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Maine Occupational Research Agenda (MORA)
Steering Committee Meeting

Bureau of Labor Standards

Third Floor Conference Room

June 12, 2002

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

Members Present: Peter Crockett (MLGH), Peter Doran (MIOHE), Brenda Joly (Maine Center for Public Health), Ruth Lawson-Stopps (Occupational Health Associates), Jonathan Lepoff, Steve Minkowsky (Maine Workers Compensation Board), Ivan Most (Strategic Occupational Health), Jonathan Torres (Workmed), & David Kern (Health Connections),

Members Absent:
Brad Brown (Bureau of Insurance), Dan Cote (MEMIC), Denise Dumont (U.S. HealthWorks), Ron Dyer (DEP), Kim Lim (Maine Bureau of Labor Standards), & Andy Smith (Bureau of Health) & Leslie Walleigh (Workplace Health).

Dr. Doran opened the meeting at 9:15 A.M.

July 10th meeting @ Westbrook. Dr. Doran suggested that the MORA Steering Committee not meet during the months of July and August; however, he suggested that the Conference 2003 Planning Committee meet at the University of New England, Westbrook Campus, on Wednesday, July 10th at 9:00 A.M. The meeting is open to Steering Committee members. Ivan Most will contact Leslie Ingraham (University of New England) to set this up and will let members know via e-mail.

The next regular meeting of the MORA Steering Committee will be held on Wednesday, September 11th, at 9:00 A.M. at the Bureau of Labor Standards, third floor conference room.

Conference 2003 Planning Update. Ivan reported he has spoken with Leslie Ingraham, Conference Planner at the University of New England, regarding a change of date for the Conference. It would be later in May 2003.

Lynne reported that our request for funding for the Conference from the Commission on Safety and Health in the Maine Workplace has been affected by the freeze on State spending, so the request is on hold. She suggested that Peter Doran send a letter to Hugh Flynn, Chairman of the Commission, (along with a copy to William Peabody, Deputy Director of the Bureau), acknowledging that this has been put on hold and that MORA would still like our request to be considered once the hold is lifted.

Lynne has a draft of the "Save the date" postcard for the Conference, but will wait until the July planning meeting.

MORA-MIOHE Merger. Peter Doran and Lynne Lamstein will be meeting with Carol Eckert, M.D., President of MIOHE, at 1:00 P.M. today, to see if MIOHE would like to help sponsor our 2003 Conference and explore the possibility of merging so MORA would have a nonprofit and impartial home for work in the future. MORA would continue in the same manner as now, but we would have a fiscal agent. Peter will also see if the two groups have a similar mission.

Ivan mentioned that the MIAQ (Maine Indoor Air Quality) Council has submitted a grant to NIOSH, CDC.

Research Agenda Priorities - Action Plans - Ruth. Ruth presented the "Procedure of Setting the Maine Occupational Research Agenda", prepared by Drs. Torres and Parsons (copies were distributed). The MORA Steering Committee is in accordance with the timeline.

Ruth continued to facilitate the process of refinement and action plans for priorities.

Occupational Asthma - Peter Doran and Dr. Jonathan Torres. Dr. Torres presented a summary. There are some additions, which are attached. Ivan suggested a CD Rom, Synergy from CDC, which shows how to go about research. In summary, the major priority would be to identify occupational asthma cases better than we are doing now, finding the clusters, and intervention.

The Bureau of Health is to be doing this along with ALAM.

Peter suggested contacting Norm Anderson and Ed Miller to enhance what is already out there. Dr. Torres and Peter will meet with Mr. Anderson and report back at our September 11th meeting. Also, at the September 11th meeting, will be the prioritizing of occupational asthma items.

Cost Drivers - Jonathan Lepoff and Steve Minkowsky. Steve will meet with the Workers’ Compensation statistical programming person to get costs for lost time only cases and Jonathan will meet with the Employee Health Office for State employees. They will be looking for the characteristics of injuries and illnesses and then intervention strategies

The purpose will be to identify interventions for biggest bang for the buck.

At the September 11th meeting, they will present what they have found from the data from Workers’ Compensation Board and Maine Employee Health Commission. There could be intervention for Safety and Legislative sessions. This priority could overlap other priorities. Jonathan Lepoff volunteered to join the MSD’s priority research.

Fatalities - John Rioux and Kim Lim. John summarized by saying that they could match up life lost statistics with the cost of severity. What components do we need in place to identify how to get those cases regarding illnesses? The Bureau of Labor Standards could team up with Workers’ Compensation. At the September 11 th meeting, John will define what we can do and define what the Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS) will need help with in clarifying outcomes.

Aging - Ruth Lawson-Stopps and Lynne Lamstein. At the September 11th meeting, Ruth and Lynne will have their issue better defined.

MSD’s - Ivan Most and Denise Dumont. As Ivan has not been able to contact Denise, there was no report at this time. Will be scheduled for the September 11th meeting.

Toxic Exposures - Andy Smith, Leslie Walleigh, and Ron Dyer. No report as no one was present from this group. Ruth will contact the focus group; will report at September 11th meeting.

E-mail will be sent to MORA Steering Committee members listing the research priorities and the contact information (names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses) for each priority.

Lynne will update the website with a list of priorities and a page for each topic.

Other Business. Dr. David G. Kern (Health Connections) has joined the MORA Steering Committee at our invitation. He has agreed to join the Occupational Asthma research priority as well as Toxic Exposure.

Peter Doran will contact the Bureau of Health (Department of Human Services) to check on representation to the Steering Committee.

