Moving ahead to protect temporary workers

Thanks to everyone who joined us at last week’s symposium – sharing both challenges and best practices to protect our temporary workforce. We were particularly pleased to have such meaningful discussions between a mix of professions; the staffing industry, safety and health professionals, regulators, insurers and the academic community.

Here at the institute we select symposia topics that are emerging – often issues that don’t have simple fixes or interventions. We are hopeful that with the lead of several of last week’s symposium attendees, we can work to move ahead toward consistent, thoughtful solutions to enhance a race to the top for safety and health protections for this workforce.

We have posted the recorded webinars and handouts from last week’s event on our symposium webpage. Also posted are Tips and Ideas shared by attendees, along with other resources towards the bottom of the webpage. Please share the link and keep us posted on what you are doing to move the needle in a positive direction.

It was clear to those of us attending the American Industrial Hygiene Continuing Education Conference this week in Salt Lake City, that this topic is a priority at a national level.  Jordan Barab, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor, OSHA and David Weil, Administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division gave a compelling presentation on Health and Safety Implications of the Fissured Workplace: A Conversation, which was so cleverly depicted by graphic artist Alece Birnbach (@visualrecorder).

Graphic representation by Alece Birnbach of Graphic Recording Studio at AHce2015.

Oregon participates in the National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction

SafeBuild Alliance Kick-off event: Shawn Carey and Ilene Farrell of Quality Plus Services reviewing the Stand-Down Poster and OR-FACE Toolbox Guides

Dustin Schneider, Capital Safety, demonstrating fall protection equipment

May 9 Stand-Down event panel discussion

The stand down is part of OSHA’s ongoing national Fall Prevention Campaign that began in 2012. This year the Stand-Down coincided with National Construction Industry Safety Week. OR-FACE partnered with the Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center, SafeBuild Alliance, AGC Oregon Columbia Chapter, Oregon Home Builders Association, and Oregon OSHA to encourage employers and workers to participate in the Stand-Down.

On May 1, 180 individuals attended the SafeBuild Alliance Construction Industry Safety Week kick-off event with Mike Parnell as the featured speaker. On display at the event were posters of company activities planned for safety week and proclamations by Oregon Governor Kate Brown and several city mayors encouraging residents to observe and participate in the May 3-9 Construction Safety Week.

On May 8, the partners organized an event facilitated by Harvey McGill that included speakers, panel discussion and a free course on “Fall Hazard Awareness for the Construction Industry.” There were 38 attendees at the event that included safety professionals and construction workers. OSHA Region X Area Director, Cecil Tipton was on hand to open the event. After presentations, a panel comprised of Region X Area Director, Illa Gilbert-Jones (OR-FACE), Travis Stone (AGC Oregon), Dustin Schneider (Capital Safety), Doug Pettyjohn (Oregon HBA), and Aimee Standring (SafeBuild Alliance) answered participant questions. Dustin Schneider demonstrated fall protection equipment at both events. The event culminated with Harvey and Craig Hamelund (OR-OSHA) teaching “OSHA 7405: Fall Hazard Awareness for the Construction Industry to prevent falls in commercial and residential construction.

Tigard-Tualatin students learn about safety

The Community Experience for Career Education also known as (CE)2 led by Learning Managers Sue McGee and Tony Hunt is an alternative education program in the Tigard-Tualatin School District.  The program is designed to give students an opportunity to develop job skills through practical experience while earning core credits toward a high school diploma. The students participate in internships with local businesses and give back to the community by volunteering for community projects.

Since 2010 the ASSE Columbia-Willamette Chapter has sponsored and taught the OSHA 10-hour General Industry class to high school seniors. According to the primary instructor, Luke Betts (ASSE CWC Past President), 222 students have been trained since then.  The students from the first class are now 23 years-old, in the workforce and armed with the safety knowledge taught in class.  In addition to Luke, other ASSE members that have taught the course are Kevin Wheatcroft and Aubrey Sakaguchi.  This year on April 2, OR-FACE was invited to teach the machine guarding portion of the class.  Lessons learned from related OR-FACE investigations were included and proved to be impactful.

