AMERICAN SOCIETY OF SAFETY ENGINEERS
Editor: Norma J. Lupkes
Puget Sound Chapter
Olympia Section October 2007
Thought for the Month September Meeting
The Fall kick-off meeting was held Sept. 26 in the South
Grab every extra five minutes
you can find. If every two Boardroom at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade
hours you spend just five Center during the 56th Annual Governor’s Industrial Safety
minutes exercising at the end & Health Conference. There were five members and two
of the day you will have 30- guests present. The guests were Nancy McGroder,
40 minutes accumulated!
Weyerhaeuser and Steve Heist, L&I-DOSH.
President Scott welcomed everyone and introductions
were made. The announcement was made that Tom
Sjostrom, L&I – SHARP has taken over the duties of the
treasurer replacing Lynda Stoneberg. A big thank-you to
Lynda for her diligent work in the role she played in
Treasury Balance getting our finances with the chapter straightened out.
$2,205.39 The next step is for Scott, Lynda and Tom to make a trip to
the bank to get the signature cards renewed.
Several topics for the coming year were discussed with the
dates to be published when they are all finalized. We
should have an interesting year ahead. Roy has contacted
the Hardiplank facility in Fredrickson for a tour in the
October 24, 2007 The meeting will be held on October 24, 2007 – 11:30 -The
11:30-1:00 at the L&I speaker will be Scott Edwards CSP and the topic:
Building in Tumwater – Overview of the Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis Study
(TIRES) grant being conducted by SHARP and its
Room S-216 adjacent to
application to other industries. Join us for an interesting
the Cafeteria presentation and get back into the swing of things at your
monthly ASSE section meetings!
ASSE Olympia Section Executive Committee 2007-2008
President Scott Edwards WA Dept L&I (360) 902-4732 Edww235@lni.wa.gov
Vice-President Roy Berreth City of Tacoma (253) 591-5745 email@example.com
Secretary Norma J. Lupkes Weyerhaeuser (253) 924-4532 firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer Tom Sjostrom WA Dept L&I (360) 902- Sjo235@lni.wa.gov
(Items below are informational only and not a recommendation by the Olympia ASSE section)
DuPont, Environmental Defense Issue Framework for Nanotechnology Safety
This summer the Environmental Defense and DuPont released a comprehensive framework
to assist with the responsible development and use of nanotechnology and to help with the
global dialogue on nanotech's potential risks.
The Nano Risk Framework is intended for use around the world by small and large
companies, regulatory agencies, universities and others with an interest in commercializing
nanoscale materials. Environmental Defense and DuPont began a partnership on
nanotechnology in September 2005, creating a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in
science, engineering, law and business. The goal was to develop a systematic and disciplined
process for evaluating and addressing the environmental, health and safety risks of
nanomaterials across all stages of a product's lifecycle -- from initial sourcing through
manufacture, use, and recycling or disposal.
The framework offers a thorough and usable six-step process for organizations to identify,
assess and manage potential risks, officials said. The six steps within the framework include:
describing the material and the intended application; profiling the material's lifecycle in this
application; evaluating the associated risks; assessing risk management options; deciding
and documenting actions; and regularly reviewing new information and adapting actions
"Nanotechnology has the potential to unleash innovations in materials, energy and other
fields that could lead to powerful environmental and health benefits," said Gwen Ruta,
director of corporate partnerships at Environmental Defense. "Our intent is to help reap the
full promise of this technology without creating unintended consequences. We want to get
this right the first time around."
DuPont Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Linda Fisher stated that the framework
outlines a disciplined process for the responsible development of nanomaterials. "At DuPont,
we have adopted this approach as a part of our mandatory product stewardship process,
and we encourage others to do the same. While we do not see this framework as a
substitute for regulation, we hope that it assists governments in drafting appropriate
regulations," Fisher said.
In developing the framework, Environmental Defense and DuPont solicited and received
significant feedback from a broad range of interested parties, including other businesses,
government officials and academics. The framework uses proven risk-management
techniques in order to fully integrate with any current environmental, health and safety
practices in place within companies. It also provides several new elements that can be
instrumental in understanding the unique potential risks of nanomaterials, including:
The recommendation to develop informational profiles (or "base sets") regarding the
properties, hazards and exposures associated with a given nanomaterial.
Guidance on developing more detailed information on physical-chemical properties, eco-
toxicity and environmental fate than has typically been used in existing risk management
In order to evaluate the effectiveness, flexibility and practicality of the framework, DuPont
conducted three demonstration projects on three different classes of nanoscale materials: a
new titanium dioxide-based product, carbon nanotubes and zero valent iron. "These
projects were selected not only because they are of interest to DuPont, but also because
they represent a good test of the framework," said Terry Medley, DuPont global regulatory
affairs director. "Each represents a different position for DuPont in the value chain and is at
a different stage of development. The projects required different resources, produced
varying outcomes, and each demonstrated different aspects of the framework."