Also, Peter will reconnect with a couple of Steering Committee members.

The meeting ended at 11:50 A.M.

Next Meeting. Our next meeting will be Wednesday, September 11 th, at 9:00 A.M. in the Third Floor Conference Room, Bureau of Labor Standards, Hallowell Annex.

Respectfully Submitted,



Terry M. Hathaway



Occupational Asthma

Contacts: Jonathan Torres, M.D. (207) 753-3080 <>

Peter Doran, Ph.D. (207) 465-3297 <>

David G. Kern, M.D. 907) 596-8693 <>

What do we want to know? (Outcomes)

· What is occupational asthma?

· Of asthma reported, what percentage is occupational?

· What is causing it?

· What are the exposures in Maine?

· Is there a relationship to Toxic Exposures?

· How much of the occupational asthma is being compensated as workers’ compensation?

· Educate physicians to recognize occupational asthma.

· What is the relationship between asthma and lobster fishing?

· Which occupations have highest incident?


Who could do this research?

· Asthma Council - Muskie Institute

· Lung Association

· Bureau of Health

· Harvard School of Public Health

· MMC - Research Institute

· Jackson Labs - mice

· Blood Research Institute

· Maine Medical Assessment Foundation

Funding possibilities.

· Jackson Labs

· Lung Association


· RWJ (Robert Wood Johnson) Foundation


· 2-5 Years

What else do we need to consider?

· Look at Mass. Dept of Health "Sensor" (funded by NIOSH) to look at occupational asthma

· Are cases falling through the cracks because it is not compensable - look to Maine Bureau of Health

· Potential work with Dr. Kern

· ALAM - Lung health indicators

Cost Drivers

Contacts: Jonathan Lepoff (207) 933-2970 <>

Steve Minkowsky (207) 287-7059 <>

What do we want to know? (Outcomes)

· Characteristics of injuries responsible for/associated with 90% of expense

· Injury types (Industry, Body Type, Permanent, Partial, Medical Only)

· What interventions would be most successful - IEE (Intervention Evaluation Effectiveness)

· Reference - Oxenburg

Who could do this research?


· Bureau of Insurance

· Workers’ Compensation

· Peter Snell

· Bill Newkirk


Funding possibilities.

· ? Insurance companies



· Next 6 months

What else do we need to consider?

· Business practices that lead to these costs

· Proposed legislation

· ? Policies/laws that promote the problem


Contacts: Ivan Most (207) 838-8646 (cell) <>

Denise Dumont (207) 884-4988 <>

Jonathan Lepoff (207) 933-2970 <>


What do we want to know? (Outcomes)

· Direct effect of work organization to MSDfor/associated with 90% of expense

· Look at OSHA MSD plan - ? components that lead to research

· ? Effectiveness of interventions; i.e., job rotation, stretch breaks,

· C N A back injury

· Surgical outcomes? Carpal tunnel

Who could do this research?

· Nurses Association

· Maine Medical Association Foundation


· U Mass - Lowell

Funding possibilities.




· ~1 year

What else do we need to consider?

· Does back school work?

Toxic Exposure

Contacts: Leslie Walleigh (207) 621-0422 <>

Andy Smith (207) 287-5189 <>

Ron Dyer (207) 287=4152 <>

David G. Kern (207) 596-8693 <>

What do we want to know? (Outcomes)

· Identifies toxic exposures

· Compares OSHA + DEP + ? chemical user/violators - Bureau of Health "heavy metals"

· Look at Txic Substances Inventory for State of Maine

· Toxic Use Reduction i.e., Mercury & industry specific does it make a difference (Smart Production)

· Education documents

· What is multi-chemical sensitivity?

· Indoor air quality


Who could do this research?

· U Mass - Lowell - Relationships between Toxics and Occupational Health

· Bureau of Health - Toxicology

· Bureau of Labor Standards

· Department of Environmental Protection

· Lowell Toxic Use Reduction Institute

Funding possibilities.





o Rutgers National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


· Long time

What else do we need to consider?

· Any tie to the Cancer Registry?


Contacts: John L. Rioux (207) 624-6442 <>

Kim C. Lim (207) 624-6443 <>

What do we want to know? (Outcomes)

· Definition of "work- related" fatality

· Counts, Demographics, & Characteristics (Nature, Part, Source, Event, etc.) (CFOI), & Hazards

· FACE - type investigation for every fatality (Hayden Matrix)

· OSHA results for those it does






Who could do this research?

· Bureau of Labor Standards/Research & Statistics Unit






Funding possibilities.


· Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) CFOI for counts, tracking, & definition

· State Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS) should funding return






· 1 Year

· Annual Report

What else do we need to consider?

Subject to clustering (need to look at the number of incidents as well as number of fatalities)








Contacts: Lynne Lamstein (207) 624-6465 <>

Ruth Lawson-Stopps (207) 622-5892 ruthls@suscom-maine.rr < mailto:ruthls@suscom-maine.rr>



What do we want to know? (Outcomes)

· What are the safety and health issues for aging workers?

· Existing research

· Maine demographics

· Best practices

· Technology in workplaces




Who could do this research?

· University of Maine Center for Aging

· Muskie School

· Unions

· Hospitals

· UNE Medical School

· Margaret Chase Smith Center

· Prospective geriatricians


Funding possibilities.


· Universities

· Unions

· Private Funding



· 6-12 months



What else do we need to consider?

· Definition of aging workforce

· Basic questions

· Offer SafetyWorks! Course on aging working safety/health issues within nextyear

· Intern doing research