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Weekly news round-up

March 30, 2013
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Weekly News Round-UpFinally- there’s some movement on OSHA’s silica rule; Canada prepares for a Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured in the workplace; companies plan to change healthcare benefits and school safety recommendations are issued – all in the week’s top OEHS-related stories as featured on ISHN.com:

Study: Most people return to work after knee replacement surgery

Shows a “cost savings” to society

In results that surprised even orthopedic surgeons, a new study finds that most people return to work after a total knee replacement – even those with physically demanding jobs.

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Age-related vision loss in the workplace

Even normal changes may affect performance

The expected increase in visual impairment in the workplace is an emerging issue for employers. As the 30 million so-called baby boomers age, the number of Americans who will experience vision loss will grow; it is expected to double over the next 30 years, according to the American Foundation for the Blind.

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EPA to assess FR chemicals

Focus on chemicals that persist in the environment

The EPA says it will begin assessing 23 chemicals – 20 of which are commonly used as flame retardants (FR) -- for potential risks to human health and the environment. This effort is part of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan which identifies commonly used chemicals for risk assessment.

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OMB holds first silica rule stakeholder meeting in 19th months

Foundry industry says lower PEL unnecessary, too costly

The proposed rule to lower the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica got dusted off earlier this month after a long period of inactivity at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

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The CVS health-screening debate

Retailer CVS was in the news Tuesday for requiring that all of its 200,000 employees who participate in the company’s health-insurance plan get a health screening (paid for by CVS) that assesses their weight, height, body fat and cholesterol levels-or pay some $600 more for their health coverage a year.

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Day of Mourning: Remember the dead, commit to prevention

Remembering lives lost or injured in the workplace

In 2011, 919 workers in Canada lost their lives to a disease or injury they incurred from work-related causes. Even more disturbing, is that eight of those who died were teenagers; twenty-six were between the ages of twenty and twenty-four years. There are close to three work-related deaths each day in Canada - each one leaving a trail of pain for the families impacted by the loss of a husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter.

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How will company health care offerings change in future?

Obesity will continue to contribute to rise in costs

It’s no secret that rising health care costs are putting the squeeze on U.S. employers. Despite this, a new survey by Aon Hewitt has found that 94 percent of them plan to continue offering health benefits to their workers – at least for the next three to five years.

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Lineman in training plunges 75 feet to his death in Nevada

Regs require fall protection for trainees at 4 feet

A trainee at a Las Vegas-based energy company died in September of last year after falling 75 feet from a horizontal ladder being used as a temporary platform between a transmission tower and a live 500-kilovolt transmission line.

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Optometrists anticipate “boom” in eye diseases as baby boomers turn 60

Some diseases have no symptoms in early stages

In a year where an estimated 2.8 million baby boomers will celebrate their 60th birthday, age-related eye diseases are becoming increasingly important health issues, according to the American Optometric Association.

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AIHA elects new board members

Induction will be during AIHce 2013

Members of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) have elected four new members to serve on the association's Board of Directors. They are:

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Majority of U.S. streams, rivers in poor condition

EPA survey yields troubling data

More than half of the nation’s waterways are polluted with toxins like mercury and have been stripped of vegetation that protects them, according to a stark new report from the EPA. The first comprehensive survey looking the health of thousands of stream and river miles across the country found that 55 percent are in poor condition for aquatic life.

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“Burdensome regulations” being hotly debated – in Europe

REACH chemical safety law is targeted

In a move that echoes one made on this side of the Atlantic, the European Commission plans to review – and possibly eliminate -- regulations that it says are hindering business growth and job creation. In a reaction that echoes some heard on this side of the Atlantic, labor and workers’ rights advocates are not happy about the plan.

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EU takes a “Europe-wide approach” to offshore oil, gas safety

Licensees must have enough capital to handle disaster

The European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament have reached agreement on a new Directive that addresses the risks of major accidents from offshore oil and gas operations in EU waters.

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Sandy Hook commission releases school safety recommendations

26 victims gunned down at elementary school in December tragedy

Recommendations for school safety just issued by a Sandy Hook Advisory Commission may well be considered by schools nationwide, according to Bo Mitchell, president of 911 Consulting.

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ISHN to continue expo sponsorship of ASSE Safety Conference & Expo through 2015

Nearly 5,000 safety pros expected at June event

American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Executive Director Fred Fortman and Industrial Safety & Hygiene News magazine Publisher Randy Green yesterday announced the continuation of ISHN as Safety 2014 and 2015 Exposition sponsor. ISHN has been the exclusive Exposition sponsor for 11 consecutive years, since 2002.

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Blindness and vision loss spike by 23 percent in the U.S.

Eye doctors recommend prevention and early detection

Blindness and vision impairment are on the rise in the United States. A recent report by Prevent Blindness America indicates that, since the year 2000, incidence of blindness and vision impairment has increased by 23 percent among Americans age 40 and older.

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Ten ways to protect your eyesight

Even diet plays a part

By Dave Johnson

We tend to take our eyes and our vision for granted. Sure, when we find out we need glasses or have to change to a stronger prescription, we think about our eyes – but other than that, how often do we pay attention to the wonderful gift of sight that most of us have?

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Eliminating construction’s “Fatal Four” would save hundreds of lives

Falls down, but still at top of list

OSHA says that if the construction industry focused on eliminating the top four causes of fatalities among workers, 410 worker fatalities a year could be prevented.  Out of 4,114 worker fatalities in private industry in 2011, 721 (17.5 percent) were in construction.

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Meetings for crane operator requirements scheduled

Standard requires operators to be certified by November 2014

Stakeholders who are interested in contributing their opinions to OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard are invited to a meeting on April 3, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. in Washington, D.C. (Two meetings already scheduled for April 2 and 3 are full.)

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Physically fit doctors "preach what they practice"

Feds want doctors to recommend more exercise

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise, but a new study confirms it: doctors tend to preach what they practice. In other words, health care providers who are physicially active themselves are much more likely than their sedentary colleagues to counsel their patients on the importance of physical activity.

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