Building a Total Worker Health ® Case for the Construction Industry

Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences attended the Pacific Northwest Apprenticeship Education Conference (PNWAEC) 2016, an event hosted by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).

The biennial conference brought together policy makers, educators, business leaders and professionals in the construction trades. The goal of the conference was to create, “a platform to strengthen Registered Apprenticeship, empower the skilled trades Workforce and connect business, government and education.”

Jason Yano standing in front of poster at PNWAEC

Jason Yano describes his poster

Jason Kyler-Yano and Kent Anger presented a poster on their intervention study designed to improve the safety and health and wellbeing of construction workers and to teach supervisor skills to foremen, superintendents, project managers and anyone who has employees or subcontractor employees report to him or her, and a series of Get Healthier cards on healthy lifestyles.

Fred Berman speaks to attendee about occupational resources at PNWAEC

Fred Berman at PNWAEC

Diane Rohlman and Megan Parish presented findings from their study funded by the Bureau of Labor and Industries Apprenticeship and Training Division and the Oregon Department of Transportation, Office of Civil Rights: “A Foundation of Health: Evolution of a Nutrition Training for Apprentices in Oregon,” described factors impacting construction workers health and safety that reach beyond traditional occupational hazards. The study had two goals: 1) conduct an assessment of the health and safety needs of construction apprentices, and 2) develop and evaluate an online nutrition training for construction apprentices. Detailed findings will be available shortly.

Fred Berman represented the Institute as an exhibitor and presented Health Impacts Safety Guides and Toolbox Talk Guides developed by the Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE).

Diane Rohlman, Megan Parish, Jason Kyler-Yano, Kent Anger at PNWAEC

Diane Rohlman, Megan Parish, Jason Kyler-Yano, Kent Anger at PNWAEC

Events like these highlight the importance of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Science’s continued focus on Research-to-Practice and allow researchers to more deeply connect with the communities we serve.

Trading notes across the ocean

Many thanks to ANB Laboratories for allowing us to perform a walkthrough Practicum.

Many thanks to ANB Laboratories for allowing us to perform a walkthrough Practicum.


More team planning.

More team planning.

Being part of OHSU Global Health SE Asia has given us a terrific opportunity to collaboratively learn with our Thai partners. As part of OHSU’s Alliance with Bangkok Dusit Medical Services I am in the midst of teaching a five-day class in Bangkok to occupational health and nursing professionals, kindly joined by two seasoned occupational health nurses. I thank my OHN friends, Karin Drake of Kaiser and Mary Salazar of the University of Washington, for joining me on this trip.

In addition to enhancing our training participants’ hazard identification and action planning skills, we are comparing and contrasting the strengths and weaknesses of the US and Thai occupational health systems. Without a doubt there are some things that work better here in Thailand, and others that are more effective in the States. But thanks to global learning opportunities like this, we can try to examine the best of both as we move ahead to provide the healthiest and safest environments for all workers everywhere.

Lead Instructor Dede Montgomery, MS, CIH.

Lead Instructor Dede Montgomery, MS, CIH


Sharing an example of an ergonomic-related Total Worker Health intervention.


Sharing results of a hazard mapping Practicum.


Dr. Santaya Pruenglampoo from Thailand Social Security Office joins in discussion about differences between Thai and US occupational laws.


Oregon campaign to prevent falls in construction

L to R: Harvey McGill (PNW OSHA Education Center), Cecil Tipton, (Oregon Area Director, OSHA), David Douglas, Dan Daley and Russ Nicolai

L to R: Harvey McGill (PNW OSHA Education Center), Cecil Tipton, (Oregon Area Director, OSHA), David Douglas, Dan Daley and Russ Nicolai

On May 6 there were 60+ attendees at the Portland, Oregon Stand-Down event.  A few truly went the distance and traveled from Idaho and Washington.  Several local organizations (see April 29 blog) began collaborating in January to ensure an effective campaign during 2016 National Safety Stand-down week (May 2-6).  These partners, among many things, arranged for advertising on metro buses, presentations at safety meetings, distributed resources to association members, apprenticeship programs, and workers compensation safety consultants.  The May 6 event was a culmination of all the activities that the partners initiated for and during the week.

Special thanks to industry experts, Dan Daley (Daley Construction), Russ Nicolai (Snyder, roofing contractor), and David Douglas (Fred Shearer & Sons) for their presentations.  Several attendees noted that their discussions on personal experience, commitment and passion were extremely valuable.