For more information, visit http://www.nanoriskframework.com.
Second-hand Smoke Study Finds Non-smoking Workers Immediately Absorb
SCIENTISTS have found that nonsmoking restaurant and bar employees absorb a potent
carcinogen while working in places where they had to breathe tobacco smoke from
customers and co-workers. The carcinogen, NNK, is found in the body only as a result of
using tobacco or breathing secondhand smoke.
In a study published in the August edition of the American Journal of Public Health,
investigators at the Multnomah County Health Department and Oregon Department of
Human Services report that elevated levels of NNK showed up in the urine of nonsmoking
employees shortly after they encountered secondhand smoke during their shifts. Moreover,
levels of NNK, which is known to cause lung cancer, increased by 6 % for each hour of work.
"This is the first study to show increases in NNK as a result of a brief workplace exposure,
and that levels of this powerful carcinogen continue to increase the longer the person works
in a place where smoking is permitted. NNK is a major cancer-causing agent from tobacco
products -- and workers should not have to be exposed to any dose of this very dangerous
chemical," said Michael Stark, PhD, of the Multnomah County Health Department and the
study's lead author. "The science shows that the threat of disease from secondhand smoke
is no longer a distant threat. The amount of this carcinogen increases even within a single
In a related study in the same issue of the journal, experts in public health law note that
across the country employers already are being held legally liable for exposing workers to
secondhand smoke, even if state or local laws permit workplace smoking. They warn that as
scientists continue to provide evidence of harm, employers could soon face a clear choice:
either voluntarily ban smoking in the workplace or face an increase in costly legal actions.
"When employers that allow smoking have scientists telling them that as soon as workers get
on the job, they're breathing in some of the most dangerous carcinogens around, it's time to
think about whether they want to deal with that kind of liability," said Marice Ashe with the
Public Health Law Program at the Public Health Institute in Oakland, Calif., and the lead
author of the legal analysis. "The science is making it easier and easier to persuade courts to
sanction employers who continue to allow smoking."
The Stark study on the effects of workplace smoking, "The Impact of Clean Indoor Air
Exemptions and Preemption on the Prevalence of a Tobacco-Specific Lung Carcinogen
Among Nonsmoking Bar and Restaurant Workers," was funded by the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation's Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP --
It followed 52 nonsmoking employees of bars and restaurants in Oregon communities where
smoking is still permitted in such establishments and compared them to 32 nonsmoking bar
and restaurant employees from other Oregon municipalities where smoking is prohibited by
local ordinance. Researchers collected urine samples from both groups before and after their
work shifts and tested them for the tobacco produced lung carcinogen NNK.
In their analysis of the legal and liability issues raised by workplace smoking hazards --
"Legal Risks to Employers Allowing Smoking in the Workplace" -- Ashe and her colleagues
said employees harmed by secondhand smoke already are using workers' compensation
laws, state and federal disability laws and an employer's legal responsibility to "provide a
safe workplace" to take action against secondhand smoke. While in the past such cases
have not always met with success, the study notes that as the scientific evidence mounts,
employers will increasingly be on the losing end.
"Employers are always talking about high costs of insurance and the need to reduce their
potential liabilities," Ashe said. "Voluntarily banning smoking and supporting state and local
legislation mandating smoke-free workplaces is a relatively cheap and easy way of removing
a cumbersome and costly liability."
Making the Grade
By Mike Longman
Updates at Bowater Inc.'s newsprint plant at Grenada, Miss., have
strengthened workers' protection against arc flash while easing heat stress
IN 2005, Bowater Inc., a leading producer of coated and specialty papers and
newsprint, stood by its commitment to ensure the safety of its workers at a
Grenada, Miss. facility that is Mississippi’s only newsprint manufacturer.
Bowater looked to our Electrical Services and Systems district office in Pelham,
Ala. to implement its arc flash training, perform an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis to
assess its safety needs and concerns, and to coordinate its power systems.
An arc flash is produced by a flow of electrical current through ionized air after
an initial flashover or short circuit. An arc flash event releases a tremendous
amount of energy in the form of thermal heat, toxic fumes, pressure waves,
blinding light, sound waves, and explosions that can result in serious injuries
that include critical burns, collapsed lungs, loss of vision, ruptured eardrums,
and puncture wounds. Some are fatal.
