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Posts Tagged: Risk

Safety standards set for resuming in-person activities

During Stage 2 of reopening, UC ANR guidelines call for wearing face coverings (cloth or paper masks, cloth bandanas, etc.) when six feet of separation between people cannot be maintained.

Some county health authorities have begun to modify local shelter-at-home orders for COVID-19 and relax restrictions on low-risk activities. To ensure that we continue to protect the health and safety of our people and our communities, UC ANR has developed UC ANR Safety Standards for Resuming In-Person Activity, Stage 2 to outline protocols for our programs and work locations.

The safety standards are informed by state, county and UC best practices, and are intended to help UC Cooperative Extension directors, Research and Extension Center directors and statewide program leaders plan for the eventual resumption of some in-person activities.

For those counties that have authorized return to in-person activity under Stage 2, UC ANR directors are now required to document their plans for in-person work activity with the ANR Emergency Response team based on the safety standards. Local plans may vary from county to county, and may change over time to be more or less restrictive as the impact of reopening unfolds.

It is important to remember that the state is allowing for the resumption of limited onsite operations. UC ANR employees and volunteers who can still work or engage remotely should continue to do so until Governor Newsom completely lifts California's stay-at-home order and UC ANR advises it is appropriate to return to in-person operations.

ANR directors contributed to the development of ANR's safety standards, and we've asked them to help address questions and concerns and to reinforce the steps being taken to provide a safe working environment.

“Throughout this process, the safety and health of ANR's employees, volunteers and clientele are the top priority as we resume in-person activities,” said Brian Oatman, director of Risk & Safety Services.

In general, ANR will be taking a slow and deliberate approach to expanding in-person activities, and most of us will continue to work remotely for the immediate future.

Several questions about resuming in-person activities were answered during the ANR town hall meeting on May 28. A recording of that town hall will be posted at https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/All_Hands

FAQs have been developed to address questions asked during the May 28 Town Hall meeting concerning safety measures related to COVID-19, budgetary impacts and more. Please visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/safety/files/327731.pdf to read the questions and answers. 

For resources related to COVID-19, visit https://ucanr.edu/covid19.

Posted on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 1:30 PM

New rules passed to protect workers from wildfire smoke: guidance available

Respirator masks must fit properly to be effective.
Cal/OSHA recently passed an emergency regulation to establish standards to protect workers from the hazards of wildfire smoke. This standard has four primary requirements:

  1. Identify potential exposures to harmful air quality caused by wildfire smoke (i.e. monitor Air Quality Index (AQI) forecasts and daily levels during wildfire events).
  2. Communicate wildfire smoke hazards, air quality conditions, protective measures, and encourage feedback from employees.
  3. Train employees who are reasonably anticipated to be affected by unhealthy air quality caused by wildfire smoke.
  4. Control harmful exposure to outdoor workers by various methods as feasible. During unhealthy air quality events, these control measures may include working indoors in a building with filtered air, limiting the duration and intensity of outdoor work, or use of a filtering respirator when other means are not effective or practical to control exposure. The standard requires that when the AQI for PM2.5 reaches 151 or higher, the employer must make respirators available for employees to use if they must work outdoors.

UC ANR Risk & Safety Services has developed guidance and training on how to comply with this new regulation at http://ucanr.edu/protectfromwildfiresmoke as well as a PowerPoint training for safety coordinators to share with employees. Risk & Safety Services is also procuring respirators that will be shipped to all ANR locations.

“Since this is a brand-new regulation, we expect that additional guidance will come out from Cal/OSHA in the next few months,” said Brian Oatman, director of Risk & Safety Services.

In addition to this Cal/OSHA standard, a team from all UC campuses and ANR has been developing a decision matrix for guiding how UC locations will respond to unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke. This decision matrix will include various types of activities, such as outdoor workers, volunteers, athletics, camps, and youth activities. We will share this additional information as the decision matrix is finalized.

If you have questions about the new wildfire smoke rules, please contact Brian Oatman at (530) 750-1264 or baoatman@ucanr.edu.

 

 

Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at 1:46 PM

Top 3 things to know about public safety power shutoff

To reduce the likelihood or severity of fire incidents during extreme weather or potential wildfire conditions, California has approved the Public Safety Power Shutoff Program allowing utility companies to turn off power as a preventive measure.

UC ANR Risk & Safety Services has prepared Safety Note #199 PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFFS (PSPS) to provide tips and links to additional information.

Here are the three most important things to know about public safety power shutoffs:

1. The decision and action to turn off power is made by each energy company and is based on a combination of factors, including high winds, red flag warnings, low humidity, dry vegetation serving as fuel, fire/wind threat to electric infrastructure, on-the ground observations, and overall risk to public safety. Monitor these conditions in your immediate area and be prepared to act. Visit http://prepareforpowerdown.com to learn more. Additionally, the California Public Utilities Commission has posted maps of areas they have determined to have the greatest fire threat https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/FireThreatMaps/. You can review these maps to better understand the potential fire threat at your location and other locations that you visit for research, extension or other activities.

2. Sign up for alerts! Update your personal and office location contact information with your local energy company. You can do so by contacting the company, visiting their website, or by visiting http://prepareforpowerdown.com. If you are alerted of a possible shutdown, look for more detailed information from your utility company's website or social media accounts to better understand how the shutdown may affect you. A PSPS will usually affect a specific area or neighborhood, not an entire city or county. In some cases, the utility will post maps of the affected area.

3. If your office is closed or affected due to a PSPS or other emergency, directors or office managers should notify ANR Risk & Safety Services by contacting Brian Oatman (baoatman@ucanr.edu). If employees aren't able to work due to a natural disaster or emergency, ANR Human Resources (anrstaffpersonnel@ucanr.edu) should also be notified so that arrangements may be made to track and report employee leave time during the emergency.