Russ Nicolai and attendees

Russ Nicolai and attendees

Harvey facilitating panel discussion

Harvey facilitating panel discussion



Connecting at work


Institute Staff enjoy a sunny lunch.

When I first started working here at OHSU it took me awhile to adjust to an academic research environment. Research, like some other industries, is sometimes stereotyped as made up of a workforce focused more on working solo than engaging socially: Work that can’t be bothered by coffee breaks or “chatting around the water cooler.”

Of course, what we know to be true is how we feel about the teams we work with really does affect our health, well-being, productivity and turnover!  And while we all have days with our nose to the grindstone as we eat while at our computer or dodge in early and avoid the chit chat of others; we also now encourage coworkers to take the time to be part of our team. Some days a few of us might walk the few minutes together to grab that morning tea or coffee. And other days – not everyday perhaps – we take a few minutes to sit in the sun while we eat our lunch, sharing both pleasure and business.

I’m sure now, the days that I get away from my work for that time – be it 5 or 20 minutes – enhances all aspects of me, my well-being, and my ability to be successful in what I do.

What about you and your work team? What are you doing to support your workplace relationships? We’d love to know!



Dr. Saurabh Thosar earns first place at Research Week

SaurabhWe congratulate our colleague, Saurabh Thosar, who was selected as the first place winner among postdoc oral presentations at OHSU’s annual Research Week.  Dr. Thosar’s presentation was titled Endogenous circadian rhythm in vascular function and cardiovascular risk.

Research Week 2016 consisted of four days full of events and activities celebrating the research taking place at OHSU with more than 400 participants. Dr. Saurabh supports the Shea Lab, here at Occupational Health Sciences, which investigates the effect of circadian rhythms and sleep disorders on human disease.

Learn more about Research Week. Learn more about the Shea Lab.

OccHealthSci Topic: Sleep and Shiftwork

OHSU Research Week, May 2-5

OHSU Research Week is a university-wide event that celebrates the excellence of research performed across all schools, centers, institutes (including OccHealthSci), and education programs at OHSU. It is a unique opportunity for scientists to get out of the lab or clinic and meet colleagues from various disciplines to share the fruits of their research. Here are some photos of Occupational Health Sciences faculty, staff and laboratory personnel, who presented their research findings at Monday afternoon’s poster session. You can view a complete listing of Research Week activities here.

Poster Session Overview

Poster Session Overview

Kent Anger, PhD and Jason Yano, BA

Kent Anger, PhD and Jason Yano, BA


Wylie Wan, PhD, David Robinson, OHSU Executive Vice Provost, and Leslie Hammer, PhD


Jason Yano discusses his research with Occupational Health Sciences Director, Steven Shea and Associate Director, Kent Anger


Wylie Wan, PhD and David Robinson, OHSU Vice-Provost

Matt Gieger, Ryan Opel of Dr. Miranda Lim's laboratory

Matt Gieger, Ryan Opel of Dr. Miranda Lim’s laboratory

Matt Butler, PhD, Saurabh Thosar, PhD

Wylie Wan, PhD, Matt Butler, PhD, Saurabh Thosar, PhD

Loren Habitz, PhD and Chuck Allen, PhD

Katie Vaughn, Anjali-Rameshbabu, PhD, Jason-Yano, BA and Kent Anger, PhD

Katie Vaughn, Anjali-Rameshbabu, PhD, Jason-Yano, BA and Kent Anger, PhD

National Safety Stand-Down

save the date with logos reduced

It will be the 3rd year for the National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction.  The emphasis began 5 years ago with the Construction Fall Prevention Campaign.  Partners in the campaign include OSHA, NIOSH, CPWR and the NORA Construction Sector Council.  This year the Safety Stand-Down will be held during the week of May 2-6.  Employers are asked to participate by setting aside time during the week to have an open discussion with their workers about falls and how to prevent them.  Falls remain the leading cause of death in construction.  In 2014, there were 337 fall fatalities out of 874 total fatalities in construction.  Those deaths were preventable.  

Last year, nearly 2.5 million construction employers and workers took part in stand-downs in all 50 states and internationally.  This year, the goal is to involve 5 million employers and workers in stand-downs.  Meeting this goal would have a huge impact on raising awareness of the falls issue and ensuring workers return safely home to families every day.
Please help promote the fall prevention campaign and the Stand-Down by raising awareness among employers and workers about fall hazards, and by providing information they can use to prevent injury and death.  By helping us reach employers and raising awareness about the hazards of falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs, you will be part of a concerted effort throughout the nation to reduce the number of deaths and injuries that result from falls.

