Spectrum of Legal Issues


Thursday, May 26, 2016, 1:00 PM - 3:20 PM


A Review of the New York City and New York State Legionella Regulations for Cooling Tower Management—Are They Enough to Prevent Legionellosis Cases?

D. Miskowski, EMSL Analytical Inc., Cinnaminson, NJ

Situation/Problem: Both New York State and New York City passed groundbreaking regulations in the US requiring Legionella monitoring of cooling tower and potable water in response to the largest outbreak of Legionnaires disease in the Bronx that occurred in August 2015. The New York State regulation specifically mentions retaining Industrial Hygienists, as well as other professions, to help building owners with industrial cooling towers meet these regulations. This presentation will compare these regulations to the new ASHRAE 188 standard practice guidelines for the prevention of Legionellosis accepted by ANSI in 2015, to do determine if they really accomplish what they claim.

Resolution: Both the ASHRAE guidelines and the New York regulations are historic measures in the US as a first step in preventing additional Legionnaires disease cases. Since these measures are live documents that will be undergoing routine updates, this presentation will also include thought topics on additional changes that can be made to strengthen them.

Results: Suggestions will be made that will help Industrial Hygienists understand why it is so difficult to control legionellosis outbreaks as well as provide suggestions to help their clients obtain compliance with these new regulations.

Lessons learned: A discussion will be included on the competition between New York State and New York City to be the first to pass historic Legionella regulations and how it impacted the outcome.



An Update on USDOL-OSHA’s Efforts to Reduce Heat Deaths and Illnesses

G. Lamson, OSHA Salt Lake Technical Center, Sandy, UT; M. Hodgson and S. Arbury, OSHA Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing, Washington, DC

Situation/Problem: After five years of enhanced enforcement and outreach by the USDOL-OSHA to reduce heat illness and fatalities, exposure to heat continues to kill workers in the United States. The campaign to reduce injuries and fatalities included: training for compliance officers; a coordinated outreach program to inform employers and workers of the dangers of working in hot environments; and the steps that can be taken to work safely in heat. As part of the campaign, OSHA’s Health Response Team (HRT) and Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing (OOMN) have reviewed fatality and illness cases looking for lessons that employers can use to develop heat stress prevention programs that reduce workplace heat illnesses and fatalities.

Resolution: Lacking a specific standard for heat exposure OSHA is required to use the “General Duty Clause” of The OSH Act which states that employers are to ensure that workers are furnished a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. Compliance officers use the OSHA Technical Manual, the ACGIH® TLV® booklet and guidance from the HRT and OOMN as investigation guidelines and blueprints for prescribing suitable controls.

Results: Over five years, numerous inspections  have been performed. Many of those inspections lead to citations and hazard alert letters being issued to employers. We have also seen some exemplary heat stress prevention programs that we need to recognize. Sharing these success stores and model heat stress programs will help employers know what USDOL-OSHA is looking for in an employer’s heat stress program.

Lessons learned: We have found areas to improve our investigative process and have addressed them in an updated OSHA Technical Manual chapter which incorporates the 2007 ACGIH® Heat Stress and Heat Strain TLV®. We have also updated our outreach message to emphasis the need for worker acclimatization which was not included in the original “Water. Rest. Shade.” campaign. Finally, we have updated the OSHA.GOV website and the official OSHA heat application to bring them in line with these lessons learned.



The Impact of Key Global Personal Protective Equipment Selection Criteria on Standard Development

J. Tremblay, 3M OHESD, St. Paul, MN

Situation/Problem: Product performance, selection and use standards and regulations are evolving to include requirements and test methods that help encourage personal protective equipment to fit better, be more comfortable, and better align the protection afforded with the amount of protection needed.

Resolution: ISO, EN, and key country standards will be reviewed to determine what requirements and test methods seem to help assess fit, comfort, and optimized protection, how those requirements and test methods compare and contrast with one another, and what are the growing trends.

Results: For respiratory protection: (1) fit testing requirements and test methods are increasing globally with mandatory fit testing standards in US, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Singapore, UK, and most recently France; (2) comfort continues to be a challenge to quantify with breathing resistance as a key indicator in many standards; and (3) optimized protection seems to be addressed with more choices (for example, ISO respiratory protection standard with 6 protection classes). For hearing protection: (1) fit testing recommendations are starting to appear in Canadian and EN standards; (2) comfort is generally not well defined; and (3) optimized protection is reflected in developing EN standards with requirements for low attenuation hearing protectors.

Lessons learned: Fit testing is becoming more and more pervasive in standards and regulations, particularly with more methods becoming available to assess fit. Comfort is not well defined in standards. Optimized protection with more options seems to be a growing trend with more choices for selection as seen in the ISO respiratory protection standard and the EN hearing protection standard.



The Eyes Have It! Occupational Vision Is More Than Just Making Certain Workers Use Their PPE Correctly.

M. Pattison, Army Institute of Public Health, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Situation/Problem: In today’s high tech environment, the visual demands required by the worker for safety and efficiency are much more than just using eye protection. Today’s worker needs to be able to see clearly and comfortably. Often they are performing tasks that are often a lot different from what their predecessors had to do and what their job description now states.

