During a recent ASSE webinar, former OSHA Administrator John Henshaw and former NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard discussed the future of OSHA and the OSH Act, the standards-setting process and the impact of the economy on workplace safety.
Henshaw does not foresee any major changes at OSHA in the near future, largely because of the economic downturn. When the focus does turn to OSHA, he predicts that attention will likely be paid to standards development and generating more participation by businesses. “OSHA is not ineffective,” he said, “but it could be more effective if there were less boundaries prohibiting OSHA from setting up standards such as court decisions and more.”
The changing world of work should also be considered, Howard said, noting that dramatic changes in the workplace since 1970, when the OSH Act was enacted, have significantly altered work relationships and the nature of work. “Maybe the OSH Act should be revisited and updated to reflect these changes,” he said. He also called on the agency and practitioners to be creative. “For instance, the new head of OSHA should meet with the head of Commerce in the next administration and say ‘you need to incorporate an overall workplace safety, health and environmental program for the proposed new infrastructure programs the President has called for,’” Howard explained. “This includes all the new highway and bridge construction projects. Start there and show them how. Also, look at many state OSHA programs, like the one in California, where they often take a hybrid approach when addressing workplace hazards.”
Henshaw reiterated his belief that OSHA needs to do more to get the safety message to small and medium-sized business. “We must do more to show them the value of developing and implementing workplace safety programs,” he stated. “We need to sell it to them. Most large and smart companies know the huge benefits and cost savings of developing and implementing occupational safety, health and environmental programs into the workplace, but weincluding OSHAreally need to reach out and show them the benefits of investing in safety, the value it brings and the increased efficiency.”
When asked about the possibility of an ergonomic standard being enacted under the Obama Administration, both Henshaw and Howard agreed it was unlikely. “We need to do more to educate employers and workers on ergonomics,” Howard said. “Coming from California [where he was head of that state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health], the only state with an ergonomic program, I believe something needs to be done. One third of all workplace injuries are due to musculoskeletal disorders. OSHA could do more in the area of education Howard says, such as “providing employers tools to help them address the risks and reduce these injuries.”
The ASSE Foundation has introduced a new scholarship, The Archie Moore Scholarship, funded by the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Ranger Fire School Instructors. The $1,000 scholarship will be offered to full-time undergraduate students studying fire protection and safety engineering technology at OSU in Stillwater, OK.
The scholarship honors Chief Archie Moore, who dedicated his professional career to promoting liquid petroleum (LP) gas safety after witnessing his parents die in an LP gas transport accident. Moore designed an LP gas fire school for firefighters, which began as a full-time traveling school that worked with fire departments throughout the continental U.S. Moore eventually transformed the school into a summer program, hiring summer instructors from OSU’s Fire Protection and Safety Technology Program. During Moore’s tenure, the Ranger Fire School trained more than 145,000 firefighters.
Former OSU Ranger Fire School instructors Michael Messner, CSP, CFPS, an ASSE member; Scott Lybarger; Denise Brown; and ASSE member Greg Duncan spearheaded the project to establish the scholarship, contacting former instructors to help endow the award.
“Chief Moore was an excellent role model,” says Messner, who served as an OSU Ranger Fire School instructors for two summers while a student at OSU. “He was always trying to improve the fire school to give the firefighters the best training possible. It is that level of professionalism that Chief Moore instilled in his instructors that have made many of them a success in their professional lives. This scholarship was established to encourage excellence in college students.”
ANSI recently approved ASSE as the U.S. Technical Advisory Group Administrator for the International Organization for Standardization Road Traffic Safety Management System draft standard technical committee. The current draft standard, which aims to keep workers safe on the road, specifies requirements for a road traffic safety management system to enable organizations to develop and implement objectives and a policy that consider the organizations’ legal and other requirements; it does not state specific road traffic safety performance criteria.
ASSE is the U.S. TAG Administrator for two additional ISO committeesFall Protection/Arrest and the ISO 31000 Standard for Risk Management.
