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Weekly News Round-up

February 9, 2013
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From nanotechnology exposure guidelines to unusually large fines for a Sinclair Oil refinery in Wyoming to electrical safety, here are the week's top EHS-related news stories as featured on ISHN.com:

Wyoming's Sinclair refinery zinged for $259,950 in fines

Wyoming’s most-fined refinery for safety violations is facing another round of penalties, this time stemming from a formal complaint and three August incidents at the facility, according to a report in the Casper Star-Tribune. The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed a $259,950 fine against the Sinclair Oil-owned Sinclair Wyoming Refinery. The fine would be the largest levied against a refinery in Wyoming in the past five years.

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Per barrel, Wyoming oil refineries worst for safety violations

Wyoming oil refineries faced more citations for dangerous safety conditions per oil barrel of production capacity than those in any other state over the past five years, a Casper Star-Tribune analysis of federal data shows. Government safety inspectors tagged Wyoming refiners with 239 citations for serious, willful or repeat safety violations in 2008-2012, according to data from federal OSHA. That means Wyoming refiners were cited on an average of every eight days.

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OSHA issues fact sheet on “Working Safely with Nanomaterials”

“Working Safely with Nanomaterials” is a new four-page PDF fact sheet published by OSHA. According to the fact sheet: “Workers who use nanotechnology in research or production processes may be exposed to nanomaterials through inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion.

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Hearing loss, cognitive decline associated in older people, study says

Hearing loss among older adults appears to be associated with faster cognitive decline than people without hearing loss, researchers found, in a report published in the Los Angeles Times.

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Women urged to take action during American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading killer of women in the U.S.

During February -- American Heart Month -- the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is conducting The Heart Truth campaign to bring to light the stories of women who are actively protecting their hearts inspiring others to do the same.

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Panthera Painting earns spot in SVEP

Panthera Painting Inc. of Canonsburg, Pa has been cited by OSHA for 38 alleged violations—including 14 willful and 11 repeat—found at bridge work sites in Slatington, Harrisburg and Slatedale, where workers were exposed to lead and other safety and health hazards while performing abrasive blasting and repainting projects.

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Airline industry fights FAA increase in flight hours to qualify as a pilot

February 6, 2013 No Comments

Blunted by strong industry opposition, the Federal Aviation Administration is pushing uphill to implement a broad aviation safety law enacted by Congress after the last fatal U.S. airline crash nearly four years ago, according to a report by The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General.

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Hearing damage on the rise among U.S. adolescents

Hearing loss is common and, in young persons, can compromise social development, communication skills, and educational achievement. A survey was conducted to examine the current prevalence of hearing loss in U.S. adolescents and determine whether it has changed over time, with results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

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The NFL talks up safety and health culture

From the National Football League’s website: Advancing a culture wherein the health and safety of players is paramount requires much more than just a set of game rules. It requires ongoing education, dialogue and monitoring. It requires constant assessment and consistent reinforcement of policies. And it requires an unstinting commitment to everyone involved in the game – players, coaches, administration, medical staff sand the NFL Players Association.

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CDC reports 60 percent increase in emergency room visits for mild traumatic brain injury suffered by the young

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center:

Appropriate diagnosis and management of children and teens with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussion, can help safeguard the health of young Americans.

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OSHA whistleblower claims: Most are dismissed or withdrawn

Recently released statistics from OSHA show whistleblower claims are surging. This underscores the need for employers to be prepared for would-be whistleblowers and have procedures in place to handle complaints internally, lawyers said Tuesday. The number of whistleblower cases OSHA received pursuant to the 22 laws it enforces increased to 2,787 in fiscal 2012, up from 2,648 in 2011, reflecting steady yearly increases since 2009.

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Chinese manufacturing giant Foxconn pressured to increase worker engagement

Foxconn, the manufacturer of Apple’s iPhone and iPad, will for the first time allow workers to elect union representatives, according to a statement released by the company. The firm said it would hold elections for a chairman and 20 members of its Federation of Labour Unions Committee every five years.

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Mayo Clinic: Don’t live in a cone of silence; get hearing loss help

Hearing loss that occurs gradually as you age (presbycusis) is common, according to the Mayo Clinic. According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated one-third of people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 75 and close to one-half of those older than 75 have some degree of hearing loss.

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OSHA, NIOSH issue methylene chloride Hazard Alert

Chemical is used bathroom refinishing

OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are warning workers and employers about the dangers of using methylene chloride-based stripping products in bathtub refinishing.

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AIHA launches OEHS ‘Thought Leaders’ project

With its 75th anniversary approaching in 2014, the American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) has launched its Thought Leaders Project to highlight the contributions of industrial hygienists who protect worker health around the world.

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ACGIH board ratifies 2013 TLVs and BEIs

ACGIH® announced that its Board of Directors ratified the 2013 Threshold Limit Values (TLVs®) for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs®). The Board also approved recommendations for additions to the Notice of Intended Changes (NIC).

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How to make 2013 an electrically safe year

ESFI has your checklist

The list of New Year’s Resolutions you made (and may still be keeping) probably did not include what the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) says should be a high priority item: being electrically safe in 2013.

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Inside a kennel: Chorus of barking dogs can reach 115 decibels

Hearing protection programs are designed to reduce the risk of long-term damage from repeated or prolonged exposure to noises. OSHA standards require a hearing protection program when workers are exposed to noise levels above 85 decibels (dB) based on an eight hour time-weight average (TWA).

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