June 21, 2002

OSHA, the Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation and the Screenprinting & Graphic Imaging Association International formally agreed to work together to share best practices and technical knowledge on ergonomics to foster prevention of injuries and illnesses in the printing and graphic arts industries.

"We are very pleased that these associations want to work with OSHA to make information on ergonomics best practices more widely available and more broadly implemented in their industry to promote safe and healthful working conditions for graphic communications employees," said OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw. "This Alliance is the first of many we expect to sign with industries that are moving forward to address ergonomics as part of their effort to strengthen safety and health in their workplaces."

Under the Alliance, the partners will work together to develop and disseminate best practices information on ergonomics at conferences, including the national print show, GraphExpo, October 6-9 in Chicago. Further, they will make information available in print and on their websites. Companies that are members of these associations will be encouraged to implement these best practices and dramatically reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders. They will also be encouraged to participate in OSHA cooperative programs such as Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) and the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

In addition, Alliance members will promote the national dialogue on workplace safety and health through joint outreach efforts, sharing data that support solutions to ergonomic hazards and convening and participating in forums and round table discussions to identify innovative solutions to ergonomic issues in the printing and graphic arts industry. Finally, participants will develop and deliver training and education programs for workers in the graphic arts industry.

To implement the Alliance, a team representing each organization will meet quarterly. The implementation team will establish working procedures; identify roles and responsibilities under the Alliance; and track, analyze and share information on activities and results.

The alliance has a one-year term. The agreement can be automatically renewed annually.


Failure to protect workers against safety and health hazards ranging from unguarded machinery and electrical equipment to deficient respirator and first aid safeguards has resulted in $41,925 in proposed fines against a Seymour, Conn., sporting goods manufacturer.

Thule, Inc. has been cited by OSHA for alleged serious, repeat and other violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following safety and health inspections by OSHA's Bridgeport area office.

The inspections were conducted under an OSHA program that targets workplaces with a higher than average number of workdays lost to on-the-job injuries or illnesses, explained Robert W. Kowalski, OSHA's Bridgeport Area Director.

Sixteen alleged serious violations account for $33,825 of the proposed fines. Those cited hazards include moving machine parts not guarded against employee contact; exposed live electrical conductors; no written standard operating procedures for the proper selection and use of respirators; failure to evaluate an employee's physical fitness to wear a respirator; no written control plan to minimize first aid responders' exposure to bloodborne pathogens; improper storage of compressed gas cylinders; and a blocked exit door.

Four alleged repeat violations, with $8,100 in proposed penalties, were issued for: excess air pressure in cleaning hoses; no annual inspection of the plant's energy control procedures; misuse of electrical outlet boxes; and inadequate strain relief for power cords. OSHA had previously cited Thule for substantially similar violations in 2000 and 2001 following inspections at the company's Franklin Park, Ill., manufacturing plant.

Thule was also cited for ten alleged other than serious violations for inadequacies with workplace hazard evaluation, hazard communication, fire extinguishers, electrical panels and power cords.

Thule, Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


A multitude of safety hazards, including exposing employees to unguarded machinery, electrical and fire hazards and hazardous substances, have resulted in $119,000 in proposed fines against Syracuse China Company of Syracuse, N.Y.

OSHA has cited the chinaware manufacturer, a subsidiary of Libbey Glass, Inc., for alleged serious, repeat and other-than-serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at its manufacturing plant here. The company has until July 2 to contest the citations.

According to Diane M. Brayden, OSHA's area director for Syracuse, the action results from an inspection of the plant conducted Dec. 13, 2001 through April 10, 2002 under OSHA's "site specific targeting 2000 program." Under this program, Brayden noted, general industry worksites were selected for inspection based on high rates of lost workday injuries during calendar year 1998.

As the result of the inspection, Syracuse China Company has been cited for alleged serious violations of OSHA's safety standards, which include a proposed penalty of $94,000.

The company also was cited for a repeat violation relating to general machine guarding infractions. The proposed penalty for this violation is $25,000.

Finally, Syracuse China was also cited for alleged other-than-serious violations including failure to provide stair railings, blocking access to circuit breaker panels and disconnect switches, and using extension cords as permanent wiring. The other-than-serious violations did not include a proposed monetary penalty, but must be corrected.

A repeat violation is cited when an employer has been cited for an identical or substantially similar condition within the past three years. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.


A Franklin Park, Ill., firm's failure to protect employees from the hazards of mechanical power presses that resulted in the amputation of three fingers of a worker's left hand has led to a fine of $295,000 by OSHA.

