Clean Truck Program Wins Award

The Northwest Seaport Alliance has announced that it is proud to have received the American Association of Port Authorities’ 2019 Environmental Improvement Award for it’s Clean Truck Program. You can read the full release, excerpted below, here.

The NWSA Clean Truck Program was one of the initiatives developed through the groundbreaking Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy. In 2008, the ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, British Columbia, collectively set a goal to implement clean truck standards by January 2018.

Targeted to reduce air pollution in the Puget Sound region, the innovative program earned the Award of Distinction in the comprehensive environmental management category for successfully implementing a voluntary clean trucks initiative.

As of Jan. 1, 2019, the Clean Truck Program requires all trucks serving the NWSA international container terminals to have a 2007 or newer engine or certified equivalent emissions control system. With newer engines emitting 90% less diesel particulate matter (DPM), the program has reduced the pollutant load on our neighboring communities by 33.4 tons of DPM per year. The reduction of diesel emissions helps decrease the risk of asthma, cancer and heart disease.

Acknowledging only 53% of trucks were compliant for the original Jan. 1, 2018 deadline, the NWSA Managing Members voted to extend the deadline through December 2018 to give drivers more time to prepare. Throughout the year, the NWSA partnered with lawmakers and various agencies like the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington State Department of Ecology, African Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest, City of Seattle, and Washington Trucking Association to offer financial and training resources.

We wrote about this program early in the process in our prior post, “TRUCK REPLACEMENT PROGRAM TO IMPROVE AIR QUALITY SCRAPS 200TH TRUCK.” We congratulate Northwest Seaport Alliance for winning this award and appreciate the effort to improve air quality in Seattle and Tacoma.

Accessible Hikes – Get Back to Nature!

Ten accessible Hikes in British Columbia + Ten in Washington = Lots of Wilderness to Explore

After finding an article with ten accessible hikes in British Columbia, which are spread across the province from Victoria, B.C. north to Saint George and west to Haida Gwaii and Tofino, I was inspired to find out more.

British Columbia, BC Options

Destination B.C. lists 10 hiking trails to explore when accessibility is a consideration. Most are paved and smooth, while a few provide a variety of surfaces. One even offers all-terrain wheelchairs on loan for those wanting to go off-trail. What?! That’s AWESOME!

You can see the full list for yourself here, but these are a couple of my favorites:

NAIKOON PROVINCIAL PARK, HAIDA GWAII

Naikoon Provincial Park, Photo credit: BC Parks

Formerly a freight railway line during WWI, the Galloping Goose is now part of the Trans Canada Trail, also known as The Great Trail, spanning 55 km (34 mi) from Victoria to Sooke on southern Vancouver Island. Access points are available throughout the trail, allowing for a variety of hikes ranging from a few hours to several days, taking you from Victoria’s urban streets to Douglas fir forests to Sooke’s famous potholes.

On the northern tip of Haida Gwaii you’ll find extended wooden boardwalks. There are also high-contrast tactile interpretive panels with braille and audio for the visually impaired. The main boardwalk forks at a junction: the top portion is a steep hike to the top of Tow Hill, while the 1-km (0.6-mi) lower portion remains barrier-free leading to the Hiellen River Estuary and ocean views. You can see Alaska from the lookout on a clear day. 

You can experience  a virtual hike of the trail  on the Access BC website developed by Spinal Cord Injury BC.

THE GALLOPING GOOSE, VICTORIA

North on Charters Creek Trestle
Photo Credit: Gary, http://www.gallopinggoosetrail.com

Formerly a freight railway line during WWI, the Galloping Goose is now part of the Trans Canada Trail, also known as The Great Trail, spanning 55 km (34 mi) from Victoria to Sooke on southern Vancouver Island. Access points are available throughout the trail, allowing for a variety of hikes ranging from a few hours to several days, taking you from Victoria’s urban streets to Douglas fir forests to Sooke’s famous potholes.

Washington State Options

The Washington Trails Association (WTA) lists ten accessible hikes all across Washington State. Whether you or a member of your hiking party is in a wheelchair, pushing a stroller, encouraging young children to hike, recovering from an injury or just beginning a fitness routine for the first time, Washington offers many hiking opportunities. See the full list, here.

