Reports from Safety 2015, firefighter cancer risk and how to reduce the fire risk in older homes were among the occupational safety and health stories featured on this week.

Half a million in fines for OSH violations at Oklahoma company

OSHA finds 50 violations at Alfa Laval facility, many of them repeat

Alfa Laval Inc. faces $477,900 in proposed penalties after OSHA inspections discovered dozens of serious workplace safety violations, five of which were identified in previous inspections. Federal investigators found five repeated and 45 serious violations on a range of health and safety issues at the company's Broken Arrow facility, including inadequate protection of workers from machinery, a lack of respiratory equipment and training for hazardous chemicals.

Thousands of roadway deaths a year are due to this simple error

Drivers use the brake almost a million times per year, usually with no problem. But each year, approximately 16,000 preventable crashes occur due to pedal error when drivers mistake the accelerator for the brake. Pedal error crashes can present serious safety risks to the vehicle occupants, surrounding motorists, pedestrians, and property.

5S methodology: Eliminate deadly wastes

By Mitch Fein

A strategy to reduce hazards and defects, cut costs, and improve efficiency and communications is to implement the Japanese 5S methodology.

A NIOSH Science Blog post:

Workplace secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy: Who is protected?

We estimated that about 1 in 10 nonsmoking, working women of reproductive age in the United States are exposed to secondhand smoke at work. Women working in the accommodations and food services industry (women working in hotels, restaurants, or bars) were more than twice as likely as women employed in other industries to be exposed to secondhand smoke at work.

Fatal NY mezzanine collapse 'should never have happened'

Formica Construction's willful disregard led to worker’s death

The life of a 46-year-old demolition worker, killed in a building collapse in November 2014 at a Staten Island auto dealership, could have been spared if his employer had not disregarded federal safety rules.

A FairWarning story

Study: Cancer risk high for firefighters, but higher for minority firefighters

By Brian Joseph

A new study has found that firefighters have a greater than average risk of developing some types of cancer, and that black and Latino firefighters face the highest risk of all.

OSHA's revised HazCom requirements now in effect

As of June 1, chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers are required to provide a common approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets.

How good are you at self-assessment?

Professional development is fundamental to the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo being held this week in Salt Lake City, and a key component of that development is the ability to take a hard look in the mirror and assess your abilities and your skills gaps, according to Ashley Alewelt, an EHS manager for Caterpillar, the global manufacturer with more than 290 work sites and about 120,000 employees.

Perceptions of EHS professionals are changing (for the better)

The evolution of the EHS field, which has been ongoing for 10-15 years since the effective conclusion of the activist OSHA era, is on display here at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo being held this week in Salt Lake City. EHS professionals in 2015 are no longer looked at as “the safety man” or the “industrial hygiene techie” if they position themselves properly, according to speakers.

Among the many competitive advantages provided by best in class EHS work…

How do you show that EHS is a positive investment as opposed to a cost? Attendees here at this year’s American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo in Salt Lake City are learning about making the business case for EHS in multiple sessions. Among the benefits:

How EHS professionals can further their careers

Professional development is a central theme of the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo being held this week in Salt Lake City. Here are just some of the components of personal professional development plans attendees are learning about -- how many are you using?

More employers are renting high-end, expensive atmospheric monitoring equipment to reduce capital spending costs, according to instrument vendors exhibiting here at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo in Salt Lake City.

Are you dealing with these emerging EHS issues?

Here are emerging EHS issues in 2015 being discussed at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo being held this week in Salt Lake City. How many of them are you currently involved with?

Obesity can raise the risk of work injury

A study of injured U.S. aluminum industry workers in 2002-2004 established a positive correlation between the Body Mass Index (BMI) and traumatic work injuries, according to a presentation held Monday at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo.

What to look for in a good occupational physician

EHS pros often lack a good understanding of what makes for a good occupational physician, especially since corporate occ med departments started to be outsourced decades ago, according to Peter Greaney of Workcare, Inc. speaking Monday at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo in Salt Lake City.

Injury factors beyond the workplace

A study of French railroad workers was cited at a session Monday of the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo in Salt Lake City, a session looking to increase EHS professionals’ understanding of occupational medicine issues.

Employee assistance programs are seldom used

Employees seldom seek assistance through company-funded EAPs, according to an occupational health specialist speaking at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo on Monday in Salt Lake City.

Getting a seat at the decision-making table

Ashley Alewelt, CSP, Caterpillar, gave a presentation Monday morning at the 2015 AIHce urging EHS professionals to go beyond developing technical competencies. According to Alewelt, pros often go to technical trainings and read scientific books, but forget to build their leadership strengths.

Give young employees safe summer jobs

On Monday morning at the AIHce, Brendan Moriarty, CIH, CSP, Chubb Insurance, discussed in a workshop the significant potential for an injury to a younger worker. According to NIOSH, an estimated 200,000 young workers are injured on the job in the U.S. every year. About 70,000 are injured seriously enough to go to the emergency room.

Gas detection market shows no slowdown

Many vendors at the AIHce exhibition hall are rolling out new gas detection equipment this week at the meeting in Salt Lake City. Technology is driving many innovations, with cloud-based software and storage handling the management of gas detection programs, and wireless gas detection enabling enterprise-wide closed-loop exposure monitoring and analysis.

Globetrotting safety and health emissary discusses “pitiless, globalized economy”

Monday afternoon at the 2015 AIHce in Salt Lake City features the annual Jeffrey S. Lee Lecture, this year given by Garrett Brown, titled, “Two Decades Spent Helping Workers Protect Their Own Health and Safety in a Pitiless, Globalized Economy.”

It’s that time again: Regulatory reform is in the air

Attendees at the 2015 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo (AIHce) meeting this week in Salt Lake City are networking and racking up certification maintenance points while Washington is experiencing one of its periodic “let’s trim back the regulatory thicket” periods.

What’s on tap for OSHA standards-setting?

American Industrial Hygiene Association Director of Government Affairs Aaron Trippler gives industrial hygienists this update on OSHA standards action. Beryllium: The OSHA draft of this proposed rule to reduce the exposure to beryllium remains at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – under review.

The 2015 AIHce kicked off early Monday morning in Salt Lake City with the opening keynote address given by Alison Levine, team captain of the first American women’s Everest expedition. Levine is in a unique position to discuss leadership practices. In addition to be a global adventurer, Levine has spent more than two decades climbing the corporate ladder.

Why work became so bad (and more dangerous) for so many

One of the most thought-stirring sessions at this year’s American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo (AIHce) held this week in Salt Lake City is a discussion featuring OSHA boss Dr. David Michaels and Department of Labor Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division Dr. David Weil. They are talking about Dr. Weil’s 2014 book, “The Fissured Workplace: Why work became so bad for so many and what can be done to improve it,” published by the Harvard Press, in the context of workplace safety and health outcomes.

Simple electrical fixes can make your home safer

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is urging people to minimize the risk of electrical fires and shocks by protecting their homes with arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), and tamper resistant receptacles (TRRs).