Oregon OSHA's

Health and Safety Resource

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February 2017

Online course offers safety training to young workers

Young workers are injured more often than older workers. They are more likely to try something they don't know how to do. And they may not ask questions to avoid looking inexperienced.

Yet, knowledge is power. So is training. That's why the nonprofit Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition, of which Oregon OSHA is a member, has produced new online training program for young workers.

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Accessible by smartphone and tablet, the training covers everything from finding and controlling hazards and young worker rights and responsibilities to how to speak up for safety and how to prepare for emergencies at work.

The program, which includes a student workbook, can be completed in about 45 minutes. Designed to be flexible, the program does not have to be finished all at once.

To access the training program, go to the grant program page.

For more information about the Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition, visit youngemployeesafety.org

Expcet more changes to fall protection rules for construction

Employers who do construction work in Oregon have already seen a major rule change this year: On Jan. 1, Oregon OSHA's minimum height at which workers must be protected from falls lowered to six feet from 10.

Yet, there is another change on the way.

Beginning Oct. 1, slide guards will no longer be allowed as a method of protecting workers from falling off sloped roofs.

The new requirement means construction contractors using slide guards as a primary means of fall protection will need to use a different protection method. Equipment is available, including personal fall arrest and fall restraint systems.

Falls to a lower level are the leading type of fall in Oregon's construction industry. From 2013 to 2015, a total of 774 construction workers were injured by falling to a lower level.

Oregon OSHA's technical staff can answer questions to help employers understand how to apply rules to their workplace:

Employers may also contact Oregon OSHA's no-cost consultation services for help with safety and health programs:

For more information about the fall-protection rule changes:

Online course helps employers protect workers from bloodborne pathogens

Oregon OSHA has created an online course to help employers protect workers from bloodborne pathogens in health care, emergency response, housekeeping, and other industries.

Featuring videos, interactive scenarios, and a quiz, the course is designed to boost the ability of employers and managers to meet the requirements of Oregon OSHA's bloodborne pathogens standard. Topics covered include assessing the potential for exposure in your workplace, understanding the critical elements of an exposure-control plan, preventing and lessening exposures, and administering your exposure control plan.

"Employers can use this flexible online course to help build an effective exposure-control plan, refresh their knowledge of the topic, or check whether their existing plans meet current rules," said Roy Kroker, consultation and public education manager for Oregon OSHA.

The stakes are high. Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. They include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus. Needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries occur to 600,000 health care personnel each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The online course includes contact information and other helpful links. Participants have the option of receiving a certificate of completion. This online course is available on our website.

Interagency agreement

Oregon OSHA and the Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program have signed a letter of agreement that calls on the agencies to share information to boost the quality and quantity of fatality investigations and investigative reports by FACE.

The agreement was signed on Jan. 19 by Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA, Ryan Olson, project director for Oregon FACE, and Curtis Cude, environmental public health surveillance program manager for the Oregon Health Authority.

Oregon FACE is a project of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health & Science University. It is supported by a cooperative agreement with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health through the Occupational Public Health Program of the Public Health Division of the Oregon Health Authority.

The FACE program is designed to increase the understanding of factors that contribute to workplace deaths and to identify effective prevention strategies.

Under the agreement, Oregon OSHA and FACE will cooperate in many ways, including:

  • OSHA fatality investigators will provide all employers, at the opening or closing of an investigation, an informational pamphlet on the FACE research and investigation program
  • FACE researchers will participate as silent observers for selected OSHA fatality investigations
  • OSHA fatality investigators may nominate compelling, recently closed OSHA investigation cases for follow-up and further investigation by FACE
  • FACE may conduct investigation activities independent of OSHA processes

In addition to sharing information, OSHA and FACE will work together to produce and distribute comprehensive outreach and educational materials.

Get ready for Safety Break for Oregon 2017

May 10 is a day to come together and reflect on and talk about why workplace safety and health matter in our lives. It's a day to put safety into action and to renew our commitment to preventing on-the-job injury, illness, and death.

Employers across Oregon are invited to participate in Safety Break for Oregon on Wednesday, May 10, an event aimed at raising awareness and promoting the value of safety and health in shielding workers from harm. Now in its 14th year, Safety Break encourages employers to bolster workplace safety and health with training, award recognition gatherings, or other creative activities.

Safety Break for Oregon logo

Oregon OSHA coordinates Safety Break, which is voluntary for employers. Businesses and other employers can decide what activities are most beneficial to their workforce.

Safety Break encourages employees and managers to work together to identify safety and health concerns. The result of this cooperation can lead to fewer injuries and reduced workers' compensation costs for employers.

Companies that participate will be entered to win one of three $100 checks, to be used for a luncheon of their choice, when they sign up online by Friday, May 5: The prizes will be given to participating companies as part of a random drawing. The Oregon SHARP Alliance is sponsoring the contest.

For more information, ideas on how to host an event, or to download graphics, visit the Safety Break for Oregon website.

Oregon OSHA's conference coordinator honored for advancing workplace safety, health education

Sharell Lien holding her Safety Advocate Award

Sharell Lien, conference coordinator for Oregon OSHA, received a Safety Advocate Award, which recognizes her crucial contributions in advancing workplace safety and health education.

Members of the planning team for the Western Pulp, Paper & Forest Products Safety & Health Conference presented the award to Lien at the awards dinner during the Nov. 29-Dec. 2 conference.

The award came as a surprise to Lien, who is not one to seek the spotlight. "The group had to be crafty to orchestrate the award being a surprise since I knew the awards evening script and presentation," she said. "My manager, Sue Kailey, drove to Portland in rushhour traffic to attend the presentation, which I didn't know until I stepped off the stage. I work with so many thoughtful and supportive people."

Lien has worked with conferences co-sponsored by Oregon OSHA since 1995. She was promoted to conference coordinator in 2003.

The statement that accompanied the award said, in part, that Lien's "knowledge, patience, perseverance, leadership, and overall dedication are second to none. She demonstrates a caring attitude towards everyone and has earned the respect and credibility she so deserves."

The statement also said that Lien's "efforts and commitment to the safety and health field inspires all conference attendees to be partners in safety, steering towards the future."

Lien said her passion for her job is driven by "seeing the energy of the planning committee members and conference attendees when they gather and share successes and challenges in workplace safety and health."

That energy builds as they learn new skills and techniques to improve safety at their workplaces, Lien said. And they return to work ready to overcome hurdles and to put what they learned into practice.

"The positive results of our conferences fuel me to the next event," she said, "and working with the great team of Jill McConnell (conference specialist) and Diane Kronemann (conference assistant)."


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