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Occupational Safety & Health Data Collection

And Injury Prevention Working Group

Minutes

Bureau of Labor Standards

First Floor Training Room

October 22, 2003

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), Ralph Tucker (McTeague-Higbee), Peter Doran (Maine Occupational Research Agenda), Vanessa Duquette (Maine Department of Labor), Stefanie LaRose (Northern General Services), Jeff Levesque (Workers’ Compensation Board), Kim Lim (Maine Department of Labor), John Rioux (Maine Department of Labor), Dave Wacker (Maine Department of Labor), and Leslie Walleigh (Workplace Health).

Absent: Saskia Bopp (Maine Public Health Association), Brian Doe (Hannaford), Denise Dumont (US HealthWorks), Steve Minkowsky (Workers’ Compensation Board), Louise Morang (Maine Association of Occupational Nurses), Pat Philbrook (Maine State Nurses Association), and Suanne Singer (Maine Self-Insured Guarantee Association),

Guests: Dan Cote (Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company), Ann Beaulieu (Maine Department of Labor), Ted Bradstreet (Maine Department of Labor), and Steve Laundrie (Maine Department of Labor).

 

Chair Bill Peabody opened the second meeting of the Occupational Safety & Health Data Collection and Injury Prevention Working Group at 9:38 AM.

Members and guests introduced themselves.

Review of Minutes of Last Meeting. The minutes of the September 29, 2003 meeting were reviewed and approved. Bill stated that once the minutes are approved, they will be available on the website. Members will be notified by e-mail when the minutes are posted on the website and will be given the website address.

"Parking Lot" Issues. Bill handed out a chart of the work group’s parking lot issues. This list consists of issues that come up during a regular meeting to be discussed at a future meeting. Members should feel free to let Bill know of any issues at any time.

Peter Doran raised a question regarding implications to the Dirigo Health Plan. This will be added to the "Parking Lot" list.

Current Prevention Efforts – Presentations and Discussion

    1. U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration – no one was available at this time.
    2. ME DoL Enforcement and Voluntary Prevention Programs – Dave Wacker.

Dave explained that OSHA has three (3) offices in the State of Maine: Portland (which will be moving to Augusta), Augusta, and Bangor. Bill Coffin is the Compliance Assistant Specialist (CAS). The U.S. Department of Labor is strictly enforcement although there is some consultation and training with trade organizations through the CAS. OSHA also sets up alliances and partnerships. For further information, members can check OSHA’s website, www.osha.gov .

Maine has a 21(d) federal grant, which operates the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and the Safety and Health Achievement Program (SHARP).

 

The VPP’s promote effective worksite-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.

In practice, VPP sets performance-based criteria for a managed safety and health system, invites sites to apply, and then assesses applicants against these criteria. OSHA’s verification includes an application review and a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts.

OSHA approves qualified sites to one of three programs:

Sites that make the grade must submit annual self-evaluations and undergo periodic onsite reevaluations to remain in the programs.

SHARP recognizes small employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system. Acceptance into SHARP by OSHA is an achievement of status that will single you out among your business peers as a model for worksite safety and health. Upon receiving SHARP recognition, your worksite will be exempt from programmed inspections during the period that your SHARP certification is valid.


There are local and national emphasis programs in enforcement, which deal with specific trades (boat builders, auto body trades, food processing, etc.). Consultations under the 21(d) and SETF programs are largely OSHA driven; that is, they are employers coming to consultations because of OSHA activities.

OSHA’s definition of a small employer is less than 250 employees. OSHA looks strictly at statistics when they set up an emphasis program. This is based on the number of injuries, which can be misleading if there are large employers in an industry.

The Maine Bureau of Labor Standards has three (3) areas in safety and health: consultation, training, and enforcement. All voluntary services are free. Consultations are based on company management calling the Bureau in. Training and Education is done on-site and off-site. Dave explained that this office has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Health regarding lead exposures. The Bureau of Labor Standards offers a video lending library, publications, and CD’s, upon request and free. Enforcement is for the public sector, municipalities, and towns. Penalty monies can be used for correction of problems. This program has changed drastically within the past six (6) years for towns; now, they can make payments rather than one lump sum. As all the towns have been inspected, now the schools will be inspected.

There are fourteen (14) consultants and two (2) enforcement officers. This office does an average of 450 to 460 consultations per year.

Once a consultation is completed, a confidential report is sent to the company. This report states what they need to do, and will supply monitoring, if necessary.

 

    1. Insurance Companies – MEMIC – Dan Cote. Dan provided the membership with copies of the following: MEMIC Workshop Calendar Fall 2003, MEMIC’s Culture-Based Safety Process, Risks in the Small Business, Risks in the Finance Industry, Pointing Your Worker’s comp Program in the Right Direction, Ergonomics and the Prevention of Upper Extremity Cumulative Trauma Disorders, Seven Steps to a Safer Workplace, Production Felling Through Safety, Ergonomics in the Office Environment, 5 Steps to an Effective Hiring Practice, and Managing Employees Stress and Safety as well as one copy of Title 24-A (available on the web) and a CD, MEMIC Online Safety Director.
    2. There is very little the law requires of insurance carriers to employers in the way of workplace safety. There are no standards for insurance carriers to be audited. Dan explained the experience modifier, which is based on an average of accident rates, frequency, and severity – a low number is good; a high number is bad.

      MEMIC (Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company) was founded in 1992 by the Legislature. They are the carrier of choice with 60 percent of the State’s insurance agents. Workplace safety has been improved over the last ten (10) years. In 1993, a conscious decision was made to make loss prevention and education MEMIC’s mission statement. MEMIC currently employs 23 industrial professionals (i.e., construction, health care, etc.). There are 16 additional partners, who subcontract with MEMIC. Also, MEMIC has 22,000 policyholders. The booklets that were handed out are samples of programs MEMIC has developed. MEMIC uses EDI.

    3. Other – Bill told the group that BLS had resource directories for other workplace health and safety service providers. Jurisdictional issues arise, as in the case of mines (includes gravel pits) and railroad. Maine is unique in public sector enforcement.

Dave is working on the difference between loss control and loss prevention.

Stefanie suggested that Paul Fortier be invited to update the group on the status of EDI. John suggested that a follow-up to that would be what happens to data after it leaves Workers’ Comp, what happens when it gets to BLS, and how it is used.

Bill suggested that an update be made to the Legislature.

Next Meeting. To be determined. At the next meeting, the group will determine what this all means, look at where we go from here, and work up a plan.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Terry M. Hathaway

Recording Secretary