Oregon OSHA's

Health and Safety Resource

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June-July 2017

Workers Memorial Day honors the fallen

Government, labor, and religious leaders gathered on April 28 to remember Oregon workers who died on the job in 2016 and to renew the call to maintain safe and healthy workplaces.

Each of the lives lost represents "a story ended before its time," Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA, said during the Workers Memorial Day ceremony in Salem. The ceremony included the reading of the names of 66 workers who died on the job in 2016.

Noting the words of Mother Jones – "Mourn the dead; fight like hell for the living" – Wood urged those who'd gathered for the ceremony to "go forward in that spirit."

Michael Wood speaking at Worker Memorial
Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA, said "we must do better" in our struggle against death in the workplace.

Coordinated by the Oregon AFL-CIO, the event took place at the Fallen Workers Memorial outside the Labor and Industries Building.

By mourning the dead, we commit ourselves to preventing "needless deaths, needless sorrow," said Tom Chamberlain, president of Oregon AFL-CIO.

Elana Pirtle-Guiney, workforce and labor policy advisor to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, read the Workers Memorial Day proclamation. State Rep. Barbara Smith Warner read aloud the names of workers who died on the job in 2016. The Rev. Richard Davis of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem led an invocation and moment of silence. Members of the Salem Firefighters Pipes and Drums played "Amazing Grace."

Amazing Grace
Members of the Salem Firefighters Pipes and Drums played "Amazing Grace" as part of the Workers Memorial Day.

The annual Workers Memorial Day serves as a nationwide day of remembrance.

The observance is traditionally held on April 28 because Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act on that date in 1970.

Two safety leaders receive awards at the Northwest Safety and Health Summit

Two leaders in helping employers create and maintain comprehensive workplace safety programs were honored for their work during the Northwest Safety and Health Summit, held May 16-18 in Spokane.

Julie Stout, environment, health and safety manager for Georgia-Pacific (a VPP Star site) in Philomath, received the 2017 Region X Special Government Employee of the Year Award. Mark E. Hurliman, VPP/SHARP program coordinator for Oregon OSHA, received the 2017 Region X Chairperson Award.

Stout's award recognizes her work as a member of the Special Government Employee program. The program allows private-sector employees to work with federal OSHA during site evaluations conducted under the Voluntary Protection Program. In turn, such employees volunteer to serve on OSHA VPP teams.

The idea is to enable industry and government to team up to improve the safety and health of workplaces. Stout's accomplishments include assisting VPP onsite evaluations at Duro-Last Roofing and Sherwin-Williams Purdy; presenting information at Georgia-Pacific sawmills about OSHA's expectations for safety committees; and participating in Oregon SHARP Alliance activities.

Hurliman's award was given at the discretion of the chairperson of the nonprofit Region X Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association (VPPPA). The award recognizes someone the chairperson believes has exceeded expectations in serving Region X's goals and vision.

For many years, Hurliman has worked to serve all members of Region X in any way he can, according to Rocky Simmons, chairperson of the Region X VPPPA. Hurliman has taken special care in maintaining records of the organization's history, including on its website.

"It is important to know where we started, where we have been, and where we are going," Simmons said. "With Mark's help, it's easy to follow along."

Parkrose High School students win safety video contest

Students at Parkrose High School in Portland won $500 for their first-place video titled "Rewind" in an annual safety video contest that promotes young worker safety and the importance of speaking up.

The video takes a page from the Mannequin Challenge, a viral Internet trend, with young workers frozen in various scenes of workplace accidents. It imagines reversing time to eliminate hazards by wearing protective gloves, using a ladder safely, and handling electrical equipment properly.

Parkrose High School also won a matching amount of prize money. The win marks the second year in a row that Parkrose has won first place. In last year's contest, the school won both first- and second-place prizes.

Justin Arandia, a senior at Parkrose who oversaw the video's direction, recording, and editing, said he and his classmates learned a lot from the process.

"It's so easy to make mistakes when trying to complete a job that involves dangerous equipment," he said. "The public needs to be educated on how to properly use these tools to prevent any injuries."

