Safety Lines

The Newsletter of Minnesota OSHA
Number 53 Fall 2006

Minnesota OSHA assists after Hurricane Katrina disaster
By Jolyn Crum, Industrial Hygienist III, MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation and Karen Hilts, Industrial Hygienist II, MNOSHA Compliance

Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States on Aug. 29, 2005, as a Category 3 hurricane, with winds sustaining 120 to 125 miles an hour. The storm surge in the New Orleans, La. (NOLA), area caused many breaches in the levees surrounding the city, which is 80 percent below sea level. A death toll of approximately 1,900 was confirmed by May 2006, with roughly 1,600 of those deaths taking place in Louisiana. Due to the enormous devastation sustained in the New Orleans area, federal OSHA set up a temporary area field office (AFO) at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help tackle the numerous health and safety issues left in the aftermath of Katrina. To avoid the legal issues and health concerns that arose during and after the World Trade Center clean-up efforts, FEMA and

A house in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, La., rests atop two cars and other debris after being pushed across the street by floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

OSHA hoped to create a database that would capture any employee overexposures to toxic or hazardous substances and would demonstrate effective employee protections. The main task of OSHA was to protect federal assets, sites funded by FEMA and operated by the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and their contractors. OSHA volunteers from all over the country were called upon to help federal OSHA with the task of ensuring the health and safety of employees who would soon be needed to help clear massive amounts of debris, demolish destroyed buildings, reinstate much of the infrastructure that was damaged or destroyed and to help rebuild "the Big Easy." Volunteers were placed in groups – or task forces – of two, with one safety investigator and one industrial hygienist (IH), not just for comprehensive health and
Hurricane Katrina, continues ...

Karen Hilts, MNOSHA Compliance, takes heat-stress measurements while working in the area devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

Hurricane Katrina, continued ...

safety knowledge, but also for security reasons. Each team was given daily assignments to perform industrial hygiene sampling and assist with safety issues on a consultative basis at FEMAfunded sites throughout southeastern Louisiana.
A day in the life at NOLA AFO

Immediately following the hurricane, rotations one through 10 consisted of as many as 10 task forces. By rotation 14, the first of our two two-week rotations, task forces had been reduced to four groups of two. Due to the emphasis on industrial hygiene sampling, the IHs were dubbed task-force leaders. Initial rotations worked 12-hour days for 14 consecutive days, before going home. For health and safety reasons, this practice was altered for contractors and OSHA personnel. Our rotations worked six-day work weeks, 10 to 12 hours a day. On a typical day, we woke at the Holiday Inn Superdome, rode either with each other or our task-force partner to breakfast (Café Du Monde for café au lait and beignets or the Rendezvous for latte and eggs with grits) and arrived at the NOLA AFO by the 7:30 a.m. check-in. The planning chief would distribute assignments for the day to each taskforce leader. Sometimes assignments were handed out the day before to give us time to leave the hotel by 5:30 a.m. or earlier. Maps, directions, equipment, phones, roadside assistance equipment and OSHA handouts were prepared and packed into the vehicle. We would usually hit the road by 9 a.m. Travel through Louisiana was tricky at times, with missing street signs or stop signs, potholes the size of baby elephants,
Hurricane Katrina, continues ...

General-debris site created from devastation of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.

Workers on top of the Superdome in New Orleans, La., (l to r) Jeff Lodwick, Salt Lake Training Center; Jolyn Crum, MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation; and James Bush, OSHA Region 6, Dallas.

Flood-ruined household appliances pile up at a waste site near New Orleans, La.

Hurricane Katrina, continued ...

stop signs and one-way signs turned the wrong way, large piles of debris blocking the view of intersections and contractors without high-visibility wear in the street. Particularly interesting were the fourway stop intersections at which no one actually stopped. We were warned daily of this hazard. Traffic signs and rules seemed to become mere guidelines. The territory covered included New Orleans proper, including the Lower Ninth Ward, and parishes from the Texas border across to the Mississippi border and down to the Gulf of Mexico. For security reasons, we were required to call the office two times a day. However, some areas did not have adequate cell phone coverage and it was sometimes necessary to call another task force to ask them to contact the office for us. Issues of concern were the indigent population, snakes, spiders, alligators and, at times, the contractors themselves. Contractors were performing demolition, debris removal and presumed-asbestos removal wearing full Tyvek suits and respirators in the Louisiana heat and humidity. The Coast Guard and its contractors were removing sunken boats and ships from the waterways, with commercial divers, cranes on barges and tugboats. One of our duties was to look for alligators and water moccasins during dive operations. A benefit to being on the barges was the promise of fresh crab and crawfish for lunch, caught off the barge that day and cooked up by the tugboat cook. Personal air and/or noise samples were attached to employees at the assigned sites. Common health hazards that were sampled for included: noise, asbestos,
Hurricane Katrina, continues ...
Safety Lines 3 Fall 2006

