2015 O[yes] Video Contest Kick Off

The Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]) announces the 2015 high school safety video contest. The theme?  Speak up. Work safe. Work shouldn’t cost you your future.

While we know many students don’t begin creating their videos until closer to the Feb. 2, 2015 deadline, it’s a great opportunity for educators, parents and employers to strategize about engaging students in this discussion. See the press release.

The contest is organized by O[yes] and sponsored by Oregon OSHA, SAIF Corporation, local chapters of the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, Hoffman Construction, Central Oregon Safety & Health Association, the Labor Education and Research Center, the SHARP Alliance, Oregon Health Authority, the Construction Safety Summit, Northern Lights Theater, and SafeBuild Alliance.

Young worker safety has been identified as a top priority by all of these sponsors and partners. A number of Oregon and the Workplace Blogs have addressed young workers. Partnering organizations throughout the U.S., Canada, and beyond continue to seek and test effective training and interventions to keep our “under 25″ crowd safer and healthier at work.

What’s particularly exciting about this year’s video contest is that it parallels the unveiling of the O[yes] “new and improved” website. Check it out now for resources for young workers, employers, educators, and parents. And share the contest with high school students you know!

Things are Looking Up for Occupational Health & Safety in Southern Oregon

The annual Southern Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Conference, held October 15-16, 2014, recorded the second largest attendance ever in its 24-year history, reflecting a much-improved economy in the region. Three hundred sixty six attendees, not counting exhibitors and sponsors, were treated to a variety of excellent and timely educational sessions.

Keynote speaker Anil Mathur, President and CEO of Alaska Tanker Company (ATC), Portland, set an optimistic mood for the conference. He described how ATC was able to transform a mediocre safety performance in 1999 to become the safest oil tanker company in the world: 12 years and 14 million man-hours with only one time-loss injury, a dislocated finger. His presentation outlined how ATC achieved this transformation and what they are doing to sustain safety performance by avoiding complacency that could occur in the face of such excellent performance.

Much thanks to the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) and the Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) for their joint effort in sponsoring this amazing conference.

Infection Control & Staying Healthy

Image credit: CDC

The current Ebola crisis in Africa is tragic. The resources, education and tools needed to effectively address this health challenge feels overwhelming and will take a huge, united effort to address.

At the same time, it is critical that we continue to remind ourselves about the importance of infection control and proper use of personal protective equipment in all that we do. For most of us in Oregon, the upcoming multitude of seasonal viruses are of much greater risk for us individually. That said, we must assist our institutions and healthcare providers in 1) identifying potential infection risks (including but not solely Ebola); and, 2) adhere to  stringent infection control best practices.

For those of us outside of patient care, it’s a perfect time to use our next safety meeting as a forum to remind employees about the basics of personal protection, regardless of whether the exposure is chemical or biological. How do you effectively wash your hands? We know most of us don’t do it often enough or effectively. Are you inspecting your personal protective equipment, including your gloves? Certainly we know that a subset of all nitrile gloves arrive with a flaw or hole. What is your sick leave policy? Remind your staff that nobody benefits when we come to work sick. Now is the perfect time to remind your workforce of all things related to staying healthy.

Resources:
NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topics: Ebola
CDC Safety Training Course for Healthcare Workers Going to West Africa…
CDC Guidance for Preventing Influenza in the Workplace

Oregon Healthy Workforce Center attends 1st NIOSH Symposium on Total Worker Health

The 1st International Symposium to Advance Total Worker HealthTM began Monday at the NIH Campus in Bethesda, MD, with nearly 400 registrants. Total Worker Health (TWH) is the integration of safety and health, wellness and well-being in the workplace. Dr. John Howard (below) opened the conference with a powerful endorsement of TWH as a way to preserve personal health and reduce national health care costs, a point reinforced by research-based presentations during the 3-day symposium.

