December 2003

An e-newsletter with information and updates from the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry for the Commonwealth's workplaces

In This Issue

Acetylene Explosion Emphasizes Dangers
A recent explosion incident clearly shows why acetylene should never be stored in a closed vehicle. Use and storage of acetylene should always take place in well-ventilated areas.

Boilers, Pressure Vessel and Safety
Malfunctioning boilers and water heaters are potential bombs... literally. Virginia has a program requiring regular inspections of boilers and pressure vessels. Learn more about boilers, pressure vessels and safety.

Female Apprentices Thrive in Non-Traditional Roles
Of the 11,443 apprentices in Virginia presently on their way to receiving journeyman's cards, 1,449 are female. Learn how four female apprentices followed their dream. For more information visit the DOLI Web site Apprenticeship Program.

Guide for the Employment of Teenagers
As the holidays approach many employers begin to hire seasonal help. It is important to keep in mind that the rules that govern the hours a teenager may work during the summer do not apply if school is in session.

New Energy Web site Enables Small Business to Become Energy Efficient
It is important to conserve energy. For a list of quick tips to help reduce cooling costs and access information about energy efficient equipment visit

New SHARP Worksites
The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) through VOSH Consultation Services has certified Campostella Builders & Supply in Norfolk and DK Industrial Services in Winchester as SHARP worksites. SHARP is specifically for companies with 250 or fewer employees. Complete listings of both VPP Star and SHARP participants are available on DOLI's Web site.

Safety and Health Information Bulletin on Disposal of Contaminated Needles and Blood Tube Holders
A new Safety and Health Information Bulletin developed by OSHA explains the Agency's policy on the disposal of contaminated needles and blood tube holders following blood-drawing procedures. This safety and health bulletin creates no new legal obligations, but addresses the prohibition against the removal of contaminated needles from medical devices. Reusing blood tube holders with removable needles has been a common practice in many healthcare facilities. However, the manipulation required when removing contaminated needles exposes health care workers to contaminated, unsafe, back-end needles. Due to the potential of a needle stick from the back end of the needle, professional phlebotomist, have been urged not to reuse holders.

Safety and Health Training
Visit DOLI for a listing of VOSH Consultation Services training courses for the first quarter of 2004. The Department of Human Resource Management, The National Resource Center for OSHA Training - George Meany Center, and the National Safety Council also offer training sessions in Virginia.

Virginia Workplace Fatalities Show Slight Decrease for 2002
The Virginia Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) showed 142 occupational fatalities in the Commonwealth in 2002, down slightly from the 146 fatalities in 2001. For additional information on Virginia workplace fatalities, call (804) 786-1035 or visit the DOLI Web site.

The following items have been reprinted from OSHA's Quick Takes. Some items have been edited for this publication.

Revised Recordkeeping Forms Available Online
Beginning Jan. 1, 2004, employers must use OSHA's revised Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses). To aid in that transition process, the agency has made the form available online. The revised form includes various changes, including the addition of an occupational hearing loss column and more clear-cut formulas for calculating incidence rates. And, remember-while there is no separate column for work-related injuries associated with ergonomic factors, employers must still record those injuries in either the injury or "all other illness" columns.

OSHA Develops Matrix for Possible Terrorist-Related Workplace Emergencies
A new homeland security matrix tool is now available on OSHA's website to help employers with the planning and preparation for possible workplace emergencies caused by a terrorist's explosive device or act of arson. The Fire and Explosion Planning Matrix covers general aspects of fire prevention planning and suggests preparedness measures appropriate for workplaces in each of three risk zones. On-line resources are also included in the matrix.

Protecting Workers Againts Mold Exposure
OSHA has published a new safety and health information bulletin to provide employers and workers with essential information on how to prevent, control and remove mold in buildings. Geared specifically for building managers, custodians and others responsible for building maintenance, the bulletin offers recommendations on preventing mold growth, proper use of personal protective equipment, and safe cleanup methods. Mold can have negative effects on human health including allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory problems.

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Virginia Works is provided by DOLI, Office of Cooperative Programs.
Tuesday, December 2, 2003