Jan-Feb 2012

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

In This Issue...


Boiler Safety Update

Over the past six months, the Department’s Boiler Safety Division has been involved in locating ASME constructed CO2 tanks used by restaurants and fast food outlets for beverage carbonation.  These vessels have replaced another variety of CO2 tank that was exempt from inspection requirements because it fell under the authority of the Department of Transportation.  While there is little risk of explosive failure from these vessels, there is a documented danger if the safety relief valves are not properly vented.  It seems that the majority of these vessels are located indoors and if the relief valves are not vented to the exterior of a building, there is a danger of suffocation or carbon dioxide poisoning to workers and patrons in the building.  Click here to read more about the update.

Occupational Safety and Health Leadership in Central Virginia

Over the last 15 years, the community team of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Central Region Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Compliance Unit and the area’s private and public sector employer leadership have partnered through the VOSH inspection, informal conference and abatement verification processes to realize significantly safer and healthier Central Virginia workplaces through knowledge and training.  Statistics reveal an almost 300% increase in inspections with no citations issued, from 18.1% in FY 1997 to 48.2% in FY 2011. Click here to read more about this community team.

Virginia Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in 2010

In 2011 the VOSH Research and Analysis unit conducted the 40th Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, collecting data for calendar year 2010 from 5,215 employers throughout the Commonwealth. The Survey nationally reports injury and illness rates by industry for Virginia as well as for 55 other jurisdictions under cooperative agreements with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Click here to read more.

16th Annual VOSH Conference Held

The 16th Annual Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Conference was held October 4-7, 2011 at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel and Waterfront Conference Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. To learn more about last year’s conference click here.

VOSH Program Adopts OSHA’s Primary Metals Industries National Emphasis Programs

The VOSH Program has adopted federal OSHA’s Primary Metal Industries National Emphasis Program.  The Primary Metal Industries were identified by federal OSHA as a concern during a review of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Establishments in the primary metals industries extract and refine metals from rocks containing iron, lead, nickel, tin and other elements. Among these establishments are those that manufacture nails, insulated wires and cables, steel piping, and copper and aluminum products. To learn more about the Primary Metal Industries National Emphasis Program click here.

Cintas Uniform Rental Facility in Virginia Receives OSHA’s Highest Safety Recognition

Cintas Corporation celebrated its status as a VPP Star site on December 12 at its uniform rental facility in Chester, VA. Through its commitment to exemplary occupational safety and health programs, the facility became the third Cintas uniform rental operation to receive the coveted VPP “Star” status, and the fourth company-wide. Click here to read more about the Cintas VPP Star site.

New Comprehensive OSHA Web Page on Preventing Work-Related Hearing Loss

OSHA launched a new Safety and Health Topics page on Occupational Noise Exposure to provide resources to prevent noise-related hearing loss, which has been listed as one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns in the United States for more than 25 years. Approximately 30 million people in the United States are occupationally exposed to hazardous noise and thousands of workers every year suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels. The new Web page provides information on the health effects of hazardous noise exposure and comprehensive information on controls to prevent hearing loss.

New Web Page Provides Safety and Health Training Resources for Employers and Workers

OSHA's new Safety and Health Training Resources page was developed to help users locate occupational safety and health training materials. The page provides links to materials developed by Susan Harwood Training Grant awardees, trainer materials, videos available through OSHA's Resource Center Loan Program, OSHA-developed materials and links to training resources by other organizations. All materials are free and many are available in several languages.
OSHA offers a wide range of training resources to help broaden worker and employer knowledge on how to recognize, avoid and prevent safety and health hazards in their workplaces.

Ordering OSHA Publications

OSHA publications, including new educational materials on trenching hazards and nail gun safety, may be ordered by any of the following methods.

Visit OSHA's Publications Web page.

Send your request via fax to 202-693-2498.

Call 1-800 321-6742 (OSHA) or 202-693-1999.

Send your request in writing to:
U.S. Department of Labor
OSHA Publications Office
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Room N3101
Washington, D.C. 20210

OSHA Updates Hazard Alert on Formaldehyde Dangers to Hair Salon Owners and Workers

OSHA issued a revised hazard alert to hair salon owners and workers about potential formaldehyde exposure from working with certain hair smoothing and straightening products. Formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and nose; cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes and lungs; and is a cancer hazard. The revised alert was prompted by the results of agency investigations, a warning letter issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and incorrect information recently sent to salons by a company that manufactures hair products. The revised hazard alert notifies salons that if they use products that contain or release formaldehyde (like timonacic acid), they must follow the requirements in OSHA's formaldehyde standard. See the news release for more information.

Web page provides information on preventing the spread of seasonal flu in the workplace

OSHA's Seasonal Flu Web page includes information about how to reduce the spread of the flu in workplaces. It provides information on the basic precautions, such as frequent hand washings and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, that should be used by employers and workers in all workplaces as well as the additional precautions that should be used by employers and workers in healthcare settings, such as strictly following infection control practices and using gloves, gowns, surgical masks and other protective equipment to reduce exposures. Visitors to the employer and worker information Web pages can also test their knowledge about the flu through the interactive "Flu I.Q." quiz produced by the Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. OSHA's Seasonal Flu page also includes a link to additional information on planning for the possible outbreak of pandemic flu.

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