A change that could help curb antibiotic resistance, a multiple fatality grain dust explosion and which industry’s workers have the lowest flu vaccine rates were among the top stories featured on ISHN.com this week.

Ceremony commemorates 49th anniversary of mine disaster

Hundreds of people gathered in Farmington, West Virginia on Sunday to commemorate a 49-year-old mining tragedy that killed 78 miners. The solemn ceremony held at Flat Run Memorial honored victims of the November 20, 1968 Farmington mine disaster in the Consol No. 9 coal mine north of Farmington and Mannington. There were 99 miners at work that day when an explosion rocked the mine. The blast was strong enough to be felt in Fairmont, almost 12 miles away. Fires caused by the blast burned for over a week.


WHO to farmers: Stop using antibiotics in healthy animals

Practice contributes to rise in antibiotic resistance

WHO is recommending that farmers and the food industry stop using antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals. The new WHO recommendations aim to help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics that are important for human medicine by reducing their unnecessary use in animals. In some countries, approximately 80% of total consumption of medically important antibiotics is in the animal sector, largely for growth promotion in healthy animals.


Massive fine in fatal grain dust explosion

OSHA is proposing nearly two million dollars in fines against a Wisconsin corn milling facility, after five employees were killed in 12 others injured in a grain dust explosion. Among those injured in the May 31, 2017 accident at Didion Milling, Inc.: a 21-year-old employee who suffered a double leg amputation after being crushed by a railcar. OSHA found that the explosion likely resulted from Didion’s failures to correct the leakage and accumulation of highly combustible grain dust throughout the facility and to properly maintain equipment to control ignition sources.


The NTSB wants your feedback

The National Transportation Safety Board is seeking industry feedback on its draft strategic plan for Fiscal Years 2018-2022, in order to ensure that the agency is “taking the right approach to advancing the mission of improving transportation safety.” The Strategic Plan reflects the NTSB’s priorities for advancing the mission of improving transportation safety by setting three priority strategic goals: safety Leadership: We will continue to serve as a global leader in independent accident investigations, products, and services essential to transportation safety; engagement: We will engage external stakeholders to advance transportation safety and synergy: We will promote agency teamwork, innovation, and engagement to optimize operations.


Boats sunken by hurricanes pose environmental hazard

U.S. Coast Guard recovery teams in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are hard at work locating, assessing and retrieving vessels that were sunken and damaged by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The task is an urgent one, since leaking oil, fuel and hazardous materials pose a significant threat to the environment and human health. The EPA is assisting in the effort, coordinating with federal, commonwealth, territory, and local partners.


Tobacco ads to reveal the health effects of smoking

Starting Nov. 26, the major U.S. tobacco companies must run court-ordered newspaper and television advertisements that tell the American public the truth about the deadly consequences of smoking and secondhand smoke, as well as the companies’ intentional design of cigarettes to make them more addictive. The ads are the culmination of a long-running lawsuit the U.S. Department of Justice filed against the tobacco companies in 1999. 


Attention to engines can prevent many plane crashes

Most general aviation fatal accidents are caused by in-flight loss of control – and many those are caused by factors related to engine failure. Between 2001 and 2010, engine maintenance errors were identified as a contributing factor in 35 of 70 randomly-selected accidents. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would like to help decrease that number.


A Confined Space blog post

Acosta testifies and he’s not terrible

Jordan Barab

Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta testified last Thursday at a hearing before the full House Education and Workforce Committee, and although I take great pleasure in (deservedly) criticizing Trump administration appointees, he wasn’t terrible — as Trump appointees go. Now let me qualify a bit. I’m focusing only on workplace safety issues, not on any wage and hour, apprenticeship or other labor issues that were addressed during the hearing. Second, his performance varied from fairly decent (regarding enforcement issues) to pretty bad (regarding standard setting and staffing.)


A NIOSH Science Blog post

New research on worker tobacco use

Girija Syamlal

An estimated one in five working U.S. adults use some type of tobacco product according to new research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Of the estimated 32.7 million working adults who used tobacco, an estimated 6.9 million use two or more tobacco products “every day” or “somedays.”


A FairWarning story

A win for Johnson & Johnson in baby powder-mesothelioma case

Myron Levin

A California jury today rejected claims that Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier were responsible for the deadly cancer of a woman who blamed her illness on breathing asbestos fibers from contaminated body powders. On a 9-3 vote, the jury in Pasadena absolved J&J of negligence in the sale of Johnson’s Baby Powder and another talc product, Shower to Shower. The Los Angeles Superior Court jury also cleared Imerys Talc America, Inc., a supplier of talc to J&J.


Which workers are getting the flu vaccine?

(And which workers aren’t?)

Construction workers are much less likely to get vaccinated for the flu than people in management, healthcare and social assistance. That finding emerged from a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. The purpose of the study was to compare flu vaccination coverage rates by industry, occupation and state. Each year, flu-like illnesses cause sickness, missed workdays, and related costs in the U.S. workforce.