Submitted by Illa Gilbert-Jones, OR-FACE Program Manager

Women in trades and construction

O[yes] exhibitors and workshop leaders: Dede, Leigh, Kevin, Megan and Paula.

Oregon Tradeswomen recently completed yet another successful Women in Trades Career Fair. We applaud this organization and all of the sponsors and supporters of this popular event. This largest non-traditional career fair of its kind has been provided since 1993 and excels in providing hands-on-activities designed to introduce women and girls to the possibility of a future career in the trades. The Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition(O[yes]), along with its partner organizations including our Institute, SAIF and Oregon OSHA, have enjoyed supporting this event as an exhibitor and workshop provider.

Congratulations to Oregon Tradeswomen, enriching the lives of girls and women for over twenty years. We are proud to be part of this fair.

High school students learn about iron working.


O[yes] unveils 2015 winning videos

The 2015 O[yes] student safety video contest winners were unveiled over the weekend during the annual awards screening event held at Northern Lights Theatre in Salem. The highest honor for first place, carrying a cash award of $500 for the student producer and matching cash prize to his school, South Salem High, was won by John Patterson.

John shared his passion in making this film as he described his motivation – his grandfather died from asbestos caused by working in a factory as a young man. John shared, “I thought making this video would hep people who should have a voice and encourage young people to speak up.”

The other winners are as follows: Second place – “This is My Scar” by Joshua Elliot and Robert Elliot of South Salem High School; and, Third place – “Work Safety for Teens” by Zachary Tennant of La Pine High School.

O[yes] thanks and appreciates all of the supporters and partners who make this contest and other initiatives possible.

Visit the O[yes] website at to learn more about O[yes] and to watch all of the 2015 video finalists.

Workers’ Memorial Day in Oregon

Oregon Governor Kate Brown (on the left of the panoramic picture, below) proclaimed April 28 as Workers’ Memorial Day for 2015, at the Fallen Worker’s Memorial in Salem, OR.  The ceremony was held at the memorial for Oregonians who died while working. Reverend Dr. Janet Parker (First Congregational United Church of Christ; Salem) provided the invocation and Midge Purcell (Urban League) read the names of all the workers who died in 2014.  Workers’ Memorial Day is developed by the Oregon AFL-CIO.  AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain presided over the memorial presentations (he is standing to Governor Brown’s left in the picture).

Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood (below) set a tone of resolve to eliminate the kinds of accidents that led to these deaths.  He expressed frustration that safety standards such as those for fall protection and confined spaces are designed to prevent such accidents, but such accidents continue to happen.  AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain is to his left.






Governor Brown is pictured (below) speaking with family members of the fallen workers after the official ceremony ended.

We offer our condolences to the family members and our own pledge to redouble our efforts to make safety the foundation of Total Worker Health.

What are you doing for Safety Break?

Has your organization signed up for the May 15, 2015 Oregon Safety Break? It’s not too late to be one of dozens of Oregon employers who plan to do something special to emphasize workplace safety and health. Oregon OSHA coordinates this one-day event, designed to raise awareness and promote the value of workplace safety and health. Need an idea? See this website to learn what other employers plan to do….and share your plans with employees at your workplace now!

OHWC Advisory Committee Meets

Friday the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC) External Advisory Committee met on the OHSU campus in the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences seminar room. The Committee considered the progress and accomplishments of the OHWC in it’s first 3+ years and its plans for its next grant application for a new 5-year cycle.

The committee is pictured below, commenting on the weighty issues surrounding workforce health in Oregon and the US.  The seriousness of the issues are reflected in the committee’s demeanor and that of the scientists in the Center.  Population health is a very serious issue for our country and the workforce is half the US population.

