From Fur-Trapping to High Tech: Celebrating Oregon Safety Break 2014

Log chute with ox teams, 1890′s. Courtesy of Old Oregon Photos.

What are you planning for Oregon Safety Break on Wed., May 14, 2014? If your organization isn’t already listed as a Participating Employer, it’s not too late. Join worksites across Oregon and honor safety leaders, hold a training, or start a conversation about safety and health.

Here at OHSU’s Occupational Health Sciences, we are eager to sponsor our noon seminar with a special nod towards this day as we present: From Fur-Trapping to High Tech: The evolving Oregon workplace and its impact on workforce safety and health.

If you are here at OHSU or would like to drop by, please join us at OHSU’s

Pouring the deck of the Oregon City Bridge, 1922. Courtesy of Old Oregon Photos.

Vollum Institute 1441M from noon to 1pm on Wed., May 14, and join our presentation and discussion.

Questions? Contact us.

 

National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

For those who aren’t aware June 2-6, 2014 is the National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction. A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about a specific safety topic. The purpose of this National campaign is to raise awareness of fall prevention in construction. Falls from elevation continues to be the leading cause of death for construction workers. In 2012 there were 775 construction fatalities recorded and 269 of these were caused by falls from elevation.

Suggestions to prepare for the Safety Stand-Down are provided by OSHA

In addition to the resources provided by OSHA, The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has outstanding training materials (in several languages) and include videos, handouts, “Spot the Hazard”, Toolbox Talks and many more.

For more Oregon-specific Toolbox Talks, Oregon Occupational Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE) has toolbox talks based on construction fatalities in Oregon.

OSHA will have a webpage (active June 2 to July 15, 2012) where employers can provide feedback on their Safety Stand-Down and download Certificates of Participation.

Let’s all participate in preventing falls in construction by having a great Safety Stand-Down during this year’s campaign, June 2-6.

Coming Your Way in September

September in Oregon is not only a beautiful month, but kicks off a cycle of safety, health and wellness conferences. The fall of 2014 will be no exception, and in fact will be even richer than usual – so mark your calendar!

Here at Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU we are a proud sponsor of the American Heart Association’s 5th Annual Worksite Wellness Summit, on September 17th at the Oregon Convention Center. This year’s theme is Power Up Your Wellness Program with new ideas to spark Total Worker Health.

Equally exciting, is the 5th Annual National Conference in Healthcare Ergonomics coming to Portland’s Oregon Convention Center on September 8-11. We are pleased to sponsor and participate in this high powered event.

Join us!

Creating New Conversations

Remember back when an occupational safety and health conference was just that? Information about safety and health – respirators, emergencies, forklifts. My, how our conversations have expanded into so much more – chronic disease, sleep problems, stress.

Kudos to the planners and sponsors of this week’s successful Cascade Safety and Health Conference in Eugene. Not only did I have the opportunity to co-teach a class addressing Total Worker Health, but we particularly enjoyed the discussions we shared with you at our exhibit. We learned about the bus drivers who – upon losing weight – found that it was not only more comfortable to drive, but that their sciatica pain had gone away. We heard from a safety manager who was pleased that their 2014 wellness fair has been expanded to be a safety and wellness fair. And we heard how an organization is continuing to use the material provided from our Sleep Symposium to further discussion as they attempt to better address shift work for their employees. Oh, and we learned that you actually read our e-newsletters!

Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood welcomes Cascade attendees.

This is not to say that our traditional safety and health topics aren’t just as important as they have always been. Clearly, they are. But the expansion and integration of safety and health with wellness and well-being is evident now in many of our organizations. Thanks for sharing your stories with us!

See our upcoming events.

Practice Total Worker Health – At Home, At Play, At Work!

OK…..I’ll just say it: I was not thinking (actually, I was being stupid). And the consequences? Three broken ribs and four to eight weeks of painful recovery.

We were so close to finishing the six-months-long job of readying my dad’s house for sale. Two thirty-cubic-yard dumpsters of trash, numerous estate sales, uncountable details dealt with, seventy-two years of household accumulations….the excitement was palpable. Then one last detail – clean the pine needles off the roof! Charge up the aluminum extension ladder, oops, foot slipped, kicked ladder out from underneath, falling, grab for the gutter, ah, can’t hold on, but at least kept myself from going inverted………bam! Full force impact on my left side from six to eight feet altitude. Hmm….don’t feel any pain…..move arms, legs….seem OK. Try to sit up…..waves of dizziness….heaviness in chest…chest feels like a rattling bag of bones, abdomen feels full……let’s go to the ER….

