injury rates for the project were 63 percent below the national average. The safety data also showed that the incident rate for injuries requiring days away from the job, restricted duty or transfer to other duties was 93 percent below the national average in construction.

Contractors and employee groups on-site that participated in the partnership were awarded plaques and certificates to recognize their effort.

"Construction of the Fox Energy Center is one of the area's major projects," said Lischefski. "The potential for tragedy is always present if people don't pay attention to safety. On this project, people were concerned about making sure workers returned home safely to their families, and the results were proof of that commitment."

OSHA, prime contractor Calpine Construction Management Co. and the Wisconsin Safety Consultation Program signed a partnership agreement in November 2005, when the project first began. In addition to eliminating safety and health hazards on the job site, the partnership emphasized training and awareness and required that the employees working at the site receive site-specific safety and health training. In total, more than 28,000 hours of training were conducted at the site, with managers and approximately 270 other workers receiving more intense OSHA training.


General Electric Accepted into OSHA's VPP Corporate Pilot

General Electric Company, headquartered in Fairfield, Conn., was recently admitted into OSHA’s VPP Corporate Pilot. 

"They have demonstrated excellence in safety and health management consistent with the high quality expected of VPP participants. We are pleased to recognize this accomplishment, and we applaud their willingness to continue working with us on promoting safer and healthier workplaces."

"GE is honored to be accepted into the OSHA VPP Corporate Pilot and look forward to continuing our cooperative and productive relationship with OSHA," added Stephen D. Ramsey, GE's Vice President of Corporate Environmental Programs. "GE's commitment to VPP reflects the determination of all GE employees - up to and including the CEO - to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for all GE employees. This commitment is reflected in the more than 100 GE sites in the U.S. that have attained VPP Star status. At GE, we view safety on the job to be a core value and the right of every employee."

General Electric was accepted after a complete review of its safety and health management system by a VPP Corporate Onsite Team. OSHA's program evaluation recognized the company's PowerSuite business system as a particular area of excellence. PowerSuite features modules on tracking hazards and employee training, and viewing thousands of material safety data sheets online. GE becomes the sixth organization to be inducted into the VPP Corporate Pilot, joining Georgia-Pacific, International Paper, U.S. Postal Service, Dow Chemical Company and the Washington Group International. With more than 100 active sites, GE is also the most prolific VPP participant.


TEREX|SIMPLICITY Receives State Award for Outstanding Safety & Health Record

TEREX|SIMPLICITY of Durand, Michigan received the Bronze Award from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) for an outstanding safety and health record. The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG).

“It is an honor today to present the MIOSHA Bronze Award to TEREX|SIMPLICITY–your core value to not sacrifice employees to achieve business goals is truly outstanding,” said Kalinowski. “Every TEREX employee recognizes that working safely helps you build a quality product–that adds value to your customers, your shareholders and your community!”

DLEG Acting Deputy Director Doug Kalinowski and MIOSHA Acting Director Martha Yoder presented the award to General Manager Jason Adams, who accepted on behalf of all employees. Eric Bauer, director, occupational health & safety, TEREX, congratulated the company on its achievement. Invited guests, management personnel and union members attended the presentation.

The MIOSHA Consultation Education and Training (CET) Division recognizes the safety and health achievements of Michigan employers and employees through CET Awards, which are based on excellent safety and health performance. The CET Bronze Award recognizes leadership and commitment to workplace safety and health resulting in significant improvement of their MIOSHA record.

“Our team members are our most important asset and their safety is our top priority. Without their dedication and commitment, we would not be in a position to receive this award,” said Adams. “Accepting this award on behalf of all of our team members is truly an honor. We see this recognition as a starting point–and will continue to keep safety as our top priority.”

The company’s safety performance is attributed to the heightened safety awareness of all employees. They achieved this through weekly safety talks and monthly safety audits with corrective actions. The team has incorporated safety into their continuous improvement efforts. Everyone within the organization continues to work toward the goal of becoming a positive role model within Terex and their industry.

