National Safety Stand-Down May 8-12, 2017

IMG_1480Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in construction. Between 2003-2013 OSHA reported more than 3,500 deaths resulting from construction falls. In 2015 alone there were 350 fatal falls, out of 937 total construction fatalities. All those deaths were preventable.

In response to the overwhelming number of fall-related injuries and fatalities, the Construction Fall Prevention campaign was launched in 2012 by a partnership including OSHA, NIOSH, CPWR, and the NORA Construction Sector Council. The aim of the national campaign is to prevent fatal falls from ladders, scaffolds, and roofs.

The National Safety Stand-Down was added to the campaign in 2014 to increase awareness and participation by bringing together contractors, workers, and safety organizations to focus on preventing falls. On behalf of all our partners and stakeholders, we encourage employers, employees, and associations to participate in this year’s National Stand-Down during the week of May 8-12, 2017. Employers are encouraged to set aside time to have open discussions with employees about falls and how to prevent them. The event has an impressive track record, with thousands of companies participating across all 50 states and internationally. Last year alone, more than 130 public events were held, along with thousands of private stand-downs.

You can be part of this effort to increase awareness and reduce the number of deaths and injuries that result from work-related falls. Help us promote the fall prevention campaign and National Safety Stand-Down. It’s an excellent opportunity to make sure you’re doing everything you can to eliminate fall hazards. Let’s continue to reach out and make sure that workers safely return home to their families each day.

Join us for the 3rd annual Stand-Down event being held in Portland on Friday, May 12, 2017 at the Sheet Metal Institute. Partners in Oregon and Washington have collaborated to promote this free, 5-hour class on construction fall hazard awareness that will also include a panel of industry experts sharing useful, innovative safety tips. Click here to register for the class; and additional Stand-Down information can be found here.

Submitted by Barb Epstien,  OR-FACE Fatality Investigator/Outreach Specialist

What are you doing for Safety Break?

IMG_1469As May approaches, we are reminded that Safety Break is nearly here! Oregon OSHA coordinates Safety Break, a one-day event designed to raise awareness and promote the value of workplace safety and health.

Oregon OSHA, as described on their Safety Break website, encourage organizations to create an event or initiative that best serves their needs and mission. Examples such as recognizing employee safety efforts, educating new employees about your organization’s safety commitment, and supporting safety committees are listed along with other examples on the website.

Our Institute is pleased that OHSU has joined the list of Oregon organizations that are participating in Safety Break 2017  by sponsoring a safety fair. In fact, those attending the fair can stop by the table sponsored by our Institute and the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center to learn more about our resources, events and toolkits designed to improve workplace safety, health and well-being. If you are an OHSU employee, we hope to see you at the safety fair to be held from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM on Wednesday, May 10 in the Biomedical Information Community Center (BICC) Gallery. At this event you can learn more about OHSU safety groups and programs, engage with interactive exhibits and enjoy light refreshments.

And if you work outside of OHSU, we’d like to know: what do you have planned at Safety Break 2017? We thank Oregon OSHA for sponsoring this opportunity for all of us to formally prioritize workplace safety and health.

 

Save the date: Women in Trades Career Fair

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Looking for a new career? Or helping a daughter or woman you know explore new job possibilities? Make sure you add the Women in Trades Career Fair to your May calendar, and consider it the best local event to learn more about opportunities within the trades. Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI), a Portland, Oregon nonprofit organization, actively supports young women’s exploration of skill trades careers at this annual event. This year celebrates the 25th annual Women in Trades Career Fair!

Attendees can visit the fair, participate in dozens of hands-on workshops and exhibit booths, and learn more about the rewarding and well-paying career options in the skilled trades. This free fair could never happen without the support of many sponsors, including these platinum level supporters: Bonneville Power Administration, City of Portland, IBEW 48, NECA IBEW, Oregon Laborers, PGE, PMCA, Local 290 Plumbers – Steamfitters, and KGW.

