Volume No. 34
CONN-OSHA Director Retires
“The Best Director We Never Had” – that’s the award that the CONN-OSHA staff
gave to Don Heckler almost four years ago after being appointed Acting Director
of the division for the third time. His co-workers and compatriots wanted to
recognize the dedication, effort and leadership Don has exhibited throughout his
long career at the Connecticut Labor Department. That dedication was finally
rewarded a short time later when Don was appointed as CONN-OSHA Director.
For 31 years, Don Heckler has been an integral part of the Connecticut Labor
Department’s CONN-OSHA Division. After starting his career and spending 16 years
as a toolmaker, Don joined the Labor Department’s Factory Inspection Division as
a Factory Inspector in 1972. When CONN-OSHA was established in 1975, Don became
a Safety Compliance Officer and rose through the ranks to become Assistant
Director in 1984. Three separate tenures as Acting Director ultimately
resulted in his appointment as Director in April 2000.
Don’s commitment to the safety and health of Connecticut’s workers is apparent
not only to his staff and the state’s safety community, but nationally as well.
Connecticut’s OSHA program is recognized as one of the finest in the nation and
is a model for public-sector state plans throughout the country. As an active
member of the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan Association (OSHSPA) and
the National Association of Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Programs
(OSHCON), Don has had a profound impact on shaping policies and procedures in
the fields of safety and health on the national and local levels. He is a
past-president of the Connecticut Safety Society and has served on countless
boards and task forces in an effort to promote safety and health in the
Don is not
content to manage the CONN-OSHA programs from behind a desk. He eagerly puts
his years of experience in the field to use by speaking to employer and employee
groups, civic groups, professional organizations and memberships. Always
accessible, willing to go the extra mile, Don will do whatever it takes to
encourage the use of the services and programs which the CONN-OSHA Division
offers. His dedication and tireless commitment to that end have fostered pride
within the Division. Don will be sorely missed. We wish him many happy years
of hard-earned and well-deserved retirement.
After 23 Years of Service, Eileen Muirhead Retires
In examining the qualities one would expect to see in a model employee,
adjectives such as dependable, dedicated, persistent, enthusiastic, amicable and
honest come immediately to mind. All of these qualities, and more, are
exhibited on a daily basis in the work Eileen Muirhead has been doing at the
Labor Department’s OSHA Division for the past 23 years.
Eileen’s contribution to the daily functioning of the CONN-OSHA Division is
immeasurable, even though measuring is exactly what her duties largely entail.
She is the Associate Research Analyst in charge of the unit’s Integrated
Management Information System (IMIS) and as such is tasked with the
responsibility of maintaining all the data the division compiles on its
enforcement, consultation and training activities. Ask any of our 30 staff
members who they depend on the most, who they can count on for help in solving a
problem, who knows the most about the inner workings of the division, and the
unanimous answer would be Eileen.
Eileen’s contributions are not only confined to our own state program. Her
talents and abilities have been recognized at the national level as well. She
has represented CONN-OSHA at numerous national conferences and meetings and in
so doing has been asked to lend her expertise to the program on a national level
by participating in the following Task Forces:
Consultation Reports Working Group
Enforcement Application Users Group
IMIS Rewrite & System Replacement
Consultation Information Technology
Technical Users Group
State Information Technology
Technical Users Group
As further evidence of her technical expertise, Eileen has been chosen as the
Information Technology representative for OSHA state plan states in the New
England region. As such, she is the trouble-shooter and problem-solver of the
IMIS system among users of that system in the six New England states. She
functions as an analyst as well as a programmer, writing enhancements to the
system to facilitate securing information the program uses to improve
performance. Her contributions have been recognized and applauded at the state,
regional and national OSHA offices.
Along with all the duties associated with maintaining the IMIS system, Eileen’s
dedication and abilities have led her toward performing a wide range of
administrative duties for the division. She single-handedly rewrote the
division’s strategic and annual plans, represents the unit during regional
performance evaluations and is recognized as the ‘go-to’ person in the absence
of the director and program managers. To say this unit couldn’t get along
without her is an understatement.
West Nile Virus: A Summer Hazard
Lisa Costanzo, Occupational
Safety and Health Officer
Many of us have long been awaiting the arrival of the warm weather that the
summer season brings. However, the summer season also brings some nuisances,
specifically mosquitoes. Not only are mosquitoes a nuisance, they may also be
hazardous in that they have the potential to carry diseases, including West Nile
WNV is a virus that can cause a variety of illnesses ranging from fever to
encephalitis, and ultimately can result in death. The virus can infect humans,
birds, mosquitoes, horses, and some other mammals. For humans, the primary
source of transmission is through the bite of an infected mosquito, which
becomes infected by feeding on infected birds. Anyone who lives in an area
where WNV activity has been identified is at risk for WNV related infection.
During 2002, there were over 4000 cases of WNV in the United States, including
284 deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In Connecticut during
that same time, there were 17 human cases identified (none of which resulted in
death) in Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office different towns. WNV also was confirmed in wild birds in 98
Connecticut towns and in mosquitoes in 14 towns (Connecticut Department of
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is likely
that all mainland states in the United States will see WNV activity during
2003. Rather than being alarmed by this prediction, we should use it to our
advantage and take the necessary precautions that may reduce our risk of
becoming infected. These precautions are particularly important for employers
and employees who are responsible for outdoor work.
