The newsletter of Minnesota OSHA • Fall 2007 • Number 57

Safety Lines
MNOSHA responds to I-35W bridge-collapse site
By James Krueger, MNOSHA Metro Safety Director

The I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed during rush-hour Aug. 1, killing 13 people. The eight-lane, 1,907-foot span was a vital link over the Mississippi River and one of the most heavily used bridges in Minnesota, with roughly 140,000 vehicles – including 5,700 commercial vehicles – passing over it each day. On Aug. 2, officials from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry's Occupational Safety and Health Division (MNOSHA) and Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC), in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), responded to the disaster to provide assistance during the recovery stage. As work progressed from the recovery stage to removal, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) maintained primary responsibility for the project. During the removal phase, Mn/DOT’s goals were to restore river navigation and prepare for the construction of the new bridge. Because of factors such as weather, barge traffic and federal funding, the work had to be completed in a timely, but judicious, fashion without further loss of life or serious injury. Mn/DOT contracted with Carl Bolander & Sons Co., St. Paul, Minn., for the demolition and removal of the collapsed bridge. To assure worker safety, MNOSHA partnered with WSC, Mn/DOT and Bolander. The primary purpose of this partnership was not only to prevent further fatalities,
MNOSHA/I-35W bridge, continues ... 443 Lafayette Road N. • St. Paul, MN 55155 • (651) 284-5050 • 1-800-342-5354 •

Above: Minnesota OSHA Compliance, Workplace Safety Consultation and other Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry representatives plan the agency's safety and health response for the I-35W bridge-collapse site in early August. Below: Safety and health officials take a look at the collapsed bridge, Aug. 2.

MNOSHA/I-35W bridge, continued ...

Above: Minnesota OSHA staff members review safety and health plans while in the group's on-site trailer at the I-35W bridge-collapse scene. Below: Members of the swiftly formed safety and health partnership of Minnesota OSHA Compliance, MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Carl Bolander & Sons Co. review aerial photos of the bridge-collapse scene.

but to have zero worker injuries and illnesses for the duration of the I-35W bridge removal project. The partners worked together to create a site safety plan to anticipate potential hazards and strategically manage operations on the site. The primary hazards were related to the type of work being performed, the stability of the structure and environmental conditions – including the weather and location of the site. The work plan identified roles and responsibilities, specified necessary training, established hazard identification methods and defined how program review would be conducted. Updates to the plan were communicated to all parties, with Mn/DOT’s safety staff taking the lead role. "After this tragedy and loss of life, one goal was to make sure no one else got hurt during the recovery and removal," said DLI Commissioner Steve Sviggum. Each partner agreed to have at least one representative attend daily project safety meetings. Safety issues, such as new hazards, any trends in behavior, corrective actions taken and any incidents that had been noted within the past 24 hours, were discussed during the meetings. To assist with this process: • an on-site safety project plan was completed prior to the start of work each day with sufficient detail to notify and protect employees prior to their job assignments; and • a safety assessment sheet was used to identify potential hazards and track trends. All workers attended mandatory employee orientation training prior to their initial job assignments. This was to provide them with an understanding of the complexity of the site and acquaint them with the site safety program, including the site plan, additional necessary training and personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements.

From the start of the removal process, the primary contractors logged more than 25,000 hours without a losttime injury. The removal project was completed in mid-October.

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Steve Sviggum named new DLI commissioner
Steve Sviggum was appointed commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) by Governor Tim Pawlenty on July 17, 2007. In this role, Sviggum – a fifteen-term Minnesota House of Representatives member and former Speaker – leads Minnesota's effort to protect the health and safety of workers and employers in all parts of the state. In addition, Sviggum continues his public service commitment to enhance job opportunities and make Minnesota a better place to live, work and raise a family. “Minnesota’s workers and businesses rely on the Department of Labor and Industry as a trusted resource and regulator,” Governor Pawlenty said. “Steve is known for his ability to work with and listen to people on all sides of an issue. His philosophy has always revolved around balance and I know he’ll bring that to DLI.”
DLI Commissioner Steve Sviggum

