Asse aiha alliance presentation annual osha update technical support and emergency management
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ASSE-AIHA Alliance Presentation Annual OSHA Update: Technical Support and Emergency Management. Thomas Galassi, MPH, CIH Director Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management. Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management (DTSEM). Mission

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ASSE-AIHA Alliance Presentation Annual OSHA Update:Technical Support and Emergency Management

Thomas Galassi, MPH, CIH


Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management

Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management (DTSEM)


  • To provide safety and health expertise to OSHA’s National Office and field organizations

  • To fulfill OSHA’s role as designated under the National Response Framework

Salt Lake Technical Center

Cincinnati Technical Center

National Office

Wash, D.C.

DTSEM across the Nation

DTSEM Offices and Centers

  • Occupational Health Nursing

  • Occupational Medicine

  • Science and Technology Assessment

  • Technical Programs and Coordination Activities

  • Emergency Management

  • Technical Data Center

  • Salt Lake Technical Center

  • Cincinnati Technical Center

Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management services

  • Integrated Solutions

  • Complex and Emerging Technical Issues

  • Resource Capabilities Including:

    • Safety / Industrial Hygiene professionals

    • Engineers

    • Librarians

    • Health Scientist

    • Occupational Nurses

    • Occupational Physicians

    • Analytical Chemists

Health Response Team

OSHA's Health Response Team (HRT) can help assess

the source and extent of exposure.

  • Chemical hazards

  • Biological hazards

  • Physical energy

  • Ergonomics

Health Response TeamSelect Activities

  • Silver reclamation from photo and x-ray film

  • Mold contamination in a document storage unit

  • Boiler explosion at a refinery

  • Nanotechnology

  • Ionizing Radiation in a biotechnology facility

  • Ergonomics/Vibration evaluation

Health Response TeamSelect Activities

  • Hydrogen Sulfide fatality investigation

    • Environmental and forensic testing

  • Referred to OSHA occupational physicians for association of exposure and outcome

Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure:What Happened?

  • A rendering plant employee was tightening a gasket close to a machine that was known to produce hydrogen sulfide

    • Worker collapsed in cardiac arrest

    • Supervisor attempted assistance – collapsed and recovered

    • 5 responding EMTs also affected

  • Paramedics noted a “strong rotten egg odor”

Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) Poisoning

  • No post-mortem information was available

  • Causality based on history of event & multiple medical records

  • Testing for thiosulfate in blood and urine would have been helpful

Arsine Exposure: What Happened?

  • Water treatment facility re-engineering electro-coagulation (ECU) process to improve arsenic extraction

  • Four employees standing over vat were admitted to local hospitals for bloody urine (hematuria)

  • Two required dialysis treatments

  • Safety & health effects were not considered in re-engineering process

  • Causal relationship confirmed between arsine exposure and health effects

Most cases occur when arsine is produced unintentionally

Active metal + strong acid = fresh hydrogen

Newly formed hydrogen reacts with arsenic compounds to form Arsine gas

Arsine Poisoning

IH Chemistry

Our AIHA (ISO17025) accredited laboratory analyzes over 400 chemicals.

Over 16,000 laboratory samples analyzed per year.

Analytical Investigative Services

Sampling and Analytical Methods Development

Combustible Dust testing

Material Failure Testing and Investigations

Mass Spec Analysis - unknowns

Blood Carboxyhemoglobin to Environmental Carbon Monoxide Concentration Back Calculations

Soil Testing

Engineering and Program Support

Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL) Program

  • NRTLs test and approve products to assure they are safe to use in U.S. workplaces and are recognized by OSHA’s NRTL Program.

  • 2008 American Council of Independent Laboratories (ACIL) Alliance increased awareness of OSHA's NRTL-approval requirements.

  • Three alliance products of interest. 

    • Registered Certification Marks of NRTLs – pocket card

    • "Identifying Counterfeit Items – Quick Tips"

    • "The Threat of Counterfeit Product Approval Marks Warrants Aggressive Detection and Enforcement Action"

Coordination with Emergency Management Community

Defined roles for FEMA and OSHA in emergency response situations

National Exercises

Emergency Management

OSHA’s role is to ensure that worker safety and health issues are not overlooked or inadequately addressed

Emergency Preparedness and Response

  • National Response Framework:

  • Worker Safety and Health Support Annex (WSHSA)

    • OSHA is the Coordinating Federal Agency for Worker Safety and Health

    • Theatre-wide mechanism for Federal, State, and local entities to request worker safety and health technical assistance


Significant Outreach Issues

  • American Recovery and Reinvention Act (ARRA)

  • 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic

ARRA website directs users to OSHA resources

“In Focus” section:

Pandemic Influenza page

Resources (e.g., Quick Cards, Fact Sheets) are available in HTML or PDF formats as well as English or Spanish versions

Pan Flu Quick Cards and Fact Sheets


Worker and Employer guidance for 2009 H1N1 published in November

Other Products

Safety and Health Information Bulletins, Best Practices and other products on:

Skid Steer Loaders

Cable Trays

Stand-up Forklifts

Special Purpose Particle Accelerators

Mechanical Power Presses

Nationally Recognized Testing Labs

EMS Responders

Nail Guns

OSHA E-Products WEB-based Resources

  • Safety and HealthInformation on over 170 selected topics

  • New Electric Power eTool

    • Hazard Assessment and Job Briefing,

    • Energized vs. De-energized work,

    • Grounding,

    • Overhead Line work, and more….

  • Exploring new technologies – forums, blogs, wiki-pages

  • “…agencies should harness new technologies

    to put information about

    their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public.”

    President Obama January 21, 2009

    Open Government DirectiveDecember 8, 2009

    • Open Government Directive (OGD)

    • Directs Agencies to be more:

      • Transparent in our work

      • Participatory in seeking the ideas and expertise of citizens

      • Collaborative in how we use new technology and processes for developing government policies

    Change How Government Works

    Command & Control Organization

    No expectation of response

    Formal, information based information

    Limited communications channels

    Distributed Organization

    Real time or near real time response

    Casual, multimedia-based information

    Multiple communications channels

    Open Government: Social Media as a Tool


    • Identifying which tools support our needs (and work) and which tools do not

    • Learning how to use the tools

    • Exploring how we balance resource demands associated with these tools against the benefit of interacting with the public

    OSHA Datasets on

    • OSHA Data Initiative - Establishment Specific Injury and Illness Rates (Raw Data)

    • Weekly Fatality Reports (Tool)

    • OSHA Exposure Sampling Results – Under development (Tool and Raw Data)

    Public Engagement

    • OSHA Listens – March 4

    • National Action Summit for Latino Worker Safety and Health – April 14 – 15 in Houston

    • Open Government Planning

      • Idea Scale


    Thomas Galassi, Director

    Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management (DTSEM)


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