From mountains to seashore, eastern or western Washington, these accessible hikes will thrill the senses. A couple of my favorites are:

SEAQUEST STATE PARK – SILVER LAKE

Seaquest State Park has accessible hiking and yurt camping!
Photo credit: WA State Parks

Distance: 1.0 mile
Elevation Gain: 100 feet 
Trail Type: Variable, ADA-Accessible trail
Season: Spring – Fall

COLUMBIA PLATEAU TRAIL

Mount St. Helens may be on full display at Silver Lake (an accessible telescope is often available for close-up volcano viewing), but it’s best to keep your eyes on the lakes and forests along the trail. A haven for local wildlife, Silver Lake might just treat you to a glimpse of deer, elk, owls or even bear!

Accessible hikes at Columbia Plateau.
Photo credit: WA State Parks

Location: Spokane area
Distance: 48 miles of ADA-accessible trails 
Elevation Gain: 10 feet 
Trail Type: ADA-Accessible paved trail      
Season: Spring – Fall

Pick your own adventure on this 143-mile stretch of reclaimed railroad that extends from Spokane to Pasco. Though most accessible at the Cheney Trailhead, this railroad trail includes ADA-Accessible hikes through the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, and family-friendly routes at the Snake River Junction Trailhead.

>> Visit Columbia Plateau Trail

More for your accessible lifestyle

Photo Credit: The Alleles Design Studio, Ltd, Victoria, BC, Canada

Need to update equipment for this level of adventure? Check out our past post about the best designs, both practical and stylish, for accessible living, here.

Hybrid Electric Ferries for Washington State

Elliott Bay Design Group Selected to Design Hybrid Electric Ferries for Washington State

Press Release – Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) was recently selected by Vigor Fab as the engineering firm that will provide functional design for the new hybrid electric ferries (Olympic Class) for Washington State Ferries (WSF).  EBDG is responsible for redesigning the vessels to accommodate the major change in propulsion type without disrupting structural components.  The ferries will operate on all-battery power during crossings or can revert to a hybrid, diesel-electric propulsion if required.  Battery recharging will typically occur dockside at the terminals during offloading/loading procedures.

Earlier this year, Washington State’s Legislature authorized a contract extension for Vigor to build up to five hybrid electric versions of their 144-vehicle Olympic Class.  The new-build authorization is a direct result of the 2040 Long Range Plan that identified the initial aspects of vessel and terminal electrification.  EBDG was a participant of the plan and is now leading the effort for an additional, supporting addendum – the WSF System Electrification Plan.  The System Electrification Plan will identify a detailed plan for deploying hybrid electric vessels throughout the ferry system.

EBDG brings a unique advantage to the project team with experience gained from design work on the last twenty vessels built for WSF.  Further, EBDG has been a major contributor to WSF’s electrification efforts thus far by supporting hybrid feasibility studies and life-cycle cost analyses for both the Jumbo Mark II and Olympic Class ferries.  “We have supported WSF with naval architecture and engineering support since 1992,” states Brian King, President of Elliott Bay Design Group.  “Our involvement in the hybridization of the ferries is a natural progression that we are immensely proud to be a part of,” King reflects.

Washington State Ferries operates the largest ferry system in the United States, with 23 vessels, 20 terminals and 23 million passengers.  The new ferry will utilize hybrid-electric propulsion, tapping clean Northwest hydropower.  The hybrid-electric design phase is underway with construction expected to begin in 2020 and delivery of the first vessel in late 2022.  The vessel is expected to be the largest new-build battery-powered ferry in North America.

See more information about this project: Washington State Ferries – Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Conversion Project

ABOUT ELLIOTT BAY DESIGN GROUP
Elliott Bay Design Group LLC is an employee-owned company with offices in Seattle, New Orleans, Ketchikan and New York that provides naval architecture, marine engineering and production support services to owners, operators and shipyards across the country.  Our team of professionals assist operators with determining the feasibility of hybrid and electric propulsion systems.  We engineer custom solutions based on each operator’s unique profile to maximize their return on investment.

For more information, please visit www.ebdg.com.

Changes to Vocational Rules Adopted

Changes to vocational rules have been adopted, implementing enhanced AWA (ability to work assessment) services and providing enforcement mechanisms for actions against VRCs and vocational firms.

