Threats to health from air pollution, how (and why) to hold on to aging workers and the long term effects of black lung disease were among the week’s top occupational safety and health stories featured on

U.S. mining deaths dropped to new lows in 2015

Work-related accidents claimed 28 miners’ lives

January 8, 2016


Preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration indicate that 28 miners died in 2015 in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines, down from 45 in 2014.


EPA releases info on insecticides that may be harmful to bees

First-of-its-kind assessment delivers on President Obama’s National Pollinator Strategy

January 8, 2016

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a preliminary pollinator risk assessment for the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, which shows a threat to some pollinators. EPA’s assessment, prepared in collaboration with California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation, indicates that imidacloprid potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators.


Fatal trench collapse earns Pa. company ‘severe violator’ status

Susquehanna Supply Company Inc. has an extensive OSHA history of violations

January 7, 2016

An employee working on the outside of a bridge abutment in a 12-15’ trench in Milllville, Pennsylvania died when the adjacent trench wall collapsed, burying him in soil. The worker was in the trench shoveling soil off the base of the abutment wall because it was not reachable by an excavator.


Strategies for engaging and retaining mature workers

January 7, 2016

A new white paper predicts that upcoming dramatic shifts in workforce demographics will leave many companies with vacancies that will be difficult to fill with younger, less experienced workers.


Feds release new(est) dietary guidelines

January 7, 2016

The federal government has released its “2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines,” which it says focuses on the big picture with recommendations to help Americans make choices that add up to an overall healthy eating pattern.


Stock market performance linked to employee health & safety programs

January 6, 2016

A study utilizing investment simulations for 17 publicly held companies with strong health or safety programs for employees suggests that employers that invest significantly in health and safety programming can outperform other companies in the marketplace.



From NIOSH Research Rounds:

Black lung disease affects both current and former coal miners

January 6, 2016

A new study at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) underscores the importance of anticipating respiratory disease, including black lung disease and loss of lung function, in former coal miners to allow them to receive an appropriate diagnosis and medical care.


Cleanup worker safety in the aftermath of a tornado

January 6, 2016

After a series of tornadoes struck parts of north Texas last week, causing at least 11 deaths and extensive destruction of property, OSHA coordinated with local officials to ensure the safety of recovery workers and responders.


From NIOSH Director John Howard

Preparing for working in cold

Dr. John Howard

January 5, 2016

Don’t assume there is no need to prepare for working safely in the cold this year, because of the moderate temperatures in much of the country so far. According to the National Weather Service , the long-range weather forecast predicts chillier temperatures than average in January and February in the Southern Plains and the Southeast.


January message from ASSE President Michael Belcher

Supporting our Latino community

Michael Belcher CSP

January 5, 2016

One Comment

Latinos are the largest minority group in the U.S., and statistics show that only Mexico has a higher number of Latinos. Latinos now comprise 17% of the population, a figure expected to grow to 31% by 2060, according the U.S. Census Bureau. This increase will have significant demographic and business implications.


Workplace surveillance fails to detect respiratory diseases

January 5, 2016

In 1981, a worker at the Maxwell House coffee factory in Houston died from what was reported at the time to be "bronchial asthma." She was 46, a mother of three. In 1982, another worker at the plant died — from the same thing.


Doctors: How to improve cardiac arrest survival in three easy steps

January 5, 2016

Although survival rates for people who suffer cardiac arrest outside a hospital are extremely low in most places, emergency physicians propose three interventions to improve survival rates and functional outcomes in any community and urge additional federal funding for cardiac resuscitation research in an editorial published online last Wednesday in Annals of Emergency Medicine (“IOM Says Times to Act to Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival … Here’s How”).


El Faro’s underwater grave seen in NTSB images

January 4, 2016

Ghostly underwater images of the doomed cargo ship El Faro have been released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as part of its ongoing investigation into the sinking of the ship.


China shutters 17,000 firms for pollution offenses

28,600 ordered to halt operations

January 4, 2016

Thick smog continued to engulf China’s largest cities on December 26, 2015, just a day after authorities canceled more than 200 flights from Beijing due to limited visibility. Children and elderly were also warned to avoid outdoor activities as officials raised the air pollution alert in Beijing to orange, the second-highest on the city’s four-grade scale, on Christmas.


Fighting dirty air: How Chinese citizens try to “wash their lungs”

January 4, 2016

Until December, 2015, the Chinese government had never issued a "red alert" for severe smog levels in any of its cities. But in December it issued two of them, closing schools, stalling freeways, and leading some environmental policy experts to believe that, with respect to air pollution, the recent alarms may represent a national turning point.


“Habitual” safety violator again exposes roofers to fall hazards

January 4, 2016

Falls, broken bones, and death. These were the hazards faced by Force Corp. employees as they performed a roofing job on July 7, 2015, at 2-4 Johnson St. in North Andover. An OSHA inspector driving by the work site saw three employees on a roof exposed to falls of up to 18 feet without fall protection.