News & Events

 From the Executive Director’s Office……….

 

John Sikes

Mark your calendars for this year’s UA SafeState Conferences!


29th Annual Alabama Governor’s Safety and Health Conference

For many of you, the Alabama Governor's Safety and Health Conference has long been an annual conference destination. This year the conference will be held August 29-31, once again

at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach. We look forward to seeing you again, and if this will be your first attendance, we can’t wait to see you for the first time.  As always, General and Technical sessions will cover key issues affecting the work environment with topics covering a wide range of occupational safety and health subjects, as well as updates on regulatory issues."  To find out more and to register, visit algovshc.ccs.ua.edu .

 

3rd Annual SouthEastern Environmental Conference
(Formerly called the Alabama Environmental Conference)


After two years as the Alabama Environmental Conference, we’ve changed the name and scope of this still new conference to the SouthEastern Environmental Conference, which will also be held at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach. If you or co-workers have environmental compliance responsibilities in your company, this will be a great opportunity to learn from experts in your field.  This is a two and one-half day conference that will not only cover relevant environmental issues in Alabama but also across the Southeastern region.  You can expect numerous sessions built around proactive and sustainable solutions for environmental compliance and conservation challenges, including air, stormwater, land, energy and environmental management.  For more information and registration, please visit seec.ua.edu .
 
UA SafeState hopes to see you in Orange Beach in August or October, or even better, both!

 

 

 Legionnaire's Disease on the Rise -- Michael Rasbury

Cases of Legionnaires’ disease have drastically increased in the United States over the last decade.  Recent case statistics provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health demonstrates this rise in incidence (Figure 1).

 chart

 Figure 1: Alabama Department of Public Health Legionellosis Case Counts.

 

Legionellosis, a general term for any illness caused by the Legionella bacteria, is thought to be a non-communicable environmental disease acquired by inhaling or aspirating aerosolized water or soil (i.e. potting soil, compost, etc.) contaminated with the bacteria.  However, a case study of a probable person-to-person transmission of Legionnaires’ disease was recently reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. People who are at a higher risk of infection include people over the age of 50, current and former smokers, people with weakened immune systems, and people taking immunosuppressant drugs. Sources may include almost any warm water system or device that distributes water, particularly as aerosols, sprays, or mists. The following five types of building water systems are common sources: potable water systems (distribution); cooling towers and evaporative condensers; whirlpool spas; decorative fountains and other water features (including grocery store misting machines); and aerosol generating air coolers, humidifiers, and air washers.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in conjunction with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) just released Standard 188-2015 “Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems”.  The intent of this new standard is to instruct facility managers and building owners on what to do with all of the reliable and readily available information regarding Legionella. A simplified image of the standard can be described as follows: Establish a team with assigned responsibilities and accountabilities; Describe the way that water is processed and used at each facility (schematic/flow diagrams); Define a systematic hazard analysis; Establish critical control points with a hazard control method; and Establish a plan for verification of implementation success. With the establishment of this standard along with the updated American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) “Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Legionella in Building Water Systems” (2015) guidance and EPA – Draft – “Technologies for Legionella Control: Scientific Literature Review” (2015), facility managers, building owners and third party vendors will be equipped to better manage their specific building water systems and hopefully significantly slow down or halt the escalation of this deadly disease. For more information, please contact Michael Rasbury at 205-348-3967 or mrasbury@ccs.ua.edu.

 

OSHA Issues Silica Dust Standard

Matt Hollub picture

On March 24, 2016, OSHA announced a final rule to improve protections for workers exposed to respirable silica dust.  When the new standard, Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica, becomes fully effective, OSHA projects that it will save more than 600 lives annually and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis - an incurable and progressive disease - each year. The agency also estimates the final rule will provide net benefits of about $7.7 billion per year.  The standard goes into effect on June 23, 2016.  