We wrote about the changes under consideration when they were proposed over the summer. See Vocational Recovery Services. Our firm has represented claimants in many cases where vocational services or outcomes have been at issue. Often, the issues can best be addressed early in the claim, while the worker is participating in vocational services. In other cases, litigation is pursued.

You may read the full notice about the changes to vocational services rules issued by DLI, excerpted below, here.

The WA Department of Labor and Industries (DLI) adopted the proposed changes to WAC 296-19A on Oct. 22, 2019. The new rules were first proposed in August, and go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

The adopted rules outline vocational recovery services to align with RCW 51.32.095 which places a high priority on returning a worker to employment.

The rule changes also:

  • Establish certain expectations for vocational firms.
  • Clarify when VRCs and vocational firms may be subject to corrective actions or sanctions.
  • Spell out what those sanctions include.

You can review the adopted rule language on DLI’s website for rule development.

DLI is developing training for vocational providers that will assist them in meeting these expectations, and applying worker centric vocational recovery best practices.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange Locations for Open Enrollment

Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid).  Open enrollment for all other applicants runs from November 1st through December 15th.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange announced the locations for eleven full-service enrollment centers offering in-person assistance to customers signing up for health and dental coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder during the upcoming open enrollment period starting November 1.

Customers may obtain coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder, the WAPlanfinder mobile app, over the phone, or in person. The deadline for obtaining coverage is December 15th, with coverage beginning January 1st. Medicaid-eligible individuals can apply for and receive coverage through Washington Apple Health at any time throughout the year.

The Exchange offers a Customer Support Center based in Spokane Valley that employs more than 300 representatives during open enrollment period –including bi-lingual and multi-lingual services and provides a free telephonic interpreter service.

Along with ten Open Enrollment Center sites returning from last year, one new in-person assistance location will be available in Everett. Last year, enrollment centers served over 5,000 customers from November 1 through December 15.

Note: Workers’ compensation benefits are NOT taxable income, and should NOT be included in the household income figure when applying for health benefits through the exchange. This distinction is very important for all injured workers needing health insurance for themselves and their families.

Enrollment Centers will be located in:

  • Bellingham
  • Everett
  • Kennewick
  • Federal Way
  • Olympia
  • Seattle
  • Spokane
  • Tacoma
  • Vancouver
  • Wenatchee
  • Yakima

For complete contact information for each location, read the full announcement, here.

With the start of open enrollment quickly approaching, all Washington residents who need in-person assistance with enrollment are encouraged to now schedule an appointment to meet with a navigator or broker in their area. Connecting with in-person help is easiest through the WAPlanfinder mobile app that uses a customer’s current location to provide contact information for and detailed directions to the nearest navigators and brokers. Additional over-the-phone assistance is available by calling the Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633.

Apprenticeship News: “Train the Trainer” Opportunity

South Seattle College’s Georgetown Campus is known as the area’s premier workforce education and training center.
The Georgetown Campus Apprenticeship & Education Center trains more than 3,000 apprentices and journey-level workers annually in 50 different trades.

The South Seattle College Apprenticeship and Education Center is offering an opportunity to gain certification as a trainer. The ‘Train the Trainer’ program involves a full day of training.  You can read the full notice about this opportunity, excerpted below, here.

Please note that the date of the upcoming training program was not available at the time of writing. Contact details are included, below, should you wish more information.

Mentorship Matters – Communication

The Train the Trainer program uses the Mentorship Matters curriculum, which has two parts: Communication, and Mentoring. Both are designed to provide tools to aid communication and mentoring skills between apprentices and mentors.