Boats and debris pile up at the Lake Pontchartrain Marina, New Orleans, LA.

"One of our duties was to look for alligators and water moccasins during dive operations."

Five alligators eye the OSHA workers near New Orleans, La., as the OSHA workers keep an eye on them.

Hurricane Katrina, continues ...

carbon monoxide, respirable dust, silica, total dust, lead and flammable gases. One problem throughout the day was locating the crews wearing the equipment as they moved from block to block removing debris from the streets. In between sampling episodes, imminent dangers with non-FEMA contract employees were addressed on a consultative basis that we referred to as interventions. Common safety hazards seen involved fall protection, electrical safety, scaffolds, traffic control, trenching and more. After a sample was collected, we returned to the office from as far as three hours away. Back at the office, we: entered all of our interventions, sampling paperwork, photos and employee information; recalibrated equipment; and submitted samples for submission to the Salt Lake City laboratory. After that was completed, we would sign out anywhere from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Camaraderie among the team members and operations personnel was essential to performing the difficult day-tasks. The hotel employees treated us very well and were very appreciative of the OSHA business. Because tourists were scarce, hotels and restaurants were few and far between, and good employees to staff them were hard to find.
In conclusion

We encountered anger and frustration from the populace toward the government and insurance companies, none of which was directed at us. Our assistance was appreciated and we always felt welcome wherever our assignments took us. Tensions were particularly high because the mayoral election was in progress. For the four weeks we were there, we saw very little progress being made with the clean-up effort. Large piles of debris remained, heavy construction equipment remained idle due to lack of operators or funding, and the Lower Ninth Ward looked much like an atomic bomb had exploded the day before. The fire department was still using cadaver dogs to search for bodies nine months after Katrina hit. Although we felt our work was important and well-received, we can understand the lingering anger and resentment of the people remaining in the Big Easy and surrounding bayou country. Note: As of Aug. 31, 2006, OSHA personnel are no longer performing FEMA assistance functions in NOLA. Decisions are currently being made through federal OSHA Consultation about contracting outside personnel or training short-term employees for consultation work in the area. In the meantime, the Baton Rouge, La., OSHA office will continue its compliance and consultation efforts as best as it can.

History of lending a helping hand; MNOSHA in NYC, 2001
Two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, 11 Minnesota OSHA Compliance employees voluntarily traveled to the site to work by assisting federal OSHA Region II (New York) with the clean-up of the site. Later, two of those MNOSHA workers wrote personal accounts for Safety Lines about the sights that met them, the work they did, the people they interacted with and other experiences. To read those accounts, visit

Safety Lines


Fall 2006

Minnesota OSHA standards update
By Shelly Techar, Management Analyst

AWAIR list revisions proposed

The list of industries required to comply with the A Workplace Accident and Injury Reduction (AWAIR) Act is being amended to satisfy the statutory requirement that the list be reviewed and updated every two years. The prior revision to the AWAIR list in Minnesota Rules 5208.1500 occurred in October 2004, when standard industrial classification (SIC) data was being used. During 2003 and 2004, OSHA transitioned to using the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), an alternative industry grouping system. In 2005, the Minnesota Legislature amended Minnesota Statutes §182.653 to allow NAICS to be used in the list. The proposed revised list was compiled using 2004 data for Minnesota from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. Employers in the NAICS industries on the list will have six months from the date the revised list is adopted to implement an AWAIR program for their facilities. Industries that are not on the proposed list may be added to the list in two years if the incidence rates for the industry go above the Minnesota average rates for that year. Updates to this list will be based on the most current injury and illness data available at the time of the update. Industries with a case rate (per 100 full-time employees) for days away from work, days of restricted work activity or job transfer (DART) at or above 2.6 or a total case incidence rate (recordable injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers) at or above 5.3 will be added to the list. These are the 2004 rates for all Minnesota industries. AWAIR requires covered employers to develop a written workplace safety and health program that includes: • an explanation of how managers, supervisors and employees will implement the program; • how the continued participation of management will be established, measured and maintained; • the methods that will be used to identify, analyze and control new or existing hazards, conditions and operations; • how the plan will be communicated to all affected employees; • how workplace accidents will be reviewed (for example, defining how they will be investigated and how corrective actions will be implemented); and • how safe work practices and rules will be enforced.
Standards update, continues ...

