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'FLAWED' JOHN GRAY INSTITUTE STUDY SHOULDN'T BE USED TO SET U.S. PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY SAFETY POLICY, REVIEW TEAM WARNS

   'FLAWED' JOHN GRAY INSTITUTE STUDY SHOULDN'T BE USED TO SET U.S.
      PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY SAFETY POLICY, REVIEW TEAM WARNS
    NEW YORK, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The John Gray Institute's (JGI) controversial study of health and safety issues in the petrochemical industry is too "flawed" to support any conclusions, according to experts from The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.
    "While there may be a link between worker characteristics and worker health and safety, our in-depth evaluation of JGI's procedures, data and analyses conclusively indicates that JGI simply fails to demonstrate such a link," the review says.
    The independent reviewers criticized the JGI study for "inadequacies in data collection procedures and in methods of statistical analysis." They concluded that the JGI report "should be treated with extreme caution and should not be used as a basis for establishing national policy or industry standards."
    The JGI study was commissioned by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after an Oct. 23, 1989 explosion killed 23 workers and injured more than 100 at the Phillips 66 Company's Pasadena, Texas, plant.  The 228-page JGI study, released July 30, 1991, focused on contract workers, concluding that they receive less training, and have less education and experience than employees who work directly for petrochemical companies.
    The 11-member UT/TAMU review team, operating under a contract with the Business Roundtable, was headed by University of Texas Professor Paul Cooper.  Members from the two universities included academics and industrial professionals experienced in research methodology, construction and safety.
    The group said that JGI's analyses, based on nine case studies and sample surveys of plant managers, direct hire employees, contract hire employees and contractors "have rendered results that range from being very problematic to entirely invalid."
    Reviewers charged that JGI's case studies "do not conform to design requirements that permit generalizations," and that the four samples aren't representative of the industry, "due primarily to serious selection bias in the samples."  The team concluded that JGI's data "are based on the perceptions, estimates and opinions of respondents rather than their actual experiences," and said design of the contract hire and direct hire samples "precludes any comparison of these two groups."
    The key analyses that JGI used to establish a link between workers and safety "are seriously flawed," the review team found.  Among the reasons cited:
    -- The contract-hire sample doesn't include foremen and supervisors, while the direct hire sample does, creating an "apples-and-oranges" situation.
    -- There was no apparent attempt "to verify that the assumptions necessary for valid results were in fact met."
    -- The dependent variables used in the JGI analyses "are highly questionable."
    -- JGI "performed inappropriate manipulations to the data which resulted in statistically impossible results."
    "JGI did not establish a relationship between day-to-day safety performance and the risk of catastrophic incidents," the review team declared.
    In light of its findings, the team recommended that:
    -- No policy decision be made on the basis of the JGI report or data.
    -- No attempt be made to use the data collected by JGI for additional analysis "because the underlying problems identified in the data cannot be corrected."
    -- "New studies be initiated to investigate safety and health issues as they relate to contractor and direct-hire employees in the U.S. petrochemical industry."
    Under an earlier Business Roundtable contract, the review team had found JGI's preliminary report findings and conclusions "were problematic at best and should be treated with extreme caution."  The Roundtable asked the universities to review the final report when JGI released it.
    The evaluation is not part of an ongoing peer review process by a number of universities being undertaken by OSHA.
    The Business Roundtable is an association of 200 major corporations represented by their chief executive officers who focus and act on public issues.
    -0-        11/4/91
    /CONTACT:  Richard W. Anthony of the Business Roundtable, 212-682-6370, or H. Paul Cooper, 512-471-4547, of University of Texas/ CO:  John Gray Institute; Business Roundtable ST:  New York IN:  OIL SU:  ECO SM-KW -- NY066 -- 0829 11/04/91 15:27 EST
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Date:Nov 4, 1991
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