Center Director’s Blog

OSHA Criticized for Lax Regulation of Meatpacking in Pandemic

October 23, 2020

Covid-19 outbreaks at a meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colorado were in the news at the beginning of the pandemic.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited and fined this plant for virus-related violations.  The NY Times today discusses whether worker concerns have been addressed and highlights disparities among different work sectors, including the meatpacking industry, healthcare and emergency services.

Find the New York Times Article written by Noam Scheiber here.

In Memoriam: Dr. Bailus Walker Jr.

April 17, 2020

LegaciesDr. Bailus Walker Jr. passed away recently. Dr. Walker was an MPH alum of the University of Michigan Department of Environmental Health Sciences. He had most recently worked as a Professor of Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Toxicology in the College of Medicine at Howard University. A statement by Howard University recalled Dr. Walker as “a consummate public health practitioner”. The statement continued, “Dr. Walker was a past president of the American Public Health Association (APHA). His research interests included lead toxicity and environmental carcinogenesis. In addition to his leadership roles with APHA, he was also a distinguished fellow of both the Royal Society of Health and the American College of Epidemiology. He also served as a senior science advisor for environmental health to the National Library of Medicine. His service included leading various state and federal government working groups, committees, and task forces.”

Read the full statement from Howard University here: https://newsroom.howard.edu/newsroom/article/12266/memoriam-professor-bailus-walk

The University of Michigan School of Public Health wrote a legacies article about Dr. Walker, which can be found here: https://sph.umich.edu/findings/fall2016/alumni-network/legacies.html

Image courtesy of UM SPH.

ERC Accomplishments 2019-2020

April 9, 2020

The University of Michigan Center for Occupational Health and Safety Engineering (UM COHSE) conducts a wide range of activities related to professional training, research, outreach, continuing education, and service in the field of occupational safety and health (OSH).  We support trainees and programs in four disciplines, namely, Industrial Hygiene (IH), Occupational Health Nursing (OHN), Occupational Safety Engineering and Ergonomics (OSE), and Occupational Epidemiology (OE). Our Outreach, Continuing Education, Pilot Program Research Training, and Targeted Research Training programs also contribute significantly to the field of OSH. We would like to highlight some of the accomplishments and notable activities of our ERC over the last year.

COHSE Professors gather in Seattle for a workshop on interprofessional education. Pictured are OHN Director Marjorie McCullagh, OE Director Marie O’Neill, Center Director Stuart Batterman, and PPRT Director Rick Neitzel.

Examples of appointments and honors for faculty follow:

  • OHN Director Prof. Marjorie McCullagh was awarded the Ruth. B. Freeman Award at the 2019 American Public Health Association Conference. The award honors an individual who has had a distinguished career in public health administration, education, policy, practice, or research. Dr. McCullagh was also named the Sally L. Lusk Collegiate Professor of Nursing by the University of Michigan Board of Regents.
  • IH Program Assistant Director Prof. Richard Neitzel launched a large-scale big data project funded by Apple Inc. to evaluate the impacts of music and noise exposure on hearing and cardiovascular health in America.
  • OSE Director Prof. Nadine Sarter received a Collegiate Professorship Recognition as the Richard W. Pew Collegiate Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering, and she was the recipient of the 2020 IOE Department Faculty Merit Award.
  • OSE Deputy Director Prof. Clive D’Souza was the recipient of the UM Distinguished Diversity Leaders Team, as part of the UM Student IDEA Board. He also was awarded the Certification of Appreciation, James T. Neubacher Award from the UM Council for Disability Concerns. Dr. D’Souza was also selected for the Achievement Honor Roll Award by the State of Michigan Department of Labor and Economics Opportunity.
  • OSE Prof. Jessie Yang received the Ted Kennedy Family Faculty Team Excellence Award from the UM College of Engineering, as well as the ZF Automotive Endowed Research Award by the UM College of Engineering.

Several continuing education programs deserve special recognition:

  • The Comprehensive Industrial Hygiene Review course has been offered twice annually for many years and again enjoyed good attendance and excellent attendee reviews this past year. This is a testament to the quality of our presenters, resulting in the best form of advertising: attendee recommendations to prospective registrants.
  • Two Human Factors Engineering Short Courses are offered in successive weeks. Participants can attend one or both courses. These programs are nationally and internationally known and recognized by human factors professionals. The courses conducted in July 2019 were the 59th year they were offered. Attendance is strong and the speakers, topics, materials, and small group exercises are updated annually. These programs focus on designing products, systems and services to make them easier, safer and more effective for human use. Dr. Paul Green, University of Michigan faculty member and Course Director, is a strong leader for these courses.
  • The ERC Regional Symposium: The Most Hazardous U.S. Industries, was scheduled for March 13, 2020 in Lexington, KY. ERCs from the University of Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and Cincinnati collaboratively developed this program.  Due to COVID-19, this has been postponed.