Standards update, continued ...

The existing AWAIR list is available online at When the proposed revisions are adopted, the posted list will be updated to reflect the changes.
Other proposed revisions

Proposed changes are pending to Minnesota Rules 5205.0030 and 5207.0100, High Visibility Personal Protective Equipment, and Minn. Rules 5207.1000, Operation of Mobile Earth-moving Equipment. The changes include: • updating the ANSI edition reference in the above-mentioned rules from 107-1999 to 107-2004; • making a nonsubstantive technical correction to an NFPA reference; and • deleting past effective dates. The 2004 version of the ANSI standard has been expanded to stay in line with the state-of-theart in fabrics technology and design, and now provides users with documentation that a garment meets all requirements of the standard. Also, product coverage now includes high-visibility headwear and all reference to selection based on vehicle speeds has been removed, instead emphasizing garment selection based on the color and complexity of the work environment.
Status of changes

The proposed revisions were published in the State Register Aug. 7, followed by a 30-day comment period that ended Sept. 6. No comments were received. A notice adopting these amendments will be published in the State Register. Both the proposal notice and adoption notice (when available) will be online at Copies of the proposal notice were sent to those on the Minnesota OSHA standards mailing list. To be added to the mailing list for notification of MNOSHA standard activity or other Department of Labor and Industry rulemaking, complete and return the form at

Anchor Block Company earns fourth MNSHARP award
In September, the Brooklyn Park, Minn., location of Anchor Block Company was awarded MNSHARP status by Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation. It is the fourth Anchor Block Company location to achieve the honor. For more information about MNSHARP, visit www. html.
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High incidence of electrical accidents can be eliminated
By Jim Krueger, Metro Safety Director MNOSHA Management Team

When Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) analyzed where the greatest portion of workplace injuries and illness investigations were occurring during the past five years, it was determined that contractors who primarily engage in electrical work (SIC 1731, NAICS 213531) had a high incidence of accidents. During the fiveyear period, there were eight fatalities and 14 serious injuries MNOSHA investigated. In 2005, MNOSHA investigated the following accidents that occurred when employees contacted energized equipment. • Employees were assigned to connect an underground utility line to an existing above-ground electrical utility pole. While performing live work from an aerial lift, an employee – who was not wearing appropriate safety equipment – made contact with a bracket that was energized at 7,200 volts. The employee’s finger was amputated and the employee was treated for elbow and hand burns and injuries. • Employees were guiding a traffic signal pole into a foundation. One employee was guiding the bottom of the pole, another was holding a tag line to help control the pole and the third employee was operating the boom truck. The pole moved and contacted a power line, resulting in severe and extensive burns to the employee holding the pole. • A crew was constructing a three-phase overhead power line from an existing single-phase line. One employee was working in a bucket attached to a boom. The employee did not have fall protection, nor protective sleeves or other personal protective equipment. Employees working on the ground heard a loud arcing noise, looked up and saw the employee in the bucket slumped over and unconscious. The employee suffered first, second and third-degree burns. • Workers were replacing several miles of wooden power line poles with new steel poles. A three-person crew was installing earth anchors at the base of overhead power line poles. While an employee attempted to insert a metal anchor rod into an anchor wrench attached to a boom on a digger-derrick truck, the boom contacted a power line. The employee was electrocuted. MNOSHA issues citations to protect employees from death and serious injuries that occur when working on or near electrical equipment. The monetary penalties can be significant. Listed below are the mostfrequently cited standards. Review of the list and a serious effort toward eliminating such hazards on every jobsite will help keep workers safe. For assistance, call MNOSHA at 1-800-470-6742 or visit
Most-frequently cited standards for electrical contractors Standard Description 1926.405(a)(2) ........................ Temporary wiring requirements 1926.405(d) ............................ Electrical hazards involving switchboards and panelboards 1926.405(g)(2) ........................ Flexible cords and cables – identification, splices and termination 1926.453(b)(2) ........................ Extensible and articulating boom platform requirements 1926.404(b)(1) ........................ Use of ground fault circuit interrupters or an assured equipment grounding program M.S. §182.653 subd. 8 ........... A Workplace Accident and Injury Reduction (AWAIR) program 1926.100(a) ............................ Hard hats in construction 1926.405(b)(1) ........................ Protection of conductors from abrasion and closure of boxes, cabinets and fittings 1926.403(i)(2) ......................... Guarding of live electrical parts 1926.416(a)(1) Protection of employees against electrical shock through the use of de-energization and grounding or guarding and insulation 1926.403(b)(2) ........................ Installation and use of listed, labeled or certified equipment