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry performs a variety of functions: overseeing the workers’ compensation system for the state; preventing workplace accidents and illness through OSHA consultation and compliance efforts; certifying and monitoring the state registered apprenticeship program; monitoring compliance with labor laws; and regulating the state’s construction codes and licensing activities. The department employs approximately 500 workers throughout the state. Sviggum's goal for the agency is simple: That every worker goes home at the end of the day the same way he or she began the workday. Sviggum was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1978. He served four terms as Speaker of the House and three terms as House Minority Leader. In 1985-86, he chaired the Unemployment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Division of the House Labor-Management Relations Committee. Sviggum has been honored by many business organizations, farm organizations, advocacy groups for the mentally disabled and taxpayer watchdog groups. Sviggum has served as a Sunday school superintendent and teacher, and as a board member for River View Manor – a developmentally disabled group home, the Goodhue County Historical Society, the Kenyon Sunset Home – a long-term-care facility, and the Northern Chapter of the American Red Cross. Sviggum and his family are beef and grain farmers in the Kenyon area and he is also a senior fellow in the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He and his wife, Debra, have three children. “I’m looking forward to this next challenge in my public service career,” Sviggum said. “Enhancing jobs and furthering the health, safety and protection of Minnesota’s workers and employers is an important task and I’ll tackle it with energy and fairness.”
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Workplace fatality trends nationally, statewide
By Jeff Isakson, Minnesota OSHA Administrative Director


The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), conducted by the Bureau of Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, shows 5,703 people died from on-the-job injuries in 2006, down slightly from 5,734 in 2005. • Fatal highway incidents remained the number one cause of on-the-job deaths, claiming 1,329 lives and accounting for nearly one out of four fatal work injuries. • Fatal work injuries involving falls ranked second, claiming 809 lives. The total represents an increase of 5 percent in 2006, after a sharp decrease in 2005. It is the third-highest total for fatal falls since 1992, when the fatality census began. Fatal falls from roofs increased 15 percent, from 160 fatalities in 2005, to 184 in 2006. • Being struck by an object was the third highest cause of fatal on-the-job injury, with 583 deaths in 2006, a 4 percent decline from the 2005 total. • Workplace homicides decreased 9 percent in 2006, to 516, the lowest annual total ever reported in the fatality census. Overall, workplace homicides have decreased more than 50 percent from the series high in 1994.
Minnesota Causes of fatalities

On average, 80 workplace fatalities occur each year in Minnesota. Approximately 25 are within Minnesota OSHA's jurisdiction. Fatalities due to highway incidents and other transportation-related causes are not investigated by MNOSHA. From 2000 through 2006, Minnesota OSHA investigated 179 workplace fatalities; 145 – or 81 percent – were in the categories: crushed by, fall, struck by and electrocution. In Minnesota, the annual average number of investigations for each fatality category is: crushed by, nine; fall, seven; struck by, three; and electrocution, two.

Workplace fatality trends, continues ... Safety Lines, Fall 2007 page 4

Workplace fatality trends, continued ...

From 2000 through 2006, MNOSHA investigated an average of 11 construction fatalities a year.

From 2000 through 2006, MNOSHA investigated an average of 15 general-industry fatalities a year.

Workplace fatality trends, continues ... Safety Lines, Fall 2007 page 5

Workplace fatality trends, continued ...


When serious violations contribute to a worker's death, a contributing "fatal factor" is imposed on the penalty. The minimum penalty amount for all items connected to the death of an employee is $25,000. The $25,000 penalty is assessed to each contributing "fatal factor" violation. In the event that a willful or repeat violation causes or contributes to the cause of death, the employer will be assessed a minimum total fine of $50,000 for each violation connected to the death of the employee. In Minnesota, when the contributing factor is willful or repeat, the employer can be prosecuted for criminal violations, including criminal fines of as much as $100,000 and imprisonment.
Citations Most commonly cited standards, statutes, rules or violations that caused or contributed to the death of an employee, 2000 through 2006 Standard 1926.501 1910.147 1926.451 1926.550 182.653 1910.272 1910.212 1910.268 1926.503 1926.651 fall protection lockout/tagout scaffold requirements cranes, derricks, hoists, elevators and conveyors general duty clause grain handling facilities machine guarding telecommunications fall hazard training excavation requirements (trenches) Description Number of times cited 19 18 12 8 7 6 5 5 5 5