The members of the Parkrose High School team are:

Justin Arandia
Sophia Swim
Anna Kotris
Eli Brave Hawk
Elizabeth Simkovic
Juney Prasad
Hunter Osborn
Eddie Penalver
Rohan Ravi

Mason Swinehart
Edwin Melo-Molina
Hector Amezola
Jacob Mansfield
Julia Bardocz
Shastina Hardman
Evelyn Ortiz-Vargas
Denis Cehic
Emiliano Flores
Kim Townsend

Parkrose students

Second-place ($400) and third-place ($300) prizes were also awarded.

Second place "Your Future's On Its Way"

Southridge High School, Beaverton
Isaac O'Farrell
Davis Keeter
Nathan Parrott
Nicholas Rex
Brendan Long

Southridge students

Third place - "Speak Up"

West Albany High School, Albany
John Nordal
Kyle Smith

West Albany High School students

Oregon young employee safety coalition logo

The creators of the top videos were presented their awards in April during a special screening at Northern Lights Theatre and Pub in Salem. Sponsored by the Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]), the annual video contest focuses on teen workers, who are twice as likely to be injured on the job, according to federal studies.

All of the winning videos, as well as the other finalists, are on YouTube.

Companies take a Safety Break for Oregon

More than 60 companies, nonprofits, and local governments participated in Safety Break for Oregon on May 10. Their activities included toolbox safety discussions, games and quizzes designed to pinpoint hazards, training on fire extinguishers, and stretch exercises.

The 14th year of the event encouraged employers and workers to collaborate to bolster workplace safety and health with training, award recognition gatherings, or other creative activities.

As part of the event, the Comcast Corvallis Safety Committee, Bend Park and Recreation, and City of Portland Environmental Services each won a $100 prize for a luncheon of their choice. The prizes were awarded to event participants in a random drawing. The Oregon SHARP Alliance sponsored the contest.

A man outside using a fire extinguisher
During Safety Break for Oregon, the City of Harrisburg conducted fire extinguisher training.
Two men performing CPR training
Gerber Gear rolled out several activities for Safety Break, including CPR training. The company ended the day with stretch exercises on the production floor.
workers around a table signing a poster
Pacific Power employees sign a poster carrying a message about looking out for one another's safety. It was part of the company's Safety Break activities.
Poster saying I got your back. signed by Pacific Power employees
Pacific Power's celebration of Safety Break included a central message – "I got your back" – which emphasized the importance of teamwork.

Graphic artist for Oregon OSHA to retire in July

Patricia Young

If you want to pull readers into a story, words are never enough.

Just ask Tricia Young, graphic artist for Oregon OSHA.

With her creative mind and a stylish sense of design, she has used images and color and space to design the pages of the Health and Safety Resource newsletter to life.

After 17 years of pulling readers into a variety of stories about the realities of on-the-job hazards, Young will retire at the end of June.

Working for Oregon OSHA and the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services "has been a wonderful experience," said Young, who began her career with the state of Oregon at the Secretary of State's archives division before moving to Oregon OSHA in June 2000.

"The people have all been awesome to work with," Young said. "The professional, humanistic approach everyone takes while handling the sobering reality of workplace dangers and hazards has given me a hope for humanity that I will always cherish."

Young helped shepherd Resource from a modest print publication to an online-only, magazine-style journal. One of her biggest roles was illustrating Safety Notes, a regular feature that distills accident reports into teachable moments.

"Over the years, I've probably illustrated a hundred situations that have given workers grief," Young said. "My only hope is that the illustrations and reports will hit the readers hard enough to take the precautions they need to take to avoid repeating the same incident."

After she retires, Young plans to garden, travel, and spend time with her grandchildren. And she looks forward to growing as an artist. "I'm hoping to be able to work on my art full-time, painting on location or in my studio as often as I choose," she said. "I want to take some art workshops, and possibly teach painting classes through the local art associations I belong to."

watercolor painting of sloping hillside with crops and trees in the background
Fertile Slopes, watercolor by Patricia Young

Summer's coming: Remember, beat the heat

Summer officially begins on Tuesday, June 20, at 9:24 p.m. (Pacific daylight time), which means the weather could be getting warmer. The official three-month outlook from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center says the chances of abovenormal temperatures are "slightly enhanced" for much of the Pacific Northwest, but "moderated by recent positive snow and soil moisture anomalies." On the other hand, meteorologists at the Oregon Department of Agriculture are predicting belowaverage temperatures and an unlikely threat of major heat-waves or prolonged periods of hot weather.