The first plenary session at the TWH Symposium was comprised of presentations of the Directors of the four NIOSH-supported TWH Centers of Excellence:
• Harvard School of Public Health Center for Work, Health, and Well-being
(pictured below is Glorian Sorensen, Director of the Harvard Center)
• University of Iowa Healthier Workforce Center for Excellence
• Center for Promotion of Health in the New England Workforce (CPH-New)
• Oregon Healthy WorkForce Center

The presentations described the Centers, challenges they had faced, gaps they identified and conclusions.  The conclusions were:
* The Centers’ research exemplifies the range of approaches that can be included within the TWH umbrella
* There is a need for identifying TWH best practices across different industry groups
* The research of the Centers has provided a useful set of measures and intervention tools to guide future research and interventions

OHWC members made 12 presentations at the symposium, including one that reported on the effectiveness of team-based interventions for improving both safety and wellness or well-being (in a single intervention, the definition of TWH).  This series of presentations will be repeated (with more comprehensive analyses) at the GOSH conference on March 9-12, 2015 at Portland’s Oregon Convention Center. Members who presented at the Symposium are shown below.

The Oregon Healthy WorkForce Center (OHWC) is an affiliation of units of the Oregon Health & Science University, Portland State University, University of Oregon, Kaiser Center for Health Research, and Oregon State University.

The Symposium concludes today, October 8.  All or most presentations will be posted on the NIOSH website in the future.

OR-FACE Publishes More Toolbox Talk Guides

Safety communication is an integral part of maintaining an injury prevention culture.  Its implementation can be in a variety of methods such as warning labels, safety trainings and meetings, hazard alerts and informal communications between supervisors, workers, and co-workers.  In her ~30 years of experience as a safety and health professional, Illa Gilbert-Jones, program manager of the Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE) program, has learned that increasing the level of interaction between supervisor and workers about safety, positively influences safe behaviors. Moreover, if the interaction is about real world, relatable events, the impact can be significant.

Toolbox talks are a common form of safety communication, especially in construction but they have been used as daily pre-shift meetings in general industry.  OR-FACE has created several toolbox talk guides and recently published four.   These two-page documents are based on information gathered from Oregon fatality investigations.  One side of the toolbox talk is a simple line drawing for viewing from a distance and for ease in understanding the key elements of the incident.  At the bottom of the line drawing are key actions to prevent a similar incident.  On the other side, are instructions for leading the toolbox talk, a narrative of the incident, bulleted items that reiterate the key prevention actions and a list of questions to facilitate a discussion on current practices, unsafe conditions, and commitment to an  action plan.

The overarching goal of these toolbox talk guides is to provide supervisors/leaders with documents to increase interaction and positively influence safe behaviors. The format uses evidence-based safety communication principles and real-world (Oregon) relatable events.

Occupational Health Sciences Presents to MLAC

Dr. Steve Shea (below) presented copies of the 2012-2013 biennial report of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health & Science University to Oregon’s Management Labor Advisory Committee (MLAC) and briefly outlined the Institute’s overall program, on September 19.   Dr. Shea is Director of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, or Occ Health Sci.  Copies of the Annual Report and other publications can be found on the Institute website.

Following Dr. Shea, Dr. Kent Anger, Associate Director for Applied Research at Occ Health Sci and Director of the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC), a NIOSH Center of Excellence in Total Worker HealthTM, broadly outlined the dissemination strategy of the OHWC and the Institute. He asked MLAC for help in identifying candidates from management and labor to join a partnership to develop that strategy into an implementation plan that will scale throughout Oregon.

AHA Worksite Wellness Summit on TWH a Success

The American Heart Association Worksite Wellness Summit was held yesterday at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland where over 300 participants learned about effective tools and techniques for improving health, safety, wellness and wellbeing – Total Worker Health.  Oregon Health & Science’s Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences was the presenting sponsor supporting the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center’s Total Worker HealthTM (TWH) theme, also the Summit’s theme.

Dr. Steve Shea presents at the Worksite Wellness Summit convened by the American Heart Association of Oregon.

The Summit was keynoted by Renee Coombs of SAIF, Oregon’s largest workers’ compensation insurance company, who described her corporation’s transition to TWH which she described as continually changing and growing in her comments on the panel that followed her keynote.  Brian Passon led the panel.

After a physical activity break and lunch, the meeting broke into  sessions on workforce wellness initiatives and strategies – and a session on establishing TWH programs in your companies led by Dede Montgomery (pictured) of Occupational Health Sciences and Deb Fell-Carlson of SAIF.