The popular Dads and Daughters Workshop and coffee will take place from 1:00-2:00 pm especially for parents and guardians to share the trades with the young women in their life. In addition to Saturday’s public fair, a fair tailored to middle and high school girls is offered on Friday, May 19. New this year on Friday, from 10:00-11:15 AM is a seminar for educators about recruiting women and Girls for Career and Technical Education Programs. This seminar will be provided by Oregon Tradeswomen staff as they share their methods and strategies for recruiting and retaining women and girls for CTE Programs.

Here at the Institute, we applaud the important work that Oregon Tradeswomen has done for so many years! Learn more about the fair on the Oregon Tradeswomen website.

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Catching up with the times: Resource Directory updated

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When our Institute, then CROET, first designed our original Resource Directory in 1996, then CROETweb, most of us were just beginning to learn to search and find information on the web. Can you believe that we even taught a class at the Oregon Governor’s Safety Conference on how to search the web? That was before my time here at OHSU, although I do remember the day in the early 1990’s when a few of us at my previous employer, loaded into an office to see the remarkableness of being able to access OSHA documents on the computer. CROETweb even pre-dated Google! Imagine that.

We are pleased that we have finally completed updating this popular Resource Directory. We haven’t changed the essence of it: it remains a great way to quickly find some of the best, evidence-based documents and websites available, from Oregon and beyond. We will continue to add new resources regularly, and remove those that are no longer available or applicable. But the site is now both more accessible to all, and mobile friendly. We also hope that it encourages you to learn more about our Institute, the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, scientists and other educational offerings by improving the ease between traveling between all of our web sites.

Here’s a few tips that may enhance your experience:

  • When searching for something specific:
    • Check out the A-Z topic index.
    • Browse by category mid-way on the home page.
    • Search by keyword on the home page. Important warning for keyword search: to search the Resource Directory, ensure that you use the search listed on the home page under the term “Resources” below the banner picture. Other searches will run through our Institute or all of OHSU.
    • If you explore or find yourself on the Institute or Oregon Healthy Workforce Center webpages, just know that you only need to select the “Resource Directory” top navigation tab on any page to return to the Resource Directory.
  • New: “Featured Resource” on the home page. We will feature particularly good or important new resources regularly.
  • Find easier access to our Total Worker Health resources, both our OHWC Toolkit Kiosk, and the resources highlighted within the Resource Directory with short cuts listed below the Categories on the home page.
  • The home page provides quick access to the following resources: access to the Toxicology and Occupational Health Centers, sign up for our monthly newsletter, access OR-FACE, read our Oregon and the Workplace Blog, and access our upcoming training events.
  • All of the previous URL’s have been redirected to this site. Update your bookmark to: https://www.ohsu.edu/oregon-institute-of-occupational-health-sciences/.

As always, we hope you will share your feedback with us as you explore the resources. Thanks for supporting our efforts!

Oregon educators commit to health and well-being

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Storyteller Maura Doherty closes the conference.

We applaud OEA Choice Trust on the completion of another successful Oregon School Employee Wellness Conference, attended by 250 or so Oregon educators during spring break. In the midst of the challenges and pressures affecting our educators, the vision of OEA Choice, conference sponsors, presenters and participants is encouraging and powerful.

The mission of OEA Choice Trust is to provide expertise and resources to help Oregon public school employees create comprehensive and flexible wellness programs to build a culture of wellness that becomes the norm in school workplaces. Its staff have been important partners for us at the Institute and the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center.

The conference keynote, provided by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky was a compelling reminder of the challenges our educators experience most work moments. Lipsky is the author of Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others. She reminded the audience that trauma experienced not just by teachers and staff, but children and families, is not just the result of major disasters, and includes not just post-traumatic but also pre-traumatic stressors. Lipsky asked the question, “Are you sure that all this trauma work hasn’t gotten to you?” Lipsky effectively uses her humor to share many underlying challenges and realities that those in the education field, particularly, can relate to. For example, this quip: “Bad news – that fire in your belly is actually an ulcer.” And she asked the audience that while you may be bringing your highest self to work, how often is it that nothing seems to be left for that same self on the home or life front? How often, she asked, are educators numbing out, and what is your capacity to stay present? I was reminded, that this same message would resonate to caregivers everywhere. Thank you to the Trust for honoring all participants with a copy of Lipsky’s book: I, for one, am eager to read it.

