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CONN-OSHA Quarterly

Volume No. 38
Summer 2004

  • CONN-OSHA Director Named
  • SHARP Update
  • CONN-OSHA Signs Alliance Pacts with UCONN CTI & CHSSA
  • Hazard Corner
  • Training Updates

Richard T. Palo Named Director of CONN-OSHA
By Joe Weber

The early retirement incentives offered to state employees last spring had a profound effect on every state agency, with many experienced long-tenured employees opting to take advantage of the extra benefits obtainable by retiring in mid-2003. The CONN-OSHA Division of the Connecticut Labor Department lost some valuable assets, among them their director Don Heckler, who left with 31 years of state service.  The Division is fortunate, however, to have on staff someone with the experience and training necessary to fill the void and continue to maintain the tradition of excellence CONN-OSHA has always enjoyed. Who is Rich Palo?  Where did he come from and why has his background made him such an obvious choice as our new Director? 

A life-long resident of Connecticut, Rich was born and raised in Trumbull, graduating from Trumbull High School.  From there he attended Bridgeport University for his B.S. degree and Quinnipiac College for his M.S. degree in public health/industrial hygiene.  After graduating, he was employed as an Industrial Hygienist at the General Electric Company for Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office years before coming to the Connecticut Labor Department 19 years ago.  Along the way he became a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and a Certified Medical Technologist (CMT).  Currently, Rich lives in Newtown with Beverly, his wife of 28 years and their three children: Todd, Kyle and Meredith.

Starting as an Industrial Hygienist in the CONN-OSHA Division, Rich was soon promoted to Supervisor and then to Occupational Health Manager before becoming Acting Director in June 2003 and Director effective October 2003.  His commitment to safety and health is reflected in the memberships he holds in safety organizations outside the workplace including: the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, the State Emergency Response Commission, and past-president of the Connecticut Safety Society.  Among Rich’s proudest achievements while at the Labor Department are being a member of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) on Indoor Air Quality in Connecticut Schools and currently representing the Northeast as a board member for the Occupational Safety and Health State Plan States (OSHSPA).

The goals that Rich has set for the CONN-OSHA Division include expanding occupational safety and health training and education programs and working with Connecticut organizations and associations to continuously improve safety and health in the state.  He would also like to promote the use of consultation activity and voluntary compliance, as well as foster Connecticut’s small business participation in the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

The CONN-OSHA staff and all those who have become acquainted with Rich Palo in his almost 30 years of dedicated work in the field of occupational safety and health wish him well as he embarks on this challenging and important role.  We know his experience and skills will serve the safety and health community well.


CONN-OSHA is the sponsor of the Second Annual Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) Luncheon to be held on October 20, 2004, at the Laborers’ Training Academy, in Pomfret, CT. 

The first luncheon, held in Massachusetts on January 26, 2004, was attended by about 50 people, including the OSHA Region I Administrator, Marthe Kent, numerous other Region I officials, representatives from current New England SHARP companies, and people from companies interested in pursuing SHARP certification in the future.

It was a gala affair with presentations to new SHARP companies, and awards for long-term SHARP participants.  Save the date to attend and mingle with top OSHA officials, proud safety-conscience companies, and the consultants that make it all possible.

More information about the SHARP program is available on-line at: or


Two alliances signed recently by the Connecticut Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Division (CONN-OSHA), will provide additional training and resources for members of the participating organizations to help protect their employees’ health and safety.

Alliances, explains Tom Hozebin, CONN-OSHA Program Manager, have proven to be valuable tools in promoting workplace safety and health. “They are designed to open a dialogue between CONN-OSHA and a partner for the purposes of training and education, outreach, and communication promoting the national dialogue on workplace safety and health,” he said.

The first alliance, according to Hozebin, was signed in April between CONN-OSHA representatives and the University of Connecticut, “to provide additional training and resources for the students in the school’s Connecticut Transportation Institute Technology Transfer Center (UCONN CTI) and to provide state and local highway and street maintenance personnel with training and education designed to reduce workplace injuries.”

Through the UCONN CTI agreement:

  • The parties will develop and disseminate information through print and electronic media, including links from CONN-OSHA’s and CTI’s web sites;

  • CONN-OSHA will speak, exhibit and appear at CTI’s conferences, local meetings and other events, such as the organization’s Fall Expo and Connecticut Career Days series; and

  • CONN-OSHA and CTI will share best practices with others in the industry and publicize the results through outreach by CTI, and through CONN-OSHA or CTI developed training programs and materials.

The second, a May alliance agreement signed between CONN-OSHA and the Connecticut Highway Street Supervisors Association (CHSSA) is intended to provide additional training and resources for members of the organization to help them protect employees’ health and safety.  Reducing and preventing exposure to road construction hazards and addressing work zone safety issues are main goals of the agreement.

CONN-OSHA and CHSSA, Hozebin said, will work together to achieve the following training and education goals:

  • Develop training and educational programs on Supervisor Responsibility and Road Construction Hazards targeted to the public works industry.

  • Deliver or arrange for the delivery of Supervisory Responsibility and Road Construction Hazard courses.

  • Deliver or arrange for the training of the OSHA Published by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project Management Office-Hour Construction Industry Outreach Training course.

The two parties will also work together to achieve the following outreach and communications goals:

  • Develop and disseminate information through print and electronic media, including links from CONN-OSHA’s and CHSSA’s web sites.

  • CONN-OSHA will speak, exhibit and appear at CHSSA’s conferences, local meetings, and other events.