UM ERC faculty and staff are engaged in a number of outreach and service events. Notably, in the past year:

  • IH Prof. Richard Neitzel continues to provide extensive service to the American Industrial Hygiene Association and was elected Vice-Chair of the ACGIH TLV Physical Agents Committee. He is a member of the expert panel of the Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Conservation Award.
  • Center Director Prof. Stuart Batterman continues to serve on the State of Michigan’s Statewide Drinking Water Advisory Committee.
  • OHN Director Prof. Marjorie McCullagh is active in the American Academy of Nursing, chaired the AAN Health Behavior Expert Panel, and co-chaired a task force on environmental noise abatement.
  • OSE Prof. Clive D’Souza served on the PhD committee of Mr. A. Acquah at the University of Ghana, Accra. Mr. Acquah is working “Ergonomic Risk Factors and Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders Associated with Electronic-Waste recycling at Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana”. Agbogbloshie is one of the world’s largest electronic-waste recycling sites where most recycling is performed by low skilled, low-wage workers, lacking safe methods and adequate resources, leading to high rates of work-relevant musculoskeletal disorders and poor health.
  • IH Director Edward Zellers was a visiting scholar at the University of Zaragoza, Spain for 2 week. He discussed the IH program and opportunities for applying the technology to worker populations.

Students gather at the Wastewater Treatment Plant Tour.

Examples of larger-scale projects that incorporated significant outreach and educational activities included the following:

  • The State of Michigan Consultation, Education and Training (CET) grant provides assistance to small Michigan businesses to address ergonomics issues (Outreach Director Ulin). This ongoing project has provided training to and technical assistance to Michigan companies for over 25 years.  A YouTube channel, C4E TV, contains more than 80 ergonomic case studies that originated from this grant.
  • Participation in NIEHS-supported P30 Core Center in Environmental Health, including Center Director Prof. Batterman leadership of the Exposure Assessment Core, and engagement of OE faculty Profs. Park and O’Neill to the P30’s Community Outreach and Education Core which produced videos and fact sheets in collaboration with community members from Detroit and elsewhere.
  • The ERC sponsored a tour of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Tour on October 26, 2019, which highlighted notable occupational issues. This and other tours attract students, staff, and interested parties across the broader Ann Arbor community, and they introduce many worker and community issues.   Due to COVID-19, the ERC postponed the tour of the Ford Motor River Rouge Complex on March 21, 2020.
  • Center faculty conducted many international activities that contribute to outreach and enhance visibility of the OH&S field, including the Fogarty International Center for the Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEOHealth) Program, directed by OE Prof. Thomas Robins. Center Director Stuart Batterman was also involved in organizing international meetings in both Ann Arbor and Torino, Italy.

 

Time Lapse View of the August 21, 2017 Eclipse

August 25, 2017

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In Memoriam: Professor Steven P. Levine

June 17, 2015

LevineSteven P. Levine, Professor Emeritus of Industrial Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, died in Jupiter, Florida, on March 29, 2015, of pancreatic cancer. He was 71.

With degrees in chemistry from City University of New York (BS, 1965) and in analytical chemistry from the University of Colorado (PhD, 1972), Levine joined the Veterans Administration Hospital Research Center in Denver as a postdoctoral research scientist in 1971. A distinguished career in industry followed at the Stauffer Chemical Company, Ford Motor Company, and Oil and Hazardous Material Corporation. Levine joined the U-M faculty in 1982 and was named Professor Emeritus of Industrial Health in 2003.

Early in his teaching career, Prof. Levine researched the determination of very small amounts of chemicals in complex matrices and in environmental media, including air. This was his introduction to the field of environmental and occupational health, which became his primary interest. He later extended his interests to the monitoring of gaseous contaminants in working environments, with special emphasis on the development and application of advanced infrared detection and quantitation techniques. Prof. Levine was among the first to apply Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy for vapors in the workplace, and he researched applications of “fast GC” methods. He graduated M.S. and Ph.D. students at U-M on these topics including Mark Puskar and H.K. Xiao. In the 1990s, Prof. Levine began to study and develop management systems for the protection of industrial workers, and became a prominent leader in the field of environmental safety and health management and policy. His U-M graduates in these areas include David Dyjack, Michael Brandt, and Charles Redinger.

In a career that spanned three decades, Levine contributed significantly to the protection of workers at hazardous waste sites, the development of international standards and World Health Organization-legal means of ensuring environmental health and safety-system quality, the international harmonization of management systems, and the relations between U.S. national and applicable international regulations. He published over 100 peer-reviewed works and served on many national and international committees and advisory councils. As examples, Prof. Levine served as the president of the AIHA, and as Chair of the AIHA Gas and Vapor Detection Committee. In the area of Industrial Hygiene, his recognitions included the ACGIH/AIHA Hazardous Waste Committee “Drum Buster Award” (1989), the Outstanding Scientific Presentation Award at the Second International Symposium: Field Screening Methods for Hazardous Wastes and Toxic Chemicals, NV (March, 1991), and the John White Award: for the Best Respiratory Protection Paper (1991).