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Maura stands in at our exhibit to give Dede a quick break.

During the conference, we were also reminded about the power of positive and happy stories. It bears repeating that the human brain is primed for the negative, and more easily encodes negative messages than those that are positive. By taking the time to exercise our brains to remember positive and happy stories – spending at least 14 seconds to help encode our brain – can move all of us toward higher well-being. For after all, we are better teachers, caregivers, employees, family members, friends and citizens when we have the capacity to feel good about ourselves and our world around us.

OR-FACE posts workplace fatality reenactments

Presenter Mike Riffe at GOSH 2015

Presenter Mike Riffe presenting “In Memory Of” at GOSH 2015

OR-FACE (Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program) was excited to participate in the 2017 Oregon Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health Conference (GOSH). As in previous years, the event highlighted the passion within the Oregon community of safety and health professionals. Other consistently favorite features of GOSH are networking with partners and attending engaging sessions. This year, Barb Epstien and Illa Gilbert-Jones presented an interactive session highlighting OR-FACE’s mission and purpose, outreach resources, and taking an in-depth look at the trends in Oregon occupational fatalities. Selected case studies were summarized and attendees discussed key recommendations for preventive actions. That presentation is posted on our website for those who may have missed our session.

As we wrap up GOSH 2017, OR-FACE would like to remind Oregon in the Workplace readers that Mike Riffe’s GOSH 2015 presentation, In Memory Of, is available on our YouTube playlist. Mike is a former OR OSHA fatality investigator and his presentation at GOSH 2015 was cited as one of the best safety presentations participants had attended. OR-FACE recorded the talk and divided it into seven separately recorded presentations, by topic. In each video Mike creates models based on actual Oregon workplace fatalities to demonstrate each incident and discuss investigation findings and prevention. They provide an impactful reenactment.

Access all of the videos:

We thank all of our followers and supporters for using and sharing our Institute and OR-FACE resources in efforts to make jobs and workplaces safer for all workers.

Submitted by: Barb Epstien, Fatality Investigator/Outreach Specialist

2017 O[yes] video finalists announced

video-imageIt’s another year – and another Oregon Young Employee Safety (O[yes]) Video Contest. After almost a decade of joining a number of organizations as contest sponsors, it’s great to know that young people continue to create new and different messages to motivate their peers to stay safe at work and speak up about safety.

This year’s group of finalists includes the following video producers, listed below with their school association:

* “Rapaccidents Happen” — Parkrose High School

* “Rewind” — Parkrose High School

* “Safety Doesn’t Judge Age” — North Bend High School

* “Sick Day” — Churchill High School

* “Speak Up” — West Albany High School

* “The Slip Up” — Hood River Valley High School

* “Your Future’s On Its Way” — Southridge High School

Make sure you take a few minutes and watch all of the 90 second video entries on the O[yes] YouTube channel. Read the press release issued by Oregon OSHA.

The top three entries will take home cash prizes ranging from $300 to $500 and will earn a matching amount for their school. O[yes] organizes the contest, which is sponsored by Oregon OSHA, SAIF Corporation, local Oregon chapters of the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU, Hoffman Construction, Central Oregon Safety & Health Association, the SHARP Alliance, the Construction Safety Summit, SafeBuild Alliance, and The Farm Bureau.

The contest winners will be announced during an awards ceremony to be held later next month in Salem. Those of us from the Institute give a shout out to these students, their mentors and the contest sponsors: all who are taking steps to help prevent injuries to our younger workforce.

Oregon Healthy Workforce Center wins GOSH award

Members of the OHWC accept GOSH 2017 award.

Members of the OHWC accept GOSH 2017 award.

The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center was recognized along with eight other individuals and groups with an Oregon GOSH award today. Nominated organizations and individuals are Oregon workplaces and safety and health advocates who make extraordinary contributions to workplace safety and health. The OHWC is greatly honored to receive the Safety and Health Advocate Team Award in recognition of our intervention research, successful research partnerships and outcomes, and education and outreach in Total Worker Health®. The Oregon Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health (GOSH) Conference occurs every other spring in Portland and is the largest safety and health conference in the Pacific Northwest.

