A new mining safety standard, a failed effort in one state to slow the opioid epidemic and an increased role for 911 dispatchers in saving lives. These were among the top stories featured on ISHN.com this week.

A NIOSH Science Blog post

To Beard or not to beard? That’s a good question!

The month of November is full of fun, interesting, and thought-provoking observances. November is National Raisin Bread Month, Historic Bridge Awareness Month, and Inspirational Role Models Month among so much more. November is also the host month to campaigns like No-Shave November and Movember. Campaigns such as these are working hard to raise money for important causes such as cancer research, education, and awareness. These increasingly popular campaigns are a great way to demonstrate your support … unless you need to wear a tight-fitting respirator for your job.


Momentum builds to raise tobacco age to 21 nationwide

Public health organizations are expressing their support for legislation introduced this week that would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 nationwide. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Academy of Pediatrics says the Tobacco to 21 Act introduced by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) would help reduce tobacco use among young people, save lives and help make the next generation tobacco-free.


First responders focus on confined spaces

Although confined space rescues comprise a relatively small percentage of the operations performed by fire departments in the U.S., they are among the most challenging and dangerous. In fact, as hazardous as confined spaces are for the people who initially become trapped in them, they are even more deadly for would-be rescuers, who account for nearly 60 percent of all confined space deaths.


Monitoring program fails to slow opioid epidemic in West Virginia

Despite a policy that led to a decrease in the amount of prescription opioids dispensed in West Virginia, hospitalizations related to opioids have not significantly declined, according to researchers from West Virginia University. More alarming: the data shows that there was more than a 200 percent increase in heroin poisonings following the policy’s implementation. The study found that overall opioid poisonings rates increased significantly from 2008 to 2015 among all age groups.


Air pollution linked to higher mortality rates

New research presented this week at APHA’s 2017 Annual Meeting and Expo examined the burden of air pollution and its association with mortality in Chinese cities. The study by researchers at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health showed a significant correlation between higher air quality index concentrations and higher mortality rates. The study is the first to provide strong evidence of the burden of air pollution in major Chinese cities, as well as the impacts of air quality and climate change on urban population mortality.


Worker injuries reveal hazards at auto parts plant

Two serious injuries to workers – including an amputation of a left index finger -- brought OSHA investigators to an auto parts manufacturing facility in Buford, Georgia. The agency subsequently cited Elringklinger USA Inc. for exposing workers to electrical, fall, and noise hazards. Proposed penalties total $308,906. OSHA inspected Elringklinger USA on May 2, 2017, after an employee performing maintenance on a screen print machine was injured.


A Confined Space blog post

The weekly toll: The deaths just keep on happening


Jordan Barab

Rockford police officer killed after traffic stop. ROCKFORD, Ill. — A Rockford police officer was killed in the line of duty, and a man he pulled over was also killed, after the two were involved in a “scuffle” early Sunday, according to officials. Rockford Chief of Police Dan O’Shea said 30-year-old Officer Jamie Cox, who had been on the force for about a year, pulled over 49-year-old Eddie Patterson as he drove a small pickup truck near the northwest suburb around 1 a.m. Sunday. 


Here’s what would save more lives of cardiac arrest victims

911 dispatchers, bystanders both have roles

More people would survive cardiac arrest if emergency medical dispatchers give chest compression-only CPR instructions over the phone and if infants and children receive chest compressions with rescue breaths, according to updated CPR guidelines published today by the American Heart Association (Association). The changes in the 2017 American Heart Association Focused Updates on Adult and Pediatric Basic Life Support and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Quality also re-emphasize the importance of bystanders starting immediate chest compressions if they see an adult collapse in a suspected cardiac arrest.


Neuroscientist: stop listening to music while you work

Daniel Levitin, a cognitive neuroscientist and the author of "This is Your Brain on Music," says listening to music while you work is likely to make you less productive. "You're having so much more fun," said Levitin, "that you feel more productive." He cited a growing body of research suggesting that, in almost every case, your performance on intellectual tasks (think reading or writing) suffers considerably when you listen to music.


Marine Corps facility gets Star Status in safety

A Marine Corps Air Facility (MCAF) in Quantico, Va. has been recognized for its achievements in workplace safety and health. OSHA Regional Director Richard Mendelson presented MCAF Commanding Officer Lt. Colonel Daniel Murphy with a plaque and flag signifying the facility’s Star Status in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs.


New mining safety standard takes a different direction

ISO 19434 is aimed at reducing accidents through classification system

A new international standard released by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) classifies mining accidents by type and by cause in an effort to prevent them from happening in the future. Developed by the ISO’s technical committee on mining, ISO 19434 presents a comprehensive mine accidents classification system that lays out a standard scheme for all factors associated with the accidents. It enables a full analysis based on both software systems or manual assessment and uses a common understandable language for communication between all parts involved in safety, health and environment issues in mines.


Philadelphia’s beverage tax is working, says AHA

A tax in Philadelphia intended to reduce consumption of sugary drinks is working, according to a public health expert who presented her findings at a national conference centered on interventions to reduce obesity. Sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes – aimed at fighting the nation’s obesity epidemic - have been gaining momentum since Berkeley, California passed the nation’s first SSB tax in 2014. 


NIOSH hosts a nanotechnology edit-a-thon

(What is an edit-a-thon?)

New workplace safety and health issues continue to emerge around the relatively new fields of nanotechnology, advanced materials, and additive manufacturing, which makes updated on information a challenge for safety professionals and others. Because many people turn to Wikipedia for information, scientists with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) gathered with “Wikipedians” from across the Midwest to expand and improve Wikipedia articles about nanotechnology OSH.


Worker fatality results in $40+ million verdict in Queens, NY

Steven Frosch’s future earnings potential was a factor

The family of a sanitation worker who was accidentally run over by a colleague driving a street sweeper was awarded $41.5 million by a jury of six in Queens, New York last week. The incident occurred while 43-year-old Steven Frosch was making adjustments to his own street sweeper in a Department of Sanitation garage.


From the NIOSH Director's Desk

How do you talk about workplace motor vehicle safety?

Dr. John Howard

The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety (CMVS) is taking up the challenge of communicating to employers and workers about the risks of driving for work and how to avoid motor vehicle crashes. Crash risk affects workers in all industries and occupations, whether they drive tractor-trailers, cars, pickup trucks, or emergency vehicles, and whether driving is a primary or occasional part of the job.