  • Share information on best practices with others in the industry and publicize the results through outreach by CHSSA, and through CONN-OSHA or CHSSA developed training programs and materials.

According to Hozebin, an implementation team comprised of CONN-OSHA and CHSSA representatives will develop a plan of action, determine working procedures, and identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants. In addition, they will meet at least quarterly to track and share information on activities and results in achieving the goals of the alliance.

The UCONN CTI and CHSSA agreements are the first two public sector alliances carried out by CONN-OSHA. Both will remain in effect for two years.

Hazard Corner:
Automobile Hits Two Public Works Employees in Work Zone
By Jeff Saltus, Occupational Safety Compliance Officer


On Wednesday, February 11, 2004, a municipal public works department was involved in a tree trimming operation on a local town road. The operation involved five employees – two flagmen, a chipper operator, a bucket operator and the foreman. The road crew had set up “Tree Work Ahead” signs at opposite ends of the work zone along with traffic cones around vehicles and in the center of the median. At approximately 12:45 p.m. two workers were struck and knocked down by a passing motorist. Both employees were sent to a local hospital for the treatment of their injuries. Injuries involved head lacerations and a broken leg. A third member narrowly escaped injury by jumping out of the way of the car. 


It was determined that there were deficiencies in the work zone set up relating to the use of the traffic control devices to properly control automobile flow patterns. This includes proper placement of traffic cones, warning signs, barrier trucks and flagman. The automobile had an unobstructed route into the work zone/employees.


Effective temporary traffic control enhances traffic safety and efficiency, regardless of whether street construction, maintenance or utility work are taking place in the work zone. Effective temporary traffic control must provide for the safety of the workers, road users and pedestrians. At the same time, it must provide for the efficient completion of whatever activity suspended the normal use of the roadway.  In order to do so, it is recommended that employers:

  • Ensure that a traffic control plan is in place prior to work zone set up. A good traffic control plan will ensure the safety of the traveling public, as well as the safety of the workers inside the work zone.

  • Ensure that the work zone is set up in accordance with 29 CFR 1926.201 and 1926.202, which incorporate by reference the Millennium Edition of the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices). The MUTCD provides for uniform design and setup of highway work zones. It contains exhaustive specifications for signage, pavement and curb markings, and traffic signals. It also prescribes temporary traffic control measures for numerous scenarios involving lane closures, lane shifts, detours, shoulders, training, personal protective equipment, speed reduction, barriers, and lighting.

  • Train employees on the MUTCD.

  • Close the road completely and reroute traffic where feasible.

  • Train all flaggers consistent with their level of responsibility and work zone conditions. Flaggers should know the traffic flow, the work zone setup, and proper placement of channeling devices.

  • Require all workers to wear high visibility safety apparel.

Compliance with OSHA regulations 29 CFR 1926.201 and 1926.202, which incorporate MUTCD by reference, is a necessary first step in providing a safe and healthy work zone environment. This incident could have easily been a fatality investigation.  Stay Alert – Work Safe

CONN-OSHA Training Update

Breakfast Roundtable Discussion Group

August 17, 2004, September 21, 2004, October 19, 2004

(The third Tuesday of every month)

The intent of these free 90-minute workshops is to discuss safety and health issues in a supportive and informal environment. These meetings cover subjects ranging from evacuation plans and fire extinguishers to air quality and ergonomics. The roundtable meetings are held from 8:15 am to 9:45 am at the Division’s offices located at 38 Wolcott Hill Road, Wethersfield, CT. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required. 

Powered Industrial Trucks*
September 14, 2004 or December 9, 2004

With well over one million lift trucks in operation today, emphasis must be placed on both operator and pedestrian safety.  This half-day program will help you understand OSHA safety and health regulations governing these pieces of equipment, in addition to providing you with assistance in developing training for your lift truck operators and other affected employees.

OSHA 300 Recordkeeping Training—What Does and Does Not Need to be Recorded*
September 17, 2004, December 2, 2004, or March 3, 2005

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the requirements and procedures related to the OSHA 300 log. The class will help develop skills to accurately report occupational injuries and illnesses.  Resources and reference materials will be provided. 

Indoor Air Quality*
October 7, 2004

Concerns with Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) have increased since energy conservation measures were instituted in office buildings during the 1970s, minimizing the infiltration of outside air and contributing to the buildup of indoor air contaminants.  Complaints about IAQ range from simple complaints such as the air smelling odd to more complex, where the air quality causes illness and lost work time. It may not be easy to identify a single reason for IAQ complaints because of the number and variety of possible sources, causes, and varying individual sensitivities. This session will provide practical safety and health information and resources relevant to indoor air quality. 

Trenching and Excavation*
November 4, 2004 or May 5, 2005

Studies show that excavation work is one of the most hazardous types of work done in the construction industry. The    primary concern in excavation-related work is a cave-in.  Cave-ins are much more likely to be fatal to the employees involved than other construction-related accidents. This session delivers a thorough overview of 29 CFR 1926.650 -652, including the role of the competent person.

*Classes are free and will be held at 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT in Conference Room A from 9 am - 12 noon, unless otherwise noted.  Pre-registration is required. 

To register for any of these sessions, call John Able at (860) 566-4550, ext. 398 or send an email to  Visit for more training information.


CONN-OSHA Quarterly Index

Last Updated: April 17, 2018

200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109 / Phone: 860-263-6000

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