Safety means always coming home. NAOSH Week 2009’s theme and its sponsors will illustrate the value of workplace safety in helping workers return home from work to their families without injuries. Throughout the week, which is set for May 3-9, ASSE, Canadian Society of Safety Engineering, OSHA and NAOSH Week partners will conduct activities throughout North America. In the past, ASSE members have held fleet safety classes, ergonomic awareness events, distributed catastrophe preparedness and teen worker safety information, as well as held a PPE fashion show and helped Habitat for Humanity. Other ideas to support NAOSH Week’s efforts include:
Another major way to get involved is to encourage ASSE members’ children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or kids who attend chapter-sponsored schools to submit a poster for the 7th Annual ASSE Safety-on-the-Job kids’ poster contest. The contest runs until Feb. 14, 2009.
|Left to right: Dennis Hudson, ASSE's Director, Professional Affairs; Dr. Max Lum, NIOSH Associate Director for Communications and Global Collaborations; ASSE President Warren Brown.|
ASSE President Warren K. Brown, CSP, ARM, recently addressed attendees of the 4th China International Forum on Work Safety in Beijing, China. After introducing ASSE and what its members do, he discussed some of the projects that ASSE is working on, including making the case to the business community that safety is an important part of corporate social responsibility as well as good corporate governance.
“ASSE wants to move the people concerns back into the safety equation,” Brown explained. “Protecting human lives goes to the heart of social responsibility. We are developing model corporate safety principles to be used by organizations when making safety part of the organization’s vision and mission statements and goals.”
Brown also shared his thoughts on the role of the safety professional and the competencies they need to succeed in today’s ever-changing work environments. Among the key competencies he names are business management skills; versatility and adding value to the organization; and the ability to influence.
|ASSE's Nancy O'Toole (center) and Dolores Suarez (right) present donations to Yvonne Gardner of the Society of the Preservation of Human Dignity.|
To help local community families this holiday season, ASSE employees donated toys, clothing and baby formula to the Society of the Preservation of Human Dignity in Palatine, IL. Hundreds of dollars for baby formula, as well as 10 large bags filled with toys and winter outerwear were distributed to families with children between the ages of 1 month to 12 years old.
“Throughout the year we try to help families in need,” says ASSE Human Resources Manager Sally Madden. “This year, our employees have gone above and beyond to help families facing tough economic times. We want to help out neighbors and bring a smile, if we can, to those families and their children.”
ASSE recently announced that ANSI has approved the reaffirmation of ANSI/ASSE Z244.1-2003 (R2008), Control of Hazardous Energy: Lockout/Tagout and Alternative Methods, which aims to protect workers from hazardous energy associated with machines, equipment or processes that could cause injury.
Approved on Nov. 11, 2008, the standard establishes requirements and performance objectives for procedures, techniques, designs and methods that protect workers where injury can occur due to unexpected releases of hazardous energy. An unexpected release of hazardous energy includes any unintended motion, start-up or release of stored energy, deliberate or otherwise, from the perspective of the person at risk. The new version will be available later this month.
Patricia Kagerer was included in Business Insurance magazine’s 2008 Women to Watch list. The list, published in the Dec. 1, 2008, issue, is an annual feature that spotlights women doing “outstanding work” in commercial insurance, risk management and employee benefits. Kagerer, a member of the Southwest Chapter, directs C.F. Jordan’s risk management functions, with her specialty being safety management system implementations that directly affect corporate culture, insurance procurement and overall corporate performance. She is also working on her master’s degree in dispute resolution at Southern Methodist University.
Kagerer says she has always prided herself in learning as much as possible and educating herself in whatever she does. “Education and having a strong desire for learning really helps you get your career to the next level,” she says. In addition to learning, she credits ASSE in providing career guidance, professional mentors, volunteer positions and other opportunities that have helped and continue to help advance her career.
John Russell, P.E., CSP, of Timonium, MD, passed away in December following a long illness. Russell, an ASSE Fellow, served as ASSE Chesapeake Chapter president in 1975 and was also the Society’s president during the 1980-81 term. After 40 years in the SH&E business, Russell was retired for 23 years, yet he remained a dedicated and active ASSE member. “Russell was a pillar in the safety community,” ASSE President Warren Brown says. “Due to his efforts, he will live on especially in all the lives he has helped and touched over the decades.”
