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Henshaw offers OSHA update

May 2, 2003
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OSHA is working hard to meet its mission of improving job safety and health, OSHA chief John Henshaw said in a statement issued on Workers Memorial Day this past April. Henshaw gave an update on the agency's priorities:

Hispanic Outreach - OSHA is launching a national campaign with the release of two public service announcements to over 650 Spanish radio stations across the country. One spot is meant for employees and their families; the other targets employers.

Toxic Exposure and Illness - A respiratory disease study is being undertaken in cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and NIOSH to improve outreach, compliance help and enforcement relating to specific contaminants and industries. The agency is also working on a health targeting system, similar to one used to guide enforcement in general industry.

Enhanced Enforcement - A new Enhanced Enforcement Program targets employers who have a history of the most severe safety and health violations - companies that willfully and repeatedly expose their workers to the most serious hazards, refuse to correct violations and violate their safety and health agreements.

Construction Partnerships - A new focus on construction partnerships is beginning to pay off, said Henshaw. In Idaho, Ohio and Wisconsin, partnerships are significantly bringing down injury and illness rates on a number of construction sites. In St. Louis, contractors and unions joined with OSHA in a program recognizing construction sites that enjoyed zero fatalities.

Emergency Preparedness - OSHA recently released an Evacuation Planning Matrix to help employers plan for emergency response. This online resource provides tools to help employers assess risk and develop evacuation plans. It's modeled on the Anthrax Matrix developed last year.

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