Posted in 'Health and Safety'

USWTMC Specialized Emergency Response Trainers (SERTs) initiated deployment to North Carolina in response to Hurricane Florence. The SERTs are on the ground to provide guidance and training to union members, workers, communities and volunteers, who are recovering from the destruction. Those who are recovering, cleaning up and rebuilding face a myriad of hazards associated with hurricanes and flooding such as mold, infectious disease transmission and more.

Week One: Sept. 23-29, 2018

Week Two: Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, 2018

United Steelworkers (USW) District 9 SERTs Calvin Bozeman of Local Union 675 and Billy Edington of Local 288 continued their deployment this week in North Carolina. Heading into Sunday, they continued to reach out to contacts previously shared with them and discussed possible training opportunities.

The SERTs traveled to Wilmington on Monday, where they drove through communities affected by the hurricane.

“We were able to do one-on-one training with some of the people who were out in their yards working on the consequences of the hurricane,” Edington said.

They handed out 42 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) booklets with health and safety information on protecting oneself while facing hazards associated with floods, hurricanes and mold exposure, within the communities.

Bozeman and Edington continued on to Riegelwood and met with Alexis Clemmons of USW Local Union 9-738, representing members at International Paper (IP). Clemmons is also a USWTMC worker-trainer. They provided Clemmons with 140 NIEHS booklets to handout at her monthly local union meeting that evening.

Their last stop of the day was at Natmore Baptist Church in Kelly, where they distributed 160 more NIEHS booklets.

The SERTs continued making contacts on Tuesday with nearby USW Local Unions 1025 and 438, Ville910age representatives and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Union 1208. They delivered 560 NIEHS booklets UFCW Local 1208, representing workers at Smithfield Food Processing in Tar Heel.

At a Lowe’s in Whiteville, they provided one-on-one training sessions for 18 individuals using the NIEHS booklets.

On Wednesday, Bozeman and Edington traveled back to Ville910age, a nonprofit and community organization in Fayetteville, to pick up more NIEHS booklets from their contact, Alexis Andre. There they met with Isaac Gobern of the North Carolina AFL-CIO and Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 24 members from Columbus, Ohio, who brought a truck full of supplies for those affected by the disaster. Together the SERTs and USW Local 9-959 members helped them unload their truck.

The SERTs went on to the American Red Cross shelter in Leland, which was housing 146 displaced residents. They distributed 100 NIEHS booklets.

They later discussed upcoming training scheduled for Friday and Saturday with Gobern, and concluded their day providing one-on-one training to individuals at a nearby Lowe’s.

The SERTs provided a two-hour mold awareness course on Thursday for 22 participants, and another on Friday for seven more participants. Participants included pastors, community leaders, local residents and members of the International Association of Machinists, District 110.

Bozeman and Edington facilitated another two-hour mold awareness training on Saturday for seven more participants which include members of USW Local 959, North Carolina AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local Unions 3680 and 32035, and Teamsters Joint Council 13. They were also able to reach displaced residents in the lobby of their hotel that morning, distributing 12 NIEHS booklets. The SERTs deployment ended on Sunday, as they traveled back home.

Posted In: AFLCIO, CWA, Environment, Health and Safety, Labor Institute, Mazzocchi, MRNY, NDLON, USW
United Steelworkers (USW) Local Union 9-675 and management at 3M, a Triangle of Prevention (TOP) site located in Guin, Ala., completed hands-on investigations during a recent training session.
TOP Representative Milton Simmons collaborated with worker-trainers to review incident investigation training and adapted it to enhance participation in safety and health at their site. They refreshed training participants with familiar materials such as near-miss reporting and investigator forms, and then decided to engage in formal TOP investigations around the facility.
“I had several near-misses that needed a formal TOP investigation, so we divided the class into groups of four and five (equally with salary and union members) and sent them on the investigation journey,” Simmons said.
Simmons and the other trainers checked in on each of the groups, interjecting with guidance when needed. After performing their investigations, the groups reported back to share their findings which included logic trees. The trainers provided feedback on the logic trees and worked through any barriers that the groups faced during the process.
“This worked out so well that it will be our pattern from now on when we conduct a new investigator class, or even a refresher,” Simmons said.
Information submitted by Milton Simmons, TOP representative, USW Local Union 9-675.
Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, TOP, USW

United Steelworkers (USW) Local Union 2-1279 and management at Essity, a Triangle of Prevention (TOP) site located in Neenah, Wis., eliminated a hazard that resulted from an injury due to a design and engineering failure.