Legally, I did nothing wrong. No OSHA rules broken, because I was on my own free time. But this accident could have been prevented if I had practiced the principles of Total Worker Health, in this case, observing fall protection and ladder safety rules everywhere, not just at work. Now, my job is adversely affected by lower productivity and days off work. My home life is reduced to finding the least painful sitting/laying posture. And the doctor says this could last four to eight weeks! Not worth it!

Be careful out there….at work, at home, everywhere.

Please see these links to useful fall prevention information:

NIOSH-National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

Construction industry fall protection

Hotel, Restaurant, Kitchen Industry

Oregon Healthy Workforce Center Partner’s Luncheon – Dissemination

The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC) Partner’s Luncheon was attended by company presidents, vice presidents, directors, managers, coordinators, administrators, specialists, supervisors and technicians – reflecting the full gamut of the workforce. Just the right group for the topic of the Luncheon: How the OHWC should disseminate best practice safety, health, wellness and well-being tools and program toolkits to businesses and public organizations in a form that they could readily use. The number of registrants in each industry sector is shown in the graph at the bottom of the blog.

Keynote speaker Lee Newman (pictured below) described Health Links Colorado that is bringing wellness programs to small businesses using a novel program of self-assessment/certification that provides direction on addressing needs and identifies consultants to support the businesses to implement the solutions.

Lee Newman speaks at 2014 OHWC Partner’s Luncheon

OHWC Director Kent Anger described a best practices dissemination concept illustrated by a website, and invited attendees to provide feedback on the approach. Pictured below are the ‘work tables’ where facilitators are recording participant feedback.

The presentations by Lee and Kent will be posted at the OHWC Partner’s Luncheon website by the end of March, 2014.

Lunch is on us!

‘Tell us your workplace problems, and we’ll give you interventions/solutions’ is the promise of the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center. One more thing, tell us how to get the interventions to you at our March 20 (11-2:30) Partner’s Luncheon at the Jantzen Beach Red Lion, and you get a free lunch: register here.  How do your qualify to be one of our partners?  You have to work at a company, government organization or union in Oregon and be in a position to influence the adoption of safety, health, wellness, well-being policies or activities in your organization.

There’s more: Our featured speaker at the Partner’s Luncheon is Lee Newman who co-directs Health Links Colorado, an academic-industry partnership that has brought wellness to more than 1000 small businesses in it’s first year. Lee can talk to real people, but he is also:
• Professor of Medicine; University of Colorado Denver
• Center Director; Center for Worker Health and Environment
• Center Director; NIOSH Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center
• Chief Medical Information Officer Axion Health, Inc.
And he’s coming to Oregon to tell us about how they developed Health Links, Colorado.

But we want to do more than wellness – we want to do Total Worker Health (safety and health, wellness and well-being) – so we’ve developed some dissemination plans to tell you about. They include self-assessments, health risk assessments, certifications, tools, big interventions, awards and a way to tell us if they are being successful in your organization. And we want you to tell us how to improve those plans – or even change them completely – to make them available to you in a practical, useful form. Because we know interventions, we just don’t know how to scale them up to get them into your hands.

Ready to register? You have to answer a short 4-question survey to register. That’s it. Then you give us your name and address (separately so the survey is confidential – not linked to your name) and you get the free lunch while we get your time and counsel. It’s a good deal for us. Click to go to the information page on the PARTNER’S LUNCHEON and register there (remember, it’s free).

We also need champions. People who want to help fund the dissemination to Oregon of these interventions and intervention tools (big and small), participate on the practitioners board, provide funding for the program and for grants to Oregon organizations to implement the interventions, and the board that will oversee the whole process as we develop it and roll it out.  So, if you want to do even more, contact OHWC Center Director Kent Anger  or Brittany Sale with the OHSU Foundation.  But if all you want to do is tell us what to do, just come to the Luncheon.  Did we mention it’s free?

Creating Messages about Sun Exposure

The Environmental Protection Agency’s SunWise program is teaming up with the SHADE Foundation of America with  their annual Poster Contest.  K-8th grade students are invited to submit original, creative posters illustrating ways to prevent skin cancer and raise sun safety awareness.

