How’s that video coming along?

video contest Less than ten days remain for Oregon high school students to create and submit their 90 second video entry for the Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition’s annual “Work Safe. Save a Friend” contest.

O[yes] seeks entries that will inspire teens to do at least one thing differently to stay safe on the job. The group looks for videos that will motivate other teens to think about the importance of speaking up for safety in the workplace, and awards $500 to the winning producer with a matching prize to the student’s school. Second and third cash prizes, also with matching school awards are also awarded.

Any high schooler in Oregon – whether in public or private school, or home-schooled – can submit an entry. The O[yes] team is eager to see what new and creative messages will be delivered this year. And don’t think it’s too late! Previous years’ winners have admitted not actually filming their video until the last minute. Are you or do you know a creative high school teen? Send them to the video contest website. And our one tip? Read the rules!

BOLI vendor meeting informs

Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) Apprenticeship & Training Division ODOT-BOLI Highway Construction Workforce Development Program “Promoting opportunities in Oregon’s highway construction trades” is a partnership to expand opportunities for diversity in employment, increase apprenticeship participation and increase training resources for individuals interested in highway construction careers throughout the State of Oregon. The Program held it’s quarterly vendor meeting at the Northwest College of Construction last week.  The meeting is pictured below.

BOLI meeting 1-2016

Vendors described available grants, loans at low interest rates to build credit, successful apprenticeship programs for minorities and women, and the Tongue Point Job Corps Center in Astoria.

Dr. Kent Anger is pointing at a powerpoint slide in construction health.

Dr. Kent Anger of the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (above) described the results of a Center Total Worker Health (TWH) project pilot study in construction.  Participants learned team-building skills, healthy lifestyle information and tracked the frequency of their interactions with their co-workers; the participants reported liking the program and finding it useful in confidential surveys.  The results revealed a number of improvements in topics taught by the training, including statistically significant increases in self-reported family-supportive behaviors, safety compliance, support for exercise by family and co-workers, and sleep time increased by 20 minutes per night.  Interested companies can learn more about the supervisor training project in construction at the OHWC website.


OR-FACE report used in SAIF Ag Seminars


Kevin White and Kevin Pfau 2015-2016 SAIF Agricultural Seminar

Kevin White and Kevin Pfau
2015-2016 SAIF Agricultural Seminar

There’s a new face in the 2015-2016 SAIF Agricultural Safety Seminar series. Kevin White, executive director of the Oregon Future Farmers of America Foundation, co-taught the English sessions with veteran instructor, Kevin Pfau. Although not in person, Kirk Lloyd did present a segment, “News from OSHA”, by video. The seminars began in November and will be held in 16 cities across the state. Eight sessions will be conducted entirely in Spanish.  I attended the session held in Hillsboro on January 5.

The OR-FACE investigation report, “Vineyard worker killed in fall from trailer,” was incorporated into a group activity. Kevin Pfau read the introduction and provided some background on the case. Each table of participants were then asked to play the role of the safety committee to find and prioritize the hazards and then develop strategies to eliminate or reduce hazards. Descriptions of the topics covered in the seminar can be found here.

Kevin White led the discussion on culture of risk-taking, e.g., not communicating the risks and how to perform a task with minimal risk of injury. According to SAIF data (SAIF policyholders only) there are about 2,200 Oregon agricultural injuries a year with a cost almost $20 million, approximately $50,000 per day in dollars alone. The human costs (pain, suffering) and loss of revenue were not included in monetary cost described above, thus total cost is much higher. Kevin emphasized that these factors reinforce the need for change and to “Think about safety in a new way.”

I look forward to next year’s series and more discussions on enhancing safety culture on farms and within the agricultural community.

Be careful mixing medications and work

So there I was, shivering under the covers, my feverish body aching from some mysterious illness, anticipating the early Monday morning alarm that would signal the new workweek. The medication I had taken to relieve my cold/flu symptoms had not yet taken hold. “Should I even go to work?” was barely in my consciousness as the medication finally lulled me to sleep.

This scenario, which I’m sure most of us can relate to, was what I faced last week. Fortunately, the icy roads Monday morning and somewhat less hazy thinking kept me from attempting the act of “presenteeism”presenteeism I had anticipated the night before.

There are two basic hazards presented here. One, working while ill, exposes your coworkers to illness and renders you much less productive in your daily work tasks. And, if your job entails some hazard, you risk bodily injury to yourself and others from your impaired alertness and sense of situational awareness.

The second hazard comes from the use of medications that serve to alleviate the symptoms of your illness. Their pharmacological effects have the potential to render you even less productive and more dangerous to coworkers. And don’t forget, medications you take routinely for other chronic conditions can have the same adverse effects as those used for colds and flu.

The bottom line: think hard before committing to working while ill. And ask your doctor if the medications you take might be creating a workplace hazard.

Oregon FACE helps with OSHA 10 for high schoolers

(CE)2 students and instructors December 2015 OSHA-10 general industry class

(CE)2 students and instructors
December 2015 OSHA-10 general industry class

OR-FACE taught machine guarding in an OSHA 10 general industry class for another group of students in Community Experience for Career Education (CE)2 . The (CE)2 program is led by Learning Managers Sue McGee and Tony Hunt and is an alternative education program in the Tigard-Tualatin School District. Through the program students have an opportunity to develop job skills through practical experience while earning core credits toward a high school diploma. Not only do students participate in internships with local businesses, they also give back to the community by volunteering for community projects.