Since we know the principle route of WNV disease transmission occurs through the
bite of an infected mosquito, one step toward prevention is to avoid working
outdoors during those times that mosquitoes are most active (i.e. dusk and dawn)
and in those areas where mosquitoes are most active during the day (i.e. weedy,
bushy, wooded, or shaded areas).
When these options are not possible, another effective method is to reduce the
number of mosquitoes in those areas in which we work, live, and recreate. In
Connecticut, there is a cooperative effort between the Department of
Environmental Protection’s Wildlife Division, the Connecticut Agricultural
Experimental Station, the Department of Public Health, the Department of
Agriculture, and the University of Connecticut’s Pathology Lab to manage
mosquito populations. Although this program controls mosquito populations, it
does not completely eliminate them from these areas. Therefore, employers and
employees also must take steps toward eliminating or reducing the number of
mosquitoes in these areas. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to
eliminate as many sources of standing water as possible to reduce mosquito
breeding habitats. Ways to do this include: removing water from and/or
discarding items such as tarps, buckets, barrels, cans, wheel barrows, and
tires; placing drain holes in items which cannot be discarded; cleaning out rain
gutters and ditches; and filling in ruts or other areas that accumulate water.
When it is not possible to completely eliminate mosquito populations, workers
can take personal protective measures such as wearing long-sleeved shirts, long
pants, and socks when possible; spraying exposed skin and clothing with an
insect repellent effective against mosquitoes (be sure to follow the
manufacturers’ recommendations for use); and washing treated skin with soap and
water after returning indoors.
The summer season should be an enjoyable time for all. Take time to go outdoors
to enjoy it, but also take some time to educate yourself and/or your employees
about protection from this and other summer hazards when you do.
This has been just a brief overview of information regarding West Nile Virus.
For more detailed information, visit the following referenced web sites:
For information about safe insect repellent use, visit the following web sites:
Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention: Insect Repellent Use and Safety
United States Environmental Protection Agency:
How to Use Insect Repellents Safely
Important News ... Quarterly No Longer Being Sent
subscribe to the electronic version of the CONN-OSHA Quarterly, send an
email to email@example.com
and in the body of the email, include the following: subscribe conn-osha your
first name your last name
you do not have electronic access, please call Lisa Costanzo at (860) 566-4550.
Breakfast Roundtable Discussion Group
July 15, 2003
The safety and health of any company can
sometimes be an overlooked priority. The Labor Department’s CONN-OSHA Division
has recently taken steps to help your business keep up to date on the latest
information and resources. On the third Tuesday of every month, CONN-OSHA
is now offering Breakfast Roundtable Discussion Group Meetings that cover
subjects ranging from evacuation plans and fire extinguishers to air quality
and ergonomics. The intent of these free 90-minute workshops is to discuss
safety and health issues in a supportive and informal environment. The next
roundtable meeting will be held from 8:15 am to 9:45 am on Tuesday, July 15, at
the division’s offices located at 38 Wolcott Hill Road, Wethersfield.
Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required.
Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office-Hour Construction Industry Outreach Training
September 9 and 10
CONN-OSHA will provide the Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office-hour construction
program free of charge. Class size is limited to 15 participants and
registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. This class will be
held at the CONN-OSHA office located at 38 Wolcott Hill Road, Wethersfield, CT.
Class will be held from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm each day. Attendees must be present
both days to receive the Course Completion wallet card. Pre-registration is
OSHA 300 Recordkeeping Training – What Does and
Does Not Need to be Recorded
October 15, 2003
Everybody knows that recording occupational
injuries and illnesses is a critical part of every safety program, but many
companies still are unsure of the criteria required by the new OSHA
Recordkeeping rule. This interactive session will remove the confusion, provide
numerous examples of injuries and their recordability, and prepare you for the
February 1st posting date. This class will be held at the Labor
Department office located at 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT. Class
will be held from 9:00 am – 12 noon in Conference Room A on the second floor.
Pre-registration is required.
To register for one of these sessions, please
call John Able at (860) 566-4550 ext. 398 or
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
is no charge for any of these training sessions**
No article this month.
Companies Recognized for Workplace Safety and Health Achievements
& H Containers of Wallingford and Nutmeg Container of Putnam both received
CONN-OSHA’s highest safety recognition award. The Safety and Health Recognition
Program (SHARP) recognizes employers who make a commitment to improving
workplace safety, reducing their injury and illness rates, and developing safe
practices that become models for safe workplaces in Connecticut. These two
companies, part of the Unicorr Packaging Group, worked closely with CONN-OSHA
consultants Richard Crans and Paul Hartmann to earn this distinction. The award
carries with it an exemption from all programmed OSHA inspections until 2004.
Congratulations to K & H and Nutmeg!
For more information about SHARP, see the Fall 2002 edition (Volume 31) of the
CONN-OSHA Quarterly, or visit our web site at:
March 01, 2017