Accidents increase in tree trimming and removal industry
By Ryan Nosan, Safety Investigator, Principal

The Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) has seen an increase in the number of serious injuries and fatalities occurring in the ornamental shrub and tree service industry (establishments engaged in tree trimming and removal). This industry (SIC 0782 and 0783; NAICS 561730) is covered by the General Industry Regulations 29 CFR 1910. Falls, struck-by, cuts, shocks and electrocutions are just a few of the hazards these workers face every day when performing this type of work. Falls and struck-by hazards make up a majority of the accidents investigated by MNOSHA each year in this industry. Since January 2006, one fatality and two serious injuries have occurred. In April 2006, a fatality occurred when a ground worker, working below another worker in a tree who was removing brush and limbs, was struck by a piece of falling debris. The worker on the ground was not wearing a hard hat and was not clear of the cutting area/drop zone. Both serious injuries occurring to-date in 2006 involved falls from significant heights, where fall protection was not used or was used improperly. One of the accidents occurred when a “climber,” was in the process of removing a dead tree. The tree had only one limb and the climber had secured his fall protection to this limb. During the first cut, the limb broke at the stock and the worker fell approximately 30 feet. The climber sustained broken bones. The other accident occurred when a tree-trimming crew was in the process of piecing out a very large tree. One employee was working from a truckmounted aerial lift when the limb being cut twisted and struck the boom of the truck, causing the boom to break and the employee to fall from the bucket. The employee working in the lift was not using a body harness or a body belt. The employee fell approximately 25 feet and sustained injuries.
Safety Lines 8

The standards that have been most-frequently cited in this industry nationally since 2003 include: • 1910.67(c)(2) – Specific requirements for working from extensible and articulating boom platforms (fall protection, training); • 1910.132(a) – General requirements for personal protective equipment; • 1910.133(a)(1) – General requirements for eye/ face protection; • 1910.135(a)(1) – General requirements for head protection; and • 1910.1200/5206.0700 – Hazard communication/ Right-to-Know program. Other applicable standards include: • 1910.266 – Logging operations; • 1910.268(q) – Tree trimming electrical hazards; • 1910.268(r) – Line clearance tree trimming operations; and • 1910.333 – Selection and use of work practices. Additionally, MNOSHA may reference the applicable ANSI standard (Z133.1.1994) for tree care operations when a specific OSHA standard does not apply. MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation conducts the LogSafe program – professional logger safety training – for this industry. Visit for more.
Fall 2006

Construction Breakfast season offers full menu
By Gary Robertson, MNOSHA Training Officer

