October/November 2007

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

In This Issue...


MRSA Staph Infection Guidelines Provided

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry offers some regulations which can improve the protection of employees who may be exposed to MRSA, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This infection has created increasing concern recently, due to its potential seriousness and to its ability to spread through casual contact. Click here for more information

Checklist Offered for Starting Boilers after a Lay-Up Period

Fall is here, and it's time to prepare boilers for start-up after the summer! Click here for lists (although not all-inclusive) which can serve as a guide for those responsible for start-up operations. Remember: The entire system must be carefully checked and operating procedures reviewed before the boiler is placed in operation. Boiler operators and other responsible personnel, such as supervisors, must be up to date on current codes and procedures.

DOLI Training Catalog Available Online

The 2007-2008 schedule for Consultation Training courses is available online.  New training courses are available to benefit you, your business and your staff. Click here to view the listings now and sign up for the courses offered in your area. All courses are free of charge. Educate to keep Virginians safe!

Emerging Profession in Registered Apprenticeship Wine Cellar Worker

When an industry finds itself growing by leaps and bounds and in need of employees, one way to fill the void is to grow your own.  That is precisely what the wine industry in Virginia has done in order to cultivate employees for wineries.   Click here to find out how the Registered Apprenticeship enters the picture.

Hexavalent Chromium Hazards in Portland Cement

Portland cement is one of the most widely used formulations of cement in the construction industry. Trace amounts of hexavalent chromium are usually present in Portland cement as the result of contamination during its manufacture. Occupational exposure to trace amounts of hexavalent chromium in Portland can result in inhalation, dermal, and eye hazards.  Click here to learn more about hexavalent chromium.

Job Openings Available at DOLI

The Department of Labor and Industry is currently recruiting for the following:

Position No.: 00151
Job Title: Boiler Safety Program Director (Compliance Manager II)
Recruitment Type: G – General Public       
Closing Date: Applications must be received by DOLI’s HR Office by 5:00 p.m. on November 2, 2007
Position Located in Richmond

For more information on the jobs posted visit the DOLI website at


Labor Law Division Provides Outreach on Child Labor Employment

The staff of Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Labor and Employment Law Division from across the State, took to the streets in July to visit businesses who would potentially hire teenaged workers.  The summer outreach effort was timed to coincide with the seasonal employment of many teenagers and the increase to the federal minimum wage. Click here to learn more about the work done by the “Blitz Team.”

Save the Date! - 13th Annual VOSH Conference

The 13th Annual Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Conference will be held June 3-6 2008 at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel and Waterfront Conference Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. Click here for more information.

Virginia Workplace Fatalities in 2006

The Virginia Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), jointly produced by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, reported 164 occupational fatalities in the Commonwealth in 2006, down by 12 percent from the 186 fatalities reported in 2005.  Click here to learn more about 2006 workplace fatalities in Virginia.

New Pandemic Flu Guidance for Healthcare Workers Released

On May 21, 2007 OSHA unveiled a new workplace safety and health guidance document that will help employers in the healthcare industry and their employees prepare for an influenza pandemic. Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Guidance for Healthcare Workers and Healthcare Employers includes technical information on infection control and industrial hygiene practices to reduce the risk of infection in healthcare settings, workplace preparations and planning issues, and OSHA standards having special importance to pandemic preparedness planners and responders in the industry.

QuickTips on Ladder Safety

While using a ladder might seem simple enough, it is easy to take some aspects of ladder safety for granted in the workplace. In fact, falls from movable ladders represent one of the leading causes of occupational injuries. Here are a few recommendations for handling ladders properly:

  • Look out for overhead hazards like power lines when placing or climbing a ladder.
  • Do not use a self-supporting ladder, such as a stepladder, in a partially closed position. All locks on a ladder must be fastened properly.
  • Always maintain a "three-point" (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand) 

contact on a ladder when climbing.

  • Do not try to obtain additional height by placing a ladder on unstable bases, such as

     boxes or barrels.

OSHA's Web site features a Guide to OSHA Rules on Stairways and Ladders for employers and employees to use in preventing ladder-related workplace incidents. In addition, OSHA offers a Portable Ladder Safety QuickCard(tm) to serve as a resource to employees on common movable ladder hazards. Hard copies of these documents can be ordered for free from OSHA's Publications Office at (202) 693-1888.

QuickTips on Scaffolding Safety

Scaffolding accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths at American workplaces. In fact, scaffolding is the single most frequently OSHA-cited construction safety standard. No employee should use or assemble a scaffold without a complete understanding of how to do so safely. OSHA recommends that employees:

  • Before using a scaffold, test its durability using at least four times the amount of weight it is intended to support.
  • Equip all open sides of a scaffold with protective guardrails.
  • Keep scaffolds at least 10 feet away from electric power lines.
  • Inspect the rigging on suspension scaffolds frequently-OSHA requirements call for an inspection at least once per work shift.
OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Page for Scaffolding is a resource that employers and employees can use to understand the OSHA regulations applicable to scaffolding. In addition, OSHA's Construction eTool has a page devoted to improper scaffold construction to help employees prevent scaffolding hazards at their workplaces. Other OSHA resources offering ways that employers can keep their employees safe on the job include the Supported Scaffold Safety Tips (English/Spanish) and Supported Scaffold Inspection Tips (English/Spanish) QuickCards(tm).

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Virginia Works is provided by DOLI, Office of Cooperative Programs.