Communicating and Training with Confidence


​Monday, May 23, 2016, 2:00 PM - 4:20 PM


Using Technical Videos for Effective Communication and Training

M. Strange and B. Bethel, ESIS Health, Safety, & Environmental Services, Sonora, CA

Situation/Problem: Today's workf​​​orce is the most techno-savvy in history. Information on anything is readily available at one's fingertips. This evolution of technology and methodology of communications often creates a situation/problem where traditional training methods become less effective. To close this communication gap, the industrial hygiene community must embrace changes and learn to use these same technologies to our benefit.

Resolution: Through the use of inexpensive equipment, often available as apps on smart phones, we can film and edit videos of real-world workplace situations and use a video sound bite as part of our training and communication programs. Technology alone cannot resolve all communication issues. The technique of supplementing face to face interaction with demonstration videos does align with today's worker better than the traditional classroom training program.

Results: The result of using video technology can increase knowledge retention by employees who have access to video sound bites as part of their communication. More importantly, we have seen a change of behavior by employees who have access to sound bite videos on topics such as proper body mechanics when riveting, how to properly adjust an office desk chair, or the proper work practices associated with handling fine powders such as active pharmaceutical ingredients or fine pigments.

Lessons learned: Videography is only one tool of many available for industrial hygienists to effectively demonstrate the need to change the work environment, work practices, and effective use of PPE. It should not be considered a substitute for direct instructional contact but rather an enhancement. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much more for a film clip?



Crisis Communication: Translating Technically Rich Data into Understandable and Actionable Information

W. Weisman and R. Campbell, Consulting, Newport News, VA

Situation/Problem: Crisis communication during technological, man-made or natural disasters requires the translation of large volumes of technically rich data into specific, understandable, actionable information that can be clearly communicated by a Public Information Officer (PIO). A crisis communication failure occurs when responses do not match the actual risks, as occurred during the recent U.S. Ebola crisis. Messages from often contained conflicting information requiring affected communities to divert resources to damage control rather than response operations and normal risk communications. Health care personnel and communities faced greater uncertainty over their risk of exposure. These breakdowns in communication occur when technically trained individuals, who are comfortable with understanding and interpreting their data, are not fully integrated into a Joint Information Center (JIC) where they can collaborate with nontechnical personnel. The development of these messages is often accomplished in a vacuum with neither the input of risk managers nor the aid of a defined process or approach. This uncoupling of risk assessment from the risk management process puts greater stress on risk communicators.

Resolution: This presentation outlines a systematic approach that explains how critical information should be used within a JIC to build a clear and actionable message. This approach requires a team effort involving technicians, risk assessors, public information officers, and others to validate the clarity of the message. Finally, the approach involves the integration of predeveloped messages and drills to hone the spokesperson’s ability to deliver messages.

Results: Without this collaborative approach, each agency at different levels of government will continue to disseminate contradictory information that will lead to a secondary crisis from competing messages and loss of trust from the public.

Lessons learned: Thousands of hours of classroom instruction, drills, and field exercises demonstrated the utility of this method. Application of lessons learned from the recent Ebola crisis should be incorporated into all crisis communications curriculum. Communities must properly design and utilize a JIC to fuse technical risk assessment inputs from multiple agencies along with political and public information officers.



Improving Staff Ability to Access Safety Data Sheets

T. Barton, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

Situation/Problem: The OSHA Hazard Communication standard requires that all staff members be able to access Safety Data Sheets for the hazardous chemicals in their work area. For several years after switching to an online SDS database, staff ability to access Safety Data Sheets (SDS) was poor. Most staff members were able to identify that SDS were on the internet. But, when asked to demonstrate access, their success rate averaged approximately 70% (over a period of three years).

Resolution: Staff ability to access SDS was adopted as a Performance Improvement metric. Lean principles were applied to improve staff performance. The subsequent intervention focused on both waste reduction and the incorporation of eight core learning values into the training presentation.

Results: Following completion of the training program staff ability to demonstrate SDS access during random surveys has improved significantly. (For the last three quarters the success rate has been 95%, 100% and 97% with sample numbers of 62, 22, and 34 respectively).

Lessons learned: Staff ability to access SDS, although not necessarily a compelling subject, may be representative of the overall health of an institutional hazard communication plan. Incorporating lean principles and designing interventions that employ learning values that personalize the message can enhance the efficacy of safety training programs.



