Highlights of OSHA chief John Henshaw's speech at the annual conference of the American Society of Safety Engineers, held last week in Las Vegas:

  • Inspections: OSHA is on track to meet its goal of 37,700 by the end of the fiscal year (September 30). To date, about 25,300 inspections have been completed.

  • Outreach: OSHA now operates 217 strategic partnerships (mostly local or regional joint projects with industry groups focusing on specific hazards); 191 alliances (mostly national agreements covering broad issues); and 1,086 Voluntary Protection Program sites.

  • Internet: OSHA's Web site proves increasingly popular. Visits shot up 150 percent from 2002 to 2003. More than 50 million visits are expected this year.

  • Motor vehicle safety: Highway crashes are the number one cause of work-related deaths in the U.S. (costing 1,372 lives in 2002). OSHA is stepping up its voluntary efforts to reduce the toll — but will not issue any kind of standard. Look for training on safe driving practices and guidelines for motor vehicle safety programs on OSHA's Web site in the future. And federal employees will be urged to buckle up — when driving or riding in governmental vehicles, rental cars, cabs or personal cars — in a new program to be rolled out shortly.

  • Ergonomics: Henshaw did not mention this in his speech, but from the American Industrial Hygiene Association comes word that next on the schedule are guidelines for poultry processing and the shipyard industry. To review the recently issued retail grocery store guidelines, go to www.osha.gov.