The Department of Labor and Industry and Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) Compliance announce the 2006 and 2007 Construction Breakfast season, which offers a host of new and recurring safety topics. The breakfast seminars offer participants a hot breakfast, followed by a presentation and discussion about a construction safety or health topic. The 2006 and 2007 Construction Breakfast schedule is: • Sept. 19 – Crane operator certification; • Nov. 21 – Fall protection; • Jan. 16 – Road construction/work-zone safety; • March 20 – Residential fall protection; and • May 15 – Trenching. The first program of this year's series, "Crane operator certification," was new to the series and generated a lot of interest throughout the state. Presenter Doug Swenson, Associated General Contractors of Minnesota, addressed a new law requiring certification of some crane operators on construction worksites. The statute becomes effective July 1, 2007. The seminar defined which crane operators need to be certified, in reference to the size and type of crane they are operating, and explained why some crane operators may be exempt from the new law because of the type and location of work they perform. Participants were also told operator training requirements and who may administer this training, so operator certification will be in compliance when the new regulation takes effect. If you were unable to attend the September Construction Breakfast seminar, the presentation is available online at as a PDF file. Every year, serious injuries and fatalities are the result of falls from elevated work surfaces and excavation cave-ins. Fall protection, both commercial and residential, and protecting employees working in excavations demands considerable attention from MNOSHA construction investigators. Because of those issues, the two topics continue to be presented at Construction Breakfast seminars each year.

Some of the 117 Construction Breakfast attendees check in for "Crane operator certification," Sept. 19, at the Department of Health conference room. Getting the attendees checked in is Lorinda Floding-Huss (in red) and Mitzy Wright, Minnesota OSHA.

Doug Swenson, Associated General Contractors of Minnesota, begins his presentation about crane-operator certification.
Safety Lines

Construction Breakfast, continues ...


Fall 2006

Construction Breakfast, continued ...

A detailed description of each presentation and information about registration is available online at Advance registration is recommended. The seminar location is the Minnesota Department of Health, Snelling Office Park, 1645 Energy Park Drive, St. Paul. There is no charge for parking. The doors open at about 6:30 a.m., with breakfast serving beginning shortly afterward; the program starts at 7:30 a.m. and lasts about an hour. Participants are only charged for the cost of the meal, currently $10.

In addition to the featured presentations, the Construction DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY Breakfast seminars provide a forum for participants to network and discuss similar concerns with other professionals in the industry. It is also an opportunity for participants to approach MNOSHA staff members to ask questions about regulations or safety programs. The Construction Breakfast steering committee met during the summer months to suggest, discuss and select the topics and presenters for the seminars. Meetings were very productive and the program continues to grow with the support of the steering committee. Construction Breakfast steering committee members are: Don Felton, Hasslen Construction; Jim Oksol, Federated Insurance; Scott Richert, St. Paul Travelers; Steven Kohler, Frattalone Companies; Mil Carroll, State Fund Mutual; Lloyd Wangerin, Centex Homes; and Debra Hilmerson, Hilmerson Services.


WSC serves up construction safety seminars outside the metro
Outside the Twin Cities, Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) presents its Construction Safety seminars in Baxter (Brainerd), North Mankato and Owatonna. Much the same as the Construction Breakfast seminars from Minnesota OSHA Compliance (see above), the safety seminars start with breakfast – from coffee and rolls to a buffet breakfast, depending on location – followed by a construction safety and health presentation. For more information or to register, visit
Health hazards in construction – subpart D

• Owatonna, Nov. 14 • North Mankato, Nov. 15 • Baxter (Brainerd), Nov. 29
Fatality/serious injury

• Owatonna, Jan. 9 • North Mankato, Jan. 10 • Baxter (Brainerd), Jan. 17
Four main hazards: falls, struck by, entrapment, electrical

• Owatonna, March 6 • North Mankato, March 7 • Baxter (Brainerd), March 14
Right-to-know and heat stress

