Safety Lines

The Newsletter of Minnesota OSHA
Number 41 Fall 2003

New Minnesota OSHA strategic-plan focus
By Patricia Todd Director of MNOSHA Compliance

• inspections • assistance As part of the strategic plan, Minnesota OSHA established its vision and • efficiency leadermission. The vision for MNOSHA Compliance is: To be a in occupational safety and health and make Minnesota’s
workplaces the safest in the nation. The mission for MNOSHA Compliance is: To make sure every worker in the state of Minnesota has a safe and healthful workplace. In development of the new strategic plan, MNOSHA reviewed its past strategic plan, developed the vision and mission, analyzed challenges, defined strategic direction and established goals.

On the heels of completing its 1999 five-year strategic plan, Minnesota OSHA has created a new strategic plan for 2004 through 2008. The new strategic plan has three main areas of focus: inspections, compliance assistance and improving efficiency. By focusing efforts in these areas, MNOSHA will continue to improve its overall organization and its service to external stakeholders.


Goal one: Reduce occupational hazards through compliance inspections.

• To accomplish this goal MNOSHA plans to: research new sources of information, inspect high-hazard worksites, protect discrimination complainants and analyze effectiveness.
Goal two: Promote a safety and health culture through compliance assistance, outreach, cooperative programs and strong leadership.

• To accomplish this goal MNOSHA plans to: develop exemption partnerships, strengthen working relationships with external stakeholders and provide support for public safety.
Goal three: Strengthen and improve MNOSHA’s infrastructure.

• To accomplish this goal MNOSHA plans to: improve MNOSHA measurement systems, perform workflow analyses, conduct a work-skill assessment and improve overall efficiency. The entire current and former strategic plans are available online at

Many past and present members from the OSHA safety and health community gathered Aug. 15 at the Department of Labor and Industry in St. Paul to celebrate Minnesota OSHA’s 30-year history. The event was an opportunity to learn about how safety and health compliance has evolved since 1973, to hear the challenges and successes of former OSHA directors and to share many memories.

1983: 1986: 1989: 1991:

Right-to-Know Confined space Stricter air-quality standard AWAIR

Auto body: Concrete plants: Dry cleaners: Electrical utilities: Ergonomics: Fiberglass: Firefighting: Foundries: Grain elevators: Lead/silica: Minnesota First: Trenches:

1998-2000 1988-1990 1997-1998 1997-2001 1990-present 1996-1997 1984-1990 1983-1990 1982-1987 1997-present 1995-2000 1997-present

Budget: Total number of staff: Safety inspectors: Health inspectors: Employers covered: Employees covered: State injury rate : (private industry)
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$725,975 42 25 2 168,006 1,331,221 11.0 per 100 FTE

Budget: Total number of staff: Safety inspectors: Health inspectors: Employers covered: Employees covered: State injury rate: (private industry)

$2,938,212 66 29 12 175,000 1,700,000 7.3 total per 100 FTE
Fall 2003

Former OSHA Director Darrell Anderson and current Minnesota OSHA employees Hon Siow and Gary Anderson look at OSHA historical information.

Former OSHA Director Ivan Russell and former OSHA Safety Investigator Larry Thompson celebrate the 30-year anniversary.

Former OSHA Director Jim Parent addresses the crowd.

Guests at the MNOSHA 30-year celebration enjoy the speakers that included former OSHA Management Team Directors, Carol Bufton from the Minnesota Safety Council and DLI Commissioner Scott Brener.

Budget: Total number of staff: Safety inspectors: Health inspectors: Employers covered: Employees covered: State injury rate: (private industry)
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$4,938,212 75 32 12 175,000 2,104,700 8.6 total per 100 FTE

Budget: Total number of staff: Safety inspectors: Health inspectors: Employers covered: Employees covered: 2001 state injury rate: (private industry)

$7,853,423 87 40 16 153,000 2,548,000 6.3 total per 100 FTE
Fall 2003

OSH Advisory Council suggests program improvements
By Patricia Todd, Director of MNOSHA Compliance

The members of the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Council were recently asked to provide input about how Minnesota OSHA Compliance could improve. Suggestions include: • Use more workers’ compensation data when determining inspection approach. • Determine if standards that are specific to MNOSHA provide value.
DLI Assistant Commissioner of Workplace Services Roslyn Wade and OSH Advisory Chairperson President Carol Bufton

• Increase efforts into the areas of workplace violence prevention and ergonomics.