Resolution: When doing a worksite assessment, in addition to determining the appropriate PPE, you need to: (1) Assess the visual demands of the task at hand; (2) Determine if there should be a Vision Standard put in place; and (3) Gain concurrence from those involved including Occupational Health, Safety, Supervisors, etc.

Results: This discussion will include: (1) Performing a worksite assessment including visual demands such as illumination and acuity as well as use of the appropriate PPE. (2) Vision Standards: current requirements and requirements for creating new standards.

Lessons learned: Job Descriptions often do not match the actual tasks required of today's workers, especially in the high tech environment. Individuals responsible for worksite assessments must be able to determine if the written standards meet the actual job requirements observed in the site visit and what to do if they feel that the requirements do not meet the demands.



Evaluation of Occupational Exposure Limits: Lessons Learned from the Alberta Process

D. Radnoff, Alberta Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Situation/Problem: Section 16 of the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Code requires employers to ensure that worker exposure to substances does not exceed Occupational Exposure Limits (OEL). An OEL is the airborne concentration of a substance for which it is believed that nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed on a day to day basis without suffering adverse health effects. OELs are based on review of data from experimental animal and human studies and from industrial experience from studies of workers. The majority of the OELs in the OHS Code are, for the most part, based on Threshold Limit Values (TLVs®) developed by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®).

Resolution: Each year, ACGIH® reviews a number of TLVs® and makes revisions based on current science and knowledge regarding the effects of these chemicals on the body. In Alberta, the OHS legislation does not automatically adopt the most current version of the TLVs; rather a process of review and consultation is followed to ensure that the exposure limits are appropriate for Alberta workplaces.

Results: Alberta has developed a process to directly involve affected stakeholders in the review and adoption of OELs. As a result, OELs in the OHS Code are typically amended on about a five-year cycle. This process, which has evolved over the years, is somewhat different than that taken by other Canadian jurisdictions and will be discussed in this presentation.

Lessons learned: It is possible and achievable to amend OELs on a regular schedule with the support of stakeholders. However, this process needs to be flexible, inclusive and comprehensive. In addition, this process must be reviewed and evaluated on a regular basis.



The Evolution of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Office Ergonomics and Reasonable Accommodation Process

T. Silva, Atlas Injury Prevention Solutions, Grand Haven, MI

Situation/Problem: PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the world’s largest, multinational professional services networks with a large percentage of the work population using hoteling stations and working remotely from client and home office locations. In addition to these challenges, the firm must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities who are staff or candidates for employment. Examples include but are not limited ergonomic furniture (i.e., office chairs) interior and exterior PwC office facilities adjustments (i.e., ADA doors, special parking space, etc.).

Resolution: Launched in August 2012 (reengineered in 2014), the AbilityWorks solution is a centralized approach where staff requests involving reasonable accommodations are referred to and managed through the firm’s Human Resources Management System. This presentation will examine how PricewaterhouseCoopers utilized Six Sigma methodologies to develop and subsequently improve their AbilityWorks solution.

Results: Improved the firm’s organizational processes and approach to determining reasonable accommodation requests. Establishment of Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) for all deliverables in the Ergonomic Work Stream, resulting in data driven approach to better measure program performance. Standardized approach to evaluating and controlling ergonomic hazards. Significant reductions in errors in the office ergonomics recommendation process through the creation of SOPs and detailed equipment guidelines.

Lessons learned: PricewaterhouseCoopers’ standard practices for making requests for reasonable accommodations and purchasing ergonomic equipment. Strategies for hoteling (shared) stations and working in client environments. Classification of portable, non-portable and prohibited equipment. How to use different Six Sigma methods to collect Voice of the Customer and determine Critical to Quality characteristics. How to use process flow diagrams to document the work flow.



Fire and Smoke Damage Investigations and Testing Options

E. Mirica, EMSL Analytical, Cinnaminson, NJ

Situation/Problem: Fire and smoke damage is a covered peril in most homeowner policies. Disputes with the insurances companies often arise over the need for cleaning versus the need for replacing the items that have been exposed to smoke. Successful insurance claims are typically associated with analytical results that use sound scientific methods to evaluate the extent of damage or to determine the suitable remediation measures.

Resolution: This presentation provides a systematic description of the target analytes in fire debris analysis, the sampling procedures, and the applicable analytical techniques. The capabilities and limitations of each analytical method for characterization and quantification of the combustion by-products (char, soot/black carbon, and ash) are also evaluated.

Results: The comprehensive characterization of the combustion by-products is best supported by the use of an array of techniques involving light and electron microscopy, both in scanning and transmission mode, with energy dispersive x-ray analyzers to determine the elemental composition of the particles. Light microscopy is best used for screening purposes. Advanced electron microscopy techniques are important for the confirmation of the analytes. When even more in-depth information is required, employment of Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy can be used to determine the residual semi-volatile components, information critical to further characterize the fire event (including the presence of accelerants). The results of the analytical package can be successfully used for cleaning assessment or insurance claims.

Lessons learned: The selection of the appropriate analytical methodologies is an essential step for the characterization of the analytes associated with fire debris. The results obtained following the comprehensive analytical approach that combines the light and electron microscopy, with the additional valuable information supplied by the analysis of the semi-volatile components, provide the most valuable and legally defensible analytical package used to assess the extent of the damage produced by the fire, the magnitude of the remediation effort, and the post-remediation cleaning assessmen​t.​