News & Events

 From the Executive Director’s Office……….


John Sikes

UA SafeState’s Conferences Successful in 2015

The SafeState staff just got back from Orange Beach last week, having put together and put to bed another successful conference dedicated to improving environmental and occupational health and safety in Alabama, so I thought we’d give you a brief recap of each of the 2015 conferences.

28th Annual Alabama Governor’s Safety and Health Conference   August 31 - Sept. 2

The planning committee and staff put together another outstanding conference program, using the theme “Safety and Health: A Universal Language”. 418 participants and 164 exhibitors with over 70 exhibitor booths attended this year. Also on hand for his first Governor’s conference was our new College of Continuing Studies Dean, Craig Edelbrock, who was very impressed with the conference.

On Monday, UA SafeState Associate Director Matt Hollub opened up the conference, and presented this year’s William H. Weems Lifetime Achievement awards to Deb Hudson and Roberto Sanchez, two long-time friends and supporters of the Governor’s conference and safety and health in Alabama in general. Following the awards presentations, keynote speakers and attorneys Clay Clark and Fred Fohrell gave an enlivened presentation about workers’ compensation and litigation in Alabama.

Next on the program were the 53 breakout technical sessions offered this year, which for many is the real “meat” of the conference. Technical sessions were, as usual, provided by experienced and knowledgeable presenters and were developed along several topic tracts, including: Industrial Hygiene, Construction, New to Safety, Manufacturing, Safety Leadership, Best Practices, Risk Management, and Transportation.

On Wednesday, send-off speaker, UA professor, and Pulitzer prize winning author Rick Bragg delivered a very well received presentation which was, for the most part, about his North Alabama family and the stories about his family that have formed the basis of his successful books.

A special thanks to the UA SafeState staff that consistently bring us this great conference: Sheryl Foucher, Janae Riley, June Vance, Peter Hodgson, Tiffany Blount, and Sharon Jones. Be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s conference: August 29-31, 2016.

2nd Annual Alabama Environmental Conference   October 26 – 28

After last year’s successful inaugural conference, the AEC planning committee decided to expand the conference by adding another day and doubling the number of breakout technical sessions. While finding 40 speakers for a still new conference was quite a task, the planning committee and staff worked very hard and produced an excellent line-up. The number of participants were about the same as last year (around 200), although there was a significant increase in exhibitors, around 47. Also, there was a major increase in sponsor support, which is very important for a new conference.

The opening session keynote speaker was Kevin Boughner, vice president at Royal Cup Coffee and Tea in Birmingham. Kevin described the long-term sustainability program that Royal Cup has implemented. Kevin was followed by Dr. Pat O’Neil of the Geological Survey of Alabama, and a member of Governor Bentley’s advisory group on Alabama’s developing water policy. Pat discussed the evolution of the coming statewide water use policy.

Following the breakout technical sessions on Monday afternoon, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, send off speaker Doug Phillips, host of the very popular Discovering Alabama documentary series, talked about the necessity of preserving Alabama’s incredible natural diversity, and presented several outstanding videos to illustrate his message.

Many thanks to the UA SafeState staff who worked so hard to make this a successful conference: Beth Gaines, Johnny Hargrove, Peggy Frost, Nancy Holloman, Peter Hodgson, Tiffany Blount, and Sharon Jones. Sheryl Foucher, Antoine Bell, Matt Hollub, and Randy Easterling also pitched in with much needed advice and assistance. Be sure to mark your calendar for the 3rd annual AEC Conference: October 24 -26, 2016, at the Perdido Resort.


 OSHA and Region IV OTI-ECs Join Forces to Strengthen Outreach Programs

OTI-EC Region IV Atlanta (October 21, 2015) – The OSHA Training Institute Education Centers (OTIEC) in Region IV and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Atlanta Regional Office signed an alliance to foster safer and healthier workplaces. The signing took place on September 29, 2015, at the Third Annual Region IV OTIEC meeting, at the Georgia Tech Global Learning center in Atlanta, Georgia.