Construction Breakfast season kicks off, four sessions remain Construction Breakfast season kicks off, four sessions remain
The remaining MNOSHA 2007/2008 Construction Breakfast seminars in St. Paul, Minn., are: • Tues., Nov. 20, 2007 Health standards in construction; • Tues., Jan. 15, 2008 Swing-stage scafffolds • Tues., March 18, 2008 Fall protection; and • Tues., May 20, 2008 Panel discussion, subject(s) to be determined.

Employees from Saint Paul College Carpentry Program and others in the construction industry attend Minnesota OSHA's Construction Breakfast seminar, "Hazard Recognition," Sept. 24.
Safety Lines, Fall 2007 page 6

Complete information is online at

New law in Minnesota: Safe Patient Handling Act
By Shelly Techar, Management Analyst, and Dave Ferkul, MNSTAR Coordinator

Legislation signed by Governor Tim Pawlenty on May 25, 2007, requires all licensed health care facilities in Minnesota to implement a safe patient handling program. The program requires adoption of a written safe patient handling policy and establishment of a safe patient handling committee by July 1, 2008. The policy must establish a plan to minimize manual lifting of patients by Jan. 1, 2011, through the use of safe patient handling equipment. The safe patient handling policy must address: 1) assessment of hazards with regard to patient handling; 2) the acquisition of an adequate supply of appropriate safe patient handling equipment; 3) initial and ongoing training of nurses and other direct patient care workers about the use of this equipment; 4) procedures to ensure physical plant modifications and major construction projects are consistent with program goals; and 5) periodic evaluations of the safe patient handling program.

A patient is transported to another room via a ceiling-mounted lift system.

The safe patient handling committee must meet the following requirements: 1) at least half of the members must be nonmanagerial nurses and other direct patient care workers; and 2) in a health care facility where nurses and other direct patient care workers are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the union shall select the committee members proportionate to its representation of nonmanagerial workers, nurses and other direct patient care workers. Health care organizations with more than one covered facility may establish a committee at each facility or one committee for all facilities. If one committee is chosen for multiple facilities, at least half of the members must be nonmanagerial nurses and other direct patient care workers, and each facility must be represented on the committee. Facilities with existing programs that satisfy the requirements for a safe patient handling program are considered to be in compliance with the requirements, but must continue to satisfy all requirements. The committee must complete a patient handling hazard-assessment that considers patient handling tasks, types of nursing units, patient populations and the physical environment of patient care areas. It must also identify problems, solutions and areas of highest risk for lifting injuries, and recommend a mechanism to report, track and analyze injury trends. The committee must also make recommendations about the purchase, use and maintenance of an adequate supply of appropriate equipment. It must make recommendations for training nurses and other direct patient care workers about use of safe patient handling equipment when the equipment arrives at the facility and periodically afterward. An annual evaluation of the implemented plan and progress toward established goals must be conducted. The committee will recommend procedures to ensure any future remodeling plans of patient care areas incorporate the appropriate space and equipment.
Safe patient handling, continues ...
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Safe patient handling, continued ...

The law provides for a safe patient handling grant program of $500,000, to be administered by the Department of Labor and Industry, to provide assistance to health care facilities with the purchase of safe patient handling equipment; training about safe patient handling; and training about safe patient handling equipment. The total grant amount awarded will be for a dollar-for-dollar match up to $40,000. For health care facilities that provide evidence of financial hardship, the commissioner may waive the matching requirement and grant such a facility more than $40,000, as defined in the application. A state grant agreement, with its required assurances, will be executed between the commissioner and the grantees prior to the purchase of equipment or related training. Facilities where the commissioner determines financial hardship will have until July 1, 2012, to meet the requirements of the act. For more information, visit or call (651) 284-5050.

