Tuesday, July 23, 2013

OSHA and Georgia Hispanic Construction Association - safety and health fair

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Region 4 News Release: 13-1264-ATL (195)
July 23, 2013
Contact: Michael D'Aquino    Lindsay Williams
Phone: 404-562-2076    404-562-2078
Email: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov    williams.lindsay.l@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA and the Georgia Hispanic Construction
Association to host a safety and health fair July 28 in Duluth, Ga.

DULUTH, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Georgia Hispanic Construction Association are sponsoring a construction safety and health fair for construction workers and their families on Sunday, July 28, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT at the Santa Fe Mall in Duluth.

OSHA staff will distribute Spanish-language publications and answer questions about occupational safety and health issues. The fair will also feature a variety of free construction-related workshops, classes and discussions covering residential construction, ladder usage, landscaping, heat illnesses, personal protective equipment and the hazards of dealing with lead and asbestos. There will also be exhibitors and vendors on-site conducting tool and equipment safety demonstrations.

"OSHA is committed to ensuring a safe workplace, and our goal is for workers to recognize good safety practices that employers have a responsibility to implement," said Christi Griffin, director of the Atlanta-West Area Office. "This is an opportunity for Hispanic workers to also involve their families and educate them on the culture of workplace safety and health, so that everyone knows what to expect in a safe workplace."
In addition to its strong outreach program, OSHA has a vigorous enforcement program, having conducted more than 40,961 inspections nationwide last fiscal year and exceeding its inspection goals for the last several years. In fiscal year 2012, OSHA found nearly 78,727 violations of its standards and regulations.
For more information about OSHA, contact Griffin at 678-903-7301. To register for this event and to learn more about the GHCA, email info@georgiahca.org, or contact them at 678-653-5447. The Santa Fe Mall is located at 3750 Venture Drive, Duluth 30096.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Final rule to broaden exemption for digger derricks

May 28, 2013
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA issues final rule to broaden exemption for digger derricks in
its Cranes and Derricks standard

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a final rule that broadens the current exemption for digger derricks used in the electric-utility industry. The exemption has been expanded to include telecommunications work in addition to electric-utility work. This final rule provides a complete exemption from having to follow the requirements of Subpart CC of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. The digger derricks exemption is part of the Cranes and Derricks final standard that was issued Aug. 9, 2010.

Digger derricks are pieces of equipment used to drill holes for utility poles. These digger derricks are commonly used by companies to place poles inside holes and attach transformers and other items to the poles.

OSHA published a direct final rule and a companion notice of proposed rulemaking on Nov. 9, 2012, and received a significant adverse comment on the direct final rule during the comment period. The agency then withdrew the direct final rule on Feb. 7, 2013. After considering the comment, OSHA is issuing this final rule based on the notice of proposed rulemaking.

The rule becomes effective June 28, 2013.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

US Department of Labor and US Postal Service improving worker safety.

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OSHA News Release: 13-1289-NAT
July 1, 2013
Contact: Adriano Llosa
Phone: 202-693-4686
Email: llosa.adriano.t@dol.gov

US Department of Labor and US Postal Service
agree to terms on improving worker safety at postal facilities

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the U.S. Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union have agreed to terms of a settlement that will improve safety in postal facilities across the country. The settlement follows negotiations stemming from inspections at 42 Postal Service sites in 2009 and 2010 that found violations of OSHA standards on electrical work practices. USPS contested the citations, and OSHA then sought enterprise-wide relief before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

"As a large employer, with a substantial number of affected employees throughout many different types of facilities, the U.S. Postal Service faced many challenges in improving their electrical safe-work program," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "In entering this agreement, OSHA recognizes the Postal Service's commitment and dedication to worker safety."
As part of the settlement, which covers all Postal Service facilities nationwide, including processing and distribution centers and post offices, USPS has revised its written policies and procedures on electrical work, prohibiting workers from working on electrically energized equipment except for a defined set of tasks that can only be performed while equipment is energized, such as troubleshooting and testing. To ensure compliance with these electrical safety policies, USPS will assign a trained electrical work plan coordinator at each facility. In addition, USPS will provide and require the use of electrically protective gloves and full body arc flash protection for energized work, including voltage testing. 

"Employee safety has always been a top priority for the Postal Service," said Jeffrey Williamson, USPS chief human resources officer and executive vice president. "We are happy to have resolved this issue amicably and in the best interests of the safety of our employees."

USPS has also agreed to audit the implementation of the electrical safe-work program at all maintenance-capable facilities, and report the results in detail to OSHA quarterly during the two-year term of the agreement. In addition, OSHA will meet with the Postal Service on a regular basis to discuss the results of OSHA monitoring inspections and USPS audits, as well as any concerns or problems encountered. Also, USPS will retrain all employees performing electrical work to comply with OSHA requirements for electrical work. Supervisors and affected employees also will receive additional training on electrical safe-work practices. 

Cliff Guffey, president of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, said, "The APWU is pleased to be a part of this landmark commitment to worker safety, which will ensure the protection of postal workers from electrical hazards."

Under the settlement, the Postal Service has agreed to pay $100,000 at signing and a suspended payment of $3 million pending full abatement of the hazards. OSHA will monitor the Postal Service's progress toward abatement and evaluate that progress against negotiated milestones.