Western Occupational & Environmental Medical Association
Leading Occupational & Environmental Medicine

Welcome to the WOEMA WINDOW, our e-newsletter sent to members by email on a monthly basis. The newsletter links to this page. Below are the items that appeared in the May 2018 issue.

  • WOHC 2018 Registration Now Open!
  • NIOSH B-Reader Certification Course
  • The Dose Makes the Poison
  • FREE CME Webinar: Tuesday, July 10, 12:00 PM PDT
  • Send in Your Award Nominations
  • Topical News

  • WOHC 2018 Registration Now Open




    Registration for the Western Occupational Health Conference is now open!

    [Download the Brochure]


    WOHC 2018 will take place at the Park Central Hotel in San Francisco, CA. Room rates for WOHC attendees start at $269/night+tax. Book your room by booking online or calling the host hotel directly at 888-627-8561 and be sure to mention that you are with WOEMA to receive the discounted rate

    [Book a Room]

    NIOSH B-Reader Certification Course




    San Francisco, CA, September 11- 13, 2018

    OSHA issued a final silica standard to reduce lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease among 2.3 million workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica. The new rule lowers permissible exposure limits (PELs), mandates control measures, worker training, and a written control plan, and comprises two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime. OSHA will begin enforcing most provisions of the standard for general industry and maritime on June 23, 2018.

    About 676,000 workplaces come under the scope of compliance. One significant requirement of the new rule: employers must provide medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and give them information about their lung health. The exam consists of a chest X-ray with interpretation by a certified B Reader, among other requirements. Medical exams must be made available to exposed workers at least every three years, or more frequently if recommended by the healthcare professional. B Readers are involved with epidemiologic evaluation, surveillance, and worker monitoring programs involving many types of pneumoconioses. The goal of this course is to offer training with the intent of producing competency in radiographic reading by evaluating the ability of readers to classify a test set of radiographs, thereby producing readers who have the skills and ability to provide accurate and precise ILO classifications.

    [More Information]


    The Dose Makes the Poison

    An editorial by Troy Ross, MD, WOEMA Window Editor




    For years now I’ve been a reluctant participant in a dangerous experiment. I’ve grown up in a medical profession that has played a role in poisoning and killing people, and I’ve been asked to go along.

    We aren’t granted medical licenses because we have the ability to help patients – the license is there as an acknowledgement that we, in fact, have the ability to harm. That is nowhere more obvious than in the present day opioid crisis.

    We’re embroiled in a national soul searching over the proper use and limitation of prescription opioids. Give me the control levers and I’d likely swing the pendulum far from where most prescribers would be comfortable – my bias is to almost never use narcotics. Why, you may ask? How about we look at a definition of Narcotic: an agent that produces insensibility or stupor. It just so happens that pain relief is a side-effect. There are other tools to use. We tend to have forgotten.

    As with all medicaments the primary tenet of toxicology applies: The dose makes the poison. With that in mind I ask you all to consider a new opioid prescribing guideline that is the most coherent and useful one that I have seen. I applaud the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies for putting this out. I hope that medical professionals put it to use:

    Guidelines for the Safe Prescribing and Dispensing of Opioids
    (Adopted: 10/15/14
    Revised: 3/16/18)


    • Prescribers and dispensers have an obligation to effectively manage pain and improve function
    • Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than normal tissue healing.
    • Acute, non-traumatic or non-surgical pain should only have a duration of 3-7 days. Medication should be only be prescribed for that time


    FREE CME: WOEMA Webinar Series


    Tuesday, July 10, 12:00 PM PDT


    Topic: The MTUS & Drug Formulary: Report Writing to Avoid Denials of Treatment Requests

    Speaker: Steven Feinberg, MD

    This webinar will help participants learn how to effectively use the MTUS and the Drug Formulary to avoid utilization review and IMR denials. With effective report writing, there is less stress on both the treater and the injured worker and medical care is expedited with early authorization of treatment.

    Learning Objectives – after this webinar participants will be able to:

    • Have a better understanding of the MTUS treatment guideline.

    • Understand the MTUS Drug Formulary and how to effectively use it.

    • Write reports that lead to early authorization while avoiding denials of care.


    Dr. Steven Feinberg is a physiatrist and pain medicine specialist practicing in Palo Alto. He is an Adjunct Clinical Professor and teaches at the Stanford University, Pain Service. He is also a past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. He currently serves on the WOEMA Board of Directors and Dr. Feinberg served as the Panel Chair of the ACOEM Chronic Pain Guidelines Panel Chapter, 2008 Update.


    Send in Your Award Nominations




    Do you know someone who has made a positive contribution to the OEM field? Let us know! WOEMA is currently accepting nominations for the following awards:

    Jean Spencer Felton Award

    Rutherford T. Johnstone Memorial Lecture 

    Anne Searcy Public Service Award

    All nominations can be sent directly to woema@woema.org, and should include the nominee’s full name and credentials, their email address, and a brief description of why you think they should be nominated.

    Topical News




    Injury prevention goes beyond physical fitness or OSHA training

    A recent study shows alarming results for the number of First Responders that succumb to suicide


    It’s more than just noise

    Hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and hearing difficulty are more prevalent among noise‐exposed workers.


    Another reason why head injury matters

    In the largest study of its kind, researchers have found that traumatic brain injury is associated with an increased risk of dementia.