The meeting ended with energizing talks by Dawn Robbins on diversity to empower wellness programs (looking thoughtfully to the future), Michaelle Davis on Campbell Global’s approach to Wellness (offering her help to others) and Evin Cole on the power of positive thinking (with examples of turning negative messages into positive ones).

Interspersed with these interesting and interactive presentations were opportunities to interact with dozens of vendors who provided resources on TWH and wellness to the attendees (below).

Fred Berman, Kent Anger, and Leslie Hammer at the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center and Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences exhibit

And it should be said that AHA knows how to put on a meeting – two activity breaks and the healthiest breakfast (below – granola, fruit and yogurt) and lunch options ever.  Meeting coordinators take note!  Congratulations to Lanette Trickey and the coordinating committee of the American Heart Assocation Worksite Wellness Summit bringing an energizing and compelling series of presentations on September 17, 2014.

Another Reason to Get Up!

Dr. Saurabh Thosar presents at our June 2014 Symposium.

Top news organizations, following an initial story by Indiana University, have jumped on to findings from a recent publication from Indiana University and our own Dr. Saurabh Thosar.

This new study by researchers at Indiana University and published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests that you can prevent the impairment of blood flow in leg arteries by taking a five-minute walking break for every hour of sitting. Occupational Health Sciences’ Dr. Saurabh Thosar was the study’s lead author for this research that was completed during his time working at Indiana University.

Sitting can cause blood to pool in the legs and prevent it from effectively flowing into the heart. The study found that normal functioning of the artery can be reduced by as much as a half after one hour of sitting. Dr. Thosar presented these findings at our June 2014 Symposium on Sedentary and Stationary Work, and you can access his handout and recorded webinar on our symposium webpage.

Dr. Thosar recommends that it’s best to not sit for too long. Every now and then, walk to the water fountain, or go and talk to a co-worker instead of emailing them. If you have access to treadmill desks, use them.

Access the full publication. Looking for more ideas to sit less at work? See our tip sheet, Workplace Solutions to Get People Moving.

 

1st International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health™

Together with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Office for Total Worker Health and 14 other prestigious partners, we are excited to announce that registration is NOW OPEN for the 1st International Symposium to Advance TOTAL WORKER HEALTH™.

The symposium will be held October 6–8 on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Join more than 500 scientists and practitioners from around the world and learn the state of the science and practice using a coordinated approach that integrates health protection and health promotion.

As part of a packed agenda, the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center will be presenting these talks:

  • OHWC Director Kent Anger, Ph.D, will present with other Center Directors: Research Frontiers in Total Worker Health™: Unique Perspectives from the NIOSH TWH Centers of Excellence.
  • Ryan Olson, Ph.D. will chair the Total Trucker Health™: The Drive to Improve Symposium, and present: The SHIFT Intervention for Truck Drivers Produces Significant Weight Loss in a Randomized Trial.
  • Donald Truxillo, Ph.D. will present: Applying Psychological Lifespan Development Theory and Research to Interventions Targeting Older Workers.
  • Diane Elliot, MD, will present: Taking an Evidence-Based Total Worker Health™ Program Online.
  • Dr. Elliot will also chair the symposium Teaming up for Total Worker Health™ which includes the presentations, “A Conceptual Framework for Teams and Total Worker Health™ (presented by Dr. Elliot); SHIELD (Safety & Health Improvement: Enhancing Law Enforcement Department) Teams & a New Total Worker Health™ Model for Police Officers (Presented by Kerry Kuehl, MD, Ph.D.); SHIP: A Team-base Work-life and Safety Support Intervention for Construction Workers (presented by Leslie Hammer, Ph.D.); and, COMPASS Teams: Creating Health & Safety “Communities of Practice” for Home Care Workers (presented by Dr. Olson.)
  • Special Populations – Young Workers and Total Worker Health™ including papers presented by Diane Rohlman, Ph.D., and Megan Parish, MPH. (Developing a Methodology for Identifying and Prioritizing Factors in Young Workers Injuries: A Pilot Study; and, Technology Meets Total Worker Health: Evaluating Online Training for Young Workers).

Register and learn more about the Symposium.

The Institute Announces Release of its 2012-13 Biennial Report

The Institute’s 2012-2013 Biennial Report is now available. Find out more about who we are, what we do and what we have been up to the last two years by downloading the Report from our Publications page.

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