Weekly News Round-UpEmergency responder fatigue risks, popcorn calorie counts and Black Lung benefits were among the top  EHS-related and public health stories featured on ISHN.com this week.

OSHA, oil and gas industry form safety and health alliance

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels signed a two-year alliance this week with the National Service, Transmission, Exploration & Production Safety Network (STEPS) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) aimed at improving safety in the oil and gas exploration and production sectors.

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Labor Secretary goes underground for coal mining reality

Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez got a taste of the coal miner’s life on Dec. 1, when he descended 1,000 feet below the earth’s surface for an underground tour of a Cumberland Coal Resources LP mine in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

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Where electrical hazard or dielectric footwear is required

Safety shoes and boots which meet the ANSI Z41-1991 Standard provide both impact and compression protection. Where necessary, safety shoes can be obtained which provide puncture protection.

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BLS: Fewer workplace injuries in 2013

Nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses continued their decline in 2013, with slightly more than three million reported by private industry throughout the year – or 3.3 cases per 100 full-time workers.

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How a trucker gets declared an imminent hazard

Fatal accident involved suspended license, speeding, cell phone use

Long-haul truck driver James H. Patterson has been declared an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

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Residential construction industry can find fall protection info in new online inventory

A Washington University at St. Louis research team supported by Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has created an online inventory of fall protection devices suitable for use in residential construction.

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New NIOSH training reduces fatigue risks for emergency responders

Emergency workers who have to work long hours at disaster sites can learn how to reduce risks associated with fatigue in a new online NIOSH interim training program.

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Freight workers exposed to electrocution, fall, crushing hazards

Central Transport LLC faces $330,800 in fines; cited elsewhere for similar hazards

Employees at the Central Transport LLC freight shipping terminal in Billerica, Massachusetts were exposed to electrocution, falls, crushing and other injuries due to their employer's knowing and repeated disregard for basic worker safeguards, OSHA has found. The company faces $330,800 in fines for these hazards.

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A NIOSH Science Blog post

Collecting data on worker hearing loss: Epidemiology in action

By Elizabeth Masterson PhD, CPH

Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United States. Among older adults, it is third after high blood pressure and arthritis. Nearly 1 in 4 cases of hearing loss among workers is caused by exposures on the job.

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Nebraska companies using hazmat get attention from OSHA

Funeral homes, chemical and product manufacturing plants, printing facilities and outpatient care centers in Nebraska will get programmed health inspections by OSHA as part of a local emphasis program intended to educate employers and workers about highly hazardous chemicals, including formaldehyde and methylene chloride.

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Movie theatres, vending machines must now show calorie info

Health advocates cheer new FDA rules

Two final rules from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will require movie theatres, grocery stores serving prepared foods and vending machines to display calorie information to would be consumers.

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Selecting protective clothing from incident heat energy

From OSHA’s final rule for electric power generation, transmission and distribution standard: Paragraph (l)(8)(v) of § 1910.269 requires employers, in certain situations, to select protective clothing and other protective equipment with an arc rating that is greater than or equal to the incident heat energy estimated under § 1910.269(l)(8)(ii).

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Shipyard workers exposed to 30 feet falls

While welding the frame of a U.S. Navy vessel, a shipyard worker was just one foot away from three open manholes that exposed the employee to potential falls of up to 30 feet. These, and other alleged safety and health hazards, were cited against Colonna's Shipyard Inc., a ship repair facility in Norfolk, following a May 2014 inspection conducted by OSHA.

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OSHA publishes new fact sheet on protecting workers who may be exposed to Ebola virus

OSHA has released a new factsheet, based on existing guidance from OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to help employers select appropriate personal protective equipment for workers who may be exposed to the Ebola virus.

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On 30th Anniversary of Bhopal, India tragedy: Could it happen again? In U.S.?

CSB warns that improvements needed in process safety regulations

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today released a short video safety message marking the 30th anniversary of history’s worst industrial accident. The tragedy occurred at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India and killed an estimated 25,000 people.

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Research underway to improve understanding of the arc flash phenomena

Each year, 2,000 workers are admitted to burn centers for extended injury treatment caused by arc flash. Arc flash is an electric current that is passed through the air when insulation or isolation between electrified conductors is not sufficient to withstand the applied voltage. The flash is immediate, but the results can cause severe injury.

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Bill to improve black lung benefits process introduced in Congress

Democrat from Pa. seeks to address “resource disparities” between coal companies, claimants

Congressional Democrats have introduced a measure designed to streamline the process for miners filing benefits claims under the Black Lung Benefits Act – and to help miners overcome the “resource disparities” between themselves and the coal companies who use legal maneuvering to block the miners’ claims.

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Adult U.S. cigarette smoking rate overall hits all-time low

The cigarette smoking rate among adults in the U.S. dropped from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 17.8 percent in 2013, according to new data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

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Texas stone fabricator faulted for crushing hazards

Berry Marble and Granite exposed workers to crushing hazards associated with handling granite, marble and stone at its Tyler, Texas, facility, OSHA found in a follow-up inspection. The company has received 14 citations, including two for willfully violating safety standards and two for repeated violations, with a proposed fine of $156,310.

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Proposed OSHA penalty of $74,250 levied for 6 violations relating to electrical work

A crew was working on upgrading the battery room at a receiving substation. (The room provided emergency power for up to 8 hours.) The electric utility, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, had purchased replacement batteries from RSC in Wilmington, CA.

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