Russell worked at Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. in loss control, then moved on to become a vice president of loss control for Maryland Casualty Co. He also served as a director on the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. Russell wrote several articles for Professional Safety journal and was also named ASSE’s Edgar Monsanto Queeny Safety Professional of the Year in 1982.
His son, Curt Russell says, “He was the consummate ‘safety guy’. He loved his career and the people he worked with. . . . I cannot tell you how many letter we have received over the past several months from his colleagues in the safety industry who expressed their love and appreciation. I was particularly enjoyable to read letters to him from younger colleagues he had encouraged along the way. While he accomplished much in his life, at the core, he was still a Tennessee farm boy, and people mattered most to him.”
Two ASSE members currently serving on the 12-person National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) have been reappointed by Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. Emory Knowles III, CSP, CIH, professional member of the Chesapeake Chapter; and James E. Swartz, member of the Georgia Chapter.
Established under the OSH Act of 1970 and administered by OSHA, the committee advises the secretaries of labor and health and human services on occupational safety and health programs. Committee members are chosen on the basis of their knowledge and experience in occupational safety and health, and serve 2-year terms.
Knowles, who is a safety representative on the committee, is manager, industrial hygiene and safety, for Northrop Grumman. He is a two-time Culbertson Award recipient, and has served on the Council on Professional Affairs and Governmental Affairs Committee. Knowles is also a member of ASSE’s Engineering, Industrial Hygiene and Management practice specialties.
Swartz is a management representative on the committee. He is director, corporate safety and compliance for Delta Air Lines Inc. He is also a member of ASSE’s International and Management practice specialties.
“OSHA relies on this committee to provide a real-world perspective to our work,” says Thomas Stohler, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. “Secretary Chao and Secretary Leavitt are especially grateful that we will be able to call upon the diverse perspectives and deep knowledge of these experts in administering our nation’s workplace safety and health laws.”
Other ASSE members who are continuing as members of NACOSH include safety representative Karl Jacobson, senior vice president, loss prevention, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group; and management representative Jennifer Marie Bailey, safety manager, American Cast Iron Pipe Co.
During 2009, these members will reach significant service milestones—25, 40 and 50 years—with ASSE. We thank them for their continued support of the Society and the SH&E profession.
The Society remembers those who passed away in 2008. Our thoughts are with their friends and families.
The latest additions to ASSE's Honor Roll.
ASSE’s Columbia-Willamette Chapter and its Santiam Section are teaming with the Oregon Young Worker Coalition for Health & Safety, Oregon OSHA, SAIF Corp., and the Oregon Health and Science University Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology to sponsor a safety video contest for high-school students in Oregon. Entrants will create a 30-second public service announcement promoting young worker safety and health. The contest is organized around the theme of “Save a Friend. Work Safe.” All entries will be shown at Portland’s Laurelhurst Theater on Feb. 21, 2009. The top three winners will also receive cash prizes ranging from $200 to $400. Submission deadline is Feb. 13, 2009. Winners will be announced at the Oregon Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health Conference on March 10, 2009.
The South Carolina Chapter recently issued a press release cautioning employers not to cut back on workplace safety during difficult economic periods, and encouraging them to find creative ways of generating temporary and long-term savings in safety and training expenses while still ensuring that the safety needs of employees and safety regulations are met.
“Some safety related purchases and testing can be deferred,” says South Carolina Chapter President-Elect Laura Comstock, “but other purchases, such as those for employee PPE like hardhats, safety glasses and respirators, are critical to operations.”
The chapter suggests measures that employees can take to help companies save on safety expenses, such as properly using, cleaning and caring for PPE; keeping track of safety glasses and reusable hearing protection; and following safe working practices to prevent injury.
The chapter’s press release was published in several industry publications, including ISHN, Construction Journal and EHS Today.
SeminarFest 2009 is Feb. 8-14 in Las Vegas, NV.