The alliance confirmed the continuation of a vital collaborative relationship to provide OTIEC’s students and others with information, guidance, and access to training resources that will help them protect the health and safety of workers, particularly by reducing and preventing exposure to prevalent health and safety hazards in the general and construction industries, and enhancing their understanding of workers’ rights and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

“Our alliance with OSHA is essential to providing our students with exceptional training,” said Myrtle Turner Harris, Director, Georgia Tech OTIEC. “As regional efforts shift based on workers’ and organizational needs, we must ensure that we continually grow as experts in the occupational safety and health realm,” she stated.

The alliance lasts for two years as a voluntary cooperative relationship with OSHA for purposes such as raising awareness of OSHA’s rulemaking and enforcement initiatives, training and education, and outreach and communication. Region IV joins with 32 other nationally approved alliances.


OSHA Emphasis Program Roundup

Matt Hollub picture

As you probably know, OSHA schedules programmed inspections that focus on a number of key workplace hazards or agency safety and health initiatives.   As we head into the new federal fiscal year, this seems like a good time to review the current list of active OSHA emphasis areas established by the OSHA National Office and the Region 4 Office. The number of inspections conducted by the Area Offices in support of these emphasis areas varies considerably from state to state.


National Emphasis Programs

  • Trenching
  • Lead
  • Silica
  • Hexavalent Chromium
  • Isocyanates
  • Combustible Dust
  • Nursing Homes/Healthcare
  • Amputations (recently revised and expanded)
  • Process Safety Management (special focus: Chemical Processing)
  • Primary Metals
  • Shipbreaking


Region 4 Emphasis Programs

  • Falls
  • Overhead Power Lines
  • Landscaping
  • Auto Parts Manufacturing
  • Forklifts and Powered Industrial Trucks
  • Noise
  • Ship/Boat Building & Longshoring
  • Sanitation in Meat Processing
  • Poultry Processing (recently added)


These programmed emphasis areas cover a great many employers in Alabama, with significant numbers of workplaces covered by multiple emphasis programs. More detailed information about these emphasis programs and the industries most likely affected by them can be found on   Small businesses impacted by these emphasis programs can get free, onsite assistance from UA SafeState. Our specially trained consultants will help you learn more about how to identify and control workplace hazards to better protect your employees. To learn more, please visit our Occupational Safety and Health Consultation page on the UA SafeState website or give us a call at 1-800-452-5928.


 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.

Alan Graham

Alan Graham
General Industry Certificate

David Faucheux

David Faucheux
Construction Industry Certificate

Gerald Jones

Gerald Jones
General Industry Cerficiate

Kenny Beck

Kenny Beck
General Industry Certificate

Shannon Dennis

Shannon Dennis
General Industry Cerficiate




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.


 Grant Funding Now Available for Electrical Safety Online Training

Great news! Through the Department of Labor’s Incumbent Worker Job Training program, electrical safety online training is now eligible for grant funding. If you are interested in funding for the electrical safety training programs described below, contact the agency in your state that is responsible for Incumbent Worker Job Training. In Alabama, contact the Department of Commerce at

Qualified and Unqualified Electrical Worker Training

We have designed several electrical safety certificate programs to help companies get their employees properly trained – specifically to recognize and properly deal with electrical hazards. This ensures your employees work safe and prevents costly equipment outages.

Our Qualified Electrical Worker (QEW) Certificate Program and our Unqualified Electrical Worker Programs are designed to satisfy OSHA's electrical safety training requirements.

These courses are all offered online, which makes them very convenient:

  • You can take the courses anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Each class lasts about four hours each (see below the list of classes). You can stop at any point, bookmark where you are, and return later to where you left off.
  • All classes have a rewind capability in case you need to go back and see or hear again.

The first step in getting workers trained is for the employer to classify them as either a “Qualified” or an “Unqualified” electrical worker (Qualified and Unqualified are OSHA terms). You can decide which classification applies yourself, but we recommend that you take advantage of our Electrical Worker Assessment to ensure that your employees are properly classified according to OSHA’s regulations.

To get started training, here’s what you do:

(1) Register them for their respective Qualified or Unqualified certificate program / classes, or                                                                            

(2)   Register them for our Electrical Worker Assessment before they take any classes.   The training needs assessment determines exactly which classes each worker will need to take based on their individual skills, education, experience, and assigned job tasks.

