Friday, May 25, 2012

ERC Tour 2012 - We are home

It was a great week. I enjoyed the entire week, visiting the sites, and learning with the students and other faculty. This is an opportunity for students to learn about occupational safety and health outside of the classroom. This tour gives students the chance to see workers in their work environment, allows them to see the hazards and exposures, and gives them the opportunity asses a real life condition.

The interdisciplinary aspect of the tour allows students to learn from each other, create an understanding that we need to rely on multiple disciplines to ensure workers are safe.

I am glad we had the opportunity to meet with our colleagues from Cincinnati and Italy. Thanks for a great week.

Below are some of the fun pictures.

ERC Tour 2012 - Hope Cemetery Pictures

Below are some pictures from Hope Cemetery in Barre, VT. The monuments are extraordinary.

ERC Tour 2012 - Rock of Ages

We visited the Rock of Ages granite quarry.  It is awesome to see the 600 foot deep quarry, and the massive pieces of granite that are cut from the earth.  The large blocks of granite are hoisted up to the top of the quarry, where they are cut to smaller pieces. Even these smaller pieces are huge.  After the granite is taken form the quarry, it goes to the factory to be made into a piece of art. Rock of Ages makes many memorials, head stones, and other intricate stone pieces.

We learned about silicosis, a respiratory disease found in the granite workers. The pneumatic drilling operations lead to the increased rate of silicosis in the workers.

After Rock of Ages, we went to the hope Cemetery. This cemetery is a "museum" of ornate headstones. There are elaborate headstones made to represent the hobbies of those who are buried in the cemetery. You can see race cars, soccer balls, airplanes, ad other extraordinary grave markings.

Following lunch, we went to Ben and Jerrys ice cream. A delicious way to end the tour.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

ERC Tour 2012 - Sappi Paper

We visited Sappi Paper, in Skowhegan, Maine today. Skip Pratt, the Manager of Safety and Industrial Hygiene, provided a great overview of the safety and health issues at the paper mill. They have an extensive lock out tag out program, confined space entry procedures, and a process safety management program. After the overview, we were able to tour the paper mill. We saw how paper is made, dried, and rolled.  Sappi makes high end papers for magazines, annual reports, and other quality uses.

Thanks to Skip and his team for hosting us today, and allowing us to walk through the plant.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ERC Tour 2012 - Bath Iron Works

Today we visited Bath Iron Works and the Maine Maritime Museum.

Bath Iron Works has been a leading ship building site over 100 years. They have built over 245 military ships, mostly destroyers and frigates for the US Navy. We were able to tour the facility from the comfy confines of our bus, as it drove through the ship yard. We were able to see some of the operations to build the ships. Sections of the ships are assembled, and the sections are brought to the staging are for final assembly.  They are working on the Zumwalt, a high tech US Navy Destroyer ship. We also saw the USS Michael Murphy, named after Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy Seal killed in action in Afghanistan.

After the BIW visit, we visited the Maine Maritime Museum. The museum honors the ship building past by preserving part of Percy and Small ship building. They built the Wyoming, largest wood framed sailing vessel ever built. We had the opportunity to see several historic buildings, including the tree nail shop, the mill and joiner shop.

After the tours, the tour participants had free time in Freeport or Portland.

Monday, May 21, 2012

ERC Tour 2012 - New Bedford, MA

Today, Ted Harrington from the USCG Division Office in Boston, met us to provide an overview of fishing safety issues. He provided real life scenarios of what type of decision-making needs to occur when something goes wrong on a fishing vessel. The three things he stressed are: 1. Have the necessary equipment; 2. The equipment is capable of being used; and 3. Fishermen know how to use the equipment.  He showed us several videos that showed that equipment was available and the fishermen knew how to use it, but it not capable of being used.

After that, Rodney Avila took us to the docks in New Bedford to show us several types of fishing vessels. We went on one of the scallop boats that was being repaired, and saw how the workers would work on the boat.

It was a great experience to see the dangers of fishing safety, and to learn the advancements in the past 8 years in training fishermen in safety practices. Through these training programs it is hoped that the accident and fatality rates continue to drop.

A great big THANKS to Ted and Rodney!

After arriving in Portland, the participants presented their site overview for Bath Iron Works and Sappi Paper. Then everyone was on their own for dinner and more.  Guess who was at Karaoke? 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

ERC Tour 2012 - Sakonnet Vineyards

We had a great start to the tour. We left UMDNJ at about 7:40 this morning, met the rest of the group at Hunter College, and headed to Sakonnet Vineyards ( in Little Compton, RI.  On the way up, students presented an overview of Sakonnet vineyards, and the safety and health issues facing workers who work at a winery.  We started with a tour of the vineyard. Pumpkin, the Vineyard manager, demonstrated the different types of hand tools used to prune the vines. You can see some of the tools in the pictures. She provided the opportunity for everyone to ask questions about the type of work she does.

We then were met by the Vineyard owners, who provided the opportunity for a wine tasting. We tasted six different wines, which were good.

We then went through the winery, where the wine is processed from pressing to bottling. It was a great opportunity for us to learn about agricultural worker hazards, and some of the methods used to control the hazards.

At the end of the tour, many took the opportunity to purchase some of the wines we tasted. Thanks to Sakonnet Vineyards for being a great host.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Historical Perspectives Tour 2012

Our Annual Historical Perspectives Tour will start on Sunday May 20. We are visiting New Bedford, MA for commercial fishing, Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME, Sappi Paper in Skohegan, ME and Rock of Ages Granite in Barre, VT. Each day information about our visit will be posted.