OEC Last Call


Agenda, minutes and materials from the most recent conference call.

February 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 11:00 AM ET
Call-In Number: 303-248-0285
Access Code: 5863657
Web Log-In: www.readytalk.com


Presentation Files:


More OE Links and Info:

Canada:"At Risk" Behaviours lead to Pause on Darlington Nuclear Reactor Project (article from the Toronto Star, 01-23-2018)

How a heavy bag of dropped parts sparked a brief safety shutdown of the Darlington nuclear refurbishment.

Workers on the $12.8 billion nuclear reactor refurbishment at Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington plant were told to stay home one Friday in December after bosses noticed safety habits getting sloppy.

Tools and parts were being dropped from scaffolding and workers were not always clipping safety harnesses on railings to prevent plunges at the generating station just east of Oshawa.
In one alarming incident that proved the proverbial straw the broke the camel’s back, a bag of metal components weighing about 20 pounds was dropped from above and narrowly missed a worker.

But it could have been worse. Much worse.

“I called the staff in and said, ‘enough’s enough,” says Cliff Eubanks, a Mississippian who heads the joint venture refurbishment project for contractors Aecon and SNC-Lavalin on behalf of Ontario Power Generation.

It wasn’t just the drop that caused concern to Eubanks and OPG chief executive Jeff Lyash. It was the casual reaction to what could have been a life-changing injury.

“I saw a videotape of that. The worker who was almost hit looked up nonchalantly. I thought, ‘the folks are not in the right frame of mind,’” adds Eubanks, who has seen too many preventable tragedies in 34 years of similar projects.

The “safety stand-down” clinic that followed the next day on a mock reactor for 300 supervisors and staff was intended to reinforce the importance of avoiding injury or death, and how to improve procedures for hundreds more workers on the 10-year refurbishment.

Weekly E-Newsbrief (National Institute of Environmental Heath Sciences)

The E-Newsbrief of the National Clearinghouse is a free weekly newsletter focusing on new developments in the world of worker health and safety. Each issue provides summaries of the latest worker health and safety news from newspapers, magazines, journals, government reports, and the Web, along with links to the original documents. Also featured each week are updates from government agencies that handle hazmat and worker safety issues such as DOE, EPA, OSHA and others. Subscribing to the National Clearinghouse Newsbrief is the best way to stay on top of the worker health and safety news. Subscribe at https://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/subscribe/.

Main Page for the weekly E-newsbrief: https://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/newsbrief/currentissue.cfm.

What to Do When Winter Has You in its Icy Grip
(From the National Safety Council)

The Weather Channel calls them the "Frigid Five:" Barrow, AK; International Falls, MN.; Gunnison, CO.; Jackson, WY; and Caribou, ME.

You may not live in one of America's five coldest cities, but that doesn't mean you don't have to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia. Both conditions are caused by excessive exposure to low temperatures, wind or moisture.

Cold weather can be dangerous for anyone who enjoys outdoor winter sports, and people who work outdoors during winter must be particularly mindful of the risks.Before venturing outside in winter, be sure to:

  • Check the temperature and limit your time outdoors if it's very cold, wet or windy
  • Bundle up in several layers of loose clothing
  • Wear mittens rather than gloves
  • Cover your ears with a warm hat
  • Wear socks that will keep your feet warm and dry

Even skin that is protected can be subject to frostbite. It's the most common injury resulting from exposure to severe cold, and it usually occurs on fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. If caught early, it is possible to prevent permanent damage. If not, frostbite can lead to amputation.

Superficial frostbite affects the skin surface, while the underlying tissue remains soft. The skin appears white, waxy or grayish-yellow and is cold and numb.

If the condition is allowed to progress to deep frostbite, all layers of the skin are affected and the outcome likely will be more serious. The skin will become completely numb, blisters may form and eventually the skin tissue dies and turns black.If you suspect frostbite:

  • Get indoors immediately
  • Seek medical attention
  • Remove constrictive clothing and jewelry that could impair circulation
  • Place dry, sterile gauze between toes and fingers to absorb moisture and keep them from sticking together
  • Elevate the affected area to reduce pain and swelling
  • For superficial frostbite, you may also place the affected area in water that is 100 to 105 degrees until the tissue softens

Hypothermia occurs when the body's temperature drops below 95 degrees. Severe shivering, one of the first signs of hypothermia, is beneficial in keeping the body warm. But as hypothermia progresses, shivering gives way to drowsiness or exhaustion, confusion, shallow breathing, irregular heartbeat, slurred speech, loss of coordination and, eventually, unconsciousness and even death.

In one of the most bizarre symptoms of hypothermia, "paradoxical undressing," a person actually undresses instead of bundling up. Researchers believe that in the final throes of hypothermia, a person may feel like he or she is overheating due to a rush of warm blood to the extremities.

So what should you do if you encounter someone suffering from hypothermia?

  • Move the victim inside and remove any wet clothing
  • Call for medical attention
  • Add blankets, pillows, towels or newspapers beneath and around the victim
  • Cover the victim's head
  • Handle the victim gently to avoid cardiac arrest
  • Keep the victim in a horizontal position
  • If necessary, give CPR
None of these steps are a substitute for proper medical care. Be sure to seek medical attention for frostbite and hypothermia as soon as possible.

Holiday and winter safety tips:
What do penguins and employees have in common?
The answer is "walking," at least in adverse weather conditions. When we walk, our weight pushes our body across surfaces we are navigating. In icy conditions this can be a dangerous approach to take. Every year your Occupational Health Department most likely gets at least one instances where an employee has slipped on ice either getting out of their car or while walking into the building. Your facility Management Team I am sure does a great job of limiting the snow and ice from walkways, but they can't always get it all. "Situational awareness" is a term used often to describe someone being "in tune" or not with their surroundings. So what should the safety/health conscious employee do? The next answer: walk like a penguin.
- Keep your hands out of your pockets. Hold them out to your sides as if you were walking a tight rope, but you will have to decide if your hands are too loaded down with laptops, etc., to do this part safely.
- Keep your knees slightly bent, turn your toes slightly outward, and walk flat footed taking short steps.
- Keep your center of gravity over the front leg and proceed slowly.

Tip: If you were to find yourself falling backwards, tuck your chin/head forward so that it does not hit the surface first. This safety advice comes from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Newsletter - ORAU. Argonne National Laboratory also has an excellent penguin poster on the IH/OS SIG website that supports the advice from ORAU at: https://orau.org/ihos/downloads/posters/WalkLikeaPenguin.jpg .

Additional winter safety poster resources for your use on the IH/OS SIG website
- Slips, Trips and Falls – The Winter 3 (Los Alamos National Laboratory)
- Winter Driving (Los Alamos National Laboratory)
- Winter Storms Extreme Cold (FEMA)

December safety tips posters
from the Department of Energy – listed under “December Safety” (https://orau.org/ihos/resources/posters-weather-safety.html)

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