 The final rule is written as two standards, one for construction and one for general industry and maritime.  Key elements of the new silica standards include:

 

  • Reducing the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour shift.
  • Requiring employers to use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) and work practices to limit worker exposure; provide respiratory protection when controls are not able to limit exposures to the permissible level; limit access to high exposure areas; train workers; and provide medical exams to highly exposed workers.
  • Providing greater certainty and ease of compliance to construction employers - including many small employers - by including a table of specified controls they can follow to be in compliance, without having to monitor exposures.
  • Staggering compliance dates to ensure employers have sufficient time to meet the requirements, e.g., extra time for the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) industry to install new engineering controls and for all general industry employers to offer medical surveillance to employees exposed between the PEL and 50 micrograms per cubic meter and the action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter.

Construction employers must be in full compliance by June 23, 2017.  General industry and maritime employers must be in full compliance by June 23, 2018. 

 UA SafeState is ready to help with your compliance challenges.  Through the Onsite Consultation Program, our industrial hygiene support services are available at no charge to small employers.  We can help with your hazard assessments, exposure testing, program development and we’ll assist you with identifying the most cost-effective control options, too. 

 

 UA SafeState Announces New Safety and Health Certificate Recipients

Several dedicated safety and health professionals received Construction or General Industry Safety and Health Management Program Certificates this past quarter from UA SafeState’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center (OTI-EC).

In order to earn their certificates, recipients were required to complete nearly 100 hours of classroom training in at least six courses and demonstrate their expertise by examination. We commend them for this accomplishment and applaud their efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of co-workers on the job.

 

Ryan Rossi

Ryan Rossi

General Industry Certificate

Teressa Ingram

Teressa Ingram

General Industry Certificate

Demetrius Hampton

Demetrius Hampton

General Industry Certificate

Jesse James Johnson

Jesse James Johnson

General Industry Certificate

Julie Mathis

Julie Mathis

General Industry Certificate

Russell Pate

Russell Pate

Construction Industry Certificate

Leslie Eiland

Leslie Eiland

Construction Industry Certificate

Thomas Franz

Russell Pate

Construction Industry Certificate

Garner Steadman

Garner Steadman

General Industry Certificate

Dawn Clements

Dawn Clements

General Industry Certificate

Meagan Greene

Meagan Greene

General Industry Certificate

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like more information on the Construction Safety and Health Management Certificate program or General Industry Safety and Health Management Certificate program, please go to OTI-EC Certificate Programs or contact June Vance at (205) 348-4585.

 

  Alabama Recycling Coalition (ARC) 2016 Expo

The Alabama Recycling Coalition (ARC) will hold their 2016 Expo on July 20-22, 2016 at the Bryant Conference Center and Hotel Capstone in Tuscaloosa, AL.  The ARC Expo provides a unique and intimate setting that brings together 120+ members of the private and public sectors of the Alabama recycling industry, and 20+ local and regional vendors ready to network. Participants can expect to receive essential training from ADEM Regulators, benefit from case studies shared by recycling vendors, engage with other participants and vendors during several networking opportunities, enjoy a VIP Tour of Bryant Denny Stadium, and much more.

The ARC is also proud to offer an exciting lineup of speakers, such as keynote speaker Ricky McWhorter, Associate Director of Ghana West Africa Mission. As Associate Director, Ricky primarily focuses on project development and fundraising to improve the availability of water, sanitation and hygiene for those living in extreme poverty in northern Ghana and South Sudan. In line with this year's theme, Ricky will present on industry obstacles in West Africa.   

Learn more about this excellent opportunity and register at alrecyclingexpo.com.

 

UA SafeState OSH News

  • UA SafeState’s Safety Program Supervisor, Randy Easterling, CIH, CSP, was recently honored as “Safety Professional of the Year” in the General Industry category by the Alabama Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).  Randy’s knowledge and vast experience in safety and industrial hygiene is one of the great assets of UA SafeState.  We congratulate Randy on this outstanding recognition and thank him for his great service to employers in helping them better protect their employees.   Congratulations also go out to Troy Ogden with Brasfield and Gorrie Construction, who was similarly recognized in the Construction category.
  •  UA SafeState Safety Consultant Tom Ten Eyck is now officially Tom Ten Eyck, CSP.  Tom recently earned the Certified Safety Professional designation from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.  Tom is a great consultant who works tirelessly helping small businesses with their safety and health challenges.  Congratulations, Tom! 
  •  UA SafeState is pleased to announce a new addition to our industrial hygiene staff, Mr. Matthew Sprague, CIH.  Matt is a graduate of the Industrial Hygiene program at the University of North Alabama and has many years’ experience in the field.  He will be working with us as a Health Consultant and we’re glad to have him onboard!
  •  UA SafeState Associate Director Matt Hollub, CIH, CSP represented the National Association of Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Programs (OSHCON) at a recent public hearing in Washington DC on OSHA’s new Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines.  As President of OSHCON, Matt shared some of the OSHA Onsite Consultations Programs’ experiences working with small business in building effective safety and health management systems. 
  •  Matt Hollub was recently interviewed for an article in the Gulf States Shipbuilders Consortium publication, Shipbuilding & Repair.  The article, titled “Keeping Temporary Workers Safe: Whose Job is it Anyway?” focuses on the need for employers to engage in cooperative safety and health planning with the agencies that provide them with temporary workers.

