October 15, 2012 / Volume 10, Number 20
Seeking Exemptions from OSHA Standards?
Alternative Dispute Resolution Program for Whistleblower Complaints
Discover a New Kind of Safety Meeting
MSHA Beefs Up Investigation Training with FBI Help
Help Ease Your Transition to GHS
NIOSH Sets Standard in Assessing Digital Chest Radiographs
Seeking Exemptions from OSHA Standards?
OSHA updates information on variance requests.

Organizations who seek exemptions from OSHA standards can now consult the agency's new variance webpage, which aims to educate the public on the variance approval process, according to an OSHA press release.

A variance allows an employer to deviate from OSHA standards under special conditions, including noncompliance because of lack of resources. Employers can also be exempted if they can prove that their safety measures are as good as, if not better than, those outlined by OSHA.

The updated site also seeks to improve the public's access to related and relevant information, including a list of denied and approved variance requests. Employers can consult these cases and learn from them accordingly. Before, OSHA posted only requests that were approved.

The new webpage also provides background information on variance rules and application procedures. Read the press release or visit the variance site for more information.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Program for Whistleblower Complaints
OSHA launches pilot program.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers whistleblowers and companies a way to resolve complaints filed under the agency's Whistleblower Protection Program, "in a cooperative and voluntary manner," according to an OSHA press release.

Under the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) pilot program, complainants and organizations can go for either early resolution or mediation. When a whistleblower files a complaint, the two parties will be informed of their ADR measures. They can then ask an OSHA regional ADR coordinator to help them use the ADR.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels, said that the ADR can "provide immediate relief and finality to both parties."

The ADR is so far only a pilot program and will only take place in two OSHA regional offices: the Chicago regional office and the San Francisco regional office. For more information, read the press release or download the ADR file.

Tasked to administer 22 whistleblower statutes across various industries, OSHA receives about 2,500 complaints each year.
Discover a New Kind of Safety Meeting
Attend an Operations Manager training workshop.

Show managers how to integrate safety management into their overall management program with Managing Safety: Systems That Work for Operations Managers. Attend this two-day workshop in Houston on November 7th and 8th and discover the DuPont system for managing safety throughout an organization and the role that managers should play in motivating and leading their organization to improved safety awareness and performance. Register today!

One specific area to be covered during this workshop is the Safety Action meeting.

Safety Action meetings are structured somewhat differently from the traditional safety meeting. In this alternative type of safety meeting, the manager or supervisor leads the group in discussion and action on safety issues. Meetings vary slightly in format to suit the type of topic under discussion (e.g., the communication of an incident investigation report, a problem to be solved, an issue to be analyzed, or the implementation of a new procedure).

Generally, to plan a Safety Action meeting, the leader:
  • Decides on and writes out the purpose of the meeting.
  • Outlines the facts to be presented.
  • Writes out the question for discussion.
Once the leader has given the group the question for discussion, the next stages of the meeting are for the group to:
  • Brainstorm ideas, together with their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Select actions to take.
  • Decide who will do what and when.
The goal in every work situation is to have people focused on safety, aware of their own safety and concerned about the safety of others, so they will do something about unsafe conditions and inform their co-workers about unsafe acts, not just leave it all up to the supervisor.

Safety Action meetings encourage this awareness and concern. They enable people to take this responsibility.

Register today for Managing Safety: Systems That Work for Operations Managers and learn more about using a safety organization, safety observations, integrating safety into existing management systems, incident investigations, demonstrating commitment, fostering involvement, safety principles and action planning.

MSHA Beefs Up Investigation Training with FBI Help
Two-week course.

Accident and special investigators from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) underwent training thanks to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Evidence Response Team Unit, according to an MSHA press release.

The program began September 24 and finished October 5 at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in West Virginia. Joseph Main, MSHA Administrator, said that the training was designed to help sharpen investigators' skills. More importantly, it would help them recognize "possible criminal activities" and allow them to coordinate more efficiently with the Department of Justice.

FBI Laboratory Director Christian Hassell also remarked that the training would help the MSHA investigators ensure "the integrity of the evidence collected during the course of their investigations."

For more information, read the MSHA press release.
Help Ease Your Transition to GHS
DuPont Sustainable Solutions releases new training program.

From the six classes of hazards to the nine pictograms for hazard identification, DuPont Sustainable Solutions' new program, HazCom: In Sync with GHS covers the essential features of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

Update your training and guide your employees through this new system with the help of this new and timely training program. HazCom: In Sync With GHS condenses key compliance information to help employees:
  • Understand the importance of GHS
  • Define the six classes of hazards
  • Recognize labels on shipped containers
  • Identify the nine pictograms for hazard identification
  • Understand the different sections of safety data sheets (SDS)
Update your training, educate employees on the new labeling system, and help your organization comply with OSHA's revised HazCom standard with DuPont Sustainable Solutions' new HazCom: In Sync With GHS training program.

Preview and purchase online or give your employees instant access with CoastalFlix™ streaming video! Coming soon as an interactive online course.
NIOSH Sets Standard in Assessing Digital Chest Radiographs
Standards take effect October 15.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published final regulations that guide the use of digital chest images for its Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP), according to Dr. John Howard in the latest NIOSH eNews.

Part of NIOSH's mandate, the CWHSP evaluates miners' chest radiographs to detect "the presence and severity of black lung," medically known as pneumoconiosis. The radiographs are examined by using a classification system developed by the International Labour Office (ILO). However, the system was created at a time when radiographs were film-based; it thus cannot be used to study the now more common digital chest images.

NIOSH conducted research to determine how to use the ILO system on digital x-ray images. The agency wanted to ensure that, among other things, the manipulability of the digital images did (does) not result in misreadings and misdiagnoses. The ILO itself accordingly updated its classification system in 2011.

The NIOSH regulations take effect October 15. For more information, read the latest eNews from NIOSH.
Volume 10, Number 20
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Please note: Safety Currents Express is a complimentary bimonthly newsletter updating you on the latest trends, news and information. All issues may be forwarded in their entirety via e−mail. Materials in this issue may only be reprinted with permission.

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