At least five awareness and prevention tips must be shown on the poster and may include:

·       Using adequate sunscreen,
·       Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses,
·       Seeking shade when UV rays are most intense – between 10 am and 4 pm,
·       Covering up with full-length clothing, and
·       Checking the UV index

Entries must be received by April 1, 2014.  This is a National contest, so entrants will be competing against students from around the country.  Prizes will be awarded for national winners. For full contest rules and to see past winners’ posters visit either the EPA SunWise or the SHADE Foundation website.

OHSU is an official partner with the EPA SunWise Program and promotes outreach among Oregon teachers and sun safety education in the classroom. Dr. Amanda McCullough is the lead contact at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, and is actively involved in the SunWise Program with engagement within Oregon schools on the topic of sun protection.

Resources:
EPA’s Sun Safety Certification Program for Outdoor Recreation Staff
CROETweb Subtopic: Sun Exposure

Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences Participates in 2014 OPHA Capitol Visit Day

On February 20, 2014, the Oregon Public Health Association (OPHA) sponsored Capitol Visit Day, an educational and advocacy event that offered the chance for constituents to meet Oregon’s policy and public health leaders from around the state. Participants learned about public health-related bills that the legislature has been considering during the 2014 session and were offered the opportunity to share their views with leadership in the Oregon Senate and House.

This year, the primary focus of the OPHA was tobacco and obesity, the two leading preventable causes of death and disability nation wide. From the perspective of others and myself at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, these issues have strong ties to the workplace. Because we as citizens spend nearly half our waking hours at work, it must be recognized that tobacco use and obesity (with associated diseases of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc.) are intimately associated with pressures the workplace imposes on our ability to make healthy lifestyle choices. Abnormal work schedules and sleep cycle disturbance, sedentary work duties, job stress, workplace culture, all can either directly or indirectly promote obesity and tobacco use.

When I spoke with my Oregon state senator, I stressed approaching these health issues holistically from the standpoint of Total Worker Health (TWH). This is how we at Occupational Health Sciences are addressing these important public health issues. In the long run, promoting healthy lifestyles at work as well as at home will ultimately help reduce the costs of healthcare in the Unites States.

By the way, Occupational Health Sciences is sponsoring our Spring Symposium June 5, 2014, titled Sedentary, Stationary and Physically Demanding Work: Health Consequences and Workplace Solutions. Click the above link for more information.

Click here for information on  Total Worker Health and the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center.

Capping Needlestick Injuries

Photo credit: NIOSH

Last week I talked with someone who had just experienced a needlestick injury at work. She was devastated, embarrassed and frightened that it had happened to her. Though she had completed training on bloodborne pathogens, she had never actually been trained to remove the needle from the device she was using. Thankfully for her, she had been vaccinated for Hepatis B, and this week learned that the source blood didn’t carry HIV, or Hep B or C.

Nearly 400,000 U.S. healthcare workers experience accidental needlestick injuries every year – with some estimating an even higher number. This likely doesn’t account for the smaller number that may occur in research. OSHA’s bloodborne pathogen and needlestick prevention standard requires employers to implement an exposure control plan for the worksite that details employee protection measures. This plan should include both engineering, such as using safer medical devices like needleless devices and shielded needle devices, and work practice controls to reduce or eliminate exposures. And this includes, of course, evaluating and selecting appropriate safer needle devices and training staff on how to safely and effectively use those devices.

Most needlestick injuries result from unsafe needle devices rather than carelessness by health care workers. We know that safer needle devices have been shown to significantly reduce needlesticks and potential exposure to diseases carried by the blood. Recognize that needlestick injuries can also cause significant psychological distress, even if the injury doesn’t result in exposure to a disease. At least one study has found people who suffer sharps injuries may also endure substantial or persistent psychiatric illness or depression often associated with the time it takes for the victim to learn the outcome of their blood testing.

So what can you do? Evaluate your exposure control plan – especially the training that staff are getting. Review your records and check in with your staff to see how well this hazard is controlled in your workforce. And as always – look for ways to take your program to the next level.

Resources:
OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen & Needlestick Prevention topic page
Oregon OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen topic page
Bloodborne Pathogens on CROETweb

 

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