The communication workshop covers six steps that will help apprentices become successful in their apprenticeship:

  • Effective Communication: One way communication & Two-way communication
  • Active Listening: Body language, Three steps to listening, Verbal and nonverbal cues
  • Asking Questions: Closed questions, Open questions, Learning how to open closed questions
  • Receiving Feedback: How to deal with a situation when you are not receiving feedback, learn how to receive feedback and the key points to focus on
  • Proactive Learning: Seeing it, hearing it, trying it, figure out our strengths in learning and use them in our advantage, continuous learning
  • Setting Goals: Introduce best practice for setting goals, responsibility vs attitude, self-assessment (Responsibilities & Attitudes)

Mentorship Matters – Mentoring

The Mentoring workshop covers six steps that will aid an experienced journeyperson/supervisor to be more successful in mentoring their apprentices: 

  • Identify the Skill: Identify skill and set proper expectations such as: Safety, Production, Quality
  • Link the Skill: Link the skill to the bigger picture including: Other Trades, Customers, Who, what, where, when, why
  • Demonstrate the Skill: Best methods to demonstrate the skill to an apprentice. Introduce seeing it, hearing it, trying it as we had introduced to apprentices (Ask mentors to keep these in mind while mentoring their apprentices)
  • Provide Practice: Different methods to create a safe, positive learning environment on the site
  • Give Feedback: Introducing supportive feedback, corrective feedback, and feedback sandwich, Best practices in giving feedback
  • Assess Progress: How to assess your apprentice, How to assess yourself

The cost to become certified is $525.00. The class is capped at 16 participants. More details about the curriculum:

For questions, contact JudyReed, AAI Grant Director
South Seattle College – Georgetown Campus
6737 Corson Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98108
Office: 206.934.5235
Cell: 206.353.1416

Port of Seattle Seeks Public Comment

Port of Seattle Schedules Review of Proposed 2020 Budget and Five-Year Plan, Continues Major Investments for the Region’s Future

The Port of Seattle will host two community open houses to review its 2020 budget and five-year capital development plans for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and the Maritime and Economic Development divisions. The plans outline the Port’s blueprint to further invest in infrastructure, maximizing efficiency and service to benefit the economic and environmental vitality of our region. You may read the full press release here, excerpted below.

Port of Seattle Open Houses

Community members are invited to learn about the Port’s preliminary 2020 budget and five-year capital development and investment plans at two upcoming open houses. Port staff will share information about investments at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and in the Maritime and Economic Development divisions. Staff will also share how the Port’s preliminary budget and five-year capital development plans respond to regional need by improving customer service, expanding economic activity across our region, and supporting healthy habitats and communities.

WHEN:             October 22, 2019, 5:30 to 7:30
WHERE:           Pier 69 Atrium (sign in at the front desk)

WHEN:             October 28, 2019, 5:30 to 7:30
WHERE:           Sea-Tac Airport Conference Center

Capital development projects make up the largest share of the Port’s spending. The preliminary 2020 budget includes capital spending of $644 million, with $570 million going to Sea-Tac International Airport, and $74 million going to Maritime and other divisions. In addition to the Port’s capital spending, the Port will contribute 50 percent to capital investments in the Northwest Seaport Alliance for marine cargo projects, including the current construction transforming Terminal 5 into one of the nation’s premier international container terminals.

The Port’s preliminary 2020 operating budget forecasts revenues of $812 million and expenses of $472 million. The 2020 operating budget allows the Port to respond to needs of business and community stakeholders with stronger organizational capability, advanced sustainability, and an improved customer experience at Port facilities.

The Port of Seattle is in the second year of a five-year investment plan designed to make our region a competitive maritime hub. The investments focus on asset preservation and prioritize economic development where our natural advantages align to economic growth opportunities.

Silica Exposure Causes Silicosis

Stone fabrication workers, especially those working with engineered stone, are at risk for silicosis. Given the serious health hazard and significant number of workers at risk, additional efforts are needed to reduce exposures and improve disease surveillance. – CDC

Silica exposure causes silicosis, as reported in recent CDC research on the topic. Our firm has encountered silicosis cases. The effects of this exposure can be dramatic, even with minimal exposure.

Obtaining coverage under a workers’ compensation claim provides medical treatment, monetary compensation for time lost from work, vocational retraining services (if needed), the potential for an award for permanent impairment or, in the case of total disability, a lifetime pension with an option for survivorship benefits. In fatality cases, benefits for a surviving spouse and/or children is paid.

The CDC’s research focused on eighteen cases in four states, including one case from Washington. The CDC news release can be read in full here, and is excerpted, below:

Severe Silicosis in Engineered Stone Fabrication Workers

Respirable crystalline silica exposure causes silicosis, a disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease. Eighteen cases of silicosis, including two fatalities, among stone fabrication workers in four states. Several patients also had autoimmune disease and latent tuberculosis infection.

