Oregon OSHA's

Health and Safety Resource

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April 2017

Safety leaders honored at Oregon GOSH Conference

Nine leaders in safety and health were honored with awards at the 2017 Oregon Governor's Occupational Safety and Health (GOSH) Conference, during a March 8 ceremony at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. A panel of industry professionals judges the awards, which honor extraordinary contributions to the field of workplace safety and health. The categories include outstanding employers, individuals, associations, and teams.

The recipients this year are as follows:

Association Award
•   Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc.

Safety and Health Advocate (Individual) Award
•   Scott Simmons

Safety and Health Advocate (Team) Awards
•   Oregon Health Workforce Center
•   Samaritan Health Services Employee Health and Safety Team

Safety and Health Professional Awards
•   Kiley Ross, Qorvo US Inc.
•   Lisa Simmons, Omega Morgan

Safety Committee Awards
•   Diamond Fruit Growers, Inc.
•   Fortis Construction, Inc.

Workplace Safety Program Award
•   Deschutes Brewery

Oregon OSHA partners with the Columbia-Willamette Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers to sponsor the conference.

Oregon announces 2016 workplace deaths

Sixty-one people died on the job in Oregon during 2016, according to a preliminary report issued recently by the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). That's up from 2015's figure of 41 deaths.

The numbers are based on a new data collection program, begun in 2015, that is designed to provide a more comprehensive review of workplace deaths. Previously released figures included deaths only covered by the Oregon workers' compensation system. The new Workplace Fatalities in Oregon (WFO) program tracks on-the-job deaths, regardless of workers' compensation status. As a result, the program now also includes workplace deaths involving self-employed people, city of Portland police and fire employees, federal employees, and incidents occurring in Oregon to workers with outof- state employers.

Whether the numbers go up or down, DCBS is always cautious about drawing conclusions based on single-year comparisons of fatality data, which can be affected by a number of factors and may not represent a trend. The WFO numbers are preliminary and will be finalized later this year.

Other highlights of the WFO report include:

  • Nearly half (29) of all 61 workplace deaths in 2016 were due to motor vehicle accidents, while 28 percent (17) of workers died due to contact with objects.
  • The agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry had the most workplace fatalities (24) in 2016 – nearly double 2015's figure of 13.

"While Oregon workplaces are safer today than in previous decades, there are still far too many preventable on-the-job deaths each year," said Michael Wood, administrator for the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA). "A dramatic increase such as we saw last year helps to drive that lesson home. And it certainly serves as a reminder that we must do more in our struggle against death in the workplace."

In addition to its workplace health and safety enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers educational workshops, consultation services, and training videos to help Oregon employers create or improve their safety and health programs.

State organizations team up on health and safety

Representatives from three Oregon worker safety organizations recently signed an agreement to form an alliance that will improve the health, safety and well-being of Oregon workers. The Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU, Oregon OSHA, and SAIF committed in February to partnering on Total Worker Health, advocating for a broader approach to worker well-being beyond the workplace.

The alliance, the first of its kind nationwide, will work together to provide training, conduct research, and educate Oregon workers on their rights, in an effort to improve overall worker safety and health, and prevent workplace injuries. The organizations will expand the knowledge and application of Total Worker Health principles and practices that have been established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Total Worker Health acknowledges that people's jobs can impact their overall health, and that their lives outside of their jobs can impact their safety at work. For instance, issues like poor sleep at home can significantly increase a worker's risk of getting injured.

The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, part of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU, is a NIOSH Center of Excellence in Total Worker Health. SAIF is a Total Worker Health Affiliate.

For more information, visit Oregon OSHA, SAIF.com/TWH, and OHSU's Oregon Healthy Workforce Center.

Oregon employers invited to take a “Safety Break”

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.

Finalists named in high school safety video contest

High school students across the state created videos that are full of drama, music, humor, and engaging characters to bolster awareness about workplace safety – all with the central message, “Speak up. Work safe.” The Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]) sponsors the annual video contest to engage teen workers, who are twice as likely to be injured on the job, according to federal studies.

The top seven finalists are now posted on YouTube for viewing:

The finalists are:

  • “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
Oregon young employee safety coalition logo

The top three entries will take home cash prizes ranging from $300 to $500 and will earn a matching amount for their school. Contest winners will be announced during an awards ceremony to be held later this spring.

Walking-working surfaces

Oregon OSHA proposes changes to Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment rules in general industry

Oregon OSHA is proposing changes to its Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment rules for general industry.

The proposed changes are the result of federal OSHA's recent final rule Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems), published in the Federal Register on Nov. 18, 2016. The federal final rule revised the previous walking-working surfaces rules in 1910 subpart D and created new rules for fall protection systems in subpart I.

Oregon OSHA is proposing to adopt OSHA's final rules with some exceptions. Oregon OSHA's proposed rules include significant revisions to Division 2, Subdivision D – Walking-Working Surfaces, and to the fall protection requirements Division 2, Subdivision I – Personal Protective Equipment. Other affected Division 2 subdivisions include Subdivision A – General requirements; Subdivision F – Powered platforms; Subdivision L – Fire protection; Subdivision N – Material handling & storage; Subdivision R – Special industries; and Subdivision RR – Electrical power generation, transmission, and distribution.

Public hearings on Oregon OSHA's proposed changes to its Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment rules for general industry are scheduled for the following dates and cities in April:

Monday, April 3, 10 a.m., Oregon OSHA, 16760 SW Upper Boones Ferry Road, Suite 200, 97224
Wednesday, April 12, 10 a.m., Eugene City Library, Bascom Room, 100 W 10th Ave., 97401
Thursday, April 13, 10 a.m., City of Medford, Lausmann Annex, Room 151, 200 S Ivy, 97501

The comment period for the proposed rules ends Thursday, April 20, 2017. To comment:

By letter:
Department of Consumer and Business Services/Oregon OSHA, 350 Winter St. NE, Salem OR 97301-3882

Learn more about the proposed rules and read the proposed changes.

Oregon OSHA must complete this rule adoption process by May 18, 2017. Should these proposed rules be adopted, they tentatively will become effective Nov. 1, 2017.

Changing Oregon OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits

As most folks who follow workplace safety and health issues know, many of the permissible exposure limits enforced by OSHA and Oregon OSHA are out of date. Those PEL levels set decades ago – and still enforced today – may not be protecting workers.

Oregon OSHA is working to change a limited number of PELs at the state level – those that are most dated or that would have the greatest impact on workers' health. The change is happening in three phases.

Phase one ended late last year with the formation and subsequent meetings of the Permissible Exposure Limits Advisory Committee, which includes stakeholders throughout Oregon and Oregon OSHA. Three meetings were held in November and December with the goal of producing a list of substances with existing PELs that Oregon OSHA would narrow in phase two. The committee recommended 17 substances.

During phase two, which ended in March, Oregon OSHA narrowed the list to 10 substances that have existing PELs:

  • Benzene
  • Cobalt
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Noise
  • Oil mist (mineral)
  • Styrene
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Wood dust (nonallergenic)

Oregon OSHA is now in phase three. The goal is to select between four and six of the 10 substances and then begin rulemaking to change their existing PELs. The first two substances to be selected are lead and manganese. After these projects, additional PELs will be selected from the phase two list.


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