MORA Meeting Minutes
September 9, 2009: 10:00 AM
MINUTES MORA September 9, 2009
Attending: Leslie Walleigh, Peter Crockett, Peter Doran, Ruth Lawson-Stopps, Jonathan Lepoff, Leslie Manning, Kathy Schulz, Desi-Rae Severson, Kim Lim, Brian Sullivan (OSHA), Linda Huff, and Terry Hathaway.
Call to Order. Leslie Walleigh called the meeting to order at 9:04 a.m.
Approval of June 10, 2009 Minutes. Peter Doran made a motion to approve the June 10th minutes as amended. Jonathan Lepoff seconded the motion. Vote, unanimous.
Announcements. Ruth announced that the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had awarded the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC), Maine Asthma Program a five-year grant totaling $450,000.
Leslie Manning announced that Corey Colwill, Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS) summer intern worked on a project evaluating the use of poison control center data to identify and characterize workplace poisonings, hazardous exposures, and dangerous work practices. He would be willing to do a presentation to MORA, but is not available on Wednesdays due to his class schedule. Corey will tentatively do a presentation to MORA on Thursday, November 12th; Leslie Manning will contact him to confirm his availability.
Leslie Walleigh led off in a group discussion on follow-up to her lead presentation. She explained that there is an existing MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the Maine CDC and BLS intended to identify to BLS employers with employees with elevated lead levels. The intent of the MOU is to reduce the occurrence of lead poisoning by offering Safety Works! consultations to employers with employees having elevated blood lead levels in the range of 25-59 mcg/dl, and requiring consultations for employers with employees with blood lead levels 60mcg/dl or above. In the current MOU, reporting employers with employees with elevated blood lead levels to the Maine Department of Labor, SafetyWorks! program (21d program) requires written permission from the individual employee, unless his or her lead level is 60 or above, then written permission is not needed. In the last three-and-a-half years, no employee has ever submitted written permission for his employer to be contacted. Since most elevated adult blood lead levels received by Maine CDC are in the 25-59 mcg/dl range, the requirement for written permission to report the employer to BLS appears to be undermining the the MOU’s goal of prevention. The confidentiality of the Maine Occupational Disease Reporting Law does require written permission to release information that might identify an individual as having an occupational disease, unless that information is released to another public health agency. With regards to the MOU, MECDC did obtain a legal opinion that BLS was acting as a public health agency. Recently, in reviewing the MOU with Andrew E. Smith, SM, ScD, Director of the Environmental and Occupational Health Programs, it was agreed that in a future MOU, the requirement for written permission could be dropped. There will remain, however, some issues of confidentiality to address.
. Discussion included childhood lead program in regards to the recent reports of children being poisoned by “take-home” lead from their parent’s workplace. Although the childhood lead law does, on the one hand, require the confidentiality of information that might identify an individual child as poisoned, on the other hand it also requires the posting of rental units where a child has been poisoned. Andrew Smith is seeking a legal opinion as whether, given that the intent of the law is to prevent childhood lead poisoning, and that some lead hazards, wouldn’t the law also allow the reporting of employers (to BLS or OSHA) whose work practices have resulted in a child being poisoned?
Peter Crockett was requested to follow-up on his concerns expressed at the last meeting regarding the curriculum content of the “Renovation, Repair and Painting” certification process now being required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of individuals who perform renovation on pre-1978 housing. He reiterated his concern that the curriculum insufficiently addresses worker protection and OSHA requirements. After further discussion, Leslie Manning made a motion that a letter be drafted to the regional and national EPA offices, with a copy to the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Construction Sector and also to Andrew Smith, asking for additional training (30 minutes of OSHA regulations in their 8-hour training). Kathy Schulz seconded the motion. MORA voted unanimously in favor. Leslie Manning will work with Peter Crockett on creating a draft letter to be signed by Leslie Walleigh, MORA Chair.
NORA Update & Update on Lean Manufacturing Pilot Update – Ivan Most. Ivan explained that NORA (National Occupational Research Agenda) has been in existence for 12 years. He was appointed to the Manufacturing Sector, which meets twice a year (April and October) in Cincinnati or Washington, DC. He attended the June meeting and a strategic plan was decided at that time. There are ten sub-agenda items and five working groups. Small business and specialized populations meet weekly via phone. The plan is on the NORA website.
Ivan shared a power-point presentation on Kraft Manufacturing. This presentation demonstrated how Kraft Manufacturing changed by going “lean”.
Ivan also gave an update on his lean manufacturing pilot project, Lean Manufacturing and Safety in the Manufacturing Environment. Currently, there is a study committee comprised of representatives from the Maine Department of Labor, the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration. There is a draft survey, which Ivan will e-mail to Terry to forward to MORA for their input. The purpose of the survey is to get ten (10) Maine companies’ culture and if they are willing to share data with their employees.
Occupational Asthma Presentation – Leslie Walleigh. Leslie did a power-point presentation on Occupational Asthma. She described asthma as a chronic lung disease characterized by reversible obstructed airway flow, with symptoms of shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness Diagnostic tests include pulmonary function tests showing a diminished rate of exhalation. Work-related asthma is either new onset asthma caused by workplace exposures or pre-existing asthma aggravated by workplace exposures. Management of new onset asthma (occupational asthma) caused by sensitization to a workplace exposure often requires removal from exposure, in addition to obtaining medical treatment. Asthma caused by or aggravated by workplace irritants may respond to reduction of workplace triggers, in addition to medical treatment.
Linda Huff handed out a listing, Maine Employment in Selected Industries and Occupations with Common Asthma Related Exposures.
Peter Doran suggested Leslie W. do a presentation at the Maine Indoor Air Quality Conference on March 27, 2010. Ivan agreed.
Discussion of “Guidelines for Minimum and Comprehensive State-Based Public Health Activities in Occupational Safety and Health. Tabled to October meeting.
Future Presentations. At the October meeting, Ginger Jordan-Hillier will do a presentation on chemical policy reform. At the November meeting, which is rescheduled to Thursday, November 12th, Corey Colwill (summer intern with the Bureau of Labor Standards) will do a presentation on poison control.
Leslie M. suggested that Brian Doe (Hannaford) and other groups could be interested in planning for the ergonomic conference for the spring, 2010. This will be on the agenda at the October meeting.
The MEMIC fall conference has been cancelled.
Next Meeting – Wednesday, October 14, 2009 The next regularly scheduled MORA meeting for Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 10:00 a.m. to noon, Frances Perkins Conference Room A. Maine Department of Labor, Central Maine Commerce Center.
Adjournment. Leslie Walleigh adjourned the meeting at 11:18 a.m.