October 1, 2012

News Briefs

Oregon OSHA partners with Mexican Consulate during Labor Rights Week

Oregon OSHA representatives partnered with federal OSHA and the Mexican Consulate to help educate Spanish-speaking workers during Labor Rights Week, Aug. 26-31, 2012. Federal OSHA inspector Abby Burnett teamed up with Oregon OSHA’s Alba Johnston for a training at the Portland Workers’ Center, where laborers learned about heat stress, falls, and more.

"The workers did a very good job identifying hazards in the pictures we presented," said Johnston. "They were asking specific questions about the types of fall protection, the options they have when equipment is provided but is not in good condition, how Oregon OSHA could help them to improve their work conditions, how to fill out a complaint, and if it would be confidential."

Oregon OSHA’s Paulo Pinto and Tomás Schwabe helped with other events throughout the week focusing on topics such as accident prevention and construction hazards.


Students honored with Workers’ Memorial Scholarships

Losing a parent or having a parent suffer a debilitating injury can significantly affect a student’s ability to pursue dreams through higher education. Oregon OSHA is honoring seven Oregon students with Workers’ Memorial Scholarship awards for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The recipients are:

Kelly Dewey, Hermiston

After graduating from Hermiston High School this year, Dewey is planning to attend Blue Mountain Community College and work toward a degree in elementary education. Her father was killed four years ago in an explosion while doing truck repair. Dewey received a $750 award.

Diane Maldonado Dominguez, Wilsonville

A 2012 graduate of Wilsonville High School, Maldonado Dominguez is attending Portland State University, with aspirations to become a medical doctor and use her bilingual skills abroad. In 2006, her father lost both arms in an agriculture accident. Maldonado Dominguez received a $1,000 award.

Brittany Ford, Gresham

Ford is a senior at Oregon State University studying to become a registered dietician and is an avid runner. A 2009 graduate of Gresham Barlow High School, Ford lost her father when a machine crushed him two weeks after her seventh birthday. This is Ford’s fourth Workers’ Memorial Scholarship. She received $1,500.

Steven Hanners, Brookings

A recent graduate of Brookings-Harbor High School, Hanners hopes to become a pharmacist and attend Southwestern Oregon Community College this fall. Hanners’ father, a volunteer firefighter with Coos Bay Fire, was killed in the line of duty in 2002. He received a $750 award.

Marissa Parr, Jefferson

Parr hopes to earn a law degree and is currently studying anthropology and classics at Willamette University. Her father is wheelchair bound after an accident in 1991. This is Parr’s second scholarship and she received a $1,000 award.

Andrea Webb, Eugene

The working mother of a 3-year-old, Webb is attending the University of Oregon and wants to be a physician’s assistant. Webb’s father died shortly before her second birthday in a workplace accident. A second time award winner, Webb received a $1,000 award.

Ashley Yackamouih, Riddle

Yackamouih is attending Oregon State University this fall after two years of education at Umpqua Community College. She is studying to become a physical therapist. In 2006, Yackamouih lost her father to a logging accident. She received a $1,000 award.

Award recommendations are made by Oregon OSHA’s Safe Employment Education and Training Advisory Committee, an advisory group with members from business, organized labor, and government. Oregon OSHA presents the awards annually to help in the postsecondary education of spouses or children of permanently and totally disabled or fatally injured workers. The 1991 Legislature established the Workers’ Memorial Scholarship at the request of the Oregon AFL-CIO, with support from Associated Oregon Industries.

Applicants must be Oregon residents receiving fatality benefits, a dependent or spouse of a fatally injured worker, or the dependent or spouse of an Oregon worker who has incurred a permanent total disability and whose claim for workers’ compensation benefits has been accepted.

Interest earned on a DCBS fund derived from Oregon OSHA civil fines and penalties funds the awards.


VPP site Life Technologies named one of ‘America’s safest companies’ by EHS Magazine

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Today magazine named Eugene’s Life Technologies as one of eight companies to earn its "America’s safest companies" designation. Life Technologies, the only Oregon site to receive the award, has been a participant in Oregon OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) since July 2008. The company performs research and development and manufacturing of chemicals and biological reagents.

Life Technologies’ Jennifer Olson-Morzenti was featured in the June 2010 issue of Resource and the company participates annually in Oregon OSHA’s Safety Break for Oregon.

Janelle Halesworth, the company’s EHS manager, attended the Chicago award ceremony in September. "This recognition reflects a deeply ingrained safety culture throughout the company’s operations," Halesworth said. "The strength and success of our environmental health and safety program lies within our robust culture of safety innovation and continuous improvement."

Sandy Smith, editor in chief of EHS Today Magazine said of the recipients, "They are transformational safety leaders. They might not call what they do transformational, but we do. They have no interest in being average or in having just compliance with federal regulations as a goal. They strive to be world-class."


Redmond hosts Central Oregon safety conference

"Spotlight on change in safety and health" was the focus of the Central Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Conference, held Sept. 19-20 at the Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond.

Attendees honored Don Kraus, plant manager at Portland General Electric’s Pelton Round Butte Project, with the 2012 Juniper Award. One of Kraus’ noteworthy accomplishments included leading a partnership with the local fire department and other businesses to obtain a confined space trailer. The trailer houses equipment that is shared throughout the Madras community to ensure confined space entries are done as safely as possible.

Conference keynote speaker Jake French, the 26-year-old author of "Life Happens. Live It," suffered an accident three years ago that left him quadriplegic. French presented "Don’t Wait Until You’re Broken to Fix It," which encouraged attendees to shift their perspective and focus through communication and understanding.

Other conference topics covered hazard identification, driving safety, and safety committee tips and tools. One attendee said, "Sessions took a positive and pro-active approach to safety and health challenges."

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