Accidents, unintentional contact with electrical systems, equipment failure,
improperly designed equipment, and/or work procedures can cause an arc flash explosion.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, an arc flash occurs “when an electric
current passes through air between ungrounded conductors or between ungrounded
conductors and grounded conductors.” NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the
Workplace, sets forth basic requirements for electrical safety at work sites and requirements
for arc flash hazards, in particular.
An arc flash releases dangerous levels of radiant
heat energy that can cause fatal or severe burns.
Fatal burns can occur to workers up to 5 feet or Bowater is merging with Abitibi-
more from the arc, and severe burns can happen up
Consolidated Inc., another large
to 10 feet away during a high-energy arc flash. An newsprint supplier, in what the
arc flash produces some of the highest temperatures companies call a “merger of equals.”
on earth—up to 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. These The resulting company, AbitibiBowater,
excessive temperatures cause the air and metal in
will be the third largest public paper
the path of the arc to expand and explode, creating and forest products company in the
an arc blast. United States and the eighth largest in
the world. The company’s headquarters
Protective Clothing Strikes a Balance and executive offices will be located in
Based upon the initial systems study findings, Montreal, Canada. U.S. regional
Bowater and our team devised a strategy to reduce manufacturing and sales offices will be
arc flash danger significantly at the Grenada facility.
in Greenville, S.C.
Bowater immediately called upon our power systems
expertise to coordinate its existing electrical protective measures, devices, and monitoring,
as well as conduct the arc flash analysis. An integrated systems approach for Bowater served
to identify potential arc flash hazard areas within the electrical system and offer a variety of
Employee safety was the primary concern of Gary Fant, Bowater’s maintenance manager.
Because of generally hot and humid conditions at the facility, Fant wanted to create an
environment in which the employees could wear sufficient personal protective clothing to
prevent the potentially fatal or severe effects of arc flash, yet not so much that employees
would be exposed to the danger of extreme heat stress. Installation of new switch units
offered the primary line of defense. These innovative protective devices, installed in the
company’s power circuit breakers, lower arc flash incident energy levels by temporarily
lowering trip settings while workers are performing work on the energized electrical system.
Bowater’s commitment to employee safety and arc flash incident prevention was emblematic
of its historical efforts to prevent workplace accidents. The company’s meticulous
recordkeeping and data collection removed a major hurdle faced with many industrial
clients; implementation could be expedited because Bowater had helped lay the groundwork.
Still, there were several key challenges during the safety solutions implementation.
No Downtime Allowed
Bowater, one of the world’s largest newsprint producers, could not afford lengthy downtime.
This led to a tight timeframe to upgrade and install the units onto the company’s circuit
breakers. Bowater’s production schedule allowed only a three-day window for operation
shutdown, during which the retrofitting and testing of 96 circuit breakers in almost 30
locations had to take place, while simultaneously performing testing and maintenance at all
levels of the power system.
Several workstations were set up to retrofit the units onto the circuit breakers and test them.
Switchgear specialists were brought in from Alabama and Louisiana to oversee the project.
In the meantime, additional, specific information was being collected about the connected
loads and operating parameters for each breaker, and an on-site system study was under
way to verify proper settings for each individual breaker. While the installation took place,
key parts of the Bowater mill remained open and functional so other necessary maintenance
work could be done. The work was completed in June 2006, resulting in a state-of-the-art
safety system and maximum peace of mind for electrical maintenance employees and
Heat Stress Concerns Eased
By installing the units, Bowater was able to offer its electrical workers three key safety and
1. The change lowered arc flash incident energy levels in work locations.
2. Less arc flash PPE is required, which reduces heat stress. For example, MCC 51- 05 before
the retrofit was a category 3 arc flash hazard at 8.3 cal/cm2, requiring a flame resistant (FR)
shirt and pants, plus FR coveralls over them. After the retrofit, MCC 51-05 was reduced to a
category 1 arc flash hazard at 1.9 cal/cm2, requiring only an FR shirt and pants.
3. For system reliability, replacing the older analog breaker trip units with microprocessor-
based true RMS trip units gives more flexibility to the power systems engineer in making
settings for system coordination. Also, the true RMS units are less susceptible to nuisance
tripping from harmonic signals on the line generated by Bowater’s paper mill drives.
Bowater is currently implementing an electrical safety program that includes all aspects of
NFPA 70E. It is implementing procedures to take the arc flash safety improvements within its
electrical system a step beyond. As the company develops and implements its ongoing
electrical safety program, informational sharing sessions will increase employees’ awareness
of their evolving role in the overall safety program. With a safety initiative of this magnitude,
there is no downtime.
About the author: Mike Longman is Vice President of PowerChain Management for Eaton
Corporation, a Cleveland, Ohio-based manufacturer of products including the Cutler-Hammer
Arc Flash Reduction Maintenance Switch (ARMS)™ units discussed in this article.