2020 Annual Report

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News and updates

2020 Annual Report & Incident Abstracts Published and Changes in Personnel

The OR-FACE team has published its 2020 Annual Report. OR-FACE annual reports include analysis of the fatal incidents that occurred in the reporting year. The report includes charts for industry, event, age, gender, time, month, and more. The report also provides an abstract for each case, grouped by type of event. In 2020, OR-FACE recorded 48 fatal occupational incidents resulting in worker deaths. The highest number of fatalities occurred in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (13), followed by transportation and warehousing (10). The most frequent type of fatal event was in the category of motor vehicle transportation, which occurred in most industries. In addition to the 2020 Annual Report, the 2020 incident abstracts have also been published.

The OR-FACE team is sad to see Barbara Hanley leave this month. Barbara has served as the Fatality Investigator since January 2020. She has accepted a faculty position at Oregon State University in the Environmental & Occupational Health program. We would like to thank Barbara for all of her contributions to the OR-FACE program and wish her the best of luck at Oregon State University!

Changes in Personnel and New OR-OSHA Rules

OR-FACE has had some changes in personnel over the past couple of months. Our student worker, Yewon Na left the OR-FACE program in early May. Yewon conducted surveillance for the OR-FACE program since the summer of 2021. She graduated in mid-May from Willamette University. Congratulations Yewon! Additionally, OR-FACE is sad to see Nikolas Smart leave in early June. Nikolas has served as the OR-FACE Project Manager since April 2019. We would like to thank Nikolas for all of his support and guidance over the past 3 years. We cannot thank Yewon and Nikolas enough for all of their contributions to the OR-FACE program. We wish Yewon and Nikolas the best of luck in their future endeavors!

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OR-OSHA) has finalized two important regulations affecting workplace safety.  The OR-FACE team is excited to see these new regulations go into effect. 

The first is the adoption of rules to address employee exposure to wildfire smoke.  Wildfire smoke contains hazardous chemicals and particulate matter that can penetrate the deep tissues of the lungs.  Acute exposure can lead to breathing problems in acute exposure.  Chronic exposure can lead to asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), heart disease, or lung cancer.  Wildfire smoke exposure in people with pre-existing conditions can be fatal.  The adoptive rules apply to all Oregon workers in General Industry (OAR 437-002-1081), including Construction (OAR 437-003-0005) Forest Activities (OAR 437-007-0004), and Agriculture (OAR 437-004-9791).  Wildland firefighting, emergency operations and intermittent exposures (as defined in the rules) are partially exempt, as are enclosed buildings and structures in which the air is filtered by a mechanical ventilation system, as well as vehicles with a cabin air filter system.  The rule take effect on July 1, 2022. 

The second OR-OSHA regulation is to protect workers from extreme heat exposure (OAR 437-002-0156).  In 2021, at least 4 agricultural workers lost their lives to extreme heat exposure.  These deaths were preventable.  The new rule requires employers to provide shade, cool-down breaks, and cool water for employees, as well as developing and implementing extreme heat exposure prevention plans, and training to employees to recognize the signs of heat stress and heat stroke.  The extreme heat rule takes effect on June 15, 2022.   

Psychological Safety in Construction, Outreach, and Workers' Memorial Day Ceremony

April was a busy month for the OR-FACE team. Jackie Boyd attended the SafeBuild Alliance meeting at the Oregon Zoo for a presentation on psychological safety in construction. In collaboration with our Oregon Health Authority (OHA) partners, Jackie also recently did outreach with Alan Martinez from OHA at the Orchard and Vineyard Supply store in McMinnville. Here they talked to farmworkers about agricultural safety and what the OR-FACE program does. On April 28th, Dr. David Hurtado and Dr. Barbara Hanley attended the Workers’ Memorial Day ceremony in Salem to honor those who lost their lives on the job and to commit to workplace safety. 

