Quick Action and Safety Harnesses Avert Falls

September 05, 2006

 He stopped at the worksite and saw an employee trip on a slide guard and nearly fall off the roof - the employee caught himself on the side of a chimney. Nozzi initiated an inspection and asked the employer to cease work until employees were provided adequate fall protection.

In an unrelated incident the next day, two Primasteelisa Company employees were 10 stories up inspecting the facade of a building in downtown Chicago when the motor to the scaffold they were working from stalled and caused it to tilt. The safety harnesses they wore kept them from falling. Within 30 minutes, the motor started working again, and the employees lowered themselves safely to the ground.



Ergonomics eTool for the Printing Industry



Flexography is a versatile printing process that can be used on a variety of materials of varying sizes, including cereal boxes, bottle labels, potato chip bags, frozen food bags, corrugated boxes, newspapers and grocery bags. While there are significant variations in the process, the new tool simplifies the operation into three broad categories: prepress, press, and post-press.

The eTool focuses on providing employees involved in printing processes with information on preventing musculoskeletal disorders that may result from workplace activities, including lifting heavy items, lifting too often, or working in awkward body postures.

The module identifies potential ergonomic hazards and possible solutions to reduce injuries within the flexography printing process. Users can access specific printing tasks, such as plate-making and ink preparation and dispensing, for a description of each task and the potential hazards that have been identified for that job. The user can navigate within each task to become familiar with the hazards and to learn about possible solutions.

The Graphic Arts Coalition includes the Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, Specialty Graphic Imaging Association, Flexographic Technical Association, and the Gravure Association of America.


OSHA Schedules MACOSH Meeting in September


OSHA scheduled a 2-day Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) meeting, beginning September 26. . Agenda items for next month's meeting will include discussions of various OSHA programs and activities, including standards and guidance, enforcement, cooperative programs, and science, technology and medicine. Also on tap is discussions for forming MACOSH work groups, identification of maritime safety and health issues, and radiation screening of cargo containers.

The committee will meet at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 and from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., Sept. 27, in conference rooms C-5521 and N-3437, respectively.


Written comments and requests to make oral presentations may be submitted to Vanessa Welch by Sept. 12 to the Office of Maritime, OSHA, US Department of Labor, Room N-3609, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington D.C., 20210. Presentation requests should specify the amount of time desired, the capacity in which the person will appear, and an outline of the presentation. Requests to speak may be granted as time permits.

Individuals with disabilities wishing to attend the meeting and who require special accommodations should contact Ms. Welch at (202) 693-2086 not later than Sept. 19.


OSHA to Help Illinois Small-Businesses Establish Effective Safety Programs


OSHA will present a monthly series of short seminars in Rockford, Ill., starting Sept. 6 to help small-business employers control workplace hazards through effective safety programs, the agency announced.

The seminars will provide advice and guidance on OSHA regulations and best practices in establishing safety committees, safety and health management systems, workplace inspections, training workers effectively in safety and health issues.

Seminar registration is required and may be completed by calling 815-316-6367 The fee for each seminar is $25, which includes handout materials and a hot breakfast.

All sessions will be held from 7:30 to 10 a.m. at Eigerlab, 605 Fulton Ave., Rockford. Individual sessions are as follows:

  • Sept. 6 – How Safety Committees Should Work
  • Oct. 18 – Safety and Health Management Systems for Small Business
  • Nov. 15 – Workplace Inspections – An introduction to Identifying, Analyzing and Controlling Workplace Hazards
  • Dec. 13 – Delivering Presentations and Training to Employees

The seminars are co-sponsored by OSHA’s North Aurora, Ill., area office, the On-site Consultation Program of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Rock Valley College Small Business Development Center, and the EDGE Business Center.



Ticona Polymers, Mundy Maintenance and Services LLC Achieve OSHA Recognition


Ticona Polymers Inc. and resident contractor Mundy Maintenance and Services LLC in Bishop have earned recertification in OSHA’s "Star" Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

"These two organizations have made an outstanding effort to maintain an injury and illness rate that is 50% below the national average for their industry," said Frank Strasheim, acting OSHA regional administrator in Dallas. "Their commitment demonstrates excellence in effective safety and health management."

