Transgender worker safety and health, making underwater work safer for divers and new rail safety rules were among the top occupational safety and health, public health and public safety stories posted on this week.

A NIOSH Science Blog post:

Higher nurse-to-patient ratio law improves nurse injury rates by one-third

California is the only state with a law governing minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. The ratios vary depending on the type of hospital service but are in the range of one nurse for every five patients. (The ratios are available on the California Department of Public Health website.) The law went into effect in 2004.

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Food safety group alarmed by USDA ok of apples from China

Food & Water Watch is warning that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent approval of imported fresh apples from China could threaten American consumers and apple growers.

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Public safety

Don’t let lawn mowing injuries send you to the E.R.

With warm weather finally here and grass greening up and growing fast, the sound of power lawn mowers fills the air in many neighborhoods. While they are useful tools to have, they are also hazardous when not used correctly.

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New resource aims to improve safety of underwater work

The global diving industry’s frequency of diver fatalities, injuries, incidents, and asset damage occurring while using underwater oxy-arc cutting continues to be “unacceptably high,” according to the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP).

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Hot topic

OSHA joins alliance to protect safety, health of transgender workers

Less than two weeks after Olympic medalist Bruce Jenner got the nation talking about the transgender topic by revealing his own ongoing transition from male to female, OSHA has taken a step to improve workplace safety and health for transgender workers.

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ND town evacuated after train derailment, fire

Residents of the tiny town of Heimdal, North Dakota and people on surrounding farms were evacuated yesterday after a BNSF train carrying crude oil derailed, causing ten cars to become engulfed in flames.

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Public health

EPA: Learning the triggers helps prevent asthma attacks

Asthma is a major public health issue, affecting nearly 23 million people and disproportionally affecting low-income and minority communities. The economic impact of asthma amounts to more than $56 billion per year from direct medical costs and indirect costs, such as missed school and work days.

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From the (NIOSH) Director’s Desk

Championing young workers

By Dr. John Howard

A “champion” is commonly defined as the victor of a competition or challenge. A less common usage of the word “champion,” one that has particular resonance for us at NIOSH, is the meaning that denotes an early advocate for an innovative cause or idea.

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Still time to participate in National Fall Safety Stand-Down

OSHA, NIOSH, NORA, CPWR partner to spread the fall prevention message

With this year’s National Fall Safety Stand-Down – which began on Monday – OSHA is hoping to reach even more than the million+ workers who heard the word in the 2014 event, by way of the more than 5,000 construction industry employers who got involved.

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Call for regulatory scrutiny in Mass. may affect worker safety, environment

Worker safety advocates and environmentalists are worried that an executive order issued by the governor of Massachusetts will lead to more dangerous workplaces and higher levels of air and water pollution.

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Oil & gas industry critical of new rail safety rules

The American Petroleum Institute (API) said it will be carefully examining new regulations Canada for the shipment of flammable liquids by rail, but it is already critical of one of the provisions -- a requirement for electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes.

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It’s American Stroke Month; Do you know the signs?

If you’re like most Americans, you don’t know the signs of stroke. Only 8 percent of those recently surveyed in the American Stroke Association/Ad Council Stroke Awareness Continuous Tracking Study could identify each letter in F.A.S.T., an acronym of the most common stroke warning signs.

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Company fined by OSHA

A Republic Steel Corp. employee sustained third degree burns on her hand and first degree burns on her face from an arc flash that occurred at the company’s steel manufacturing plant in Blasdell, New York.

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Initial Analysis: DIR’s Budget Change Proposal for Cal/OSHA California State Fiscal Year 2015/16

By Garrett Brown MPH, CIH

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its final count of workplace fatalities for 2013 (the latest year calculated) showing California’s death toll that year to be 396 — more than one worker killed every day — with 21 more fatalities than in 2012. The 2013 figure is the highest number of deaths since 2009.

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Are you standing down?

If you are in the construction industry, there is still time for you to participate in OSHA’s National Fall Prevention Stand-Down, which runs today through May 15th.

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Few pleased by new DOT rule on tank cars carrying hazmat

Both safety advocates and the railroad industry are expressing disappointment with new rules announced Friday by the U.S. Department of Transportation that are intended  improve the safety of rail tank cars carrying crude oil and other flammable liquids.

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Tower workers' deaths could have been prevented with personal safety gear

Scaffold collapses during commercial painting job
Florjan Nilaj and Gazmend Vukaj left their Michigan homes and traveled 260 miles south to Oxford, Ohio for a commercial painting job, never thinking that Oct. 24, 2014, might be the last day of their lives.

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