Skip Maine state header navigation

Agencies | Online Services | Help


Maine Occupational Research Agenda (MORA)
Steering Committee Meeting

Bureau of Labor Standards

Third Floor Conference Room

April 10, 2002

Staff present:
Terry Hathaway, Lynne Lamstein, & John Rioux.

Members Present: Brad Brown (Bureau of Insurance), Ruth Lawson- Stopps (Occupational Health Associates), Jonathan Lepoff, Kim Lim (Maine Bureau of Labor Standards), Ivan Most (Strategic Occupational Health). & Leslie Walleigh (Workplace Health).

Members Absent:
Dan Cote (MEMIC), Peter Crockett (MLGH), Peter Doran (MIOHE), Denise Dumont (U.S. HealthWorks), Ron Dyer (DEP), Brenda Joly (Maine Center for Public Health), Steve Minkowsky (Maine Workers Compensation Board), Peggy Parsons (Maine Cancer Registry), Andy Smith (Bureau of Health), & Jonathan Torres (Workmed).

Guests: Michael Frett (Director, Bureau of Labor Standards) & Skip Hoyt (OSHA).


Ruth chaired the meeting in Peter Doran’s absence. The meeting began at 9:10 A.M.

Legislative Initiative Status Report - Ruth. Ruth stated that she has been unable to catch up with anyone to find out about the legislative initiative; however, she will continue to see it through. Basically, MORA is interested in data collected on all injuries, not just lost time and EDT (electronic data transfer). The Workers’ Compensation bill incorporates the Governance Report and the Berry, Dunn, McNeil report. Brad will check on the L.D. number and let the Steering Committee know. Ruth will check with Steve Minkowsky on presenting an overview of Workers’ Comp Reform for our May meeting.

Conference 2003 - Funding & Planning Update - Ivan. Ivan had a copy of the Conference budget with a total of $54,160. That includes donated time and in- kind. Lynne reported that the Commission on Safety & Health in the Maine Workplace has established the guidelines, but they may want more information at their next meeting, Wednesday, April 24, 2002. The money has to be spent for education (speaker expenses, notebooks, and brochures). Ivan is our representative to the Commission and will either be present at their meeting on April 24th or will have a MORA representative. Kim told the Steering Committee that we would know about the CDC grant between June and September. Ivan suggested the Committee should start preparing by arranging speakers’ commitments for May 2003. Also, that a note should be sent for folks to mark their calendars. The conference is going to be an employer conference, using employers from Maine as well as the other New England states, presenting real life people talking about real life situations. Leslie & Ruth suggested Bill Newkirk of Occupational Health Research (Skowhegan) as a speaker for Conference 2003. Ivan will contact him.

NCCI/WCRI - Data Sets to Help Identify Maine Research Priorities - Brad. As attendance was low at this meeting, Brad will do the NCCI presentation at our next meeting. Brad did present additional information on WCRI (Workers’ Compensation Research Institute). This is not available for others to use; however, it is possible to submit topics to them for review before their Research Committee. Brad spoke about the IAIABC (International Association of Industrial Accident Board and Commissions) Workers’ Compensation Information Products Awards. This is open to any public workers’ compensation agency producing information or research on workers’ compensation. Brad will check out to see if there is any relationship to NORA. There are different levels of membership for WCRI and that determines how much information you are entitled to receive.

Ivan will be attending the NORA Construction Safety Conference to be held in May. Ivan will lobby for MORA and will report to the Steering Committee at the June meeting.

Federal OSHA - Data systems & Research/Evaluation Priorities - Skip Hoyt. Skip gave Steering Committee members several handouts: Federal Register, Potentially Hazardous Chemicals, Presentation to MORA, and OSHA National News Release. Skip did a Powerpoint presentation on how OSHA gets some of its information. OSHA gets their data from BLS Surveys, Internal Reports, MMWP (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), NIOSH, NORA, National Center for Health Statistics, National Toxicology Program, NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, IARC (international Agency for Research on Cancer), FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Association), Formaldehyde Association, American Hospital Association, Research done at Private Colleges and Universities, National Safety Council, Lead Registry (Maryland, Massachuetts, and Connecticut), Canada, WHO Statistical Informational System, and European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Skip also spoke about the NIOSH Update, NIOSH Facts, NIOSH Hazard Controls, the FACE Program (Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation), FACEWeb, and the types of data collected by OSHA: Fatalities (fat/cats), Illnesses - Bloodborne-Respiratory-Soft tissue, L/T&RWA, Toxicology Reports, and TLVS. Skip also gave an overview on the Emphasis Programs: SEP, NEP, REP, and LEP. OSHA also sends out regional health advisories. Skip suggested Dr. John Barry, OSHA, as a contact for MORA.