The inspection was initiated at Sloan Valve Company on Dec. 20 after OSHA received a safety referral about an employee who sustained an amputation while using a mechanical power press. OSHA issued citations alleging four willful and three serious safety and health violations.

"Mechanical power presses are one of the most hazardous machines for workers," said Diane Turek, OSHA area director of the Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines. "Many of the workers at this facility communicated best in Spanish. We were able to speak with them in their native language, which enabled the OSHA inspection team to understand exactly what took place at the workplace."

OSHA issued willful violations alleging that the firm failed to protect employees from point of operation hazards, failed to provide guards using sensors for all areas of entry for mechanical power presses, and failed to require the concurrent use of both hands when activating mechanical power presses. Other willful violations alleged the firm failed to ensure that operational modes on mechanical power press could be supervised by the company and failed to ensure that mechanical power presses required prior action before operating continuously.

The alleged serious violations cited the firm for failing to establish periodic inspections of mechanical power presses, failing to test mechanical power presses at least weekly to ensure that necessary maintenance and repairs were performed before presses were operated, and failing to train and supervise mechanical press operators in safety methods before starting operations.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one that is committed with an intentional disregard for or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

Sloan Valve Company manufactures flush valves for the plumbing industry at its facility in Franklin Park. The company has wholesale distribution networks worldwide.

Sloan Valve Company has 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission or to request an informal conference with the area director.


The 3M Company plant in Aberdeen, S.D. was recognized by OSHA) for continued excellence in its safety and health program, during a ceremony held at the plant. 3M's Occupational Health & Environmental Safety Division in Aberdeen was awarded one of the highest levels of recognition that OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) has to offer ?- OSHA's prestigious VPP STAR.

John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary for OSHA, and Terry M. Terry, OSHA's regional VPP manager in Denver, presented a VPP flag and plaque to 3M Aberdeen employees.

"The 3M Corporation has made a strong commitment to health and safety at its facilities world-wide, and this award for 3M-Aberdeen is proof that commitment is working," said Henshaw. "3M's corporate commitment to bring all of its U.S. facilities into the VPP program is a testament to the strength of 3M's dedication to the health and safety of its employees, and should serve as a model for health and safety programs in other corporations in this country and, indeed, around the world."

"We at 3M are extremely excited to receive this recognition," said Katherine Reed, staff vice-president, 3M Environmental, Health and Safety. "3M is committed to workplace safety at our facilities around the world. As a result, we have implemented a global Environmental, Health and Safety management system, which parallels OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program. We commend OSHA for promoting voluntary health and safety improvements programs and for setting goals that can be implemented not only in this country but around the world."

OSHA's VPP offers companies a unique opportunity to move beyond traditional safety programs by recognizing work places that successfully incorporate comprehensive safety and health programs into their total management systems. A STAR VPP program is open to any industry, and to companies with injury rates below their industry's national average. There are approximately 800 VPP STAR sites in the nation.

Requirements for application to VPP include a high degree of management support and employee involvement; a high-quality worksite hazard analysis, prevention and control programs; and comprehensive safety and health training for all employees. Each of these elements must be effective, in place and in operation for at least one year before applying to join the program.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has issued a new series of five booklets that provide individual, self-contained chapters from NIOSH's "Worker Health Chartbook, 2000" in a handy digest-sized format.

Each booklet reprints comprehensive tables and summaries pertaining to a specific category from the Chartbook: fatal occupational illness, nonfatal occupational illness, fatal occupational injury, nonfatal occupational injury, and an industry-specific focus on mining injury statistics.

The original chartbook, issued in September 2000, was a first-ever one-stop compilation of comprehensive data on the nature and prevalence of work-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths. NIOSH worked with the assistance of several other government agencies in combining and collating information from several different data sources.

The new booklets provide convenient resources for researchers, educators, employers, workers, administrators, health and safety professionals, and others who may have specific interests in individual subject areas and need a ready, focused resource for each.

The booklets are:

"Worker Health Chartbook, 2000: Fatal Injury," DHHS (NIOSH)
Publication No. 2002-117

"Worker Health Chartbook, 2000: Fatal Illness," DHHS (NIOSH)
Publication No. 2002-118

"Worker Health Chartbook, 2000: Nonfatal Injury," DHHS (NIOSH)
Publication No. 2002-119

"Worker Health Chartbook, 2000: Nonfatal Illness," DHHS (NIOSH)
Publication No. 2002-120

"Worker Health Chartbook, 2000: Focus on Mining," DHHS (NIOSH)
Publication No. 2002-121 Printed copies can be ordered from the toll-free NIOSH information number, 1-800-35-NIOSH.