 

Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 12:18 PM
  • Author: Brian Oatman

RECs and county office staff update ANR leaders on current projects

UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food in West Oakland.

To get acquainted with the people at each ANR location, Mark Lagrimini, vice provost of research and extension, has been visiting research and extension centers and UCCE county offices and touring the facilities.

“I'm impressed with how passionate and dedicated you are to helping people,” said Lagrimini to UCCE Contra Costa staff after listening to their project updates. He has been impressed with the work he has seen at all of his ANR visits. 

On Sept. 6, Lagrimini visited Hopland Research and Extension Center, three weeks after the River Fire consumed about two-thirds of its property.

John Bailey, right, shows Mark Lagrimini the difference in fire damage to grazed pasture on the left side of the fence compared to the ungrazed areas at Hopland REC.

“While the River Fire damaged parts of the center, none of the main buildings, residences, livestock nor staff were hurt by the fire,” said John Bailey, Hopland REC interim director.

Scientists are invited to a site tour on Oct. 19 to learn more about research opportunities at Hopland REC. 

“With Hopland REC's extensive pre-fire historical data, plus immediate post-fire, pre-rain observations that we are collecting, we have the foundation to support relevant and timely research on the effects of fire and mechanisms of recovery,” Bailey said.

Marisa Neelon, right, shows Mark Lagrimini, left, and Mark Bell the kitchen where UCCE Contra Costa County nutrition educators can prepare food.

AVP Wendy Powers and Mark Bell, vice provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, are joining Lagrimini for many of the visits to learn the latest about UCCE research and outreach and to answer questions from staff.

On Sept. 11, Rob Bennaton, UCCE director in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, introduced Powers, Lagrimini and Bell to UCCE staff in their Hayward offices, then took them to West Oakland to tour City Slicker Farms. UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food at the site.

“Success to us is putting food where people need it and giving them the skills to grow food,” said Rodney Spencer, executive director of City Slicker Farms.

Mark Bell popped into the office of Leah Sourbeer, nutrition program supervisor, to introduce himself.

In Concord, Marisa Neelon, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Contra Costa County, gave Powers, Lagrimini and Bell a tour of the new office space, which includes space for Master Garden volunteers, a kitchen for nutrition educators to prepare food and a lab for farm and IPM advisors to store and analyze samples.  

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

Staff from each unit delivered a presentation about their current projects for the ANR leaders, who were joined by Humberto Izquierdo, agricultural commissioner for Contra Costa County and Matthew Slattengren, assistant agricultural commissioner.

Charles Go, 4-H youth advisor, and Adan Osoria, EFNEP community nutrition educator, described how 4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project aimed at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption to improve community health and wellness. They launched 4-H2O at John Swett High School in Crockett. At the request of 4-H members, the local school board approved hydration stations and instructed the schools to provide water at meal times, Go said.

4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project that succeeded at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption.

Andrew Sutherland, Bay Area urban IPM advisor, described his research on baiting for cockroaches, subterranean termites and yellowjackets and outreach to educate pest control professionals to practice IPM in schools and multi-unit housing.

“I appreciate the work Andrew does,” said Izquierdo, noting that there is a need for pest management education, especially among the county's urban and immigrant populations.

After seeing all of the presentations, Bell said, “The enthusiasm you bring to your job is inspiring.”

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

After the visit, Powers wrote in her ANR Adventures blog on Sept. 14: “The programs we've seen in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties this week as well as Santa Clara County a couple weeks back are good reminders of the benefits to all of UC ANR when we have strong, relevant programs in urban areas. These programs not only help the clientele, directly, but help increase the visibility of UC ANR and all of its programs across both urban and ag areas.”

On Sept. 26, Powers, Lagrimini and Bell visited UCCE Riverside, then UCCE San Bernardino the following day.

“We spent yesterday in Riverside meeting with the teams from both UCCE Riverside and UCCE San Bernardino,” Powers wrote in ANR Adventures on Sept. 27. “It was very informative, particularly seeing the fresh ideas that are coming from some of the new staff. We were able to hear about the tremendous success that both counties are having truly working as a team across program areas and layering their efforts for increased program success and support.”

Federal Report Snapshot highlights ANR accomplishments

Each spring, the UC ANR Office of Program Planning and Evaluation (PPE) compiles and submits a report to our federal funding partner, USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). In August, NIFA approved UC ANR's 2017 report.

A snapshot of the 2017 UC ANR Federal Report is available at the following link: https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Divisionwide_Planning. The snapshot highlights several dozen examples of research and extension occurring in each Strategic Initiative and in the field of sustainable energy.  The Federal Report Snapshot can be shared with stakeholders and potential donors to help them better understand the breadth of projects and range of impacts that occur throughout ANR in a given year. 

The full report that was submitted to NIFA captures the annual activities, outputs, and outcomes that occur throughout ANR as a result of NIFA funding on campuses, in counties and at the research and extension centers. 

Information for the report comes from submissions entered in REEport, DANRIS-X (now replaced by Project Board for FY 2018 and on), and UC Delivers. Content experts identify the most significant research highlights and write the program area narrative summaries. This year we want to thank Chris Greer, Cheryl Wilen, Keith Nathaniel, John Harper, Doug Parker and Jeff Dahlberg. Because the report is thorough and lengthy, PPE has created this condensed snapshot, which is drafted with input from Communications Services. 

Both the snapshot and full report are available at https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Divisionwide_Planning.

 

 

 

Posted on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 7:23 PM
  • Author: Jennifer Caron-Sale

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