Hurricane Harvey devastates Texas and Louisiana, the tobacco industry is accused of using youth movies to advertise smoking and gain new customers and WHO got named to the Labor Hall of Fame? These were among the top stories featured on this week.

42% of Americans consider themselves overweight

While a majority of Americans place a high value on being physically fit, most don’t feel as if they are in good shape, according to a recent survey on fitness and health.

Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath: an update

More deaths have been reported, evacuation centers are packed, gas prices are up and the task of assessing the damage from the historic storm has barely begun. Here are a few stories about the storm and its effects:

Only 3.3 percent of ER visits are “avoidable”

"The myths about ‘unnecessary’ ER visits are just that – myths.”

Only 3.3 percent of all visits to emergency departments are classified as “avoidable,” according to a study published today in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care (“Avoidable emergency department visits: a starting point”).

Harvey spreads oil industry air pollution in Texas

Oil refineries in the Houston area damaged by Hurricane Harvey may have accidentally released millions of pounds of contaminants into the air, according to news reports.

Floodwaters cause explosions at Texas chem facility

Explosions and fumes emanating from a flood-crippled chemical plant in southeast Texas sent a deputy sheriff to the hospital and caused local officials to brace for a fire and more blasts at the facility. News sources report that the flooding caused by Harvey knocked out power to the plant, disabling its refrigeration system and allowing the volatile chemicals it stored to heat up and explode.

Young men not controlling heart attack risk

Young adults, particularly men, lag behind middle-aged and older adults in awareness and treatment of high blood pressure, putting this population at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal Hypertension.

Health experts want R rating for movies that show smoking

If filmmakers won't stop showing characters in PG-13 movies smoking, then movies depicting smoking or tobacco use should be rated "R." That's the demand being made health experts, who are frustrated by the failure of efforts to  eliminate smoking imagery from movies targeted toward young people. Research has shown that smoking in movies has a direct impact on children who go on to smoke.

A FairWarning story

Don’t drive distracted, wireless industry says, but safety advocates want more than talk

Myron Levin

Just after noon on March 29, a pickup truck crossed the center line of a rural road in South Texas and slammed into a church bus, killing 13 members of the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels. A police report said the 20-year-old pickup driver, who survived, had taken medication and was texting.

Planes run out of fuel more often than you think

Better fuel management by aviators could prevent an average of 50 general aviation accidents a year, according to the NTSB’s latest safety alert, ‘Flying on Empty,’ issued yesterday.

A Confined Space blog post

Weekly Toll: OSHA won’t tell you who died in the workplace. We will

 Jordan Barab

Last week in the workplace: Of note, three fatalities related to forklifts. Also, while OSHA removes workplace fatalities from its homepage and buries them on their website without victims’ names, you’ll continue to find them here.

Worker suffers shattered jaw, co. gets cited

One worker at a Wisconsin manufacturing company suffered severe injuries after being struck by a moving piece of machinery and another was exposed to excessive levels of hexavalent chromium, OSHA investigators found, after responding to a complaint about unsafe conditions at the facility.

Staying safe in a flood

Harvey may have been downgraded from hurricane status to tropical storm, but it continues to produce extraordinary amounts of rain, bringing misery to residents of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. Forecasters say the area can expect heavy rain to persist throughout the Labor Day weekend.

Public health experts slam Trump administration's "anti-evidence policy"

“Now is not the time to silence science”

A leading public health organization is criticizing the Trump administration for two recent actions that it says shows “a disregard for science and evidence when it comes to the environment and safeguarding health.”

Chem facilities urged to be careful with startups after hurricane

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) today issued a Safety Alert urging oil and chemical facilities to take special precautions when restarting in the wake of shutdowns due to Hurricane Harvey.

Quick action by co-workers saves man buried in trench collapse

A South Dakota worker who was completely buried in a trench collapse earlier this year survived only because co-workers were able to free his head, allowing him to breathe while emergency personnel worked for more than 30 minutes to free him.

A Confined Space blog post

OSHA covers up workplace fatalities

Jordan Barab

Two weeks ago, OSHA gained new political leadership in Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt. And now we’re seeing the first impact of the Trump-Acosta-Sweatt regime at OSHA: A brazen attempt to hide from the American public the extent of workplace fatalities in this country.

DOT grants millions for hazmat training

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has announced more than $4 million in FY 2017 Hazardous Materials Instructor Training (HMIT) and Supplemental Public Sector Training (SPST) grants.

A Confined Space blog post

Acosta names Ronald Reagan to Labor Hall of Honor

Jordan Barab

While it may go without saying, there’s probably no President in American history more reviled by worker advocates than Ronald Reagan.