The OHWC accomplishments were in the areas of:

  • Research studies of safety and health interventions in home care workers, construction (public and private), corrections and young workers. Each research and one translational project has conducted a randomized control trial (RCT) and found significant changes in learning new information, improving safety and health as well as personal health or well-being. This research is largely complete and manuscripts describing it are undergoing peer review at science journals now or will soon be submitted.
  • Outreach (partnerships, resources, blog) and education (Occupational Health Psychology Summer Institute with a special focus on Total Worker HealthTM or TWH).

The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center is developing it’s plans for new research, outreach and education in the next cycle and is meeting with different organizations to develop partnerships for that application. Fundamentally, the OHWC is developing the science questions and the partner organizations are identifying their needs – that we address through interventions built to answer our science questions. Generally the science questions are cast as hypotheses.

The External Advisory committee had praise for our accomplishments in the last 3+ years and sage advice on our direction as we plan our future.  It’s an exciting time for us and we hope for our new partner organizations.

National safety stand down event coming to Portland

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, with more than 200 deaths and over 10,000 serious injuries each year in the US. In Oregon there were 71 deaths from falls during 2003-2013 and 29 were in construction. The annual weeklong National Safety Stand-Down and Fall Prevention campaign began in 2012. This year, during a two-week period (May 4 -15), leaders are encouraged to set aside time to have open discussions with workers about falls and how to prevent them. Employers can receive formal recognition for participating in the Stand-Down if they complete a small online questionnaire and print their “Certificate of Participation.”

A special event, the Portland, OR Stand-Down, will be held May 8, 2015 at the Sheet Metal Institute, 2379 NE 178th Ave. from 8:00-3:00. The event will include a 5-hour course “Fall Hazard Awareness for the Construction Industry.” The focus of this course is to identify, evaluate, and prevent or control fall hazards at construction sites. The course focuses on falls to a lower level, not falls to the same level resulting from slips and falls. The target audience is the small construction employer, business owner, or manager who would like to obtain information about fall hazards found in the workplace. The training is also suitable for employees and employee representatives. Topics include identifying fall hazards, analyzing fall hazards, and preventing fall hazards as well as OSHA resources addressing fall hazards. Local industry representatives will also guest speak at this special event.

OR-FACE is partnered with the OSHA Training Institute, AGC Oregon Columbia Chapter, Oregon Home Builders Association, SafeBuild Alliance and Oregon OSHA to host the Stand-Down Event on May 8. Program, registration information and additional resources are provided on the OR-FACE website.


Protecting temporary workers

Forty-six percent of U.S. employers intend to hire temporary workers in 2015 – an even higher rate than hired in 2014. Federal OSHA and NIOSH recently launched an initiative to improve safety for this often vulnerable workforce, with the recognition that temporary workers get hurt and die on the job more frequently than the permanent workforce.

This initiative more clearly defines responsibilities for worker safety and health, as illustrated in this quote posted on OSHA’s Protecting Temporary Workers webpage:

Host employers need to treat temporary workers as they treat existing employees. Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the employee, and are therefore jointly responsible for temp employee’s safety and health. It is essential that both employers comply with all relevant OSHA requirements.”
David Michaels, PhD, MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

Whether you are an employer who hires temporary workers as part of your workforce, a risk or loss control manager who provides safety and health support, or a staffing agency that places workers – you have an important role to play in the protection of this group of workers. Are you making incorrect assumptions about your responsibilities? Are you looking for ideas to improve your practices?

We are pleased to sponsor a full day dialogue on this topic, integrating presentations from regulators, safety and health professionals, and staffing agency representatives. We hope that you will check out the program and join us for this important discussion on Thursday, May 28, 2015. We appreciate our event supporters Oregon OSHA, SAIF Corporation, and Right Sourcing, along with the organizations providing presenters including Oregon Worker Compensation Division, Action Employment, BBSI, Wood Castle Furniture, NW Staffing, Selectemp, and CSR.

Temporary and Contingent Worker Safety and Health symposium
OSHA Protecting Temporary Workers
Occupational Health Sciences Health and Safety Training




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