FALL HAZARDS: More common than you may think
by Diane Amell, Training Officer

Last year, Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) investigated eight fatalities and serious injuries involving falls in the construction industry. During the first six months of 2007, six investigations of such incidents have already occurred. MNOSHA has been working to reduce these accidents, using both enforcement and education. In fact, the duty of an employer to provide fall protection to employees working near sides or edges six feet or higher, 1926.501(b)(1), was the most frequently cited standard in the construction industry and the twelfth overall in Minnesota during 2006. The standard requires that “each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is six feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems.” This includes trusses, joists, wall top edges or plates and column tops. Other parts of 1926.501(b) address: • • • • • • leading edges holes walkways including ramps and runways dangerous equipment roofing work on low-sloped roofs precast concrete erection • • • • • • hoist areas formwork and reinforcing steel excavations overhand bricklaying and related work steep roofs wall openings

The rest of 1926 Subpart M Fall Protection addresses fall protection systems criteria and practices, plus training requirements. Of the total subpart M citations issued in 2006, 38 percent involved residential construction. Other construction standards establishing separate fall protection requirements include 1926 Subpart L Scaffolds, Subpart R Steel Erection and Subpart X Stairways and Ladders. In the past 11 years, eight of the bimonthly MNOSHA Construction Breakfast seminars have featured presentations about fall protection and fall arrest systems. The March 18, 2008, breakfast will again address fall protection issues, so mark your calendar. For more information about the Construction Breakfast program, visit or call (651) 284-5050.
Safety Lines, Fall 2007 page 8


Ritrama invests in safety and improves its bottom line
Editor's note: The following information originated with federal OSHA, After two hours of a Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) inspection in October 1997, the Ritrama plant in Minneapolis had received 14 citations, nine of which were major. Ritrama, a multi-national company with 110 employees at the Minneapolis plant, manufactures pressure-sensitive films and labels for the automotive, beverage, health, beauty and pharmaceutical industries. The MNOSHA citations recommended that Ritrama managers develop a leadership/management program; involve employees in a safety and health program; appoint a safety director; form a safety committee and develop an implementation plan for it; and develop a recordkeeping program for injuries and illnesses, plus a plan for implementing it. Managers at the plant agreed they had been focusing on day-to-day operations, content with the status quo and devoting inadequate time to evaluate their current safety and health program even though the Ritrama philosophy – that nothing is more important than employee health and safety, and that a productive employee who is not safety conscious is a ticking time bomb – was very important. Read how the company solved its safety and health problems and how those changes have affected the company's success, at stories/alliances/gac/gac_case_study.html.

About Ritrama With sales, manufacturing and distribution facilities across the globe, Ritrama is uniquely positioned to serve the needs of international conglomerates and small independents. Its films are used in products for various consumer markets including household chemical, pharmaceutical, vehicle marking, OEM, graphics, health and beauty, as well as the beverage market. Learn more about Ritrama online at

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Minnesota's newest MNSTAR worksite

USG Interiors, Red Wing, Minn., was recognized for its achievement as a MNSTAR worksite Aug. 29, 2007.

For more information about

MNSTAR visit:

Workplace Safety Consultation, Twin Cities Roofing Contractors Association form health and safety alliance
Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) formed an alliance with the Twin Cities Roofing Contractors Association (TCRCA), Aug. 31. WSC and its allies work together to reach out to, educate and lead Minnesota employers and their employees in improving and advancing workplace safety and health.
At left, (standing, l to r): James Collins, WSC director; Brock Hamre, TCRCA safety director; Andy Smoka, WSC; and (sitting, l to r): Tom Joachim, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry assistant commissioner; Jim Bigham, TCRCA administrator.

