Weekly news round-up
Overheated teen workers, ergo injuries and nanoparticle safety in the construction industry were among the week’s top EHS-related stories posted on ISHN.com.
Almost two-thirds of Americans 70 and older suffer from hearing loss ranging from mild to severe, according to what might be the first study to estimate the prevalence of hearing impairment in a nationally representative sample of older adults, The New York Timesrecently reported.
According to ISHN’s 2015 EHS State of the Nation subscriber survey, much EHS programmatic work in 2015 centers on: 1) building and/or maintaining a safety culture for organizations (54%); 2) finding and fixing workplace hazards (48%); 3) conducting risk assessments and risk prioritization (43%); and 4) tracking safety and health performance measures other than counting injuries and illnesses (38%).
A growing number of pharma companies are pursuing drugs for the ear, according to a recent article in The New York Times. A clinical trial recently began of a gene therapy being developed by Novartis that is aimed at restoring lost hearing, according to the article.
Rail tank cars that carry crude oil, ethanol and other hazardous materials across the country must do it more safely. That's one of four new issues on the NTSB's Most Wanted List for 2015. Also new to the list of top 10 areas that need safety improvements are: Requiring that transportation operators be medically fit for duty; strengthening commercial trucking safety; and requiring pilots to strengthen procedural compliance.
A teenaged worker at an outdoor amusement park was burned after collapsing near a food stand fryer from excessive heat on June 9, 2014. An OSHA investigation into the incident found that seasonally-employed workers, mostly teen employees, hired as outdoor and food stand staff at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pa. were exposed to heat hazards during their summer employment.
Dangerous fumes kill two workers at Agridyne in Pekin, Illinois
A 37-year-old worker at Agridyne's Pekin facility climbed down into a rail car to clean out corn steep residue and was overcome by dangerous hydrogen sulfide gas. A 29-year-old tank inspector, who attempted to rescue the first worker, succumbed to the gas exposure as well. Neither worker made it out of the car alive.
The maturity and evolution of the EHS profession (going beyond the traditional compliance mindset) is evident in the most serious hazards pros say they will contend with in 2015, according to ISHN’s 2015 EHS State of the Nation subscriber survey.
Low cost, easy-to-adopt programs can improve employee health
Small businesses are prepared to adopt workplace wellness programs and, based on the kinds of health risks facing employees, are a good target for such health interventions according to new research published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine from the Colorado School of Public Health.
Harmful levels of road traffic noise affect one in four people in Europe and raise health risks ranging from sleepless nights to heart disease, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has stated.
The most pressing issue facing EHS professionals in the new year, according to ISHN’s 2015 EHS State of the Nation subscriber survey, is an age-old challenge that has been reported inISHN State of the Nation surveys since the 1980s – dealing with the safety and health attitudes and behaviors of line employees. Consider:
Owners and general contractors currently have no standardized procedure for evaluating potential subcontractors on the basis of their ability to provide a safe work environment for workers. A Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) project scheduled to get underway in 2015 will develop and validate a new publicly available pre-qualification assessment tool for construction projects in order to select and promote safer contractors.
Four companies cited for violations
A 25-year-old working on a six-story residential project at Florida State University died after being struck and crushed by a material/personnel elevator carriage not enclosed on all four sides. After an investigation of the July 28, 2014 fatality, OSHA found that Miller's Plumbing and Mechanical Inc. allowed a window-frame opening in a building under construction to be uncovered, thus exposing workers to the hazard of being struck and crushed by the elevator carriage as it passed within inches of the opening.
Agency releases preliminary fatality data for 2014
Preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration indicates that 40 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines in 2014, two fewer than in the previous year.
A special report in the latest issue of HesaMag, the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) periodical on health and safety at work, looks at the main factors that are undermining occupational health services in Europe. First among such factors is a shortage of specialists. The average age of occupational doctors is high, and little new blood is entering the profession.
There’s certainly no lack of challenges facing the EHS profession now and in the coming years, according to ISHN’s 2015 EHS State of the Nation subscriber survey. Almost four in ten (39%) ofISHN subscribers say contending with an expanding workload is one of the biggest challenges they face on the job.