The TOP site was using a specific knife blade during a process in which the operators slab rolls of paper. The blade broke during the process, injuring an operator’s arm. The TOP investigation found that multiple blades were broken throughout the facility during this process. As a result of the investigation, the TOP representative worked with management to immediately remove all of these blades and knives from the facility and replace them with another by a different manufacturer.

The TOP representative and team are continuing to pursue the manufacturer of the defective blade, sharing with them the injury from the design flaw, in order to prevent others from facing the same risk of serious injury. The TOP representative from this site then shared this information with other sites within the paper sector and beyond, again, to prevent serious injury due to design failure.

Information submitted by Tim Hayward, TOP representative, USW Local 2-1279.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, TOP, USW

From the New England Journal of Medicine by Nishant Kishore, M.P.H., Domingo Marqués, Ph.D., Ayesha Mahmud, Ph.D., Mathew V. Kiang, M.P.H., Irmary Rodriguez, B.A., Arlan Fuller, J.D., M.A., Peggy Ebner, B.A., Cecilia Sorensen, M.D., Fabio Racy, M.D., Jay Lemery, M.D., Leslie Maas, M.H.S., Jennifer Leaning, M.D., S.M.H., Rafael A. Irizarry, Ph.D., Satchit Balsari, M.D., M.P.H., and Caroline O. Buckee, D.Phil:

Abstract


Background

Quantifying the effect of natural disasters on society is critical for recovery of public health services and infrastructure. The death toll can be difficult to assess in the aftermath of a major disaster. In September 2017, Hurricane Maria caused massive infrastructural damage to Puerto Rico, but its effect on mortality remains contentious. The official death count is 64.

Methods

Using a representative, stratified sample, we surveyed 3299 randomly chosen households across Puerto Rico to produce an independent estimate of all-cause mortality after the hurricane. Respondents were asked about displacement, infrastructure loss, and causes of death. We calculated excess deaths by comparing our estimated post-hurricane mortality rate with official rates for the same period in 2016.

Results

From the survey data, we estimated a mortality rate of 14.3 deaths (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.8 to 18.9) per 1000 persons from September 20 through December 31, 2017. This rate yielded a total of 4645 excess deaths during this period (95% CI, 793 to 8498), equivalent to a 62% increase in the mortality rate as compared with the same period in 2016. However, this number is likely to be an underestimate because of survivor bias. The mortality rate remained high through the end of December 2017, and one third of the deaths were attributed to delayed or interrupted health care. Hurricane-related migration was substantial.

Conclusions

This household-based survey suggests that the number of excess deaths related to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico is more than 70 times the official estimate. (Funded by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and others.)

Read the full journal article here.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Environment

From the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):

Name of product:
Fibre-Metal E2 and North Peak A79 hard hats

Hazard:
The hard hats can fail to protect users from impact, posing a risk of head injury.

Remedy:
Refund

Recall date:
April 24, 2018

Units:
About 82,500 (in addition, about 65,550 were sold in Canada)

View the recall alert here, which includes photos and more information.

Posted In: Health and Safety

Lynne Hancock, USW Communications

The Triangle of Prevention (TOP) program was born out of worker deaths and injuries.

During the 1980s and 1990s numerous catastrophic fires, explosions and toxic releases plagued the U.S. petrochemical industry, causing workers to suffer horrific deaths and injuries.

TOPOne of the landmark occupational health and safety incidents was the Oct. 23, 1989 explosion and fire at the Phillips 66 Company’s Houston Chemical Complex facility near the Houston Ship Channel in Pasadena, Texas, that killed 23 people and injured 314 others.

“Blame-the-Worker” company-driven health and safety programs were unable to reveal the root causes of these incidents and prevent them from reoccurring. So, in the mid-1990s the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW) enlisted a team of rank-and-file members who were health and safety activists to develop a worker- and union-driven program to replace ineffective behavior-based safety (BS) programs, said John Scardella, the program administrator for the Tony Mazzocchi Center (TMC) that administers TOP.

He explained the program’s history to those attending the Sept. 26-28 TOP conference at Local 10-1’s union hall.

