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Occupational Safety and Health Data Collection
And Injury Prevention Work Group
Bureau of Labor Standards
First Floor Training Room
February 18, 2004
9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Present: Bill Peabody, Chair (Maine Department of Labor), Gary Baxter (Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company), Brad Brown (Maine Bureau of Insurance), Brian Doe (Hannaford), Peter Doran (Maine Occupational Research Agenda), Saskia Janes (Maine Public Health Association), Jeff Levesque (Workers’ Compensation Board), Kim Lim (Maine Department of Labor), Pat Philbrook (Maine State Nurses Association), John Rioux (Maine Department of Labor), Ralph Tucker (McTeague-Higbee), Dave Wacker (Maine Department of Labor), and Leslie Walleigh (Workplace Health).
Absent: Denise Dumont (US HealthWorks), Vanessa Duquette (Maine Department of Labor), Stefanie LaRose (Northern General Services), Steve Minkowsky (Workers’ Compensation Board), Louise Morang (Maine Association of Occupational Nurses), and Suanne Singer (Maine Self-Insured Guarantee Association),
Chair Bill Peabody opened the fourth meeting of the Occupational Safety and Health Data Collection and Injury Prevention Work Group at 9:41 A.M.
Introduction of Members and Guests. There were no guests at this meeting, so members introduced themselves.
Review of Minutes of the Last Meeting. Jeff Levesque made a motion to approve the minutes of November 19, 2003. Peter Doran, seconded the motion. Vote, unanimous. The approved minutes will be posted to the website.
Bill handed out a post card advertising the Maine Department of Labor’s new and improved SafetyWorks! web site, which was done under a grant from U.S. OSHA. The post cards were mailed to small employers and all the SafetyWorks! customers. The website is user friendly, especially for small businesses. Jeff Levesque suggested that there be a link with the Workers’ Compensation web site relating to return to work and safety. Jeff will speak to Lynne Lamstein of the Bureau of Labor Standards’ Outreach and Education Unit.
Members also received a copy of the Annual Report on the Status of the Maine Workers’ Compensation System.
The work group members received the first three issues of the one-page flier, "FACE Facts". This is published by the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards.
Review of "Parking Lot". Bill handed out an updated chart of the "parking lot" issues" to determine where we go from here. Bill asked for feedback on these issues, to be rated in order of importance, from one to five, and also to make any comments or additions.
Plan Near Future. A representative of Dirigo Health will be at the March meeting.
Bill summarized related issues going on in the Legislature. A joint study by the Maine Department of Labor and Family Crisis Services, entitled "Impact of Domestic Offenders on Occupational Safety & Health: A Pilot Study", was recently released.
Also, there is a Resolve out of the Labor Committee directing the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards and the Office of Substance Abuse to do a study on substance abuse in the workplace that will be due later this year. The study should be useful for prevention efforts. The only data currently available is a required survey of employers who have a state-approved substance abuse testing policy, which tells how many tests are given and how many are positive.
There is another bill, passed by the Labor Committee, which would open up random drug testing. Currently, random testing occurs under collective bargaining agreements or if an employee’s position would pose a threat to workers or the public. Random drug tests are rare in Maine currently.
Most of the members of the Commission on Safety and Health in the Maine Workplace recently resigned. The Legislature took all the money left in the Occupational Safety and Health Loan Fund, which was developed by assessing insurance companies. The Commission was set up as an advisory committee for any entity regarding occupational safety and health. They report to the Governor and Legislature. The Maine Occupational Research Agenda (MORA) will be looking at the Commission’s role and how they can assist.
Next meeting. The next meeting of the Occupational Safety and Health Data Collection and Injury Prevention Work Group will be held on Wednesday, March 17, 2004 from 9:00 to 11:00 A.M., in the First Floor Training Room, Bureau of Labor Standards, Hallowell Annex. Refreshments will be available.
At the next meeting, a representative from Dirigo Health will be speaking. Bill plans to have a draft progress report by the April meeting.
Discussion ensued regarding the strengths and weakness of the current system and how it could be improved. Included in the discussion was data collection regarding latex allergies.
Working cooperatively in State government, such as Workers’ Compensation, Bureau of Labor Standards, Bureau of Health, and Department of Environmental Protection, might be able to do a better job with data collection.
Next Meeting. The next meeting will be Wednesday, March 17, 2003 at 9:00 A.M. in the First Floor Training Room, Bureau of Labor Standards. Refreshments will be provided.
Adjournment. Bill adjourned the meeting at 10:58 A.M.
Terry M. Hathaway