YouTube workers are targeted by an angry shooter, Kentucky restricts the black lung disease diagnosis process and researchers find a surprising yet common injury among actors and technicians who work in theatres. These were among the top occupational safety and health stories featured on this week.

Protecting workers from vehicle accidents

April 6, 2018

Two public outreach campaigns this month aim to reduce work-related vehicle accidents – the number one cause of occupational fatalities. In keeping with the National Safety Council’s (NSC) designation of April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the organization is offering a free webinar, “Engaging Ways to Address Distracted Driving at Work,” on April 19, 2018.

A NIOSH Science Blog post

The use of real-time respirable dust monitors

Emanuele Cauda PhD Justin Patts BSME

April 5, 2018

Sensors are an increasing presence in our lives—from wearable gadgets to smart buildings, from autonomous vehicles to smart cities. In occupational health and safety, sensors are used widely for exposure monitoring, emergency response, and safer worker-machine interfaces. The use of sensors as real-time respirable dust monitors is a targeted application with its own specific challenges.

Why “Move More Month” is important

April 5, 2018

Exercise is vital when it comes to being healthy – especially for preventing cardiovascular disease and stroke – yet fewer than one in four U.S. adults are getting the federal physical activity recommendations for aerobic and strengthening activity. The American Heart Association (AHA) has designated April as Move More Month in an effort to encourage Americans to increase their level of physical activity.

Concussions common among actors, technicians in theatres

April 5, 2018

Two-thirds of theater technicians and actors have experienced head impacts related to working in theater environments, according to a survey study in the March Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Apparently, though, the old adage, “the show must go on” is adhered to by theatre folk. Despite the fact that many of these injuries cause concussion symptoms, theater personnel usually continue their work onstage or backstage, according to the study by Jeffrey A. Russell, PhD, and Brooke M. Daniell, MEd, of Ohio University, Athens.

List of outreach trainers now available online

April 5, 2018

OSHA has added a searchable list of authorized Outreach trainers to its website make it easier for you to find authorized instructors for the 10- and 30-hour Outreach classes. The list provides trainer names and contact information, and indicates which course the trainer is authorized to teach (construction, general industry, maritime, or disaster site worker classes).

Get ready for Grain Engulfment Prevention Week

April 4, 2018

Next week, April 9-13, is “Stand-Up for Grain Engulfment Prevention Week,” an effort on the part of OSHA and the National Grain and Feed Association to reduce the number of grain engulfment deaths in the U.S. – which usually occur from suffocation.

Flight attendant fired over safety concerns

April 4, 2018

On July 15, 2015, a passenger aboard a flight scheduled to leave from John F. Kennedy International Airport in Boston mentioned a perceived safety violation to a flight attendant. In response, the attendant exited the plane onto the jet way to contact a supervisor for guidance on addressing the safety concern.

Workplace violence wounds 4 at YouTube HQ

April 4, 2018

Terrified employees trying to avoid being targets during yesterday’s mass shooting at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno relayed their experiences and feelings through Twitter. The shooter was reportedly 39-year-old Nasim Aghdam, a San Diego resident who police say may have been angry at the company for what she perceived as a “suppression” of her online videos. 

National Public Health Week aims to make Americans healthier

April 4, 2018

This is National Public Health Week, when public health organizations from across the U.S. turn the focus on practices and policies that will help reverse the downturn in U.S. life expectancy, which has declined for two years in a row.

A Confined Space blog post

OSHA: We don’t need no stinkin’ advice — from workers

April 3, 2018

OSHA seems to be devaluing advice from outside stakeholders — or at least from workers. We’ve written before about the Trump Administration’s proposal in its FY 2019 budget document to kill two OSHA federal Advisory Committees. ProPublica, along with the Santa Fe New Mexican has has now published an article on the demise of OSHA’s five Advisory Committees which provide advice to the Assistant Secretary on general OSHA issues, construction, maritime, whistleblower and federal employee health and safety issues.

A FairWarning story

Top off-road vehicle maker Polaris to pay record $27.25 million penalty over fire risks

Christopher Jensen

April 3, 2018

Polaris Industries has agreed to pay $27.25 million – a record penalty – to settle charges that it failed to immediately notify federal officials about a fire hazard on its recreational off-highway vehicles that regulators have linked to at least one death and more than 180 fires.

Two firefighters killed in plane crash at Indiana airport

April 3, 2018

A township in Indianapolis is mourning the loss of two volunteer firefighters who were killed in an airplane accident last night at the Marion Municipal Airport. The two Pipe Creek Township firefighters – Kyle Hibst and David Wittkamper – were taking a pleasure trip when the single-engine airplane they were in collided with a jet, according to news sources.

How to protect your home from wildfires

April 3, 2018

Last October, more than 40 people lost their lives in a rash of Northern California wildfires that burned more than 245,000 acres. In December, wildfires near Los Angeles forced more than 230,000 people to evacuate their homes. Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Utah also experienced large fires in 2017. It may not be possible to prevent all wildfires, but it is possible to prepare for them and to mitigate their effects, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which is partnering with State Farm® to help people enhance their safety through the fifth annual national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, on May 5, 2018.

Ready for Workers Memorial Day?

April 2, 2018

The day set aside each year to honor workers who have died on the job or because of the job is fast approaching, and a variety of events related to it are being finalized. Workers' Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28 – the day OSHA was established in 1971. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers.

A Confined Space blog post

OSHA issues tiny penalty for three communication tower deaths

Jordan Barab

April 2, 2018

OSHA has fined Tower King II Inc. $12,934 for the death of three workers who were attempting to install a new antenna on a communications tower in Miami. This is the maximum fine for one serious citation. OSHA has no standard specifically targeted to cell tower worker safety and used the General Duty Clause, which requires employers to maintain a safe workplace and is used when there are no relevant OSHA standards.

Kentucky to make it harder for black lung victims to claim benefits

X-ray reading experts are excluded from the process

April 2, 2018

The Kentucky legislature this week passed a bill to exclude radiologists from the types of doctors who can diagnose black lung disease among miners seeking workers’ compensation for their illness. A radiologist uses x-rays to diagnose disease. Black lung disease is diagnosed through x-rays and an occupational history.

Pilot fired after reporting safety concerns is back on the job

April 2, 2018

A commercial pilot who lost his job after complaining about violations of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations will be reinstated, under an order from OSHA. Massachusetts-based Jet Logistics Inc. (JLI) and New England Life Flight Inc. - doing business as Boston MedFlight (BMF) – must also pay the pilot $133,616.09 in back wages and interest; $100,000 in compensatory damages; and reasonable attorney fees.