Nov-Dec 2010

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

In This Special Issue...

 

DOLI Welcomes New Commissioner

The Department welcomed Courtney M. Malveaux as its 17th Commissioner on May 3, 2010. Appointed by Governor McDonnell, Mr. Malveaux previously served as an Assistant Attorney General and as Deputy Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, representing the Attorney General on the Freedom of Information Advisory Council. Click here to read more about Commissioner Malveaux.

Child Labor Campaign 2010

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry conducted the annual statewide awareness campaign to inform businesses and parents about youth employment and the Virginia Child Labor laws, June 21 - 25, 2010. Click here to read more.

DOLI Training Catalog Available Online

The 2010-2011 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!

Virginia Workplace Fatalities in 2009

Reflecting a national trend, the Virginia Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported a preliminary total of 118 occupational fatalities in the Commonwealth in 2009, down by 24 percent from the revised total of 156 fatalities reported in 2008. (See Chart 1.)  The 2009 total represented the lowest level of workplace fatalities recorded since the Virginia CFOI program began in 1992. Workers from the prime working age group (age 25 to 54) accounted for 55 percent of the fatalities.  Ninety-three percent of the fatalities were men.  In addition, 72 percent of those who died from a workplace injury were white, non-Hispanic. Click here to learn more.  

Recent Regulatory Developments

The Department reports three newly effective regulatory actions. Click here to read about the regulatory developments.

16th Annual VOSH Conference to be Held in October 2011

The 2011 Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Conference will be held in October of 2011. Planning is currently underway. The 2011 Conference location has yet to be determined. Look for conference updates via email and on the agency web site at www.doli.virginia.gov. The Conference is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.

Fatal Occupational Injuries Decline in 2009

Preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries released Aug. 19 show the lowest number of workplace fatalities since the CFOI program was first conducted in 1992. Last year's preliminary count of 4,340 workplace fatalities is down from the final count of 5,214 in 2008. Economic factors played a major role in this decrease. Total hours worked fell by 6 percent in 2009 following a 1 percent decline in 2008, and some industries that have historically accounted for a significant share of fatal work injuries, such as construction, experienced even larger declines in employment or hours worked.

Comparing preliminary figures from 2009 and 2008 shows that workplace fatalities among wage and salary workers declined by about 18 percent from last year, while fatal injuries among self-employed workers, who are not covered by OSHA, remained about the same. According to the BLS, the overall fatality rate was 3.3 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. The fatality rate for Hispanic workers remained higher at 3.7 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2009.

In response to the BLS findings, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement:
"A single worker hurt or killed on the job is one too many. While a decrease in the number of fatal work injuries is encouraging, we cannot--and will not--relent from our continued strong enforcement of workplace safety laws. As the economy regains strength and more people re-enter the workforce, the Department of Labor will remain vigilant to ensure America's workers are kept safe while they earn a paycheck. After all, as I've said before, no job is a good job unless it is also safe."
See the BLS news release for more information.

OSHA Advises Retail Stores to Protect Workers From Dangerous Overcrowding During Holiday Sales Events

OSHA is encouraging retailers to take precautions to prevent worker injuries during major sales events this holiday season, such as the Black Friday sales that take place the day after Thanksgiving. In 2008, a worker was trampled to death during a Black Friday event when a mob of shoppers rushed through the doors of a large store to take advantage of the sale.
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels sent a letter* to the CEOs of 14 major retail companies, along with a copy of OSHA's fact sheet, Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers. The store where the 2008 worker fatality occurred was not using the kind of crowd management measures recommended by OSHA.
"Crowd-related injuries during special retail sales and promotional events have increased during recent years," Michaels said in the letter. "Many of these incidents can be prevented by adopting a crowd management plan, and this fact sheet provides retail employers with guidelines for avoiding injuries during the holiday shopping season."
See the news release for more information.

OSHA Changing Policy to Improve Outreach Training Progran

OSHA has revised its Outreach Training Program Guidelines to require authorized trainers to limit courses to a maximum of 7? hours per day. This means that all 10-hour courses must be taught over a minimum of two days and 30-hour courses over a minimum of four days. Reducing the length of classroom instruction helps ensure that workers retain important information that may prevent injuries, illnesses and death.
Prior to this change, OSHA had no requirements for how long these classes should last each day. OSHA became concerned that students might miss some essential safety and health training if their attention were to fade while being required to sit through 10 hours of instruction in one day. Another concern was that training courses presented over compressed timeframes of one to three days were not meeting 10- and 30-hour program time requirements. This concern became evident after OSHA reviewed several fraud cases that involved issues with the length of training.

The Outreach Training Program provides workers with an overview of OSHA and training on how to identify, avoid and prevent workplace hazards. Students who successfully complete 10- and 30-hour courses in general, construction and maritime industries and disaster site response receive certification cards and can take an additional course to become authorized trainers.

Solis Announces OSHA and Department of Transportation Partnership to Combat  Distracted  Driving

OSHA and the U.S. Department of Transportation are joining forces to combat distracted driving. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced this partnership, which will focus on prohibiting texting while driving, at a Sept. 21 DOT summit.

"It is imperative that employers eliminate financial and other incentives that encourage workers to text while driving," Solis said in a news release. "It is well-recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality."

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of worker fatalities. OSHA is launching a multi-pronged initiative to help prevent further avoidable injuries and deaths. The initiative will include an employer education campaign launched during "Drive Safely Work Week," Oct. 4-8. During this week, OSHA will publish a Web page that will include a video message and an open letter to employers from OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels. Michaels will call on employers to prevent occupationally related distracted driving, with a special focus on prohibiting texting while driving.

OSHA is also partnering with key organizations to help reach out to employers, especially small business employers, to combat distracted driving and prohibit texting while driving. In addition, OSHA is placing a special emphasis on reaching out to young workers, collaborating with other Labor Department agencies as well as stakeholders and alliance partners. When OSHA receives a credible complaint that an employer requires texting while driving or organizes work so that texting is a practical necessity, the agency will investigate and where necessary issue citations and penalties to end this practice.

Go to the OSHA homepage to visit OSHA's new distracted driving Web page.

return to top | return to newsletters

Virginia Works is provided by DOLI, Office of Cooperative Programs.
www.doli.virginia.gov