Thursday, June 6, 2013

Love Canal - ERC Tour 2013

Last night, a bunch of our group walked to Canada to view NIagara Falls from the Canadian side. 

Today we visited Love Canal. Our colleagues from Conestoaga Rovers and Associates presented an overview of the history of Love Canal, including the dumping if wastes in the canal, development and design of the landfill, and control of the wastes that a re buried on site. Many of the environmental and health and safety regulations are now in effect because of Love Canal, including Superfund and the creation of the National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites. The tour included a look at the treatment facility on site. Then we walked on the cap of the Love Canal site. The site looks park-like, with a few monitoring wells around the perimeter.  Love Canal was de-listed in 2004, and now is in a monitoring and treatment operation.

We dropped our colleagues from the University of Cincinnati at the Buffalo Airport. It was great having you on board and participating in our trip.  We are heading back home on our bus.  Another successful Historical Perspectives Tour.  Thanks to all of our particpants for an enjoyable week.  And a big thanks to Dave, our bus driver, for getting us around safely!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Materion Beryllium ERC Tour 2013

We visited Materion in Elmore, OH. They manufacture beryllium alloys. The tour they provided gave us an opportunity to see their products manufactured. These include beryllium alloys that are made into strip coils, wires, and rods, bars, and tubes. They do not manufacture any particular end-product, but the beryllium alloys materials are included in many of the products we use and are used across the globe. These include computers and cell phones, and in the oil and gas, and aerospace industries.  Throughout the visit, we saw how they address safety and health issues of their workforce.  Most of our group were in personal protective equipment, including tyvek suits, powered air purifying respirators, and hearing protection.  These visited areas that had the potential for exposure. Others visited areas that did not require the use of respiratory protection.

The Materion tour allows us to see how workers are protected with PPE and engineering controls, so that exposure to hazardous materials is minimized or eliminated.  Thanks to our hosts at Materion for providing this opportunity for our visit.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

River Rouge ERC Tour 2013

The visit to Ford River Rouge plant is a great way to understand how cars are assembled. The tour starts with a video overview of the River Rouge plant, which opened in 1913, and the history of Ford Motor Corporation. The video shows how Henry Ford developed the assembly line to increase productivity in the manufacture of automobiles.  When Ford started this approach, it reduced the time to make a car from 12 hours to 93 minutes.  The second “multi-sensory” video showed how the process at the River Rouge Factory. We all were able to see the assembly process, and see the F150 trucks rolling off the assembly line.

Students are able to assess the types of work that workers perform during the assembly process, as well as how mechanized the process is.  Many of the steps in the process are mechanized, utilizing robots and other machinery to install parts to create the F150.

Tonight we are in Toledo. We will visit with Materion Brush staff during dinner to prepare for our visit to their facility tomorrow.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Carrie Furnaces/Homestead Steel and NIOSH PPTL ERC Tour 2013

Can you imagine 33,000 workers on 480 acres of steel works? That is what Homestead Steel Works was.  At its most productive, Homestead Steel Works produced nearly a third of all the steel used in the United States. The Carrie Furnaces stood at the heart of Homestead Works until 1979. At one time, the furnaces and the steelworkers who labored in them produced more than 1,000 tons of iron a day.  Today, all that is left is the remnants of those days. Homestead Steel Works is mostly on outdoor mall. However, Carrie Furnaces is now an area that can be visited to see the blast furnaces that produced iron. The Carrie Furnaces were built in 1884 and they operated until 1982.  Now they are relics of the past.  Visiting the site we were able to get an idea of what workers did to produce iron for the production of steel.

Then we went to the NIOSH Personal Protective Technologies Lab. Here we visited four labs to see the research NIOSH conducts on personal protective equipment.  The labs we visited are:
Mine Rescue and Escape Training Laboratory (Virtual Reality)
The Advanced Respirator Test Headform
Fit Testing Labs
Sweating Manikin

In each of the labs, we saw some of the latest research conducted to improve how workers can be better protected from hazards, and how PPE can be better constructed to make it more effective for workers.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lackawana Coal Mine Tour 2013

The Historical Perspectives Tour is off to a great start. We have 27 participants from the NY/NJ ERC and the Univ of Cincinnati ERC. 

Today we visited the Lackawana Coal Mine Tour in Scranton, PA. We descended into the mine, 300 feet below the surface.  We learned about room and pillar mining.  The guide also taught us about the different jobs that workers had, staring with 5 year old boys who worked above ground.  At 8 or 9 years old they moved to jobs in the mine, such as a Nipper (they operated the doors in the mine), Sprager (they were the braking system for the coal cars), and Mule boys (took care of the mules). 

Miners were paid between $1.15 and $1.25 per car load of coal (approximately 5 tons).  Although, at the end of the day, they really took home nothing, as they had to purchase their tools and supplies, pay other workers, and pay for other things with that money.

Hicahm Alnachawati, Moiz Khan, Kelechi Isiugo, Ifeanyi Nwaneshidu made a nice presention on coal mining to the group. Now we are off to Pittsburgh for our tour of Homestead Steel/Carrie Furnaces and the NIOSH Personal Protective Technologies Lab.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Historical Perspectives 2013

Our eighth 2013 Historical Perspectioves on Occupational Safety and Health Tour starts on Sunday. We will be visiting Lackawanna Coal Mine, Carrie Furnaces (Rivers of Steel Heritage), NIOSH PPTL, Ford River Rouge Factory, Materion Brush, and Love Canal. We have 28 participants, from each of our ERC programs here in NY and NJ, as well as four from the University of Cincinnati ERC.

We are looking forward to a great trip, learning about occupational health and safety issues from an interdisciplinary approach.