March 15, 2001

The National Safety Council (NSC) announced that due to an overwhelming response, the public comment period for the new proposed voluntary ergonomics standard will be extended by 30 days to conclude on Friday, April 13, 2001. The Accredited Standards Committee on Control of Cumulative Trauma Disorders (Z365), accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has developed the proposed standard entitled Management of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders. This proposed ANSI standard, unlike the ergonomics standard drafted recently by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and since repealed, is a voluntary standard. Ten years in the making, the proposed standard was developed by seeking consensus among those most affected, with committee representatives from business, labor, academia and professional societies. It is intended as a guide for managers and occupational safety and health professionals to voluntarily keep workers safe from work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The National Safety Council voluntarily administers the Z365 committee.

The public comment period is intended to give those not represented on the committee an opportunity to suggest changes to the draft. After the extended comment period concludes on Friday, April 13, 2001, the committee will review and respond to each public comment received.

A copy of the new proposed American National Standard along with instructions for filing public comments is available from the National Safety Council. Orders are being taken now. 


The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is offering free workshops to surface stone, sand and gravel mine operators around the country to help them meet safety training requirements that became effective last year. Nearly 100 workshops will be held in 37 states and Puerto Rico.

"The goal is to prevent miners from becoming victims of accidents or health hazards," said Robert Elam, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.

"Every mine is different," said Elam. "These hands-on workshops will help mine operators set up safety training plans to suit their operation's specific needs."

All mine operators are required to have an approved safety and health training plan. The "Part 46" training rules, which cover safety and health training for approximately 120,000 miners at more than 10,000 sand, gravel, surface stone, surface clay, colloidal phosphate, shell dredging and limestone operations, took effect last October.


OSHA has cited Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn, New York, and proposed penalties of $79,000 for two alleged repeat violations and 20 alleged serious violations of OSHA standards. The hospital has until March 29 to contest the citations.

According to OSHA area director Richard Mendelson, the action results from an investigation conducted from November 14 through March 7 following an employee complaint of unsafe conditions in the maintenance areas of the hospital's physical plant.

The hospital was cited for two alleged repeat violations, carrying a total proposed penalty of $25,000, for low headroom in a fire exit access hallway and door and for exposed electrical connections. A repeat violation is one for which an employer has been previously cited for the same or a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Long Island College Hospital was previously cited for these conditions in March, 2000.

The alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included:

  • failure to cover holes and openings in floors;
  • failure to provide stairs where there was a break in floor level ranging from 24 inches to 42 inches;
  • permitting wood and other material to be stored less than 18 inches from sprinkler head;
  • failure to correct a fire door with a hole in it;
  • failure to keep all fire exits unobstructed;
  • failure to block abandoned elevator and dumbwaiter shaftways, which in the event of fire would carry smoke from floor to floor and act as chimneys;
  • failure to post exit signs;
  • failure to provide maintenance personnel with hard hats and to assess other personal protective equipment needs;
  • failure to assess the confined-space hazard presented by crawlways containing wiring, lines for oxygen and other medical gasses, and other utilities;
  • deficiencies in regard to elevators in the hospital's lockout-tagout program designed to prevent the accidental start-up of equipment being repaired or serviced;
  • failure to maintain fire extinguishers in fully charged condition and in visible locations;
  • using extension cords as permanent wiring.

The serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $54,000.

A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.