• Owatonna, May 8 • North Mankato, May 9 • Baxter (Brainerd), May 16

Safety Lines


Fall 2006

New, free safety tools on the Web
By Diane Amell, Training Officer

Resources are constantly being added to the World Wide Web. Materials covering occupational safety and health are no exception. Below are three new, free tools that may assist with safety training. • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has created a new Web-based training exercise, Trench Safety Awareness. The program explains the types of trench collapse, soil type classification and protective systems. However, it is not intended to be used for competent-person training without additional instruction or materials. The program is online at and can be accessed or downloaded. A CD-ROM version is available for a free, two-week loan from the MNOSHA audiovisual library. For a complete listing about what is available from the MNOSHA audiovisual library, visit • The U.S. Chemical Accident Safety and Hazard Identification Board (CSB) has released a series of safety videos based on some of their chemical accident investigations. Both animation and actual film footage is used to depict incidents involving: – the overheating of a flammable gas cylinder by the sun; – the sterilization of medical supplies using ethylene oxide; and – damage to an unguarded valve by a fork truck and trailer. There are eight videos available, including five analyzing specific events. The videos and the accompanying Safety Bulletins can be viewed on the CSB Web site at Free DVD copies of the videos can be ordered on the site as well. The Web site features both English and German versions of the BP Texas City explosion video, while the DVD features a ninth video describing the CSB itself. • In honor of the 35th anniversary of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, public health educator and performance poet Stacy Smallwood presented his new poem at the 2006 National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Symposium. The poem serves as a solemn reflection on the importance of workplace safety and health. A video of Smallwood’s performance and a transcript of the poem can be found on the NIOSH Web site at The symposium was co-sponsored by NIOSH and the National Safety Council. Note: These and more videos can also be viewed online via the federal OSHA multimedia page at Fourteen titles are available.

Gettin' the 411
By James Krueger, Metro Safety Director MNOSHA Management Team

Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) is committed to helping customers achieve safe and healthful work conditions. One way the organization does that is by providing telephone assistance. Each day, two MNOSHA safety and health professionals staff the phones to assist callers with a wide variety of topics. Some callers wish to file a safety complaint about their workplace. In the past 18 months, staff members have answered 12,898 calls; 1,012 of those calls resulted in complaints. Most of the complaints do not result in an on-site inspection, but are resolved by a letter to the employer asking them to look into the condition, take appropriate action if necessary and provide MNOSHA with confirmation that an unsafe condition is not present. This allows MNOSHA to use its safety and health resources more effectively. MNOSHA also answers calls requesting safety and health information that ranges from general to very specific. Callers include safety and health professionals, individuals starting a new business or safety program, and others. In most cases, this information is provided to the caller immediately; they can also be directed to another agency or provided assistance locating the information MNOSHA or federal OSHA maintains online.

Contacting Minnesota OSHA Compliance
Compliance assistance information Minnesota OSHA offices

Phone: (651) 284-5050 Greater Minnesota: 1-877-470-OSHA (1-877-470-6742) TTY: (651) 297-4198 E-mail: Web:
OSHA 300 forms, posters

St. Paul: Duluth: Mankato:

(651) 284-5050 1-877-470-6742 (218) 733-7722 (507) 389-6507
Minnesota Rules

Phone: (651) 284-5042 Greater Minnesota: 1-877-470-6742

Online, Minnesota Legislature: Printed, Minnesota's Bookstore: (651) 297-3000 1-800-657-3757

After hours: reporting of accidents only 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742)
Safety Lines 12 Fall 2006

Recordkeeping 101: Part 8

A guide for keeping an accurate OSHA log
By Brian Zaidman, Research Analyst, Research and Statistics

Editor's note: This is the eighth installment of a series about using the OSHA Form 300 and summarizing its results. This information is directed to people who are new to OSHA recordkeeping activities, who are unfamiliar with the 2002 recordkeeping changes or who want to review their recordkeeping practices. Visit for previous installments.

The OSHA recordkeeping system puts a ready-to-use performance measurement tool for workplace safety into the hands of every business. Thanks to the OSHA log (OSHA Form 300), every business has a system for accurately recording and measuring an important aspect of workplace safety: the number of injuries and illnesses among its workers. The OSHA log as serves as the official record of work-related injuries and illnesses for a work establishment. All employees, former employees, their personal representatives and their collective bargaining agents can review the log. In Minnesota, all employers with more than 10 employees must comply with the recordkeeping requirements, regardless of their industry. During the past seven quarterly editions of Safety Lines, the Recordkeeping 101 series has presented a wide range of issues involved in creating and using your OSHA log: part one – deciding what injury and illness cases to include in the log; part two – classifying cases into case types; part three – counting the days away from work and days of job transfer or restriction; part four – describing injury and illness events; part five – classifying cases as either injuries or illnesses; part six – creating the annual log summary; and part seven – using the log summary to track your company’s performance. In this installment, the conclusion of the series, we review some key points for creating and maintaining an accurate OSHA log. Improving your ability to measure workplace safety improves your ability to manage workplace safety.
Educate yourself

