Health and Safety Resource

​October-November 2017


New statewide safety enforcement manager

Bryon Snapp

Oregon OSHA has named Bryon Snapp as its new statewide safety enforcement manager.

Snapp, who has worked on workplace safety and health issues in both the public and private sectors, succeeds Gary Beck who retired at the end of June.

Snapp joined Oregon OSHA as a technical specialist in January 2014. Previously, he worked in the private sector as a field operations leader managing a team of environmental, health, and safety consultants. 

As a technical specialist for Oregon OSHA, Snapp’s areas of expertise included control of hazardous energy, machine guarding, cranes, walking-working surfaces, ladders, and scaffolds. He also served as acting technical services manager during a management transition.

When it comes to his new leadership role, Snapp said, he will focus on “providing direction to those that I am responsible for in a way that they can clearly and confidently perform their duties.” 

As a husband and father of two children, Snapp said, he understands to his core the importance of keeping workers safe and, by extension, protecting their families from the devastation of on-the-job injuries or deaths.

“I never want a son, daughter, sibling, spouse, or parent to have to endure such preventable situations, when their loved ones are simply working to provide for their families,” Snapp said.

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Scholarship awards boost student achievement

They’ve faced the loss of loved ones and the challenges that brings. They’ve never given up on themselves or their educational goals. They will keep moving toward those goals with help from the State of Oregon.

Three Oregon high school graduates are recipients of the 2017 Workers’ Memorial Scholarship awards, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) has announced. The awards program helps family members of Oregon workers who have been fatally injured or permanently disabled to finance higher education.

The recipients are:

Dalton Lehnherr, Powers

Dalton Lehnherr

Lehnherr graduated in 2017 from Powers High School. He plans to study web design and visual communications at Linn-Benton Community College.

His father was seriously injured in a logging truck accident. Lehnherr is receiving a $1,000 award. “It means a lot to me,” he said of the award. He'll always follow his dad's advice, he said, which is to keep trying, keep your head up, and to be as positive as you can.

Adelaine Prinz, Tigard

Adelaine Prinz

A 2015 graduat​e of St. Mary's Academy in Portland, Prinz is studying graphic design at Boise State University. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, she hopes to work at a marketing company and for a nonprofit, while studying architecture.

Prinz’s father died in an airplane crash while doing his job as a corporate controller. She is receiving a $1,500 award. Prinz’s interest in working for a nonprofit was inspired by her volunteer work for Holt International, a Christian adoption agency based in Eugene.

Prinz said the scholarship has made room in her finances to explore other areas of her life, including giving back to others through her work for Holt. “As I navigate the last few years of college, my hopes are to engage in activities that help me in my career path and my well-being,” she said.

Ston Yackamouih, Riddle

Ston Yackamouih

Yackamouih is a 2017 graduate of Riddle High School. He plans to study computer engineering at Oregon Institute of Technology.

His father died in a logging accident. Yackamouih is receiving a $1,500 award. Yackamouih grew up fascinated by computers. He said he remembers his dad playing video games with him before heading to work. The father and son also took trips to a local video game store to pick out new games. His dad, Yackamouih said, would be “very proud of me” to be headed to college.

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

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Workers’ compensation costs to drop for fifth-straight year

Oregon employers will see a key portion of their workers’ compensation costs drop by an average of 14 percent in 2018, the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) has announced. This marks the fifth year in a row that businesses will experience an average decrease in the “pure premium.” Altogether, the rate has declined by an average of 33 percent since 2013.

Next year’s average decrease in pure premium – the portion of the premium employers pay insurers to cover claims costs for job-related injuries and deaths – is part of a package of rates designed to maintain workplace safety and health programs while preserving historically low costs.

The other rate changes include:

  • An increase in the premium assessment, which funds state costs of running workers’ compensation and workplace safety and health programs, from 6.8 percent to 7.4 percent. The increase is needed to support worker protection and related programs to keep pace with an expanding economy.
  • No change in the payroll assessment, which supports the Workers’ Benefit Fund. The fund pays for highly successful return-to-work and other special injured-worker programs. The assessment will remain unchanged at 2.8 cents per hour worked.

The combination of the changes in pure premium and assessment rates is a net reduction in costs for the average employer. The average employer would pay 90 cents per $100 of payroll for claims costs and assessments, down from $1.03 in 2017.

Graphic representation of costs, assessment, and contribution paid 1990, 2006-2018

The decrease in pure premium is based on a recommendation from the Florida-based National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. (NCCI), which analyzes industry trends and prepares rate recommendations for the majority of states. Pure premium reflects only a portion of workers’ compensation costs, but is the key factor behind annual cost changes. The decrease is an average, so an individual employer may see a larger or smaller decrease, no change, or even an increase depending on the employer’s own industry, claims experience, and payroll. Also, pure premium does not take into account the varying expenses and profit of insurance companies.