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Minnesota's newest MNSHARP worksites

Clockwise from left: • Pollux Manufacturing Inc., Minneapolis, recognized Oct. 1; • Timber Roots, Wadena, Minn., recognized July 31; and • Worldwide Dispensers, Lester Prairie, Minn., recognized Sept. 11.

Minnesota's first MNSHARP Construction worksites

Opus Northwest Construction, L.L.C. at Medtronic worksite, Mounds View, Minn., recognized July 19, 2007

Adolfson & Peterson Construction, at Minnesota Correctional Facility – Faribault, Minn., recognized Oct. 9, 2007.

For more information about MNSHARP visit:
Safety Lines, Fall 2007 page 11

osha answers
frequently asked questions
As part of its continual effort to improve customer service and provide needed information to employers and employees, Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) plans to publish answers to the most frequently asked questions from the previous quarter.


As of Oct. 1, 2007, the state's smoking ban took effect. What enforcement action does MNOSHA plan to conduct? The Freedom to Breathe Act, which is an amendment to the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act of 1975, falls under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and not MNOSHA. For more information, call the MDH Indoor Air Unit at (651) 201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050 or visit the Freedom to Breathe Web page at indoorair/mciaa/ftb. MDH has set up a separate e-mail address – – for specific questions not covered online.


I've lost my student completion card for the OSHA 10-hour [or 30-hour] construction safety course. Where can I get a replacement? Contact your trainer. The federal OSHA Training Institute provides trainers with extra cards for each class they teach, for issuing replacements. If your trainer does not have an extra card, have your trainer contact their OSHA training office for the replacement. The trainer must provide the following information: student name, trainer name, training date and type of class (10- or 30-hour, construction or general industry). Records are kept for five years plus the present year. If the training took place prior to this, no replacement may be issued.


What role does MNOSHA play in the Safe Patient Handling Act? See page 7 or visit for more information.

I left my job. How long does the employer have to give me my last check? If you were laid off, the employer has 24 hours after you demand your wages to provide them to you. There is an exception for public employers with governing boards that approve all expenses. If you voluntarily leave your job, the employer must pay you in full no later than the first regularly scheduled payday after your last day, not to exceed 20 days from the employee's last day of employment. In either case, if the employee was entrusted with money or property on the job, the employer has 10 days to perform an audit before issuing the check. Consult the
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Safety Lines, Fall 2007

Department of Labor and Industry's Labor Standards unit by visiting laborlaw.html, by e-mailing or by calling (651) 284-5005, tollfree 1-800-342-5354.


How many breaks are employees allowed? Minnesota's Labor Standards and Wages Act states employers must provide employees with a break to use the restroom at least once every four consecutive hours. Sufficient time to eat a meal must be provided to all employees who work eight or more hours. Employers must pay employees for all breaks that are fewer than 20 minutes long. Contact DLI Labor Standards (see above) for more information. Federal OSHA requires employers to allow employees prompt access to sanitary facilities. Any restrictions about access to toilet facilities must be reasonable and not cause extended delays. Otherwise, OSHA does not regulate the number or length of work breaks.

Do you have a question for Minnesota OSHA? To get an answer, call (651) 284-5050 or send an e-mail message to We may feature your question here.

Injury and illness survey gearing up for new year
By Brian Zaidman, Policy Development, Research and Statistics
As 2007 draws to a close, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) will start work on the next round of the Bureau of Labor Statistics annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII). The SOII is a mandatory survey; employers that receive a notification of participation are required by federal law to respond. Each year, approximately 5,000 Minnesota employers participate in the SOII. Employers that are participating in the survey of 2007 injuries and illnesses will receive their survey response packets during the first few weeks of January 2008. Employers will have the option of responding on paper, through the Internet or via e-mail. Employers’ timely response to the survey is greatly appreciated and helps keep the survey costs low. Employers that have been selected to participate in the survey of 2008 injuries and illnesses will receive notification of their participation in the second half of December 2007. Employers receiving these notification packets need to keep OSHA log data during 2008 to send the completed survey forms to DLI (paper response) or to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (electronic response). The survey response packets will be mailed in January 2009. It is very important for each company to review the OSHA recordkeeping requirements to make sure injuries and illnesses are correctly recorded. Staff members who are responsible for keeping the OSHA log should have recordkeeping training. The OSHA recordkeeping requirements are online at Links to the Recordkeeping 101 series that appeared in Safety Lines are also available on that Web page. Employers with questions about the SOII may call the DLI Policy Development, Research and Statistics unit at (651) 284-5428.