Insights on the Underlying Ethical Rationale for Occupational Health from Mosaic Law

C. Keil, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

Situation/Problem: In recent years, the rationale for the practice of occupational health and safety (OHS) has been more and more supported with business case arguments providing the motivation for the continuous improvement of healthy work environments. But without an underlying ethical basis, business case arguments could theoretically be made that would limit or discourage OHS efforts. Some of the fundamental documents that provide a foundational rationale for OHS come from the United Nations in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The World Health Organization also provided fundamental statements about the right to a health and safe workplace with the WHO declaration of Occupational Safety and Health for All. Also, the International Labor Organization in its constitution and many other declarations assumes the right to healthy workplace conditions. These statements of workers’ rights are recent (since 1900).

Resolution: The fundamental ethical assertions in these documents can be supported by another, more ancient, source of insight regarding workers’ rights, the Mosaic Law. Workers’ rights issues are particularly present in the book of Deuteronomy.

Results: A paradigmatic understanding of the agricultural/pastoral economy of the region and the Law of the people reveals patterns that can inform modern ethics. In particular, the prescriptions in the Law regarding relationships between the landed people of ancient Israel and sojourners or other unlanded individuals can support the underlying ethical basis for OHS.

Lessons learned: The presence of legal protections for workers in this ancient source provides additional support the more recent declarations for workplace health and safety that goes beyond simply making a business case for OHS.



Graduate Development Program (GDP) for Industrial Hygienists at a Mining Company

F. Crowne, Goldcorp, Toronto, ON, Canada

Situation/Problem: It is often difficult to find and employ suitable, experienced industrial hygienists with a sound foundation in mining for remote mining sites.

Resolution: A graduate student development program was created for industrial hygiene at a mining company to attract, develop and retain industrial hygienists.

Results: A pool of university graduates is currently employed at the company in the GDP program. The program defines and provides training in the technical competencies necessary to become fully functional as an industrial hygienist in a mining environment. It also provides the skillset necessary to move into a supervisory role and an opportunity for full-time employment upon completion of the program.

Lessons learned: The program has been successful in attracting and developing IH graduates for a mining environment. The program has also been modified based on learnings from the initial cohort, and input from site management to improve on the current process.



U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) Ebola Virus Disease Testing Mission in West Africa

R. Schoepp, US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Ft Detrick, MD

Situation/Problem: Early in 2014, USAMRIID had a team of scientists in Kenema, Sierra Leone studying undiagnosed febrile illnesses. Previous work had demonstrated that Ebola Zaire virus was circulating in West Africa as early as 2006. When the first suspected EVD cases occurred in the region, the USAMRIID team had Ebola assays to begin immediate testing. The EVD testing mission eventually expanded to Liberia in March of 2014.

Resolution: Diagnostics have proven to be critical to the medical management and control of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa. At the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research (LIBR), the USAMRIID-NIH Integrated Research Facility (IRF) Team converted an HIV testing lab to a BSL-3 plus laboratory, trained the Liberian staff in biocontainment procedures, and molecular testing for EVD.

Results: The laboratory continues EVD testing today and has tested over 17,000 clinical samples from medical facilities and oral swabs from dead body management teams since the start of the outbreak.

Lessons learned: The EVD testing in West Africa evolved. There were technical and cultural challenges that had to be overcome and the institution of solutions resulting in success.



Residential Ventilation and Its Effect on Inhalation Exposure

M. Jayjock, Jayjock Associates, LLC, Langhorne, PA

Situation/Problem: It has often been said "the solution to air pollution is dilution". Ventilation represents a primary exposure control measure in the workplace and other indoor environments. As such, ventilation appears in essentially every model predicting the breathing zone concentration of a generated airborne contaminant. The problem is, how does one best quantitatively describe ventilation in the scenario of interest. The answer for outdoor concentrations from point or area sources is pretty well defined via the use of meteorological data. The situation indoors is much more complicated and involves answers to such questions as the nature of the source(s), the overall directionality and speed of air in the indoor space and the nature of the air movers indoors. For example, homes with forced hot/cool air ventilation will have very different ventilation patterns and levels for specific scenarios compared to homes without a central fan.

Resolution: Exposure scenarios, especially indoor air pollution scenarios are primarily driven by two factors; namely, the characteristics of the source(s) and the nature of the ventilation. Understanding both these entities to the extent possible by historical or measured data allows one to best match and parameterize an appropriate exposure model. This matching and variable assignment, in turn, provides the most accurate estimate of breathing zone concentration for the (sub)population of interest.

Results: Three (3) specific examples will be provided that demonstrate how one should characterize the ventilation and generation scenario for each example and how this characterization impacts the predicted exposures for specific populations of interest. The impact and importance of mis-matching of ventilation types will be discussed.

Lessons learned: One needs to understand the nature of the exposure scenario of interest in as much depth as necessary to provide the best analysis. Significant subpopulations and the ventilation conditions extant within these populations always need to be considered in providing population estimates of exposure in any scenario.​