Limited Focus

OCAW member Glenn Erwin was one of the activists who formed TOP and later headed the program for PACE and the USW until he retired in 2012.

He and other members of the team knew the BS programs focused on slips, trips, falls, and worker behavior as a cause of incidents. Managers usually blamed workers for incidents, and prevention focused on wearing personal protective equipment instead of hazard elimination.

The team also saw how companies usually ignored how work processes contributed to a dangerous work environment.

“Glenn and his team saw that companies only focused on process safety when fires and explosions happened,” Scardella said. “There was also a failure to share lessons learned.

“Plus, companies used a low OSHA recordable rate to show how safe a plant was, which did not capture true safety,” he added.

The team wanted to create a pro-active health and safety program.

“Glenn Erwin knew that to prevent incidents from reoccurring, workers had to be involved in health and safety and control it along with management,” Scardella said. “The program puts workers in roles as trainers, investigators and leaders.”

Worker InvestigatorsTOP

TOP is composed of three sides: Systems of Safety Training and Investigations, Comprehensive Tracking of Results, and Union Design & Leadership.

The program requires everyone in a plant, including managers and non-represented staffers, to be trained on health and safety. Workers are trained to be trainers, to investigate incidents, to measure and track incidents and near misses, and to take a leadership role.

Employers agree to a no-discipline policy for reporting or being involved in a near miss. Plus, workers investigate incidents in conjunction with management and government agencies.

Scardella said it is essential for any TOP investigation process to use the logic-tree diagram method to find the root causes of incidents. If a worker made a mistake on the job that resulted in an incident or near miss, the logic tree is used to find what contributed to the worker making an error.

Locals have used logic-tree diagrams to settle grievances when companies wanted to discipline workers involved in an incident, Scardella said.

“Anyone can learn to use this method, and it can’t be manipulated. The logic tree is fact-based no matter the outcome,” he said. “Identifying accidents is not enough. Finding and fix-ing hazards is not enough. You need to identify root causes.”

Erwin and his team also made capturing lessons learned and passing them on a key part of TOP.

“It is important that we recognize TOP’s history,” Scardella said. “We are proud of that history. We stand here today on the shoulders of those who put the program together.”

View the original news article here.

PHOTOS

Top: Jim Dannelley from USW Local Union 9-265 at the Shell Saraland, Ala., refinery makes a point during a TOP presentation. Photo by Mike Hancock, Local 9-562 retiree.

Bottom: TOP conference participants engaged in a small group activity to provide feedback on a new TOP training manual. They answered questions in the manual and discussed them. Photo by Mike Hancock, Local 9-562 retiree.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, TOP, USW

Rebecca Moss, The New Mexican


For more than a decade, a vast, mile-wide, below-ground plume of cancer-causing chemicals has encroached on the regional aquifer that rests below Los Alamos National Laboratory. The lab has said it is working to contain the contamination and prevent it from entering tribal land or further polluting a water supply relied on by residents from Los Alamos to Albuquerque.



But according to new data, the plume — resulting from decades of lab workers dumping contaminated water into a canyon — may be continuing to spread. … read more

Posted In: Environment, EPA, Health and Safety, USW

Annette Parde Maas, NIH > NLM > NNLM (National Network of Libraries of Medicine)

Use Tox-App, a free mobile app for iOS users from the National Library of Medicine, to search for industrial facilities that reported releasing certain chemicals into the environment (based on data from the US EPA TRI program). Tox-App includes a subset of about 100 TRI chemicals for the most current TRI year. You can download Tox-App from the Apple App Store.

Tox-App is based on the National Library of Medicine online tool TOXMAP and provides some of the basic TOXMAP functions, including:

    •    Search for reporting facilities by name or state
    •    Browse for facilities by chemical, state, or county
    •    View locations of reporting facilities on an interactive map

Learn more about Tox-App in TOXMAP News.

View the original post here.

Posted In: Environment, Health and Safety

From Occupational Cancer Research Centre:

Burden of Occupational Cancer in Ontario presents estimates of occupational exposure and the associated burden of cancer by industry, as well as exposure reduction strategies for the most common occupational carcinogens in Ontario. A major feature of the report is the evidence-based policy recommendations directed at government, Ontario’s occupational health and safety system, employers and non-governmental organizations.