Funded in 2011, the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC) is a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Center of Excellence in Total Worker Health® (TWH). The Center brings in federal funding of $800K to $1.2M per year and applies that to research, outreach and education, primarily in Oregon.

The Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences (the “Institute”) at OHSU is the lead organization and home of the OHWC, and they partner through funding research, outreach and education, with fellow institutions including Portland State University, the Labor Education & Research Center at the University of Oregon, University of Washington, Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, and Johns Hopkins University. Funding is thus distributed to these organizations to support their participation, chiefly in the research. The Center also partners with other organizations on a non-funded basis, to recruit companies to participate in the research and to expand the audience for their outreach and education. The two partners they engage with most frequently and extensively are SAIF and OR OSHA.

The Institute and the OHWC congratulate other award winners including:

  • Association Category: Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc.
  • Safety and Health Advocate (Individual): Scott Simmons
  • Safety and Health Advocate (Team): Samaritan Health Services Employee Health & Safety Team
  • Safety and Health Professionals: Kiley Ross; and Lisa Simmons
  • Safety Committees: Diamond Fruit Growers, Inc; and Fortis Construction, Inc.
  • Workplace Safety Program: Deschutes Brewery

A big thank you to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Columbia-Willamette Chapter, Oregon OSHA and all of the many participants, presenters and volunteers.

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Learn more about the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center and NIOSH’s Total Worker Health® Program.

It’s official: Alliance on Total Worker Health®

Chuck Easterly, SAIF; Michael Wood, Oregon OSHA; and Steven Shea, OHSU sign the alliance.

Chuck Easterly, SAIF; Michael Wood, Oregon OSHA; and Steven Shea, Occ Health Sciences at OHSU, sign the alliance.

Yesterday, the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences (including the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center), Oregon OSHA and SAIF Corporation signed the first alliance we are aware of to expand the knowledge and application of Total Worker Health® principles by leveraging the strengths of three state-based organizations. What we consider to be unique in this alliance, is forging partnership between Oregon’s state OSHA, Oregon’s not-for-profit, state-chartered workers’ compensation insurance company, and an Oregon-based academic research institute. The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, a NIOSH-funded Total Worker Health Center of Excellence, is housed within the Institute. Needless to say, we are excited and very pleased to have such strong partners who support the mission of Total Worker Health.

What does this mean? Signing the document is just the beginning, of course. Over the years, these three partners have collaborated on many issues and initiatives impacting occupational safety, health and well-being. Now, however, we are specifically targeting how we can work together to move the needle in Oregon to improve health, safety and well-being for all workers, utilizing concepts, evidence and data related to Total Worker Health principles.

Stay tuned for details on our work, and opportunities for Oregon organizations to join our efforts. And of course, we look to your leadership and practical understanding to feed our movement. What do you think?

More information:
Oregon Healthy Workforce Center
NIOSH Total Worker Health Program
OccHealthSci Topic: Total Worker Health and Well-being

OSHA’s Garnet Cooke wins TPSA award

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Garnet Cooke with TPSA President Scott Birchfield – February 2017

The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) has presented Garnet Cooke, Pesticide Coordinator, Oregon OSHA, with its award for program excellence during its annual conference in San Diego, California in February, 2017.

Garnet Cooke is one of the national leaders in educating regulators, pesticide users and others about the correct respirators to wear when mixing, loading or applying pesticides. Garnet has been the driving force in moving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revise respirator statements on pesticide labels. This has included educating EPA on current respirator terminology and standards and working with other state agency organizations to raise awareness about the need to reduce risk through development of clear and consistent respirator labeling.

Cooke developed a respirator outreach document, “Respirators 101”, for the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC), a cooperative agreement between EPA and the University of California Davis in cooperation with Oregon State University. The purpose of the document is to help people understand the respirator terminology so they can select the correct respiratory protection for pesticide applications. In addition, Cooke has conducted regular training on selecting the correct respirator for pesticide applications – for pesticide applicators, state regulators and federal regulators.

We at the Institute wish to congratulate Garnet on her years of commitment towards minimizing the risks among workers in Oregon who use pesticides or work in environments where pesticides are applied.

 

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