OR-FACE Welcomes New Project Manager

OR-FACE welcomes Jackie Boyd as its new project manager. She recently graduated from the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, with a MPH in Environmental Systems and Human Health. Outgoing manager Nikolas Smart has assisted with the program since April 2019, and is grateful for all the experiences, learning, and professional introductions gained as a result. He wishes the best of luck to Jackie and the rest of the OR-FACE team, and looks forward to seeing how they take it in a new direction.

Oregon OSHA renews collaboration with Oregon FACE

November 2021: This month, Dr. Ryan Olson and Dr. David Hurtado from OR-FACE renewed our letter of agreement with Oregon OSHA administrator, Julie Love. Our recent blog post highlights this important partnership. 

Annual Report & Investigation Published

September 2021: Our 2019 Annual Report has been released. There were 53 FACE cases in that year: fatal cases from transportation (motor vehicle) exceeded all other events, followed by slip/strips/falls, contact with objects, and incidents involving equipment (non-motor vehicle). Motor vehicle incidents have the highest number of cumulative events through 2019. Coincidentally, our most recent fatality investigation details a vineyard worker crushed by an ATV rollover. Lack of supervision, training, hazard communication, and poor maintenance of the ATV were cited as the main contributing factors.

Incident Map & Abstracts Update

June 2021: Our Incident Maps and our Incident Abstract pages have been updated to include cases through 2018. You can filter by year, event, occupation, and industry on the maps, and you can filter by year and industry for the abstracts. Please let us know what you think of them!

Non-Disabling Claims Data for Young Workers

March 2021: Our partners at the Oregon Health Authority, led by Dr. Liu Yang, recently published a paper in the Journal of Safety Research. This study demonstrated the added value of non-disabling workers compensation claims data. Using both disabling and non-disabling data and a prevention index method, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and healthcare industries were identified as priority workplaces to prevent common and costly injuries among Oregon young workers.

Manufacturing and Warehouse Fatality

December 2020: We have released our fatality investigation entitled "Forklift Operator Crushed by Full Pallet of Soft Drink Cans." In this case, the decedent pulled pallets from the back of a row, resulting in product being spilled. As the employee cleaned the product outside of the forklift, a destabilized pallet fell and crushed the decedent. The decedent worked two jobs, and fatigue may have played a role.

Lighting Technician Fatality

November 2020: Our new fatality investigation examines a night-shift worker who was replacing lighting fixtures. The fixtures were still energized, and the worker also did not have sufficient PPE to be doing electrical work. The employer did not have a licensure to work in Oregon, and used an out-of-state staffing company to bring in employees.

2018 Annual Report

October 2020: We have published our 2018 Annual Report. OR-FACE recorded 55 fatal incidents in that year, with agriculture, transportation, and construction having the highest number. You can download the report, or email us for a higher definition version.

Two new investigation reports

July 2020: We have published two new fatality investigation reports. One is in construction concerning a pressurized pipe that burst. The other is the capsizing of crab fishing vessel 2  (see May 2020 below).

2017 Annual Report

June 2020: Our 2017 Annual Report is live, with a significant visual upgrade! You can download it here. If you would like a high-quality (not for web) version, please email us at orface[at]ohsu.edu.

Crab Fishing Vessel 1

May 2020: The first of two investigation reports related to crab fishing has been uploaded to our website. Both happened within a week of each other at the same port in Oregon. Download the first here.

Worker's Memorial Day

April 2020: Barbara Hanley, our fatality investigator, has written a piece reflecting on this year's Worker's Memorial Day and the 50th anniversary of the implementation of the OSH Act. You can download the white paper here.

OR-FACE is excited to have partnered with Orchard & Vineyard Supply (OVS) to bring safety information to their customers. OVS was identified as a trusted source of information in a survey of several vineyards done by OR-FACE. The timing of this event coincided with National Farm Safety and Health Week. Read our blog post https://blogs.ohsu.edu/occupational-health-sciences/2019/09/10/september-15-21-is-national-farm-safety-and-health-week-2019/" here , and we look forward to working with OVS again!