Stone fabrication workers, especially those working with engineered stone, are at risk for silicosis. Given the serious health hazard and significant number of workers at risk, additional efforts are needed to reduce exposures and improve disease surveillance.

Violence Research By UW

“In May, the State of Washington awarded $1 million to the UW School of Medicine for the formation of the Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program. The program seeks to answer urgent questions involving firearm risks, injuries, policies and programs in Washington state.” – UW Medicine

Violence research by UW Medicine researchers provides findings that support the contention of ongoing impacts to physical and mental health subsequent to experiencing violence. Workplace violence is increasingly prevalent, with immediate and long-lasting consequences for the victims of this violence.

The lasting effects of workplace violence can require ongoing medical and psychiatric care, can impede the victim’s ability to return to work and, in some cases, can result in permanent impairments. In my experience, the mental health impacts can be the most insidious and difficult to overcome. The difficulties are compounded if an injured worker encounters pushback from the Department of Labor and Industries, sometimes in the form of treatment denials, other times through not recognizing the difficulty in returning to work or not acknowledging the presence of permanent impairment.

UW Medicine recently released the news of the completion and presentation of the researcher’s findings. Violence research findings that span every age and a variety of circumstances, but findings that can be applied to workplace violence cases, as well. The full text of the UW Medicine release can be read here, and is excerpted, below:

Violence has complex, far-reaching impacts on health

A new paper by UW Medicine researchers offers a broad, updated look at the interrelated impacts of violence on physical and mental health across age groups, from infants to elderly people.

The authors compiled recent compelling findings about health effects of child abuse, bullying, youth violence, adult interpersonal violence, and elder abuse, among others.  The paper was published Oct. 7 in Health Affairs. Its authors represent the Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program, based at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center.

“Violence has important consequences for physical and mental health. These consequences vary with the type of violence and age, but all of them can be severe, debilitating and lifelong,” said Dr. Fred Rivara, the paper’s lead author. He is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health.

“The findings of our review point out the need to both treat the victims of violence and prevent these types of violence from occurring in the first place,” Rivara said.

By organizing their findings by age group, the authors highlighted the cumulative, interrelated harms of violence across the lifespan. For example, research has found that victims of child abuse have an elevated risk of depression, suicidality, drug use, and certain chronic illnesses later in life. Because of that risk, they are also more likely to later experience intimate partner violence, which in turn heightens risk of depression, anxiety, asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic pain, and other health issues.

An overview of many types of violence also helps broaden research and policy perspectives beyond the immediate physical trauma, and draws attention to long-term health impacts. These harms affect not only individuals, but also indirectly traumatize family, friends, and communities.

Asbestos Citations for Violations by Evergreen State College

The Evergreen State College fined for multiple asbestos violations

Asbestos citations against the Evergreen State College mean the college is facing more than $135,000 in fines for multiple violations related to asbestos and other safety issues around its Olympia, WA campus. Employers have 15 business days from the time they receive a citation to appeal.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) published a notice stating that it has cited the college for 29 serious violations; the fines for each range from $600 to $5,400. There were also two general violations with no fines. L&I opened the inspection on March 20, 2019, after receiving a complaint.

The college’s maintenance team had an employee enter a steam vault and remove damaged asbestos-containing pipe insulation without adequate protections. The college was cited for several serious violations for this and other asbestos-handling violations.

L&I also cited Evergreen for lockout/tagout violations and violations of confined space requirements. Lockout/tagout violations means the college required employees to work on electrical or powered equipment while the machinery could still operate. L&I also found violations for lack of eye protection, not meeting emergency eyewash requirements, and deficiencies in the college’s chemical hazard communication program.

Since the inspection, Evergreen has made a number of changes. The college hired a certified asbestos abatement contractor, and it sent two workers to a certified building inspector training course. The most important outcome for inspections is that an employer fixes existing hazards and prevents them from happening again.

Penalty money paid as a result of a citation, including asbestos citations, is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping injured workers and families of those who have died on the job.

For a copy of the citations, contact L&I Public Affairs: 360-902-5413.

Published by Causey Wright