Ivan asked if OSHA could provide a printout of "good" companies in Maine for use in Conference 2003. Skip suggested IP (International Paper, except Bucksport), GE (General Electric, UNUM, and Pratt & Whitney.

Michael Frett - A Vision for MORA. Michael emphasized MORA’s mission, "To Develop Occupational Safety & Health Research Priorities and Guide Their Implementation for Maine". Michael would like to see MORA established as an entity, which people would say that if it comes from MORA, it would be a purist approach. He feels that it all comes down to data. Beginning in June, representatives from labor and the business community will be pulled together to focus on what the issues are "out there" that they are listening to. Ruth asked Michael if he could share those issues with the Steering Committee.

Ruth asked Michael about the Board of Occupational Safety and Health. Michael explained that it is State entity that receives Federal funding, from an OSHA grant, to perform safety and health inspections in public places. One of the requirements of this funding is that the State have an OSHA Board. Its function is to adopt OSHA regulations for enforcement in the public sector. Lynne suggested that someone from the Board could come speak to the MORA Steering Committee. The Board consists of nine members, appointed by the Governor, and the tenth member, the Director of the Bureau of Labor Standards.

Other. Lynne announced that Friday, April 26th is National Workers’ Memorial Day. This commemorates those who have died in the line of duty over the past year. There will be a ceremony in the Hall of Flags at 11:00/11:30 on that date.

Leslie suggested another person to become a part of the Steering Committee, Dr. David Kearn.

Setting a Research Agenda for Maine - Brainstorming Key Research Questions and Issues to Frame an Action Plan. See attached list. Lynne will group the key research questions. At the next meeting of the MORA Steering Committee, the members will review the grouping of the research questions and put together action plans. Ruth will pursue input from members who haven’t had the opportunity and they will submit to Terry by April 26th.


Data Committee - Leslie. The purpose of the Data Committee was to look at data sources and come up with research questions. They reviewed a lot of potential data sources; including Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, and Characteristics of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.

The meeting ended at noon.

Next Meeting: The next meeting will be Wednesday, May 8th from 9:00 AM - Noon at the Bureau of Labor Standards’ Third Floor Conference Room.

Respectfully Submitted,



Terry M. Hathaway




Musco-skeletal Disorders - analysis of industries and occupations and intervention effectiveness in order to make recommendations for best practices and/or legislation

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities - Epi study to determine nature and extent of problem in Maine

Research connection between companies using/releasing chemicals of environmental concern and worker health and safety/injuries

Research relative risk of chemicals (e.g., risk ranking)

Comparison of OSHA and DEP’s violation lists

Comparing partial disability costs with other states

Comparing medical fee schedules in Maine with those of other states

Changing age of Maine’s workforce and implications for the future - kinds of occupations, kinds of injuries

Research on soft tissue injuries (hands and backs)

Effectiveness of stretching programs

Back injuries of C N A’s - various handling; causes, costs, implications

Implications of using lost work time as an indicator of severity

Hearing loss of the fetus as a result of external noise exposure

Occupational asthma - incidence and compensability rates

Injury type/frequency/severity related to the aging workforce and/or minors

Effectiveness of preventive interventions in reducing occupational needle injures in healthcare workers

Effectiveness of controls for workers with elevated lead levels

Research related to trends in indoor air quality complaints

Monitoring and reporting on occupational health issues related to the commercial fishing industry

Occupational asthma

Ergonomics; i.e., repetitive motion

Fishing fatalities and injuries

Effective practices in workplace

Why are people not doing the "safe" things?

Aging workforce - are we changing workplaces to lessen injuries

Role of carbon monoxide in causing heart attacks

The role of piecework incentives and injuries and illnesses; i.e., food processing, shipping, and distribution

Role of recovery time for repetitive motion injuries

Brain injuries