2016 Stand-down poster on bus
New resources have been developed for the Stand-Down including a mobile app (search for “safety stand down” in our mobile app store).  Other resources can be found on the Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down webpage and the Campaign webpage.  Employers can receive formal recognition for participating in the event if they complete an online questionnaire and print their “Certificate of Participation.” Information about the Campaign and the Stand-Down is available on the other official web sites CPWR and NIOSH and Oregon FACE .

Partners in Oregon and Washington have collaborated to help promote this event.  On May 6 a free class on “Fall Hazard Awareness in Construction” will be offered in Portland.  You may have seen the ads on the buses. To register for the class click h
.  Class size is limited so register soon.

Oregon Workers Memorial Day


Start the Conversation: New supervisor tool released


It may seem like a no-brainer that employers should give all new workers safety training. For example, it would be outrageous for someone to walk onto a flight and announce, “Good evening folks, I’m going to be your pilot today and it’s my first flight ever, so please buckle your seatbelts, sit back and enjoy the ride.”

Research, however, shows as many as 80% of young workers don’t receive safety training. Despite the many positive attributes of young workers they often lack the same level of experience and skill that older workers possess, attributes which can be an advantage in maintaining safety at work. In fact, young workers are twice as likely to be injured on the job than their older counterparts, a statistic that highlights the importance of young worker safety training efforts.

To address this need, the translational research project called Promoting U through Safety and Health (PUSH) combined the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) existing classroom-based safety curriculum with health topics into an online training designed specifically for young workers. The specialized training uses videos, images, and real-life examples to demonstrate the importance of workplace safety and methods for staying safe on the job. In 2013 the training was evaluated with young employees of Portland Parks and Recreation. Durable changes in knowledge were observed over a three-month period.

However, workplace safety requires a multi-level approach that recognizes and emphasizes the role of the employer in keeping all workers safe. In addition to the training, a series of supervisor-led activities were developed to help young workers and supervisors have discussions about safety, health and communication on the worksite. The Start the Conversation activities expand on topics addressed in the PUSH training and facilitate the development of an open path of communication between young workers and their supervisors. Activities like “Workplace Hazards” helps make a concept like identifying hazards in the workplace relevant and engaging. In this activity, young workers and supervisors identify hazards in their workplace and brainstorm ways to make the job safer.

The 21 Start the Conversation scripted activities are now on the web and can be downloaded for free at Each activity can be completed with two or more young workers and range in length from about 10-20 minutes.

Submitted by Megan Parish, Research Associate, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, Oregon Healthy Workforce Center

Image retrieved for free from:

Parkrose High captures 2016 O[yes] video prizes

First and second prize winners from Parkrose High with their video arts teacher.

First and second prize winners from Parkrose High with their video arts teacher.

We congratulate students from Portland’s Parkrose High School for claiming both 1st and 2nd prizes for videos entered into the O[yes] video contest!

The goal of this annual video contest, organized by O[yes] – the Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition – is to inspire teens to stay safe at work with the theme of “Speak up. Work safe.” Videos, produced by Oregon high school students, are judged on creativity, production value, youth appeal, and overall safety and health message. O[yes] and its partners and followers use the videos to promote safety to a vast range of audiences.

First place ($500) (with matching check to Parkrose High)
“Voices in My Head”
Producer/director: Leah Coyle
Actors: Keely Byerley (senior), Coyle, Salena Garver (senior), Matt Tremblay (senior)
Editors: Coyle, Garver

Second place ($400) (with matching check to Parkrose High)
Producer/director: Rae Millard
Script: Mitchel Hummel (junior)
Actors: Millard, Sophia Swim (junior), Janos Wilson (sophomore)
Camera: Thomas Poupore (junior)
Editor: Millard

O[yes] thanks all of the contest sponsors: the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU, Oregon OSHA, SAIF Corporation, local Oregon chapters of the American Society of Safety Engineers, the SHARP Alliance, the Central Oregon Safety & Health Association, SafeBuild Alliance, Hoffman Construction, and Construction Safety Summit.

Watch the videos now on YouTube: Voices in My Head and #47. Read the press release.

OccHealthSci topic page: Young Workers


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