Regardless of how this summer's weather plays out, it's a good idea to be prepared for hot weather. Typically, July and August are the months when outdoor workers are most at risk for heat illness. But heat illness can be a serious threat any time workers are not prepared for hot weather, and the risk increases when the weather is hot and humid. Labor intensive activities such as landscaping, construction, and agriculture can easily raise the body temperature of workers who are unprepared for hot weather.

Be prepared for hot weather. Know the signs and symptoms of heat illness.

There are two types of heat illness: heat exhaustion and heat stroke

The symptoms of heat exhaustion are:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Sweaty skin
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fast heatbeat

If not treated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal.

The symptoms of heat stroke are:

  • Red, dry skin
  • High temperature
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Fainting

To prevent heat illness:

  • Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you aren't thirsty.
  • Rest in the shade - at least five minutes - when you need to cool down.
  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
  • Take it easy on your first days of work in the heat.
  • Watch for symptoms in your co-workers.

Certain medications, wearing personal protective equipment while on the job, and a past case of heat stress create a higher risk for heat illness.

For more information about heat illness, visit Oregon OSHA's heat stress topic page.

Keeping family farms safe: The Oregon Farm Bureau's Ag Health & Safety Committee

With Oregon roots dating back to 1919 and a current membership of 66,000 family farmers and ranchers, the Oregon Farm Bureau is Oregon's largest general agriculture organization.

As the voice of Oregon agriculture, the OFB's mission is to enhance the livelihood of the organization's members and ensure the success of Oregon's family farms and ranches. Unfortunately, farming is also a dangerous vocation; that's why the Bureau's Ag Health & Safety Committee has a critical role to play in the organization's outreach effort.

The committee works to share important farm and ranch safety information with Oregon's agricultural community. "Ultimately, our goal is to save lives," says committee member and Oregon OSHA health consultant, Cory Stengel.

"The types of farm-related injuries and illnesses have not significantly changed over the long history of Oregon agriculture; it's the frequency that changes," says Stengel. "The committee's goal is to bring the frequency as close as possible to zero."

For farmers and ranchers, the committee produced Sowing the Seeds for Safe Workplace, a 56-page guide designed to make farming as safe a possible. And the committee's popular Rural Road Safety Brochure reminds drivers to be alert, courteous, and patient during summer harvest season when they encounter slow-moving farm equipment on public highways.

The committee also recognizes the need to inform and educate young workers with projects such as Safety in Agriculture for Youth (SAY), funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

What's New? New and revised Oregon OSHA publications

Revised! Preventing exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories
Describes the requirements in Oregon OSHA's rule on exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories.
Revised! Aspectos básicos del lugar de trabajo: Información no complicada para empleadores y empleados (Spanish version of "Workplace 101: Uncomplicated information for employers and employees from Oregon OSHA")
Outlines employee rights and responsibilities to ensure a safe, healthful place to work. Also describes employer responsibilities and contact information for Oregon OSHA services.
Revised! Escaleras Portátiles: Como usarlas sin sufrir caídas (Spanish version of "Portable ladders: How to use them so they won't let you down")
Describes safe practices for setting up and using portable ladders.
New! Radiofrequency radiation (fact sheet)
Explains how to keep workers from being exposed to high levels of radiofrequency radiation when working near RF-generating antennas.
New! Using sulfur dioxide to sanitize wine barrels and corks (fact sheet)
Sulfur dioxide is legally classified as a pesticide under federal and Oregon laws when it is used to sanitize wine barrels and wine corks. This fact sheet explains how to properly sanitize wine barrels and wine corks.


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For general information, technical answers, or information about Oregon OSHA services, please call 503-378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, 800-922-2689.