Teen workers and toxic chemicals, food safety for the new year and why it pays for employers to help workers manage obesity were among the top occupational safety and health stories featured on ISHN.com this week.

Ohio contractor continues history of safety violations

January 12, 2018

The fifth time was not a charm for a Holland, Ohio roofing company that was cited recently by OSHA for exposing employees to falls and other safety hazards. The contractor, Casey Bortles, has been cited for similar violations four times since 2014. The most recent round of citations comes with a penalty total of $91,629.

It’s citation déjà vu for NJ fence manufacturer

January 11, 2018

A New Jersey company faces $199,996 in proposed penalties for safety and health violations, after failing to abate similar hazards it was cited for two years ago.

Veterans encouraged to explore post-military careers in workplace safety

January 11, 2018

Leadership. Loyalty. Teamwork. Strong communications. Tech savvy. These are some of the qualities and characteristics of military veterans. They are also the traits of an occupational safety and health professional, which is why the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) believes that military members separating from the U.S. Armed Forces should consider workplace safety as a second career.

How to make your food safer in 2018

January 11, 2018

If you made a New Year’s resolution to improve your health by eating more produce, the folks at Stop Foodborne Illness have a few warnings for you. While a more plant-based diet can be very healthy, you still must be mindful about the risk of foodborne pathogens.

EPA may allow teen farm workers to handle toxic chemicals

January 11, 2018

The EPA is considering eliminating age requirements that currently prevent teen workers in the agriculture industry from handling dangerous pesticides. The rule, which prohibits workers under 18 years old from being in contact with pesticides, was issued in 2015 because pesticides can affect brain development and increase cancer risk in children.

Three workers die after exposure to toxic gas

January 11, 2018

OSHA has issued serious confined space citations to a construction company in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, after three of its employees died from exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas. The tragedy occurred on July 7, 2017, as USA Fanter employees were working in and around a well that was not identified as a permit-required confined space.

CPWR, NIOSH create new FACE report database

January 10, 2018

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (NIOSH FACE) program investigates selected work-related fatalities, collecting information not captured in other data sources - including safety management and training programs, use of engineering controls and personal protective equipment on the jobsite, and recommendations for preventing similar incidents.

Five workers killed in molten slag release

January 10, 2018

OSHA has cited Tampa Electric Co. and Gaffin Industrial Services Inc. after five employees were fatally injured, and one other suffered serious burns. In June 2017, OSHA investigated the Big Bend River Station electrical power plant in Apollo Beach following the fatalities. Inspectors determined that the employees were burned when a blockage inside a coal-fired furnace broke free and spewed molten slag into the work area.

Bullying leads to fatal workplace shooting in Mich.

January 10, 2018

Bullying – specifically racial bullying – appears to be behind a workplace violence incident yesterday in suburban Detroit that left one person dead, another critically injured and a third facing life in prison. Police are saying that the double shooting at Reliable Fence Company in Clinton Township, Michigan stemmed from an ongoing dispute between employees.

The happiest workers in the U.S. are…

January 10, 2018

For the second year in a row, Hawaii claimed the top spot with the happiest workforce in America, according to career matching platform Sokanu, which has released an infogographic on the results of their annual survey about job satisfaction.

A FairWarning story

The toxic chemical whack-a-mole game

Lynne Peeples

January 9, 2018

When her black cat rapidly dropped from a healthy 14 pounds to a skeletal five pounds, it was natural for Arlene Blum to investigate whether a toxic chemical in her home might be to blame. The veterinarian’s diagnosis raised that possibility, and Blum had expertise in the harm that chemicals can cause.

Managing obesity in the workplace

January 9, 2018

The obesity epidemic is costing employers money, through its effects on worker health and safety, but also due to its impact on health care costs, absenteeism and productivity. A new guide from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) is aimed at helping employers control the health and economic impact of obesity in the workplace – and some of its recommendations may be surprising.

A Confined Space blog post

Weekly Toll: Death in the American workplace

January 9, 2018

Worker dies after northeastern Indiana industrial accident FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say a worker has died in an accident at an industrial facility in northeastern Indiana. The Allen County sheriff’s department says the woman got stuck in a machine at Fort Wayne Plastics on Sunday afternoon.

Avoiding icy slip and falls

January 9, 2018

Although some parts of the country are enjoying a (temporary) respite from the deep freeze and heavy snow they’ve been dealing with, winter is far from over. Walking on icy surfaces and removing snow both present fall hazards.

Silica rule survives legal challenge

January 8, 2018

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has dismissed industry challenges to OSHA’s new silica dust exposure standard, ruling that the agency’s decision to lower permissible worker exposure from 250 micrograms to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air over an average of eight hours was reasonable.

Cal. tree worker dies after attack by bee swarm

January 8, 2018

A tree worker’s death following a fatal bee attack in San Bernardino, California has resulted in citations against his employer for serious workplace safety and health violations. While spraying water on date palm fruit from the elevated bucket of a spraying rig, the worker inadvertently disturbed a beehive.

From the NIOSH Director’s Desk

Working in the cold

Dr. John Howard

January 8, 2018

Depending on where you reside and work this season, Old Man Winter might be knocking on your door, bringing you snow, ice, and chilling temperatures. For those in warmer areas of the country, it may be difficult to imagine some winter weather extremes. For instance, according to the NOAA National Climate Extremes Committee, the existing record for lowest temperature in the United States was -80°F (-62.2°C) in Prospect Creek, Alaska, in 1971.

Worker crushed by boulder; company cited

January 8, 2018

An OSHA investigation opened after a construction fatality has resulted in $212,396 in proposed penalties against the worker’s employer. The incident that prompted the inquiry occurred when a 2,600-pound rock dislodged from the building’s foundation and fatally struck a worker who was helping install permanent foundation supports beneath the Woburn Public Library in Woburn, Massachusetts.