At the start of the session, students were asked if they knew someone who was injured by an unguarded machine. Surprisingly, many of them knew a friend or family member who sustained an injury from poorly guarded machinery. The stories they shared and discussions of actual OR-FACE cases fostered vigorous participation in what could have been a tedious session. Most importantly, students communicated that they knew the impact of an occupational injury/fatality.

Oregon Fatality and Assessment Control Evaluation Program
OccHealthSci Topic Page: Young Worker
Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes])

2015: Best of our blog

mt hoodAs 2015 winds down, we share our thanks to you – our faithful readers.

Oregon and the Workplace continues to be an effective way for us to share news about our work, our partners, and workplace safety, health, wellness and well-being.

And though all of our posted blogs are read by many, a few stand out as most popular. The most popular blogs of 2015 were:

Thanks for being part of our work! We look forward to moving ahead together in health and safety in 2016.

Happy holidays

holiday2 copy

Pathways 2 Prevention TWH

NIH’s Pathways 2 Prevention workshop on Total Worker Health® (TWH) was held December 9-10, 2015, in Bethesda, MD at the NIH campus. Gary Gibbons (speaking below), Director of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, a co-sponsor, introduced the workshop and the panel (pictured) whose job it was to listen to 2 days of presentations on TWH, and report out a research agenda for TWH,  also informed by a literature review created before the workshop prepared for the workshop.

Dr. Gary Gibbons and TWH Panel

Some 650 people registered to attend the meeting on the NIH campus, though most attended by webinar.  The in-person audience is shown below.

TWH workshop audience i

The panel was organized around key questions, the first of which was: “1. What studies exist assessing integrated interventions.  That was addressed by the Oregon Healthy Workforce’s (OHWC) Director Dr. Kent Anger.  He brought main points and an update of the OHWC’s TWH intervention literature review (free download).  Also speaking from the OHWC is Dr. Leslie Hammer (pictured below), who described factors that influence the effectiveness of integrated interventions (key question 4), focusing on organizational factors.  The other key questions are listed in the P2P TWH workshop agenda.  A webcast of the workshop is available now.

Dr. Leslie Hammer at P2P TWH Workshop

The meeting was concluded by Dr. John Howard (below), Director of NIOSH, who outlined the Agencies future direction in TWH.   The panel was charged with making their report the following day.  NIH will publish their recommended research agenda in Spring.  One outcome of the report could be that NIH Institutes could elect to provide funding for TWH research, thus greatly expanding the pool of funding available for TWH intervention research, the primary direction of the OHWC.

Dr. John Howard at TWH workshop

What’s work got to do with it?


So many of us have been thinking about, researching and discussing the relationship between work, home and life.  Now is the perfect opportunity to learn more –  just by connecting through a free webcast!

This Wednesday and Thursday, December 9-10, the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are hosting the Pathways to Prevention-Total Worker Health® What’s Work Got to Do With it? workshop in Bethesda, Maryland.

We’re fast learning that work influences our personal health, safety and wellbeing, and vice versa. Risky and precarious work, unhealthy work patterns, and lack of organizational support can affect our safety and health at work and at home, which in turn, influences our ability to work. It makes sense to us that this integrated approach to prevention – Total Worker Health – can move the needle to improve overall worker well-being, with positive spillover to our workplaces, homes and communities.

The 1½-day workshop will bring together scientists and health/safety experts to help answer questions about integrated interventions—what do we know about them? What are the pros and cons of this approach? How do we know they work? “Show me the evidence!”, you say, as you should! Ask and you shall learn.

Check out the agenda  – and don’t forget the time difference if you are with us in the west. Among the workshop’s notable speakers are Dr. Kent Anger and Dr. Leslie Hammer, our friends (oh and Directors) at the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center.

While many have made plans to travel to the NIH to attend in person, make sure to pre-register to take part in the webcast. This is a perfect opportunity to learn more about what work’s got to do with it!

Oregon Healthy Workforce Center
Total Worker Health®
OccHealthSci topic page: Total Worker Health® and Wellbeing


Occupational Health Sciences Reports to MLAC

The Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences provides reports to Oregon’s Management Labor Advisory Committee (MLAC) due to it’s base funding from the Workers’ Compensation System. Dr. Steven Shea is pictured describing the Institute’s vertically integrated research concept with an illustration of sleep and circadian rhythms.  Molecular and cellular researchers interact with scientists conducting animal and human laboratory research.  This informs applied intervention research in the Oregon workplace and that leads to safer and healthier workers that is in turn described through our outreach.  This is depicted on the Occ Health Sci Institute website.Occupational Health Sciences reports to MLACDr. Kent Anger (to Dr. Shea’s left in the picture) described the safety, health and well-being improvements due to interventions carried out by the Oregon Health Workforce Center (OHWC), a NIOSH Center of Excellence in Total Worker Health sited at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) at Occupational Health Sciences, but it is an affiliation of OHSU, Portland State University, University of Oregon’s Labor Education Research Center (LERC) and the Kaiser Center for Health Research. The OHWC is applying to renew the Center for 5 more years and Center Director Dr. Anger was asking MLAC for a letter of support for that application which will focus its intervention research on health care, call centers and transportation.

Dr. Leslie Hammer (to Dr. Shea’s right in the picture), the Institute’s newest faculty member, concluded the presentations by describing her research interests in the health effects of supportive supervision at work, and the health consequences of work-family conflict.  She remains 1/4 time at Portland State University where she continues the Occupational Health Psychology training program as she builds her research program at OHSU.

Presentations at MLAC provide ideas and feedback from a wide range of Oregon stakeholders that is highly valued by the Institute.  The annual report was distributed during the meeting.

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