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:

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


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.

awards 1 awards 2

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


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.


Oh GOSH! Time to register for Oregon GOSH

GOSH1 hallI’ve said it before, but the Oregon Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health Conference is one of my most favorite safety events to attend. This conference, the largest safety conference in the Pacific Northwest, is held every other spring in Portland at the Oregon Convention Center, this year March 6-9, 2017. Without a doubt – it is the place to be if you are interested in workplace safety and health.

The Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences is pleased to participate as a Gold Sponsor, as well as together with the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center join more than 120 vendors in the exhibit hall. We encourage you to stop by our booth (#533 & #535) and share current happenings in your workplace, as well as learn about our newest resources and upcoming events. Additionally, a number of our staff will be sharing technical presentations related to Total Worker Health (session #702), Oregon FACE (# 954), Age in the Workplace (#752), Industrial Hygiene in Construction (#812) and Northwest Occupational Health Research (#836).

Here are a few highlights:

  • The Conference Keynote: Thinking Differently About Safety (Dr. Todd Conklin).
  • 25 topic tracks (150 or so sessions) including these newer tracks: 1) Total Worker Health and Well-being; 2) Craft Brewing and Winemaking;  3) Emerging Industry: Cannibis; 4) Environmental and Social Justice; and, 5) Emerging EHS Professional.
  • The O[yes]-sponsored Student/Early Career Day on Tuesday, March 7.
  • WISE (Women in Safety Engineering) Networking Event Tuesday, March 7, 5:15 pm (RSVP required).
  • Columbia Forklift Challenge.

Now is the time to visit the Oregon GOSH website, check out the program, and register. We thank all of the volunteers who spend endless hours making this event into what it is, and all of the sponsors. It’s just a couple of weeks away! We look forward to seeing you there.


GOSH 2015



Oregon OSHA's Michael Wood trades notes with Dr. Kent Anger and Dr. Steven Shea. Oregon OSHA's Michael Wood trades notes with Kent Anger and Steven Shea.

GOSH 2015

Dr. Kelsey Parker awarded new grant

Kelsey_ParkerWe congratulate Dr. Kelsey Parker on the awarding of a small grant from the Professional Training Opportunities Program (PTOP) in Occupational Health and Safety. This program is sponsored by our regional NIOSH Education and Research Center at the University of Washington. We appreciate the collaboration with and support of the University of Washington ERC, the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety.

Kelsey’s project is titled “The Impact of Caregiving on Worker Health: A Daily Diary Study of Personal Support Workers.” Dr. Ryan Olson and Jennifer Ragsdale (University of Tulsa) will be Kelsey’s co-mentors on this independent small project. Personal support workers (PSWs) play a critical role in society by helping children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities function independently and participate in their communities. These low-wage workers assist their clients by facilitating communication, helping with physical movements, providing support for daily living routines and assisting with participation in leisure and community activities, and managing challenging behaviors. These tasks can be physically dangerous (e.g. dealing with hitting, biting, etc.). and emotionally taxing (e.g. coping with lack of predictability). Injuries are prevalent, especially among PSWs caring for people with physical disabilities or with challenging behaviors.

Kelsey received her Ph.D. and her Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology  from the University of Tulsa. Prior to joining us in 2015 at the Institute she was a Bellwether Fellow at the University of Tulsa.  She is the Manager of the COMmunity of Practice And Safety Support (COMPASS) intervention for home care workers and the Tech4Rest program for team truck drivers’ sleep, health and performance. She is also a collaborator on the Safety and Health Intervention For Truck Drivers (SHIFT) project.

So again, congratulations, Dr. Parker! We look forward to following the results of this project.

Updated Letter of Agreement Signed by OR-OSHA and OR-FACE

Ryan Olson (Occupational Health Sciences), Curtis Cude (OPHD) and Michael Wood (OR-OSHA) sign the agreement.

Ryan Olson (Occupational Health Sciences), Curtis Cude (OPHD), and Michael Wood (OR-OSHA) sign the agreement.

OR-FACE, the Oregon Fatality and Control Evaluation Program, and Oregon OSHA recently updated their letter of agreement. The agreement facilitates a process for sharing information between the two organizations. This collaboration will help improve the quality and quantity of FACE fatality investigations and investigation reports. In addition, it will enhance the outreach efforts and educational materials produced and disseminated by both organizations aimed at preventing fatal workplace injuries. The updated agreement was signed January 19, 2017.

OR-FACE is a NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) sponsored program designed to prevent occupational fatalities through surveillance, targeted investigation, assessment, and outreach associated with traumatic work-related deaths in Oregon. OR-FACE is a project of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).  OR-FACE  is supported by a cooperative agreement with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) through the Occupational Public Health Program (OPHP) of the Public Health Division of the Oregon Health Authority.

Visit the OR-FACE website to access publications including investigation reports, incident maps, toolbox talks.

Submitted by Barb Epstien, Fatality Investigator/Outreach Specialist



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