Both options have potential advantages and disadvantages that each company needs to consider before choosing one:

  • An advantage of Option 1 is that each employee takes the same classes and there are no concerns raised about one employee taking more classes than a coworker.
  • An advantage of Option 2 is that each employee gets “credit” for his/her skills, education, and experience and may not have to take some of the classes.
  • The assessment may also identify weaknesses in an individual’s skills, education, or experience. If weaknesses are identified, we will recommend that the employee take some remedial classes.

If your workers are “Qualified” electrical workers and you want each of them to the take the same classes, you can registered them today and they can start as early as next week. The fee for the QEW Certificate Program is $1,200 per person for these 8 classes:  

         QEW 141: Understanding Basic Electricity for Electrical Safety

         QEW 142: OSHA Electrical Requirements, Less Than 600 Volts - CFR 1910 Subpart S

         QEW 143: OSHA Electrical Requirements, Above 600 Volts - CFR 1910.269

         QEW 144: Guide to Electrical Safety Work Practices NFPA 70 E

         QEW 145: Guide to the National Electrical Code for Field Use NFPA 70

         QEW 146: Grounding, Bonding, and Shielding

         QEW 147: Recommended Practice for Equipment Maintenance NFPA 70 B

        QEW 148: Industrial Machines NFPA 79


If your workers are “Unqualified” electrical workers – like welders, pipe fitters, machine operators, or HVAC technicians, they would only take one class and the fee per person would be:

             General -- $150

             Welder -- $300

             Pipe-fitter -- $200

             Telecommunications -- $100

             Machine Operators -- $200

             HVAC Tech limited (below 110V) -- $300.


Electrical Worker Assessment

The fee is $295 per person for between 5 and 9 persons and $275 per person if you have 10 persons or more being assessed. The assessments are done online and require each individual to spend about an hour filling out a questionnaire and assessment. Once the assessments are done we will get back to you with a listing of which classes each person will need to take. At this point, based on the total persons enrolled and the total number of classes needed, we would give you a price quote for the training.

If you have any questions or would like to get started, please call Peter Hodgson or Nancy Holleman at (877) 508-7246, or email Peter at


Are You Ready for the New ISO 14001:2015 Training Class?

Jason Brasfield

The introduction to the newly released ISO 14001:2015: Environmental Management Systems- Requirements with Guidance starts with this sentence:

“Achieving a balance between the environment, society and the economy is considered essential to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainable development as a goal is achieved by balancing the three pillars of sustainability.”

The sentence reflects the well-known basic ideas of sustainability and sets a theme for the new standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS). It appears that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has attempted to create a more accessible and user friendly standard.   The updates are specifically intended to make the use of 14001 ideas and practices applicable to a wider range of industries.

This long anticipated release has given us the opportunity to rework our internal auditor course, which will be available with the new changes on February 16-18, 2015. As before, this three day course will include the expanded environmental regulatory information, updated and formatted around the new standard.

Additionally, UA SafeState has developed an overview of the new standard. On December 15, 2015, this one day seminar will cover the changes and how they relate to an organization. For organizations that currently hold ISO 14001 certification, the overview is intended as an introduction to the changes and expectations for conformance.

The overview course is also a perfect introduction to ISO14001 and the concepts of a structured EMS for any business. Utilizing the ISO14001 format for organizing and becoming proactive with how you manage environmental issues, the concept of environmental management can become a positive aspect of your business and your bottom line.



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

4th Quarter 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

All classes are taught by exceptional instructors who have a wealth of real-world experience. Most classes include hands-on sections, where needed skill sets, as well as safe work practices, are taught. 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

For more information, please contact Peter Hodgson at 205-348-4603 or email him at Any of these classes can also be held at your location. Contact Peter for details.

Upcoming OTI-EC Courses including the 2016 Schedule

The OTI-EC will be hosting several of its most popular classes this quarter. In addition to the "core" Standards and Trainer courses, which are held on a revolving basis, several specialty courses will also be held including recordkeeping rule seminar, guide to industry hygiene, hazardous materials, introduction to safety and health management, machinery and machine guarding standards, and introduction to accident investigation. To see the complete listing for the end of 2015 and the 2016 schedule, please click on

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