 

OSHA Teams Up With NOAA and NWS to Prevent Heat-related Deaths and Illnesses

 

For the fifth year, OSHA has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service to prevent heat-related deaths and illnesses.

Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill due to working in the heat. About one-third of heat-related worker deaths occur in the construction industry, but outdoor workers in every field – including agriculture, landscaping, transportation, and oil and gas operations - are susceptible to the dangers of heat.

In a June 10th call with meteorologists and weather reporters across the country, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels and the National Weather Service's Deputy Director Laura Furgione discussed the importance of protecting workers from dangers related to working in the heat.

As a result of a four year partnership between the National Weather Service and OSHA, important worker safety information is included in all NWS extreme heat alerts. Dr. Michaels asked the meteorologist to incorporate this worker safety message into their weather broadcasts. "We need your help in getting the word out that employers are responsible for providing workplaces that are safe from excessive heat. This means providing regular breaks for workers so they can cool down, and ensuring regular access to water so workers can stay hydrated."

"We have found that most work-related heat deaths occur in the first few days of working in the heat," said Michaels. "That's why it's important for employers to allow workers to gradually build tolerance to the heat. This is true for new, temporary, and even seasoned workers who have been away from the heat for a week or more, or at the beginning of a heat wave."

OSHA also worked with the National Weather Service to develop a smartphone heat safety app that allows users to calculate risk levels at a worksite and learn the protective measures needed to prevent heat illness. Almost 200,000 people have downloaded the app so far.

The app was updated this spring for Apple devices, with full screen color alerts, improved navigation and accessibility options. This improved version lets you know instantly if you are in a high risk zone due to heat and humidity—and precautions that need to be taken to prevent heat-related illness.

Visit OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention page for more information and to download or order heat illness educational materials in English or Spanish.

 

  Training Schedules

Environmental Training Schedule

UA SafeState’s Environmental Training Section will be offering the following courses, required by EPA and the State of Alabama to engage in these types of work, this upcoming quarter. If you already have these credentials and need to keep them updated, required update classes in these disciplines are being offered as well. The environmental training schedule is available on our website at http://alabamasafestate.ua.edu.

All classes are taught by exceptional instructors who have a wealth of real-world experience. Most classes include hands-on sections that teach needed skill sets as well as work practices. Classes are all offered at the Bryant Conference Center on the UA campus in Tuscaloosa. To register, please call our registration office at 205-348-3000, or register online at training.ccs.ua.edu

For more information, please contact Peter Hodgson at 205-348-4603 or email him at phodgson@ccs.ua.edu. Any of these classes can also be held at your location.

Upcoming OSHA Training Institute Education Center courses

The OTI-EC will be hosting several of its most popular classes in the near future. In addition to our core General Industry, Construction and Maritime Standards and Trainer courses, which are held on a rotating basis, several specialty courses will be offered, including:

  • Recordkeeping Rule Seminar
  • Guide to Industry Hygiene
  • Electrical Standards
  • Excavation, Trenching and Soil Mechanics
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Introduction to Safety and Health Management
  • Machinery and Machine Guarding Standards
  • Introduction to Accident Investigation
  • Lockout/Tagout

To see the complete listing for  2016 schedule, click on http://uaosha.ccs.ua.edu.

For more information on these classes, go online to to download the catalog  or contact June Vance at (205) 348-4585.