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Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC)

Forum on Catastrophe Preparedness: Partnering to Protect Workplaces

Sponsored and organized by the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC)

Friday, April 7, 2006
The South San Francisco Conference Center
255 South Airport Boulevard
South San Francisco, CA 94080

This forum was sponsored by the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC), a labor-management Commission created by the 1993 workers' compensation reform legislation. The Commission was established to oversee the health, safety and workers' compensation systems in California and recommend administrative or legislative modifications to improve their operation. Recognizing that employers and workers should be prepared if a catastrophe strikes at the workplace, the Commission voted to host a public education program devoted to workplace safety in the event of terrorist attacks and natural disasters. CHSWC developed this forum to provide an opportunity for the health, safety and workers' compensation communities and the public to discuss and share ideas for safety in responding to terrorist attacks and natural disasters, learn lessons from other experiences, as well as consider areas where improvements need to be made.

One hundred years after the catastrophic earthquake of 1906, earthquake risk and the risk of other catastrophes including terrorism continue to loom large for Californians and the nation. As we have learned from September 11, the risk of a catastrophe while people are at work and the risks to the workers who respond require the urgent attention of employers, workers and policymakers. This conference gathered together leaders in homeland security, emergency response, and occupational safety and health to discuss individual, worker and employer preparedness for catastrophic risks.

I. Welcome and Introductions
  Christine Baker, Executive Officer, Commission on Health and Safety and Worker's Compensation
Robert Reville, Director, Institute for Civil Justice, RAND
II. Opening Remarks
 
  • Richard Baum, Chief Deputy Commissioner, California Department of Insurance
  • Max Kiefer, Assistant Director for Emergency Preparedness, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Robert Samaan, Deputy Director, California Office of Homeland Security
  • Deborah Gold, Senior Industrial Hygienist and Avian Influenza Preparedness Program Coordinator, Division of Occupational Safety & Health, Cal/OSHA
III. Opening Keynote Speaker
 
IV. Impact of 1906 Earthquake Today
  This discussion focused on what happened in 1906 and how California would respond today
 
V. Is California Prepared if a Disaster Strikes at Work?
 This discussion focused on the current status of workplace preparedness from the perspective of multiple disciplines
 
  • Robert Balgenorth, President, California Building & Construction Trades Council
  • Betsey Lyman, Deputy Director, Emergency Preparedness Office, Department of Health Services
  • Michael Nolan, President, California Workers' Compensation Institute
VI. Employer and Worker Preparedness for Natural Disasters and Terrorist Attac
  This discussion focused on practical information on how to respond in the case of natural disasters and terrorist attacks as well as how California can improve worker and business preparedness through partnerships and other means.
 
VII. Lunch Keynote Speaker
 
  • "Profile of Risk to California Workers From a Variety of Catastrophe Scenarios"
    Hemant Shah, President & CEO, Risk Management Solutions
VIII. Workers Protecting the Workplace: The Health and Safety of Emergency Responders in Natural Disasters and Terrorist Attacks
  This discussion focused on what can California do to improve health and safety of emergency responders in natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
 
IX. What can California learn from other experiences?
  This discussion focused on experiences from other jurisdictions and within California at responding to catastrophes, and how lessons are integrated into plans and initiatives.
 
X. Roles of agencies in disaster preparedness and response in the workplace: Current actions, recommendations, and plans for the future.
  This discussion focused on the roles of various agencies in improving workplace preparedness, the type of training needed, and how scenarios are developed and simulated to improve decision-making during catastrophic events.
 
XI. Recommendations for the future
  This discussion focused on the role of partnerships in protecting the workplace and synthesize the information from the day.
 
  • Angie Wei, Chair, Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation
  • Robert T. Reville, Director, Institute for Civil Justice, RAND
Acknowledgements
 
The Forum on Catastrophe Preparedness: Partnering to Protect Workplaces was presented in cooperation with California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health Cal/OSHA, RAND Corporation and The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of California, Berkeley

The Forum on Catastrophe Preparedness: Partnering to Protect Workplaces is a member of the 1906 Centennial Alliance which was formed to help coordinate and promote activities between organizations throughout Northern California that commemorated the 1906 earthquake and that discuss preparedness issues relevant to today. For more information about other resources and events in your community, please visit http://1906centennial.org/