OSHA has introduced a statewide special emphasis program called the Nebraska Alliance for Polymer Producers (NAPP) aimed at reducing injuries and illnesses in the rubber and plastics products manufacturing industry.
According to OSHA''s Omaha Area Director, Ben Bare, CIH, the initiative begins immediately and combines enforcement of health and safety standards with information and educational programs.
Bare pointed out that employees in the rubber and plastics industry are exposed to significant hazards, such as noise, cuts, amputations and other hazards related to machines and inadequate machine guarding.
The 1998 average lost workday rate of injuries and illnesses for all private industry in Nebraska was 3.8, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.
However, the rate for the rubber and miscellaneous plastics products industry was more than twice that of the statewide average for all private industry.
The BLS data indicated also that the lost workday rate was the second highest for both durable and non-durable goods manufactured within the state.
OSHA''s outreach and partnership efforts are designed to raise the public and workplace awareness of rubber and plastics products manufacturing industry hazards and strive to reduce these illnesses and injuries.
Bare emphasized the outreach effort encourages voluntary compliance of safety and health standards by employers and employees.
Programmed inspections will be conducted by the Omaha Area Office following the outreach effort to monitor that progress.
"Awareness of rubber and plastics products manufacturing hazards, prevention methods, compliance with OSHA standards and reversing the injury and illness trend with Nebraska are the goals of this initiative," said Bare. "The ultimate achievement for OSHA is to protect workers and save lives."
by Virginia Sutcliffe