Ticona Polymers Inc., the technical polymers business of Dallas' Celanese Corp., employs about 350 workers with an additional 250 contract workers on-site. The company manufactures formaldehyde, paraformaldehyde, bulk pharmaceuticals, polyols and Celcon®. They have maintained an injury and illness rate that is 52% below the national industry average. This is the sixth year the company has participated in OSHA's VPP program.

Mundy Maintenance provides maintenance and capital project support for Ticona Polymers Inc. Mundy Maintenance employs about 250 workers at the Bishop site. The company has also participated in OSHA's VPP program for six years.

The VPP recognizes and promotes effective workplace safety and health management. About 1,400 workplaces throughout the U.S., representing 280 industries, have earned OSHA's highest recognition as participants in the program. Participants typically achieve injury and illness rates lower than average rates for their respective industry.


Al D'Imperio Takes Helm of Philadelphia OSHA Office


Al D'Imperio has been appointed director of the OSHA Philadelphia area office, according to Marie Cassady, acting regional administrator for OSHA. D'Imperio will oversee OSHA program activities throughout Philadelphia, Delaware and Chester counties.

D'Imperio worked for the Department of Defense from 1980 until 1995. He began his career at OSHA in 1995 as a compliance officer, becoming the Philadelphia area office's assistant director in 2004 and served in that position until his new appointment.


Obesity in Men Linked to Infertility


Men with increased body mass index (BMI) were significantly more likely to be infertile than normal-weight men, according to research conducted at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health.

"The data suggest that a 20-pound increase in men's weight may increase the chance of infertility by about 10 percent," says Markku Sallmen, lead author on the paper who is now at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. BMI is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

The researchers studied couples enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), a large project that began in 1993 examining factors that impact the health of farmers and their families in agricultural communities.

"Women who are overweight or obese tend to have a more difficult time becoming pregnant than normal-weight women, but whether men who are overweight or obese also have fertility problems had not been studied," says Donna Baird, Ph.D., an NIEHS epidemiologist with the study. The study is published in the September 2006 issue of Epidemiology.

The data on infertility and body mass came from questionnaires that 1,468 farmers and their wives completed when they enrolled in the study. The wives completed a family health questionnaire, which included information about the couple's reproductive history. The men reported their weight and height on a questionnaire about their health. The analysis was limited to couples with a pregnancy attempt during the four years before enrollment, and to women under the age of 40.

The researchers divided the couples into infertile and fertile groups. The infertile couples were those that tried for longer than a year to conceive, and the fertile couples were those that conceived within a year. The majority of men and women were more than 30 years old. Twenty-eight% of the couples had experienced infertility.

Researchers found that men's BMI was an independent risk factor for infertility. The researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect fertility, including high BMI of the woman, age, cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, and solvent and pesticide exposure. After adjustment, there was a general increase in infertility with increased BMI, reaching a nearly 2-fold increase among obese men.

When researchers divided the sample into two equal groups by men's age, they found that men's BMI was a risk factor for infertility in both the older and younger men.

The researchers did not have data on frequency of sexual intercourse, so it is possible that overweight men have less sexual intercourse than their normal weight counterparts and this could influence fertility. However, there have been recent studies looking at semen characteristics that show lower semen quality for overweight and obese men, as well as hormonal differences.

"This study provides data on some additional health problems associated with obesity," said David A. Schwartz, M.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "Preventing obesity can help improve men's overall health, perhaps even their reproductive health."

The NIEHS unveiled a new strategic plan, "New Frontiers in Environmental Sciences and Human Health," in May aimed at challenging and energizing the scientific community to use environmental health sciences to understand the causes of disease and to improve human health. 

 It is composed of certified pesticide applicators and their spouses in Iowa and North Carolina. The study will provide information that agricultural workers can use in making decisions about their health and the health of their families.

