Oregon OSHA's

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October 2016

Workers' Memorial Scholarship

Workplace deaths and life-changing injuries send shockwaves through families, including throwing into doubt their capacity to finance higher education. That is why the State of Oregon provides the Workers' Memorial Scholarship program, which helps surviving family members achieve their educational goals.

This year, five students received Workers' Memorial Scholarship awards. They were recognized by Oregon OSHA during a recent public ceremony held at the Labor and Industries Building in Salem. The recipients are:

Nicole Beck, Gold Hill

Beck graduated in 2015 from Crater Academy of Health and Public Services. She is studying nursing at Rogue Community College.

Beck lost her father to a logging accident. She received a $1,250 award.

Laura Dewey, Hermiston

Dewey is a 2016 graduate of Hermiston High School. She plans to study agriculture and marketing at Blue Mountain Community College, with a goal of becoming an animal scientist.

Dewey's father died as the result of a fire inside a tanker truck. She received a $1,250 award.

Laura Dittman, Newberg

With her GED completed, Dittman is attending Portland Community College. She is studying health care and hopes to work in aging services and gerontology. She received a $500 award.

Dittman's father died of a heart attack while doing his job as an insurance claims adjuster.

Daisy Maldonado Dominguez, Wilsonville

Maldonado Dominguez is a 2014 graduate of Wilsonville High School. She plans to study English and psychology at Oregon State University. She aspires to be a lawyer.

Maldonado Dominguez's father lost both arms in an agricultural machinery accident. She received a $1,250 award.

Adelaine Prinz, West Linn

A 2015 graduate of St. Mary's Academy, Prinz is studying graphic design at Boise State University. She hopes to become a graphic designer.

Prinz's father died in an airplane crash while doing his job as a corporate controller. She received a $1,250 award.

"These young people have faced the loss of loved ones and the challenges that brings," said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood. "While we can do little to address their loss, these awards do offer us an opportunity to support them as they pursue their future goals."

Award recommendations are made by Oregon OSHA's Safe Employment Education and Training Advisory Committee, an advisory group with members from business, organized labor, and government. Oregon OSHA presents the awards annually to help in the postsecondary education of spouses or children of permanently and totally disabled or fatally injured workers.

The 1991 Legislature established the Workers' Memorial Scholarship at the request of the Oregon AFL-CIO, with support from Associated Oregon Industries.

A renewed focus on ladder safety

Ladders are essential tools, easy to obtain and simple to use

Yet their safe use is no foregone conclusion.

In the U.S., more than 500,000 people per year are treated – and about 300 people die – from ladder-related injuries, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

What's more, ladder use was the No. 8 most cited Oregon OSHA standard in 2015, with 167 total violations and initial penalties totaling $98,135. The standard covers multiple requirements, including that side rails must extend at least three feet above an upper landing surface; that ladders must be maintained free of slipping hazards; and that they must be periodically inspected for visible defects.

Eliot LapidusEliot Lapidus

The injuries and violations trouble Eliot Lapidus, safety and health manager for the Oregon Columbia Chapter of the Associated General Contractors. So much so, he and the AGC are making a renewed push to boost ladder safety, primarily in the construction industry. They're doing so by shifting away from a piecemeal approach, such as spot safety checks, and by embracing a comprehensive approach that emphasizes pre-job safety training, ladder inspections, and choosing the right ladder for the job.

"People tend to forget about ladders," Lapidus said. "They just grab them and use them."

What needs to change is a company's culture, he added, where supervisors and workers are thinking about safety before they grab that ladder. "The focus of everything I'm trying to do is draw attention to hazards associated with ladders and encourage growth of the safety culture," he said, "so we can improve that in the industry."

For more information:

AGC's safety services, including obtaining the organization's "Step Up on Ladder Safety" hard hat decals

Oregon OSHA's Ladder topic page

Total Worker Health

The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center is offering a new online toolkit designed to help employers and workers reduce job stress, burnout, and physical and mental health problems.

The Safety and Improvement Program (SHIP) Toolkit is one of several online training programs developed by the center as part of a larger effort to implement the Total Worker Health approach to improving worker safety, health, and well-being. Spearheaded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Total Worker Health blends occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent illness and injury among workers.

To research and advance Total Worker Health concepts, NIOSH has funded six Centers of Excellence, including the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC).

For its part, the SHIP Toolkit is an empirical-based training program that promotes employee health, safety, and work-life balance by increasing supervisor support and team effectiveness. It is part of the Toolkit Kiosk, created by the OHWC to provide resources for organizations looking to implement Total Worker Health.

The stakes are high. Research shows that employees who experience conflict between their work and personal life may also experience increased work stress and burnout, physical and mental health problems, and intentions to quit. In the U.S., nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses occur annually, costing organizations more than $1 billion per week in direct workers' compensation costs alone.

Designed to address these problems, the SHIP Toolkit has demonstrated improvements in employee blood pressure, work-life balance, and overall team effectiveness. After being validated in the construction industry, the SHIP Toolkit has been adapted for use in a variety of industries. It is designed to allow organizations to download and use the training without external support.

Layla Mansfield is project coordinator/research assistant at the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center and Portland State University.

Oregon OSHA revises guidelines for tethered logging systems

Picture a 68,000-pound log-harvesting machine moving down a 55-degree slope, tethered by a cable and a winch to a stump or a repurposed bulldozer at the top of the slope. The hitch point on the harvester – typically a machine called a feller buncher – has a tension monitor that links to a digital display in the cab so that the operator is always aware of the tension on the cable. A traction system ensures that the track speed of the feller buncher matches winch speed of the cable. That’s essentially the way tethered, or winch-assisted, logging works.

The practice of tethered logging began in Europe and has spread to New Zealand, Chile, and the Pacific Northwest where logging sites with slopes in excess of 50 degrees are common.

In theory, tethered logging systems are safer and more productive than hand falling. That’s because one person, inside the harvesting machine’s protective cab, controls the cutting and bunching operation, sparing cutters, buckers, and fallers from being struck by timber – the logging hazard most frequently linked to injuries and fatalities. However, tethered logging systems are relatively new. Regulators and manufacturers are still determining the best practices for keeping operators safe and ensuring the equipment is properly designed for work on steep terrain.

Under Oregon OSHA’s current logging rules, crawler tractors, tracked feller bunchers, tracked excavators, and loaders are not permitted to operate on slopes greater 40 percent unless the manufacturer allows the practice. A similar requirement applies to other forestry equipment designed to operate on steep slopes – the equipment must not operate on slopes greater than 50 percent unless the manufacturer allows the practice. Rubber-tire skidders are limited to slopes of 30 percent – unless the manufacturer allows the practice on steeper slopes. In all cases, the allowance only pertains to the stability of the machine – not the engine or hydraulic system function.

Oregon OSHA’s Forest Activities Advisory Committee recently revised the agency’s guidelines for using tethered logging systems. Under the committee’s revised guidelines, Oregon employers who are considering using a tethered logging system with harvesting equipment must ensure that the tethered equipment has been certified by the manufacturers to be operated on slopes greater than 40 percent – or greater than 50 percent if the machine was designed for steep slopes.

If the equipment is not certified, employers must apply for and be granted a research variance before using the equipment for tethered logging on slopes over 40 or 50 percent.

Oregon OSHA anticipates beginning rulemaking for tethered logging in 2018.

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