• Increase the productivity of the inspectors. • Use the advisory council to facilitate stakeholder input. • Continue to build brand identity. • Establish goals that can be met. • Make better use of external stakeholder resources.
James Collins, DLI Workplace Safety Consultation director, and William Stuart, Argon LLC

Implementation of the suggestions has yet to be determined.

Patricia Todd, director of MNOSHA Compliance

Meet the advisory council
The OSH Advisory Council consists of 12 members appointed by the Department of Labor and Industry commissioner. Council members include three representatives from management, three representatives from labor, three representatives of occupational safety and health professions, and three representatives from the general public. OSH Advisory Council members • Public: Carol Bufton, Harvey Burski, Pat McGovern • Labor: Michael Hawthorne, Robert Hilliker, Robert Sable • Industry: Eric Ajax, Mark Anderson, Eugene Harmer • Safety: Behmt (Barry) Eid, Paul Grundy, Ed Raine
Council members Harvey Burski and Eugene Harmer
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“A green line, painted around the perimeter of the World Trade Center site, defined the recovery area. Within and around this boundary, OSHA worked for 10 months with its partners in safety and health to protect the well-being of workers on the site. Within that space, no workers lost their lives in the recovery effort that followed the tragedy of September 11, 2001.” – Inside the Green Line; OSHA Responds to Disaster For many people not directly affected by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the images of destruction and disaster at the World Trade Center in New York are memories of an unforgettable event that are already fading away. A new publication from federal OSHA, Inside the Green Line; OSHA Responds to Disaster, brings those images and the sense of loss back to life through its descriptive MNOSHA employees’ help at World words and arresting photographs. The Trade Center site commemorated publication chronicles the efforts of the agency and its partners at the New York site. The critical role played by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and its partners in ensuring the safety and health of workers at the World Trade Center site and the lessons learned in the process are chronicled in a this new, free publication. “The World Trade Center was a worksite like no one had ever seen or imagined,” said John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “Workers poured their hearts and souls into their work, first looking for survivors and afterward cleaning up that hallowed ground. Likewise, OSHA and it partners – the city of New York, labor unions, contractors, government officials – dedicated themselves to making sure that not one of those workers was injured or lost during that effort. I am proud to say we all succeeded.” Inside the Green Line is available online at and may be ordered by calling federal OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742).

Eleven Minnesota OSHA employees who assisted at the World Trade Center site shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, each received a thank-you letter and a commemorative paperweight recently from federal OSHA.

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Fall 2003

OSHA online: ‘eTools’ enhance compliance assistance efforts
By Shelly Techar, MNOSHA Management Analyst

Federal OSHA recently launched some new electronic training tools on its Web site. These “eTools” provide interactive, standalone, Web-based training that addresses occupational safety and health topics. They are highly illustrated and use graphical menus. Some also use expert system modules, which enable the user to answer questions and then receive reliable advice about how OSHA regulations apply to their work site. Newly-launched eTool topics include: Computer workstations – Millions of people work with computers every day. This eTool illustrates simple, inexpensive principles that can help to create a safe and comfortable computer workstation, as well as provide suggestions to minimize or eliminate identified problems and allow users to create a “custom-fit” computer workstation.
Teen worker safety in restaurants – Nearly 30 percent of the 11.6 million people employed in restaurants

and other eating and drinking businesses in the United States are less than 20 years old. Many teens have their first work experience in the restaurant industry. This eTool describes common hazards and potential safety solutions for teen workers and employers in the restaurant industry. Resources include Web site links that provide information about federal and state child labor laws.
Baggage handling – Airline employees, including ticket agents and ramp agents, handle passenger baggage at

several points throughout the baggage handling process. An estimated 50,000 ground employees in the aviation industry will benefit from information contained in this revised version of OSHA’s Baggage Handling eTool, which is a product of the alliance among OSHA, several airlines and the National Safety Council’s International Air Transport Section. This eTool describes many of the common hazards associated with the baggage handling process, as well as providing possible solutions that are ranked according to their feasibility to the operation. For an index of all topics available, visit eTools are also available as downloadable files for off-line use.

