Good news about cancer mortality in the U.S., no distracted driving in that deadly Amtrak derailment in Washington and the global toll of the flu were among the stories featured this week on

An NTSB Safety Compass Blog post

How employers can make our roads safer

T. Bella Dinh-Zarr PhD, MPH

January 5, 2018

“Safety should not be a competitive advantage.” That’s the message I keep in mind every time I visit groups that represent employers, like the Network of Employers for Transportation Safety (NETS) which focuses on highway safety, or when I meet with the executives at individual companies, who may use many different modes of transportation for their businesses.

Cancer death rate continues its decades-long drop

Health experts credit tobacco control measures as one factor

January 5, 2018

The cancer death rate dropped 1.7% from 2014 to 2015, continuing a drop that began in 1991 and has reached 26%, resulting in nearly 2.4 million fewer cancer deaths during that time. The data is reported in Cancer Statistics 2018, the American Cancer Society’s comprehensive annual report on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival.

New way to prevent MSDs among construction workers

January 5, 2018

A rating system helped predict which solutions construction workers would use to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), according to a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri that was funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The study appeared in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

A Confined Space blog post

Boiled to death, buried alive and leg ripped off: The stories behind the statistics

Jordan Barab

January 4, 2018

One of the fathers of occupational health, Irving Selikoff, once said that “statistics are people with the tears wiped away.” Today, the statistics look bad. This week we learned that coal mining deaths doubled in 2017, and rose to their highest point in three years. Fifteen miners died on the job in 2017, compared with eight in 2016, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Few miners with black lung disease request transfers

January 4, 2018

Although miners with evidence of black lung on their chest X-rays are eligible to request a job transfer, few do so, according to a recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Black lung disease refers to a group of lung diseases caused by breathing in coal mine dust. The disease can cause severe problems like shortness of breath, and can even be fatal, but limiting exposure to coal mine dust can prevent it. 

Speed, but no cell phones behind deadly Amtrak derailment

January 4, 2018

It wasn’t distracted driving that caused last month’s fatal Amtrak derailment in Washington State, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which has released preliminary details in what is expected to be a lengthy investigation. Exactly what did cause the accident has yet to be determined.

A driver’s mistake causes toxic release, endangers community

January 4, 2018

A chemical release that sent 140 people to the hospital was caused by a truck driver who mistakenly connected the hose for one chemical to the line for another. The Oct. 21, 2016 incident in Atchison, Kansas also provides valuable lessons in chemical safety, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), which used it as the basis of a case study titled “Key Lessons for Preventing Inadvertent Mixing during Chemical Unloading Operations.”

Don't underestimate frostbite danger

January 3, 2018

With a large swath of the nation in the grip of icy cold temperatures, frostbite is a very real hazard for anyone who must spend time outdoors. Frostbite is a serious condition that’s caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures - a bodily injury caused by freezing that results in loss of feeling and color in affected areas.

650K die of flu-related respiratory diseases each year

January 3, 2018

Up to 650,000 deaths annually are associated with respiratory diseases from seasonal influenza, according to new estimates by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), WHO and global health partners.

Former OSHA inspector who worked at Ground Zero denied workers’ comp benefits

January 3, 2018

A former OSHA inspector who worked at the 9/11 Ground Zero site, now diagnosed with a terminal 9/11 illness, is battling with the Labor Department for his workers’ compensation benefit, according to an article in the New York Daily News.