Flu vaccine options, an engine failure that threatens passengers’ safety and food safety during the holidays were among the stories featured on ISHN.com this week.

Safety for wildfire response/recovery workers

The wildfires raging throughout Southern California right now are taking life, destroying property, and endangering people who are tasked with performing response and recovery operations. During a wildfire, workers may be caught in circumstances that require them to quickly evacuate. The Ready.gov - Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) website offers guidance on what to do during a wildfire if in a vehicle, in a residence, or out in the open.

A FairWarning story

Amid rush to deploy driverless cars, federal regulators urged to keep hands on the wheel

Paul Feldman

The era of driverless vehicles appears to be rapidly approaching, raising a bevy of urgent questions about how to prevent the emergence of new hazards on the nation’s roads. So, how much preparation have federal transportation authorities carried out to meet the challenge of the advent of self-driving cars and trucks? Not nearly enough, according to a new 44-page report by the Government Accountability Office, a Congressional watchdog agency.


Worker falls 19 feet; employer cited

OSHA has cited Benco Builders of the Virginias Inc. for multiple safety hazards, including lack of fall protection, after an employee suffered serious injuries from a 19-foot fall off a roof. The Princeton, West Virginia-based contractor faces proposed penalties totaling $86,916. After inspecting a work site where Benco was the general contractor responsible for demolishing an existing structure and constructing two steel/metal buildings, OSHA issued a willful citation for failure to provide and require employees to wear fall protection during roofing work.


States that require this screening are saving babies’ lives

Infant deaths from critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) decreased more than 33 percent in eight states that mandated screening for CCHD using a test called pulse oximetry, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, deaths from other or unspecified cardiac causes decreased by 21 percent. Pulse oximetry is a simple bedside test to determine the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood and the baby’s pulse rate. Low levels of oxygen in the blood can be a sign of a CCHD.


Three workers killed in New Mexico welding accident

It appears a welding accident lead to a deadly fire in Clovis, New Mexico. Three people were killed one was seriously injured. “This is one of the largest losses of life we’ve seen,” said Clovis Police Captain Roman Romero. The three deceased are John Sandoval, 54; Robert Elebario, 51; and Billie Grabowsky, 52. Rogelio Hernandez was the only one who survived the fire. He was treated at Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis. “I asked him what happened and what does he remember, and he said they were just in the shop welding a piece of pipe to a car and they noticed the gas can nearby had caught a spark,” explained Rogelio’s niece, Casandra Hernandez.


Sorting out flu vaccine options

What’s the best way to avoid the flu? You hate needles, so should you get that flu vaccine that comes in a nasal spray? Or how about that new kind of vaccine that may also be given without a needle? And will the type of vaccine that’s available during the 2017-2018 flu season be effective against whatever variant of the bug makes an appearance this time around? Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and OSHA have all of the information you need to protect yourself – and your workplace – from the flu.


What caused engine failure, fire in commercial aircraft?

Engine failure on an American Airlines plane that resulted in serious injuries to a passenger and substantial damage to the aircraft will be the subject of a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) meeting on Jan. 23, 2018. The Boeing 767-300 experienced an uncontained failure of the right engine during the take-off roll at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Patient advocates: Senate tax bill will deprive Americans of affordable health care

Will bring “harm to patients and families”

A group of 15 non-partisan patient and consumer organizations say the Senate Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed this week “takes yet another step towards undermining the stability of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance markets." The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network; American Heart Association and others said; "The repeal of the individual insurance mandate destabilizes an essential pillar of the ACA by removing incentives for young and healthy people to purchase insurance."

Here’s a hurricane recovery hazard you didn’t think of

Reinforced plastic tarps, commonly called “Blue Roofs,” provide temporary protection for the roofs of homes and other buildings damaged during severe weather such as a hurricane or tornado. However, when employees access roofs to install these tarps, they are at risk of falls, electrocutions, and other hazards. OSHA has issued a new fact sheet containing steps that employers can follow to help keep workers safe.


Retired miners may get to keep promised health care benefits

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last week dismissed an appeal by CONSOL Energy that sought to overturn a federal judge’s decision requiring CONSOL to continue paying for health care benefits to some 3,400 retired miners, their dependents and widows. Judge David A. Faber of the Federal Court for Southern West Virginia in Bluefield found CONSOL was attempting to violate a collective bargaining agreement requirement to pay for lifetime health care benefits for retirees.

A Confined Space blog post

“Weird noise coming from the chipper” as employee is dragged to his death

By Jordan Barab

This article by Elizabeth Floyd Mair of the Altamont Enterprise is a rare summary of a court case involving an employer challenge of an OSHA citation related to the gruesome death of a day laborer who was dragged into a wood-chipper on May 4, 2016. The employer, Tony Watson, owner of Countryside Tree Care, is contesting citations totaling $141,811 related to the death of Justus Booze, a 23-year old day laborer halfway through his first day on the job.


Safety tips for reducing “chain shot risk” in lumber industry

Tree harvesters and processor attachments equipped with hydraulic bar saws cut with great power and speed. When a chain breaks, if a resulting whipping action projects a chain shot link, the link often has a mass, velocity and resultant energy, in some cases enough to reach an operator in a cab, which has potential to cause damage, harm or severe injury. This may be complicated by the remote nature of forestry operations.


How to avoid foodborne illness this holiday season

For many, feasting with friends and family is the best part of the holiday season. Whether you are hosting or attending celebrations, food is often prepared in one location and taken to another. Use the following tips to curtail the diverse opportunities which allow bacterial growth and contamination. Stop Foodborne Illness, a national nonprofit, public health organization dedicated to preventing illness and death from foodborne pathogens wants to ensure that safe food handling becomes a normal part of everyone’s holiday plans. Many standard food safety practices such as hand washing, and avoiding cross contamination apply no matter what you’re celebrating. These tips are offered with the goal of making your festivities memorable. (In a good way!)