The facility has worked with the MIOSHA CET Division over several years, and invited a CET safety consultant to perform a hazard survey. This survey allowed them an opportunity to walk through the facility with a MIOSHA representative and correct any problem areas that were noted.

“Companies that establish an integrated safety and health program reap the benefits of significantly reducing their injury and illness rates,” said Yoder. “Not only are you committed to protecting your workers–you are committed to producing safe products for your customers. Your corporate core values make you an outstanding Michigan employer!”


New Consumer Booklet Has Lifestyle Tips to Reduce Heart Disease Risk

If you're one of the nearly 65 million Americans with high blood cholesterol, National Cholesterol Education Month (September) is a perfect time to read a new publication designed to help you make the lifestyle changes needed to reduce cholesterol and, with it, your risk for heart disease.

"Lifestyle is crucial for lowering cholesterol but it's not enough to tell people it's important -- you have to help them do it. This guide offers a set of tools to help people get started and to embrace a heart-healthier way of living," said the NHLBI's James Cleeman, M.D., coordinator of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP).

The 80-page easy-to-read booklet is based on the NCEP's guidelines on cholesterol management. These guidelines emphasize the importance of therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) -- intensive use of heart-healthy eating, physical activity, and weight control -- for cholesterol management. TLC is the cornerstone of treatment, according to Cleeman, even if someone also has to take a cholesterol-lowering medication.

As the booklet explains, following a TLC diet means reducing saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in order to lower LDL, the "bad" cholesterol. How do you know how low your LDL cholesterol should be? Your goal LDL level is determined by your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack. To help you determine your risk, the new guide includes the NCEP 10-year coronary heart disease risk calculator. Once your LDL goal is determined, you and your doctor can use the new booklet to implement TLC and reach your goal.

To help reduce saturated fat, trans fat, and dietary cholesterol, the guide offers tips on choosing and preparing low fat meals, selecting healthy snacks, reading nutrition labels, and dining out while staying on the TLC diet. The booklet includes sample menus for different types of cuisine (traditional American, Southern, Mexican-American, and Asian).

The LDL-lowering power of the TLC diet can be boosted by adding soluble fiber and plant stanols and sterols, substances derived from plants that help block cholesterol absorption. The guide suggests ways to add fiber to the diet and discusses the value of plant stanols and sterols and which food products have them. In addition to what you eat, how much you move is also important for heart health. Lack of physical activity is an important risk factor for heart disease. Inactivity contributes to weight gain and raises LDL as well as lowering HDL, the "good" cholesterol. The booklet offers a step-by-step program to get people moving and includes a chart of calories burned in common activities.

Overweight and obesity increase a person's LDL level and can also raise triglycerides and lower HDL. There are also sample menus for TLC at different calorie levels.

A special section of the booklet is devoted to the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes that is associated with obesity and overweight. Having one risk factor increases a person's risk of heart disease, but having several as in metabolic syndrome increases risk even more. The lifestyle changes recommended in the TLC program -- especially weight control and physical activity -- are the main treatment for metabolic syndrome.

The last chapter of the guide, Learning to Live the TLC Way, offers suggestions for how to make the needed lifestyle changes - and get back on track if you fall off the program. A key strategy is to follow TLC with family and friends. Those closest to you can provide support - and help you plan heart healthy meals and physical activities. They can also benefit as the program can help them "prevent" high cholesterol and/or other risk factors.

"TLC is more than a diet. It's really a change in your way of living to help you stay heart healthy," said Dr. Cleeman.

The new guide is the latest in the NHLBI "Your Guide to Better Health" series. The series provides easy-to-read science-based health information and features compelling testimonials from people about their real-life health issues. Other "Guides" include "Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure With DASH; Your Guide to a Healthy Heart; Your Guide to Physical Activity and Your Heart; Your Guide to Living Well With Heart Disease; and Your Guide to Healthy Sleep"

For more information on cholesterol and heart disease, check out the following NHLBI resources:

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