Drones v. planes, a free medical screening program and the death of a 14-year-old worker were among the top stories featured on ISHN.com this week.

A Confined Space blog post

Hurricane recovery workers face safety, health and wage problems according to report

Substandard conditions in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey have impacted workers’ health and safety on the job, as well as their wages according to a devastating new report from from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and University of Illinois Chicago that surveyed 360 workers. The report also offers recommendations for improving working conditions during post-disaster recovery operations. Hurricanes and other disasters present a major challenge for OSHA and other local and national government agencies dedicated to protecting workers during recovery operations.


Workers “fortunate” to escape injury at Pa. energy company

A Pennsylvania company willfully exposed its workers to confined space and fall hazards, according to OSHA, which has assessed US Environmental Inc. proposed penalties of $333,756 for a dozen safety violations. The Downingtown company is an integrated industrial energy services firm that serves the energy, petroleum, natural gas, petro-chemical, power, chemical, manufacturing and engineering sectors. Investigators inspected the facility on May 31, 2017, and found that the company failed to implement rescue procedures for employees in confined spaces; provide protective equipment when working in confined spaces; and provide employees with fall protection training and equipment.


In collisions with airplanes, drones worse than birds

A research team from the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) today released a report that concludes that drones that collide with large manned aircraft can cause more structural damage than birds of the same weight for a given impact speed. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will use the research results to help develop operational and collision risk mitigation requirements for drones. ASSURE conducted its research with two different types of drones on two types of aircraft through computer modeling and physical validation testing.


USDA to roll back health changes to school menus

Changes to school meals proposed this week by the Trump administration are getting praised by school nutritionists and slammed by health experts. Among other things, the interim final rule released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allows schools to avoid reducing sodium levels in breakfasts and lunches – a mandate introduced by former President Barack Obama. Sodium reduction was to take place in stages through the year 2022.


Mugno faces Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday

Jordan Barab

Scott Mugno, President Trump’s choice to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, will go before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee next Tuesday at 10:00 am for his confirmation hearing. Mugno is Vice President for Safety, Sustainability and Vehicle Maintenance at FedEx Ground in Pittsburgh and was formerly Managing Director for FedEx Express Corporate Safety, Health and Fire Protection in Memphis. You can watch it LIVE here.


ASSE looking for new Executive Director

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is seeking a new Executive Director (ED), a position based in Park Ridge, Illinois and one that reports to the organization’s President and its Board of Directors. Founded in 1911, ASSE has a global membership of more than 36,000 safety, health and environmental practitioners worldwide. ASSE advocates on behalf of its members while also providing robust professional development, training and networking opportunities. ASSE has an annual budget of approximately $18M, staff of 75, and operates a robust network of 152 chapters in the United States and internationally.


OSHA, pottery manufacturer reach settlement after fatality

OSHA and Marshall Pottery, Inc. in Marshall, Texas have reached a settlement agreement including a penalty of $545,160, after the death of an assistant plant manager. On April 16, 2017, investigators determined that the manager was servicing a kiln and became trapped inside when it activated.


Teen worker struck by car, killed

A traffic accident in Brooklyn, New York last week took the life of a young worker and forever changed that of the driver who killed him. News sources reported that 14-year-old Edwin Ajacalon, who was making restaurant deliveries on his bicycle, was struck by a car and killed on Saturday evening.


A FairWarning story

Tired of waiting for the feds, local groups target menthol cigarettes

Paul Feldman

Anti-smoking groups, frustrated by federal inaction on restricting menthol cigarettes, are taking matters into their own hands. In recent months, cities ranging from Oakland and Los Gatos, Calif., to Minneapolis and St. Paul have passed laws limiting the availability of menthol cigarettes, which health advocates say have a particular appeal to beginning smokers. St. Paul is the latest, voting this month to restrict sales to adult-only tobacco and liquor stores.


How to go green for the holidays

The CDC is inviting Americans to take a look at their usual holiday activities to see if they can be made more “sustainable,” that is – if they can use environmental resources more responsibly so that future generations will have enough to meet their needs. Sounds like a daunting task, but if you reuse and recycle; compost; walk, bike, take mass transit, or drive low-emission vehicles; or conserve water and electricity, you’re already having a positive effect on the planet.


Free medical screening offers chance for life-saving early detection

Hayden McClure didn’t know he had cancer – didn’t know he was even at risk – until he took the test offered by the Building Trades National Medical Screening Program. It saved his life. McClure, a member of Anchorage, Alaska, Local 1547, worked on a Department of Energy site at Amchitka Island that qualified him for the free medical screening.


A NIOSH Science Blog post

Systematic review for occupational safety and health questions

Dr. John Howard, John Piacentino MD, MPH Kathleen MacMahon DVM, MS Paul Schulte Ph.D.

What is systematic review? There are many different types of occupational safety and health questions and a variety of scientific methods to answer them. Systematic review is one method for comprehensively reviewing a body of scientific literature. It is an explicit and transparent process to identify, select, synthesize, and critically appraise the scientific literature relevant to a specific question.


NY cosmetics factory blast kills one, injures dozens

One person was killed and approximately three dozen injured in an explosion and fire last week at a cosmetics factory in New York state. Seven of the injured were firefighters who were inside the facility, responding to a first blast, when a second explosion occurred.


A Confined Space blog post

One last time: OSHA extends recordkeeping reporting deadline

Jordan Barab

After multiple delays, OSHA has finally announced that employers who are required to keep OSHA injury and illness records must send summary information in to the agency by December 15, fifteen days after the deadline announced last June, when the agency proposed to delay the reporting deadline from July 1 to December 1.


Europeans ponder workplace v. home health inequalities

‘Workplaces are not merely spaces where people work – they are spaces where people live their lives. Anything which would be prohibited on grounds of consumer health or environmental protection should also be prohibited in workplaces.’ These were the words with which Laurent Vogel, a researcher at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), closed the ‘Work and Cancer’ conference organised by the ETUI in November in Brussels.


Four in ten U.S. cancer cases are likely preventable

Changing our behavior could help many more Americans avoid cancer, according to a new American Cancer Society (ACS) study that calculates the contribution of several modifiable risk factors to cancer occurrence. The study finds that more than four in ten cancer cases and deaths in the U.S. are associated with these major modifiable risk factors, many of which can be mitigated with prevention strategies.


A Confined Space blog post

Editorial board resigns after corporate takeover of worker-oriented public health journal

Jordan Barab

The entire 22-member Editorial Board of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health resigned this morning after a months-long struggle with the Journal’s new owners who have “have acted in a profoundly unethical fashion” and have moved the worker-oriented publication to a more corporate focus.


How to survive the holidays

Does the holiday season have you indulging in too much fattening food and too many adult beverages? Do the festivities leave you little time for your regular workouts? Do family gatherings re-ignite old conflicts or usher in new ones? (Oh, those political arguments between Uncle Mike and Cousin Betty!)