Statement for Labor Day 2006 by NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D.

For those of us who serve in the field of occupational safety and health, honoring Labor Day brings an additional obligation. It calls on us to reaffirm our commitment to doing all that we can, every day of the year, to make workplaces free from hazards that can injure, sicken, and kill.


2006 marked NIOSH’s 35th anniversary. In that time, the Institute has done much to help improve working life in the U.S. Risks from occupational exposures to hazardous respirable dusts, toxic chemicals, heavy machinery, falls from heights, cumulative stresses and strains, and infectious agents, to name some examples among many, have diminished significantly in the past three decades. In part, those successes were made possible because of NIOSH’s research. Through the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), which entered its second decade this year, we and our partners have laid a solid foundation for addressing the emerging concerns of the new century.

Even as we note our achievements and look to the future, the recent tragedies in the West Virgina coal fields remind us that we can never relax our vigilance. Hazards remain in industries that have existed for as long as men and women have worked. We must plan for the future, but we must also devise and use new tools and technologies to solve persistent problems in traditional workplaces.

Another commemoration will occur this month, the fifth commemoration of the World Trade Center attack. The dark days of 9/11 produced indelible images of horror in the fall of the towers, and equally indelible images of heroism in the rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero. This is another critical aspect of occupational safety and health in our post-9/11 world, the need to plan smartly for protecting those who serve on the front lines in times of disaster.

All of these responsibilities, from helping prevent fatalities underground to bolstering emergency preparedness, with many other duties in between, are tasks that NIOSH pursues every day with your partnership. By reminding us that work has a human image, Labor Day reinforces our dedication to this mission.

h2b>Portland General Electric and Oregon OSHA Collaborate for Worker Safety



An agreement signed Monday recognizes Portland General Electric’s (PGE’s) commitment to workplace safety by allowing the company to complete the initial evaluation process for Oregon OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). The collaboration agreement between the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) and GE will promote improved workplace safety for PGE's power generation plants. SHARP is a recognition program that provides an incentive and solutions for Oregon employers to work with their employees to find and correct hazards, develop and implement effective safety and health programs, continuously improve, and become self-sufficient in managing occupational safety and health issues. Currently, 108 employers in Oregon participate in SHARP.

The agreement places responsibility for the program’s initial safety and health evaluations on specially trained PGE employees. These evaluations set a baseline and determine the readiness of a PGE site to participate in Oregon OSHA’s SHARP program.

“PGE should be commended for promoting safer workplaces,” said Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA. “The goal of promoting employer self-sufficiency is to have the employer think about safety and health management in the workplace before injuries and illnesses occur. This agreement empowers PGE staff to train others within the company on safety and health management and the improvements needed to reach SHARP status. PGE benefits from safer workplaces, and Oregon OSHA is able to commit existing consultation resources to help other employers in Oregon.”

“Safety is crucial to our business,” said Peggy Fowler, CEO and president of PGE. “Our employees at every level take that fact with them to work every day, so we’re pleased that we’ve been able to forge a real partnership with Oregon OSHA to deepen and expand our participation in the SHARP program.”

Four PGE generating plants — the Pelton-Round Butte Hydroelectric Project near Madras, the Beaver Plant near Clatskanie, and the Coyote Springs and Boardman Power Plants in Morrow County — already have received SHARP recognition.

The agreement does not restrict Oregon OSHA regulatory enforcement for workplace safety at PGE work sites, and employees retain all workplace safety and health rights contained in the Oregon Safe Employment Act. Oregon OSHA retains final approval of any PGE site going into the SHARP program.

Oregon OSHA enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers by inspecting worksites for safety and health violations, investigating workplace accidents, responding to complaints, and providing consultation, training and technical services, and safety and health recognition programs.

OSHA Certifies New York State Plan for Public Employees


OSHA encourages states to develop and operate their own safety and health programs. Last month, OSHA approved and certified the state of New York's occupational safety and health plan for its public employees as "at least as effective" as the federal program. 


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