OSHA Renews Biosafety, Shipbuilding Alliances

OSHA said it is renewing two alliances. One is with the American Biological Safety Association, which has produced four new fact sheets on biological safety issues for the alliance, including "Select Agent Diseases" and "Zoonotic Diseases." The second renewed alliance is with the Shipbuilders Council of America and addresses electrocution and shock hazards, safe welding, and lockout/tagout.

ABSA is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and will conduct its annual conference Oct. 18-21, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency Miami Convention Center. The association created the "Select Agent Diseases" fact sheet as a reference tool for lab employees. It lists symptoms, transmission methods, and treatments for common bacteria and viruses, such as anthrax and bubonic plague, that could pose a major threat to public health and safety.

"We are pleased to continue our alliance with ABSA as we develop relevant information for those working in the biological sciences field," said OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Donald Shalhoub. "As these professionals research ways to treat and prevent common and uncommon diseases affecting the American public, our alliance will work collaboratively to protect workers' safety and health while on the job." OSHA and its stakeholders benefit because ABSA members provide technical input for OSHA's Safety and Health Topics pages on avian flu, mold, and smallpox, its Hospital eTool, and modules on bloodborne pathogens, lab hazards, and health care hazards. "ABSA is honored to continue the Alliance with OSHA. The Alliance has been a valuable resource to ABSA members and biosafety professionals in promoting safety in biological research laboratories," said Edward J. Stygar III, ABSA's executive director. "ABSA looks forward to working on future projects that promote safety in the laboratory environment."

The Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) alliance gives SCA members, employers, and employees in the shipbuilding industry guidance on shipyard safety and health hazards, including ergonomics, electrical, and noise hazards. "Our six-year alliance collaboration has produced products that provide recommendations and guidance for eliminating hazards experienced by shipyard workers," said Shalhoub. "Together, we will work to advance OSHA's core mission of protecting the health of workers across the country through enforcement, training, and outreach services."

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