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

Dawn Andreoli, TOP representative, USW Local Union 10-234Dawn Andreoli, Triangle of Prevention (TOP) representative and member of United Steelworkers (USW) Local Union 10-234, received the Leadership in Health and Safety Award from PhilaPOSH at the 33rd Annual Awards Reception.

USW Local 10-234 represents workers at Monroe Energy, a refinery located in Trainer, Pa. Andreoli also takes on the role of safety representative within her local.

The PhilaPOSH 33rd Annual Awards Reception took place on Nov. 17, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pa., where six awardees were recognized for their health and safety activism within their union or communities.

Andreoli was nominated by her local union for the Leadership in Health and Safety Award because of her ongoing commitment to health and safety.

“I was not aware of my entrance for the award; actually my union president entered me in the program,” Andreoli said. “I was surprised when I got it, it’s pretty exciting and it means more because the union president, Jonas Dauber, put it in.”

The PhilaPOSH award description reads:

DAWN ANDREOLI: LEADERSHIP IN HEALTH AND SAFETY AWARD


USW Local 10-234 Safety Rep and T.O.P (Triangle of Prevention) Coordinator at the Monroe Energy refinery in Trainer, PA. Dawn was nominated by her local union for this award because of her outstanding work for workers’ safety and health at the refinery. She is credited with initiating and managing a new incident investigation program from scratch, part of the Triangle of Prevention (TOP) program that is union run and led. (courtesy of PhilaPOSH)

“If it wasn’t for everybody it would never happen, although I’m honored it is me, it’s really everybody,” Andreoli said.

She reiterates that the reason why she won this award was all due to the collective work of those who surround her, a foundation taken seriously within the TOP program.

“It wouldn’t happen if we all didn’t work together. That’s my main take from it all,” Andreoli said. “If we didn’t have support from the union, if we didn’t have support from the workers, if we didn’t have support from the Mazzocchi Center, if management didn’t buy in, we wouldn’t end up going anywhere.”

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

From the Mine Safety and Health Administration:

Kidde Co., is recalling 134 models of plastic-handled fire extinguishers manufactured between 1973 and present day. This action is in concert with an alert from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Some extinguishers have been known not to work when needed, others to come apart under pressure – one death has been reported. Some were sold under Kidde's brand, some under the name of other retailers. Kidde will replace all defective models. Below is a link to the CPSC’s website page regarding this recall.

Review the equipment alert here.

Posted In: Health and Safety, MSHA
Posted In: AFLCIO, CWA, Environment, Health and Safety, Labor Institute, Mazzocchi, NDLON, USW

From the Chillicothe Gazette:

PIKETON - An arrangement between four entities will provide for free job training for those interested in filling open positions with ongoing cleanup work at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon.

The arrangement involving the United Steel Workers Local 1-689, the Village of Piketon, the Pike County Career Technology Center and the Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education was announced this week as also benefiting existing workers on the project in terms of cross training as the scope of work changes and needs for different skills emerge. … more

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

United Steelworkers (USW) Local Union 11-560, representing members at Bobcat Corporation in Gwinner, N.D., participated in union health and safety training. July 18 and 19, 2017 consisted of Incident Investigation, and on July 20, the training concluded with Hazard Mapping.

“The Incident Investigation class included logic tree diagramming, which is a great tool to get to the root cause of an incident. Bobcat has incorporated the logic tree into their incident investigation report forms,” Frank Helebrant of Local 2-213 said.

Helebrant, along with Dennis Delie of Local 2-213, facilitated both courses and are long-time USW Tony Mazzocchi Center worker-trainers.

“A group of 33 trained in the Hazard Mapping class. The group found over 40 different hazards that they have been working around for many years. Through the Hazard Mapping process, the group was able to address many of these hazards and were able to come up with recommendations to design, or mitigate the hazards,” Helebrant said.

USW Local Union 11-560
Photos courtesy of Frank Helebrant.

Training reported in this brief is supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number U45ES006175. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIEHS, NIH.

Posted In: Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, USW
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