March 2019: OR-FACE published a new fatality investigation report about a farm mechanic who died after a torch cutting explosion that occurred when he was attempting to remove a lid from an old drum that formerly contained a flammable liquid. You can download the report here

October has been a busy conference and meeting month for OR-FACE. During the annual FACE meeting at NIOSH's Division of Safety Research headquarters in Morgantown, WV, Layla Mansfield shared updates about OR-FACE activities over the past year and various works in progress. This year's annual FACE meeting was scheduled to coincide with CDC's National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS). At NOIRS, Barb Epstien highlighted OR-FACE's agriculture industry partnership with SAIF, including the social network analysis underway with Oregon wine growers and the hazard alert developed for SAIF's agriculture seminar series. Also this month OR-FACE published an investigative report about a construction worker who was killed when a trench collapsed. You can download that report here.

OR-FACE participated in the 11th annual meeting of the CSTE Western States Occupational Network (WestON) in Denver this month. Barb Epstien gave a Quick Takes presentation on OR-FACE's partnership with the Oregon Trucking Associations (OTA). You can find a copy of her presentation here. Barb also led a "brain buster" small-group breakout session, discussing successes and challenges in OR-FACE's mobile toolbox field research study. More information about the WestON meeting can be found on the Oregon and the Workplace blog.

OR-FACE has been busy this summer with multiple activities and projects. We are serving on the GOSH 2019 conference planning committee as co-leaders of the Construction Track. We also are working on final stages of the 2016 annual report of fatalities in Oregon and a fatality investigation report, and have been busy with field studies. Stay tuned for more updates on all of these activities and projects soon.

OR-FACE participated in multiple events in Portland during the 5th annual National Safety Stand-down in May. A highlight was a stand-down training event developed in collaboration between the Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center, OR-FACE, AGC-Oregon-Columbia Chapter and Oregon OSHA. The event was free and open to the public, and was held at the Portland Sheet Metal Institute. The stand-down training event featured the OSHA 7405 short course, "Fall Hazard Awareness for the Construction Industry" along with a panel discussion and demonstration of the use of fall protection equipment. Barb Epstien facilitated a toolbox talk using OR-FACE's recently published toolbox talk guide  about a construction worker who died after falling 20-25 feet from a pump-jack scaffold platform. The toolbox talk generated insightful attendee discussions about how they would prevent similar incidents from occurring on their jobsites. You can download this toolbox talk in English here and in Spanish here. OR-FACE also participated in a short video produced by NIOSH entitled, "A Five Year Look-back, National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction".

OR-FACE has been busy getting ready for National Safety Stand-down to prevent falls in construction. We have been working with the Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center to develop an engaging agenda for this year's Stand-down event in Portland. OR-FACE will be presenting a toolbox talk about a construction worker who died when he fell 20-25 feet from a pump-jack scaffold platform.  We also were honored to participate in a video being produced by NIOSH to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of the Stand-down campaign. Watch for a blog post coming soon for more details, and in the meantime, the event flyer can be found here. Also read about our Share a Story, Save a Life! campaign on this page; we hope you'll participate.  OR-FACE's field studies are moving forward, with active recruitment underway for residential construction companies to participate in the Mobile Toolbox Talk project.

Save the date! OR-FACE is participating in the planning for this year's local National Safety Stand-down event. The event is being held at the Portland Sheet Metal Institute on Friday, May 11, 2018. The Stand-down is part of OSHA's Fall Prevention Campaign. Falls from elevation continue to be the leading cause of death for construction employees. The goal of the stand-down is to encourage focused discussion between employers and employees about fall prevention, and from those discussions, spark action plans to improve safety practices. Check back here for Stand-down updates as plans unfold.

OR-FACE's updated agriculture hazard alert is now available in Spanish. You can download the document here. We thank our partners at SAIF for the collaborative effort in developing this resource, both in English and in Spanish, and for helping to disseminate it to farmers and ranchers across Oregon through their Agriculture Safety Seminars.

Construction fatality videos

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) created three short  videos, each based NIOSH FACE construction fatality reports.

Trench collapse

Fatal ladder fall

Overhead power line electrocution