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CONN-OSHA Quarterly

Volume No. 34
Summer 2003

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 workplace.

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 from CONN-OSHA

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 Task Force

  • 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 Virus (WNV).

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 Environmental Protection). 

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


CONN-OSHA Quarterly Update

Important News ... Quarterly No Longer Being Sent By Mail

To subscribe to the electronic version of the CONN-OSHA Quarterly, send an email to and in the body of the email, include the following:  subscribe conn-osha your first name your last name

If 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 Program
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 required.  

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

 **There is no charge for any of these training sessions**



No article this month.


Connecticut Companies Recognized for Workplace Safety and Health Achievements

K & 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:


CONN-OSHA Quarterly Index

Last Updated: March 01, 2017

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