Burden of Occupational Cancer in Ontario was jointly produced by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre and Cancer Care Ontario’s Population Health and Prevention team, with input from experts on scientific content and policy recommendations. The occupational carcinogen exposure estimates were provided by CAREX Canada.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Solar radiation, asbestos, diesel engine exhaust and crystalline silica had the largest estimated impact on cancer burden and also the highest number of Ontario workers exposed
    • Solar Radiation: Approximately 450,000 Ontario workers are exposed, causing an estimated 1,400 non-melanoma skin cancer cases per year
    • Asbestos: Fewer than 55,000 workers are exposed but it is estimated to cause 630 lung cancers, 140 mesotheliomas, 15 laryngeal cancers and less than five ovarian cancers annually
    • Diesel Engine Exhaust: About 301,000 workers are exposed every year and it accounts for 170 lung and 45 bladder cancer cases
    • Crystalline Silica: An estimated 142,000 Ontario workers are exposed to crystalline silica, which annually causes almost 200 lung cancer cases
  • Through policy changes and workplace-based measures there are many opportunities to reduce the burden of occupational cancer in Ontario

To read the report, click here.

View the original news post here.

Posted In: Health and Safety

Lynne Hancock, USW Communications

One of the strengths of the worker-driven Triangle of Prevention (TOP) program is the consistent follow-up on issues through full-time, union TOP representatives, a TOP Advisory Group and yearly gatherings.

The Tony Mazzocchi Center (TMC), which administers the program, held its annual conference on September 26-28 in Philadelphia. USW Local 10-1, which participates in TOP with its employer, Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in South Philadelphia, Pa., hosted the conference at its local union hall.

Over 50 TOP representatives, alternates, and health and safety members from 16 USW locals and management personnel focused on ways to strengthen the program.

2017 Triangle of Prevention Conference

“We all have to work together to make TOP successful,” said Carmine Frangella, who is a Local 13-750 TOP alternate representative at the Shell Chemical plant in Norco, La., and a member of the advisory group.

TOP Recognition

A highlight of the labor-management sessions was the presentation of the 2017 Glenn Erwin Award to Local 9-675, representing the TOP site at the 3M plant in Guin, Ala., for a major near-miss investigation, and Local 912’s acceptance of the 2017 Fallen Workers Memorial Award for integration of the TOP program into the health, safety and environment department at PBF’s Toledo Refining Company in Oregon, Ohio.

Sharing Lessons Learned

During the first two days of the conference, participants discussed topics like better sharing of lessons learned, improved tracking of all health and safety training, involving an entire plant in TOP through refresher training, and writing success stories. They also engaged in an eight-hour refresher training on incident investigation.

Kevin Theriot, the Local 13-750 TOP representative from Shell’s Convent, La., refinery said the key is to have success stories written for management to read.

“During your 15-minute toolbox talk, share your successes and what you learned. We learn something so we may save a life today,” Scardella said.

Theriot also said it is important to share what was learned from incidents.

“What happened at one site might happen at another site even though it is another company,” he said.

During the union-only session, participants discussed how to grow participation at existing sites, expand TOP to other locations, and increase management participation in the TOP annual meetings. Each site reported on its program successes and challenges. The union participants also elected two new members of the advisory group to represent the paper and oil sectors.

Working Together

Longtime TOP participant “Cookie” Sonnier from Local 13-423 at the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, advised the attendees to work with managers and gain their support.

“Glenn Erwin said we need management input. He got management into the TOP meetings and told them, ‘You come here to work. You are here to see how to prevent people from getting hurt and how you can correct it from happening again.’

The company people may tell each other about health and safety incidents, and it does not get to the rank-and-file. As workers, we have to let the company know we want their support. When it comes to people’s safety, there shouldn’t be conflicts. You are working toward a goal together, not against each other.”

For More Information

If you are interested in the TOP program, you can contact TOP Program Coordinator Steve Doherty, sdoherty@uswtmc.org, (o) 412-562-2561 and TMC Program Administrator John Scardella, jscardella@uswtmc.org, (o) 412-562-2582.

View the original news article here.

PHOTO: Participants in the 2017 TOP Conference at the USW Local Union 10-1 union hall. Photo credit: Mike Hancock, USW Local 9-562 retiree

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, TOP, USW
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