Some of his publications include:

  • Metrological Recommendations for Air Monitoring Instruments, Levine, S.P., Chair and Author, Gas and Vapor Detection Systems Committee, Amer. Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J.,
  • Xiao, H.K., S.P. Levine, W.F. Herget, J.B. D’Arcy, R. Spear,  T. Pritchett. 1991. A Transportable Remote Sensing IR Air Monitoring System. Amer. Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J., 52:449-457
  • Cohen, H.J., S.P. Levine and R.P. Garrison. 1991. Development of a Field Method for Determining the Service Lives of Respirator Cartridges: Results of Field Validation Trials. Amer. Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J., 52:263-270.
  • Wang, S.A., Stuart, J.D., Ke, H.K., and Levine, S.P. 1991.  High-Speed Gas Chromatography Used with the Static Headspace Method to Analyze for the Volatile Aromatics in Gasoline-Contaminated Ground Water Samples. J. High Resol. Chromatogr. Chromatogr. Commun., 14:757-761.
  • Levine, S.P., Turpin, R.D. and Gochfeld, M. 1991. Protecting Personnel at Hazardous Waste Sites: Current Issues. Appl. Occup. Environ. Hyg. J., 6:1007-1014
  • International Guidance Document for Portable Instruments for Assessing Airborne Pollutants Arising from Hazardous Wastes. 1990. Levine, S.P., Chair and Editor, Rep. Sec.5. U.S. Natl. Working Group for Measurement of Pollution.  Organization Internationale Metrologie Legale. Paris, FR
  • Levine, S.P.  1990. The Role of Air Monitoring Techniques in Hazardous Waste Site Personal Protection and Surveillance Strategies. Occupational Medicine: State of the Art Reviews. 5(1):109-116.
  • Levine, S.P.  Air Monitoring at Remedial Waste Sites.  In Analysis of Hazardous Wastes, M. Simmons, ed., Lewis Publishers, Ann Arbor, MI, 1990.
  • Levine, S.P.. Health and Safety at Hazardous Waste Sites, Section 3 in Hazardous Waste Cleanup, Lave, L. and Upton, A., Eds., J. Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1987.
  • Levine, S.P., R. Costello, C.L. Geraci and K. Conlin. 1985. Air Monitoring at the Drum Bulking  Process of a Hazardous Waste Remedial Action Site”, Amer. Ind. Hyg. J., 46(4):192-196.
  • Protecting Personnel at Hazardous Waste Sites, S.P. Levine and W.F. Martin, Eds., Butterworth, Woburn, MA (1985)(Second Edition in preparation).
  • Puskar, M., Levine, S.P., and Turpin, R., Compatibility Testing in “Protecting Personnel at Hazardous Waste Sites”, Chap. 6, S.P. Levine and W.F. Martin, Eds., Butterworth, Woburn, Mass., 1985.
  • Levine, S.P., M.A. Puskar, P. Dymersky, B.J. Warner and C.S. Friedman. 1983. Cross-Contamination of Water Samples Taken for Analysis of Purgeable Halogenated Organics,  Environ. Sci. Technol., 17:125.

A number of Prof. Levine’s publications can be downloaded from U-M’s Deep Blue Server here.

As noted, Prof. Levine was President of the American Industrial Hygiene Association in 2000-2001. He continued the tradition of U-M professors and alumni who have served the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). Other past AIHA Presidents with University of Michigan affiliations include:

  • Dan Anna (2014) – Alumni
  • Michael T. Brandt (2010) – Alumni
  • Steven P. Levine (2000) – Former Professor
  • D. Jeff Burton (1997) – Alumni
  • S. Z. Mansdorf (1996) – Alumni
  • Henry J. Muranko (1992) – Alumni
  • John L. Henshaw (1990) – Alumni
  • Frederick M. Toca (1989) – Former COHSE External Advisory Board Member, Alumni
  • William H. Krebs (1988) – Alumni
  • Ralph G. Smith (1982) – Former Professor
  • John A. Pendergrass (1974) – Alumni
  • Warren A. Cook (1940) – Former Professor

In 1998, following a motorcycle accident that left him with multiple broken bones and a series of complications, Prof. Levine gave talks to medical professionals and health care organizations about his experience as a patient, and he published “A Patient’s Perspective” in the U-M SPH magazine, Findings. “By giving my own perspective on the health care experience, I hope to shed light on the issues my public health colleagues face every day in our efforts to reduce the cost and improve the quality of the care on which our lives depend,” he said.

Prof. Levine is survived by his wife, Barbara. Contributions in his memory may be made to the U-M SPH Environmental Health Scholarship Fund or Hospice of Palm Beach County.

 Note: Taken from the U-M SPH Findings Alumni Magazine 2015;30(2):49, with additional notes and commentary by Stuart Batterman.