MNOSHA Web-based surveys for employees and employers
By Kelly Taylor, MNOSHA Program Analyst

Two new Web-based surveys have been created for Minnesota OSHA, because the group is committed to improving the services it provides to employers and employees. Although mail-in surveys have provided valuable feedback about the inspection experience in the past, MNOSHA is hoping the new Web-based surveys will help obtain more information from a greater number of constituents, with greater ease.
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The surveys are designed for both employees and employers recently inspected by MNOSHA, with a goal of improving the service provided during and after an inspection. The separate surveys are designed so the data obtained may be compared. If your place of work has been the subject of a MNOSHA inspection within the past three months, go to osha_surv.html to tell MNOSHA how it can improve.
Fall 2003

‘Why is OSHA at our worksite?’
By Julie Marquardt, MNOSHA Program Analyst

When a Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) inspector arrives at a worksite to conduct an inspection, many employers and employees wonder how their worksite was selected. MNOSHA may perform an inspection at a worksite for a variety of reasons; inspections essentially fit into one of two categories: unprogrammed and programmed. Unprogrammed (unplanned) inspections are in response to alleged hazardous working conditions that may be triggered by a fatality or catastrophe at the worksite, an accident resulting in a serious injury to an employee, a complaint (including those alleging imminent danger), a referral or a follow-up inspection. Programmed (planned) inspections are scheduled on the basis of objective or neutral selection criteria, such as local and national work injury trends, past injury and illness data for the industry, and past injury and illness data for the employer. Specific industries have also been identified as hazardous in MNOSHA’s strategic plan and are emphasized during the scheduling process. In addition,

a percentage of inspections are scheduled that cover public-sector worksites. No advance notice is given for a programmed inspection. Having a MNOSHA inspection does not necessarily mean that a worksite is “bad” or that the employer is not concerned about safety. For instance, programmed inspection initiatives may be implemented that require MNOSHA to inspect all worksites within a given industry. Therefore, inspections are conducted at both “good” and “bad” worksites. During any inspection, the MNOSHA inspector works with the employer to eliminate any hazardous conditions at the worksite and issues citations when a standard has been violated. Because it is impossible to inspect every worksite in the state, MNOSHA strives to formulate an annual inspection scheduling plan that will impact high-hazard industries and contribute toward making workplaces in Minnesota safe and healthful. For more information about inspections and how they are conducted, visit

Safety Lines is a free, quarterly, online publication of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Its purpose is to promote occupational safety and health and to inform readers of the purpose, plans and progress of Minnesota OSHA. Questions, comments and story submissions are welcome. News material may be reproduced provided the department is contacted and credited. Send comments, submissions and requests for e-mail notification when new editions go online to: (include your name and e-mail address in the body of the message). This material can be provided in different formats, such as Braille, large print or audiotape, by calling Minnesota OSHA at (651) 284-5050 or (651) 297-4198/TTY. Safety Lines 7 Fall 2003


New recordkeeping requirements beginning Jan. 1
• Hearing loss: The provision for 1904.10(b)(7) will become effective Jan. 1, 2004, as scheduled. This requires recording a checkmark in the hearing loss column of the 300 log for cases involving occupational hearing loss. [Related note: The Occupational Noise Standard, 1910.95(g)(9), indicates annual audiograms may be substituted for a baseline audiogram when a persistent shift is present. However, only the audiogram for the ear that suffered the shift may be updated.] More recordkeeping information is available online at recordkeeping/index.html.

Federal OSHA has published revised requirements for the recordkeeping standard, which take effect Jan. 1, 2004. The revisions involve the following previously delayed provisions: • Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs): Two requirements that had not yet taken effect have been deleted entirely: 1. The requirement to place a checkmark in the MSD column of the OSHA 300 log for work-related MSDs was deleted. 2. The statement that MSDs are not considered privacy concern cases was deleted.

New videos added to MNOSHA loan program
By Diane Amell, MNOSHA Training Officer

Minnesota OSHA has added five new titles to its video lending collection: • The NIOSH-produced Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome features the hazards to the body caused by hand-held vibrating tools, with the primary focus on “white finger syndrome.” The discussion includes causes of the syndrome and its diagnosis, and highlights various abatement techniques.

especially seasonal employees, with an overview or review of safety and health hazards specific to that industry. • TB Respiratory Protection: Administrator’s Review summarizes the eight-step NIOSH procedure for creating a respiratory protection program against tuberculosis. It serves as a companion video to the employee-oriented Respirators: Your TB Defense, also available through the MNOSHA video library.

• Stress is treated as an occupational safety and health • Caution: Foundry At Work, another NIOSH video, issue in the NIOSH video Working With Stress. The health identifies some of the major health and safety hazards effects of stress are discussed, as are possible causes and associated with foundry work, while illustrating hazard solutions. control through ventilation and isolation. The use of silica These videos and others are available for a free two-week sand is featured prominently. loan period. Visit for • The Grain Elevator Safety Orientation Video, the complete loan policy and listing of available videos. produced by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Videos can be checked out by calling (651) 284-5050 Consumer Affairs, Onsite Safety & Health Consultation (toll-free at 1-877-470-6742) or by sending e-mail to Program, is designed to provide grain elevator employees,
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