For more information about Oregon workers’ compensation costs, visit

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Taylor NW receives AGC PRIDE Award​

Bend construction firm Taylor NW received the Associated General Contractors PRIDE award at a lunch ceremony on Sept. 15 at the company’s home office. The award – Program Recognition Indicating Dedication & Excellence – recognizes AGC contractor members with outstanding workplace safety and health programs.

Oregon OSHA also recognizes construction firms that receive the PRIDE award; enforcement visits typically result in focused safety inspections​ – limited to fall protection, electrical, struck-by, and caught-in hazards – rather than comprehensive inspections.

Established in 2006 by the AGC Oregon-Columbia Chapter Safety and Health Council, PRIDE’s goals include:

  • Publicly recognizing employers that maintain effective safety and health management programs.
  • Increasing the number of employers with effective safety and health management programs.
  • Assisting participating employers in establishing self-sufficient safety and health management programs.
  • Increasing safe work environments for employees.
  • Increasing employee safety awareness.
  • Decreasing the number of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among participating employers.
  • Lowering incidence rates.
  • Lowering experience modification rates.

Todd Taylor and Lindsey Wenick accepted the award from Chris Miller
Taylor NW president and CEO Todd Taylor and safety director Lindsey Wenick accepted the award from AGC safety management consultant Chris Miller.

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Using compressed air for cleaning

Using compressed air for cleaning isn’t difficult. However, many employers and their employees don’t know how to do so safely. That’s because Compressed air used for cleaning [1910.242(b)] remains one of Oregon OSHA’s most frequently violated general industry rules in manufacturing workplaces.

That sobering fact calls for a refresher on the rule. Its three key points are:

  • The compressed air must be reduced to less than 30 psi at the discharge end of the nozzle.
  • “Effective chip guarding” must prevent chips or other debris from being blown back on the worker.
  • Personal protective equipment appropriate for the cleaning task is required.

The rule is there for a reason: Cleaning carelessly with compressed air can cause serious injuries, including eye damage, hearing loss, air embolisms, and severe infections.

Compressed air must be reduced to less than 30 psi at the discharge end of the nozzle.

Let’s assume you’re blowing filings off a bench grinder with an air gun, and the pressure at the nozzle is 90 psi. Some employers think that the only way to reduce the pressure to less than 30 psi is to lower the compressed air line pressure below 30 psi before it reaches the gun. That’s an acceptable practice, but it’s not effective for most cleaning tasks.

Today, most safety air gun nozzles have side ports that allow you to clean at higher pressures, such as 90 psi, but do not exceed 30 psi if the nozzle’s discharge end is blocked (also called “dead ended”). The side ports prevent the full velocity and force of the compressed air from injuring you or another worker.

If the nozzle tip is blocked, main air flow exits through side ports
If the nozzle tip becomes blocked, all of the main air flow exits through the side ports and the nozzle pressure does not exceed 30 psi. (Graphic by Guardair Corporation)

Never clean yourself or your clothes (while you’re wearing them) with compressed air and never point an air nozzle at any part of your body or at anyone else – even when you’re sure the pressure does not exceed 30 psi.

“Effective chip guarding” must prevent chips or other debris from being blown back on the worker.

Nozzle designed with a built-in protective air cone
Nozzle designed with a built-in protective air cone. (Graphic by Guardair Corporation)

The pressure necessary to remove the particles from machines and other surfaces is strong enough to blow them into your eyes, ears, or abrasions in your skin. Effective chip guarding prevents this from happening.

The chip guard – such as a screen or other barrier – can be part of the air nozzle or a separate item. Some air guns are designed with nozzles that divert a small portion of air to form a protective air cone around the nozzle, reducing or eliminating the chance that particles could fly back toward you.

Personal protective equipment appropriate for the cleaning task is required.

Safety goggles, gloves, and hearing protection are appropriate for any compressed-air cleaning task. Safety goggles prevent any stray particles from flying back into the user’s eyes. A good pair of gloves makes any cleaning task easier, and hearing protection is important because cleaning with compressed air can exceed Oregon OSHA’s noise limits. Low-noise safety air guns can also be effective in lowering noise levels.

Depending on the task, other PPE may also be necessary. It’s a good idea to do a PPE hazard assessment to determine what other PPE you might need.

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Phil Drew receives 2017 COSHA Juniper Award

The Central Oregon Safety and Health Associatio​n presented Phil Drew with the organization’s 2017 Juniper Award at the Central Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Conference on Sept. 20.

The Juniper Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to workplace safety and health through their company and the community.

Although Drew lives in Seaside and is now retired, he has had a lasting impact on workplace safety and health in central Oregon. He also played an important role in starting the Central Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Conference and still regularly commutes to Bend to take part in conference planning.

The Central Oregon Safety and Health Association is a nonprofit corporation established in 1998 in response to a need for networking opportunities and ongoing education for safety and health professionals in central Oregon.

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