The best way to improve your recordkeeping skills is to spend a few minutes becoming familiar with the recordkeeping system when you’re not under pressure to record a case or prepare an annual summary. • Congratulations, you’re reading a Recordkeeping 101 installment! Bookmark all the online installments or print them and keep them with your log. Minnesota OSHA has all the recordkeeping installments available online at • Become familiar with the OSHA recordkeeping forms packet, available on the federal OSHA Web site at • The federal OSHA recordkeeping Web site also provides all the information that was presented in the Recordkeeping 101 articles at • Recordkeeping training courses are offered through the Minnesota Safety Council. For a schedule of classes, visit • You can view a recordkeeping PowerPoint presentation from Minnesota OSHA online at

Recordkeeping 101: Part 8 • If you have questions, contact Minnesota OSHA by e-mail at or by phone at (651) 284-5042 (toll-free at 1-800-342-5354).
Educate others in your workplace

Recordkeeping knowledge is an important skill. After learning how to maintain the log and create the annual summary, teach others how to do it. When workers who have learned the OSHA log system change jobs, their replacements often have to start from scratch. The following ideas can help a replacement hit the ground running. • Keep copies of important recordkeeping-related documents. • Train a coworker, safety committee members or your supervisor about the basics of recordkeeping. It helps to have someone appreciate the work that is involved. This also gives you someone to work with when questions arise. • Take notes about what you do and how you do it.
Organize your records

• Use an electronic version of the log; federal OSHA provides an Excel version on its Web site at This will help keep your information organized and legible, and provides more room for text. • Good records organization will help you when you train others. It also shows your business is serious about occupational safety and health. • A well-kept, legible log makes it easy to prepare the annual summary. • The log must be kept available for five years after the year of the cases, so there’s a high likelihood that other people will be looking at the log.
Include only recordable cases

• The basic recordkeeping requirement is to record all work-related injuries and illnesses that result in death, loss of consciousness, medical treatment beyond first aid, days away from work, restriction of work or transfer to another job. • The log should include only those cases meeting the recordability criteria. Many workplace incidents may look like recordable injuries, but don’t meet the criteria. For example, a work-related rash that can be treated with a nonprescription ointment and that does not result in any job restrictions or time away from work is not a recordable case. • Medical treatment is any treatment not included on OSHA’s first aid list (see Recordkeeping 101: Part 1). • Record a case only in the year in which the injury or illness first occurred. If a December injury results in days away from work the following January, the case is recorded in December, not January.
Each case receives only one case type

• Each recordable case must be classified according to the most serious outcome for that case. Only one classification is permitted. • The order of case seriousness is: death, days away from work, job transfer or restriction, and other recordable cases. A nonfatal case with only one day away from work must be classified as a days away from work case, even if the injury also results in 150 days of job restriction.
Count calendar days

• For cases with days away from work and days of job transfer or restriction, count calendar days, not just scheduled workdays or days the business is open.
Safety Lines 14 Fall 2006

Recordkeeping 101: Part 8 • Begin counting days on the day after the injury occurred or the illness began. • Continue counting days even into the next year. However, record your count on the log for the year the injury or illness first occurred. • If a case with days away from work also has days of job transfer or restriction, count each type separately and enter each duration in the appropriate column on the log.
Provide a thorough description of each case

• Descriptions should provide specific information that safety directors and safety committee members can use to improve workplace safety. • Describe the worker’s activity, what happened, the part of the body that was affected and how it was affected. • If necessary, use more than one row of the paper version of the log when recording a description.
Classify each case as an injury or an illness

• Each recordable case must have a check in only one of the columns, M1 through M6. Check the category that best fits the circumstances of the case. • Most recordable cases are injuries. In general, injuries result from instantaneous events or exposures in the work environment.
Use the log

The OSHA log is a tool to help employers manage workplace safety and health. Keeping an accurate log is only the start of the process. • Every establishment required to keep a log must create an annual summary and post the summary in the workplace. • Share the summary information with your company’s management and the safety committee. • Compare annual results and benchmark against the state and national averages for your industry. Minnesota rate information is available at National statistics are available at • Use statistics about detailed case characteristics to understand the most common types of injuries for your industry and for the occupations in your establishment. • For help accessing or understanding the BLS survey results tables, contact the Department of Labor and Industry's Research and Statistics unit by phone at (651) 285-5025 or by e-mail at

Don't let winter hazards trip you up
By Brian Zaidman, Research Analyst, Research and Statistics