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NIOSH changes phone, fax information services
To consolidate services and expand coverage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has merged the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) toll-free information service with its own. The new number to call is 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). Call center representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can answer inquiries in English or Spanish. The service is also available by e-mail at Information is still available on the NIOSH Web site at Publications can be ordered through the Web site or by e-mail at On a related note, the CDC/NIOSH Fax Information Service has been discontinued.

Construction safety and health during cold weather
By Diane Amell, MNOSHA Training Officer

Construction is a year-round activity, even here in frigid Minnesota. Winter brings the risk of hypothermia and frostbite to employees working outdoors. Because of this, Minnesota OSHA has established standards to protect workers in cold weather. The Jobsite Shelter standard, Minnesota Rules §5207.0810, requires employees to be provided with a "suitable place" to eat and change their clothes. A shelter can be a trailer, shed or vehicle, or a designated area within the structure under construction or renovation. This standard applies to any jobsite that will be in place for more than 30 workdays between Nov. 1 and March 15. The rule sets requirements for size, temperature, clothing storage and lighting. Employers can also meet the standards by providing transportation to a suitable location nearby. Heated privies must also be provided on construction jobsites under Minnesota Rules §5207.0800. This can be accomplished by either placing the unit inside a heated building or by using a 1,300 watt heater or its equivalent.

Of course, all this heat must come from somewhere, and that often requires the use of space heaters. Carbon monoxide (CO) monitoring is necessary whenever unvented gas or kerosene heaters are used indoors, to assure CO levels stay below the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 parts per million (ppm) as an eight-hour time-weighted average. This monitoring is to be performed during initial operation and at least quarterly thereafter. CO should also be included in the employer's Employee Right-To-Know program. More information about cold stress and CO monitoring is available online at: • Federal OSHA – cold-stress card (English and Spanish); • Alaska Department of Labor, Labor Standards and Safety – physical agent data sheet (PADS), cold stress; and • Minnesota OSHA Fact Sheet – carbon monoxide monitoring

Note: While there are no requirements for general-industry employees working outside, Minnesota Rules §5205.0110 Indoor Workroom Ventilation and Temperature establishes a minimum air temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (F) where work of a strenuous nature is performed and 65 degrees F in all other workrooms unless prohibited by process requirements.

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Recordkeeping 201: Part 2

Records access, information disclosure
By Brian Zaidman, Policy Development, Research and Statistics Editor’s note: This is the second installment of an occasional series of more advanced topics about recording occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA Form 300 and maintaining those records. The previous series about recordkeeping, covering basic information about filling in the OSHA log and creating an annual summary, is available at

The purpose of the OSHA recordkeeping requirement is to provide a worksite-specific resource of injury and illness information. This information should be used by the employer, the employees, the workplace safety committee and safety professionals to improve occupational safety and health. Providing employees and their representatives with access to the log information provides a check on the accuracy of the recordkeeping and promotes greater employee involvement in workplace safety programs. The OSHA log and its related forms are also used by state and federal government programs to implement, target and evaluate workplace safety programs and services. OSHA recordkeeping information is maintained on three separate forms: the OSHA 300 Log, the OSHA 301 Incident Report and the OSHA 300-A Summary. OSHA regulations describe different information access and disclosure requirements for each form. Providing access to the log summary is the leastcomplicated method of sharing the injury and illness information. Employers are required to post the annual log summary (OSHA form 300-A) each year. This is covered in more detail in Recordkeeping 101: Part 6 – Summarizing the injury and illness log, and in the Winter 2007 edition of Safety Lines. Providing access to the OSHA 300 Log and the OSHA 301 Incident Report is more complicated and there are different levels of access depending on the party who is requesting it. Employees, former employees, the personal representatives of current or former employees, and authorized employee representatives have a mandatory right of access to the OSHA injury and illness records. The OSHA regulations, in 29 CFR Part 1904.35 (b)(2), specify access requirements and limitations
Safety Lines, Fall 2007 Safety Lines, Fall 2007

