Gig worker safety, U.S. mining deaths are down even as U.S. mining black lung disease cases are on the rise and public health professionals weigh in on proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act. These were among the top stories posted on last week.

Adult asthma linked to work, location

Nearly half of all adult asthma cases – 48 percent -- might be related to work – and thus, preventable -- according to a study published in the CDC’s MMWR last month. This finding means as many as 2.7 million U.S. workers might have asthma caused by or exacerbated by workplace conditions.


Brace yourself: Snow, freezing rain predicted for South

Residents urged to stock up, then stay indoors

The first weekend of the new year could be a dangerous one for the 80 million Americans who are in the path of what authorities are calling a “historic” winter storm. As the weather system that has already devastated western states sweeps eastward, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for parts of Georgia, the Carolinas and Alabama that begins this afternoon.


US mining deaths at an all-time low

25 miners died in work-related accidents last year

Preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) indicate that in 2016, 25 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines – down from 29 in 2015. The figure represents the lowest number of mining deaths ever recorded and only the second year that mining deaths dropped below 30.


Multiple amputations at one Chicago manufacturing company

For the third time since the summer of 2015, a worker with a metal container manufacturer has suffered an amputation injury. In each incident, federal safety investigators found that, if the employer had complied with workplace safety standards, the injuries were preventable.


NIOSH IDs “alarming” resurgence in black lung disease

Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, also known as “black lung disease,” has reappeared in the U.S. in “alarming” numbers, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).


Public health professionals strongly oppose repeal of Obamacare

In a letter to members of Congress yesterday, the American Public Health Association strongly opposed attempts to repeal or weaken the Affordable Care Act. "Any effort to repeal the ACA without ensuring a viable and immediate replacement plan is unconscionable and will put the health of the American people at an unacceptable risk," wrote APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD.


Radon testing can help protect your your family from lung cancer

January is National Radon Action Month, when the EPA encourages all Americans to test their homes for radon. Exposure to radon in indoor air is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Test your home and make 2017 a safer and healthier year. “January is the time when we remind everyone to ‘test, fix and save a life.’ That’s because lung cancer due to radon can be prevented by testing, and if needed, fixing your home. It’s a simple and important way to help safeguard your family’s health,” said Jon Edwards, Director of EPA’s Office of Radiation and Indoor Air.


Fall from a ladder has fatal results

While changing an overhead ballast in a light fixture, an employee of New Jersey Medical Center received an electrical shock that caused him to fall from a ladder. He was hospitalized and died several weeks later from the injuries he sustained in the fall.


A NIOSH Science Blog post

Nonstandard work arrangements

Dr. John Howard

Who is looking out for workers in nonstandard work arrangements? As the prevalence of nonstandard work arrangements (such as temporary agency, contract, and “gig” arrangements) rises, so do concerns about workplace safety and health among this workforce. A recent article, “Nonstandard work arrangements and worker health and safety” published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine describes the major standard and nonstandard work arrangements and the potential managerial, legal, and health and safety challenges associated with nonstandard arrangements.


Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2017

The Society for Industrial and Organization Psychology (SIOP) asked its members – who study workplace issues of critical relevance to business, like talent management, coaching, training, organizational development, performance, and work–life balance – about their predictions for workplace trends in 2017. Based on 800 responses, the SIOP says Big Data will still be important, but so will employees’ needs and differences.


Drone registration reaches new heights

More than 616,000 drones – otherwise known as unmanned aircraft – were registered last year under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) registration system – which became web-based on Dec. 21. Drones received as Christmas presents may contribute to significant registration numbers in January.


From the U.S. Department of Labor:

Putting the brakes on unsafe conditions – wherever we find them

Michael Felsen  Scott Miller

Nobody would want to drive a vehicle that wasn’t properly maintained and lacked important safety features. Yet at one shipping company that operates nationwide, Central Transport LLC, workers were required to operate unsafe forklifts.


A dangerous season

Why do heart-related deaths spike at Christmas?

Heart-related deaths spike during Christmas, but the effect may have nothing to do with the cold winter season, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.


Two weeks on the job and…

A federal investigation prompted by the death of a 17-year-old worker at a Columbus metal fabrication facility has resulted in multiple safety and health violations. OSHA issued 16 serious and one other-than-serious safety and health violations to G.D. Roberts & Co. Inc., for violations the agency's inspectors found after a machine pinned and injured the teenaged worker on June 27, 2016.


Work-related lead exposure unrelated to thyroid function in men

Memory loss, weakness, irritability, and fatigue are just some of the obvious health effects of exposure to lead, but what about hidden risks? Of concern are the possible consequences of lead exposure on the thyroid gland and the hormones it produces, which are critical to cell function.