Four winter months — December through March — account for 68 percent of all workers’ compensation indemnity claims resulting from outdoor slips, trips and falls on the same level or from steps. Data for the past four years shows an average of 615 such injuries each winter, compared to 290 of these injuries during the remaining eight months. These injuries occurred most often on parking lots; this is followed by sidewalks, stairs or steps, streets and the ground (unspecified). These injuries have a very different profile than indemnity claims in general. Compared to all indemnity claims for 2003 and 2004, fractures are much more common and sprains and strains are less common among the outdoor winter injuries. Outdoor winter slips, trips and falls are more likely to result in injuries to the lower extremities and to multiple body parts, and are much less likely to result in back injuries than are all indemnity claims.
Safety Lines 15 Fall 2006

View ergonomics best-practices on agency Web site
Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) is working to create Web pages that will showcase the ergonomics best-practices of employers throughout the state at The pages show examples of inventive ways employers and employees are working to reduce the risks of musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace. Currently, there is no specific Minnesota or federal ergonomics regulation; however, employers have an obligation to correct recognized ergonomics hazards causing or likely to cause injury to employees. The best-practices ideas featured online can help other facilities accomplish this obligation by providing examples from other worksites, which may also help generate ideas for reducing risk-factors in other work tasks.
Submit your company's ergonomics best-practices ideas

Health care industry

WSC welcomes submission of best-practices ideas for inclusion on these Web pages. If submitting ideas, include as much of the following information as possible, with photographs that illustrate the idea (before and after, if possible): • type of industry; • general description of the work task and work area; • description of the task requirements prior to the change; • body part(s) most affected; • description of the ergonomics best-practice intervention; • description of the task requirements after the change; • risk-factors eliminated; • employee testimonials; • injury-reduction data; and • return-on-investment data.
For more information

Residents can be easily positioned during daily care activities.

Manufacturing industry

For more information or to submit ideas, contact Dave Ferkul, Workplace Safety Consultation, by phone at (218) 733-7832 or by e-mail at
Safety Lines 16

Use of a motorized cart or “tug” has eliminated the unnecessary risks associated with transporting computer mainframes to a raised-floor testing lab.
Fall 2006

Best of the worst: photos from the Minnesota OSHA files
Each year, MNOSHA investigators witness and photograph hundreds of safety and health hazards in their efforts to keep Minnesota workers safe. The investigators have pulled together a collection of the photos – a "best of the worst" – from incidents in 2004 and 2005, where no one was injured and the employer was instructed to correct the hazards. The collection of photos is available at www.doli. Information about how investigations are conducted is available online at
Above: Two MNOSHA investigators are recognized for their photos of hazardous situations, judged "best of the worst" and "best of the worst, runner up." L to R: Gary Anderson with his "best of the worst" photo; Jim Krueger, metro safety director; Tom Joachim, assistant commissioner, Safety Codes and Services Division; Karen Hilts with her "best of the worst, runner up" photo; Clayton Handt, health supervisor; and Jeff Isakson, MNOSHA administrative director. At left: Gary Anderson's photo of a hazardous situation was judged "best of the worst." In the photo, an employee is pouring molten metal into a bull ladle.

Minnesota OSHA again coordinates national publication highlighting state-plan safety, health efforts
The new edition of GRASSROOTS Workplace Protection, an annual publication developed in cooperation with federal OSHA and the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association (OSHSPA) to highlight areas where OSHA state-plan states are unique from federal OSHA, has just been released. There are 26 state-plan jurisdictions that have been approved by federal OSHA to run their own occupational safety and health programs. By law, these states must have programs that are at least as effective as federal OSHA. The most recent edition of GRASSROOTS Workplace Protection describes innovative approaches to workplace security, customer service, enforcement emphasis in high-risk worksites, technology and voluntary compliance that have been developed by the states. OSHSPA links the 26 state-plan jurisdictions, federal OSHA and Congress. At meetings three times a year, state-program representatives share information and discuss common problems. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry coordinated the GRASSROOTS publication for federal fiscalyears 2005 and 2004. Visit for the current and past editions of the annual OSHSPA report.
Safety Lines 17 Fall 2006









Workplace Protection
2005 OSHSPA Report
State-plan activities of the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association