for these parties, and for the timeliness of the employer’s provision of the information. A personal representative of a current or former employee is a person that the employee or former employee designates, in writing, as his or her personal representative, or is the legal representative of a deceased or legally incapacitated employee or former employee. An authorized employee representative is defined as an authorized collective bargaining agent of one or more employees working at the employer’s establishment. When an employee, former employee, personal representative or authorized employee representative requests a copy of the current OSHA log, or any of the logs for the previous five years, the employer must provide one free copy of the relevant OSHA log(s) by the end of the next business day. Employers need to ensure all privacy cases are identified as such before providing copies of the log to any parties, and no information may be removed from the log before the copy is provided. Employees, former employees, personal representatives and authorized employee representatives are not allowed to see the confidential list of names and case numbers for privacy cases. More detailed information about privacy cases is presented in Recordkeeping 201: Part 1 – Privacy concern cases – when not to write a name. An employee, former employee or personal representative may request a copy of the OSHA 301 Incident Report for that employee or former employee. The employer must provide one free copy of the report by the end of the next business day.
Recordkeeping 201: Part 2, continues ...

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Recordkeeping 201: Part 2, continued ...

An authorized employee representative may request copies of all the OSHA 301 Incident Reports for an establishment where the agent represents one or more employees under a collective bargaining agreement. The employer must provide one free copy of each of the right-hand portions of the incident reports within seven calendar days. The right-hand portion of the form contains the heading "Information about the case" and elicits description information about how the injury and incident occurred, and the materials and tools involved, but it does not contain the employee’s name. The employer must remove all other information from the copy of the incident reports that are given to the authorized employee representative. Employers are required to provide an authorized government representative with copies of any OSHA Part 1904 records, including the confidentiality lists, within four business hours. Certain Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) employees are considered authorized government representatives. Most of these DLI employees are in the Minnesota OSHA Compliance unit, the Workplace Safety Consultation unit and the
Until further notice ...

Policy Development, Research and Statistics unit. The Policy Development, Research and Statistics unit collects information from Minnesota employers for the Bureau of Labor Statistics annual Survey of Injuries and Illnesses and for the OSHA Log Data Initiative. Employers may also decide to provide access to the OSHA Form 300 and 301 to people other than those who have a mandatory right of access. To protect employee confidentiality in these circumstances, employers must remove or shield employees’ names and other personally identifying information from the forms. Employers are allowed to disclose the full OSHA Form 300 and 301 only in the three following cases: 1. for purposes of evaluating a safety and health program or evaluating workplace safety and health conditions by a safety consultant; 2. to process a claim for workers’ compensation or insurance benefits; or 3. to carry out the public health or law enforcement functions described in section 164.512 of the federal Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information.

Next installment: Job transfer, job restriction

Xcel high-bridge project reaches safety, health milestone
LG Constructors, at the Xcel High Bridge Combined Cycle Project, recently celebrated one million hours without a lost-time accident. The site received MNSTAR certification in January 2007. The Xcel Energy High Bridge Combined Cycle generating plant in St. Paul, Minn., is being converted from a coal- to a natural-gas-powered facility. There are currently 220 craft personnel on site, with an expected peak of 400. Pictured (l to r): Roy Snovel, LG Constructors project director; Bill Meyers, Xcel Energy project manager for the High Bridge Project; Don Zablinsky, LG Constructors president of the Power Division; Steve Sviggum, Department of Labor and Industry commissioner; and Harry Melander, Saint Paul Building and Construction Trades Council executive secretary. Safety Lines, Fall 2007 Safety Lines, Fall 2007 page 16 page 16