Climate change is increasing lung disease in the U.S.; a Southwest passenger plane avoids a catastrophe (but not a fatality) and garbage collectors want protection from careless motorists. These were among the top stories featured on this week.

Truckers face hazards off the road as well

April 20, 2018

The dangers tractor trailer drivers face on the road are well known: dangerous fellow motorists, hazardous weather conditions, mechanical difficulties that could lead to an accident. However, truckers aren’t necessarily safe once they reach their destination. At warehouses, docks or construction sites, drivers are exposed to struck-by, crushed-between, and other safety hazards.

A FairWarning story

High-stakes pesticide battle pits farmer against farmer

Paul Feldman

April 20, 2018

Dicamba, an herbicide sold by agribusiness giants Monsanto, BASF and DowDupont, doesn’t just kill weeds. Last year, according to a University of Missouri survey, dicamba damaged an estimated 3.6 million acres of soybeans across 25 states when it drifted from farms planted with seeds genetically engineered to resist the chemical onto regular soybean fields.


Obesity, physical inactivity, or short sleep affect 1 in 5 workers

April 20, 2018

Short sleep, obesity, and physical inactivity occur frequently among workers, affecting more than one in five, according to a recent National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. These modifiable risk factors can lead to serious illnesses, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Health experts want FDA crackdown on Juul e-cigarettes

April 19, 2018

They look like flash drives (and can be charged on the USB port of a computer), come in sweet flavors like mango and fruit medley, and oh, yes – they deliver a strong dose of nicotine. Their popularity among American middle and high schoolers is raising alarm among public health and medical organizations, six of whom sent a letter to the FDA yesterday calling for strong and immediate action on the teen use of Juul e-cigarettes.

Public health experts say Farm Bill changes will increase hunger in U.S.

April 19, 2018

The American Public Health Association (APHA) says the House Agriculture Committee’s draft Farm Bill proposal will leave many lower-income Americans hungry. “As it stands, millions in our country already don’t have access to enough food, or to the healthy food that can help a community thrive,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, APHA executive director. This is not the time for Congress to weaken SNAP benefits and take food away from families that need it.”

Inside NIOSH:

Falls a persistent cause of work-related death

April 19, 2018

Falls remain a persistent cause of work-related death, and workers in construction and oil and gas extraction are more likely than other workers to die from falling, according to NIOSH research published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

ASSE announces Outstanding Safety Educator of the year

April 19, 2018

A professor of safety management at West Virginia University has been named William E. Tarrants Outstanding Safety Educator by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). Gary Winn, Ph.D., CHST, who teaches in the school’s Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, heads up the school’s safety management master’s degree program and occupational safety and health doctorate.

American Lung Association: Climate change is making our air more unhealthy

Report comes as Trump administration weakens Clean Air Act enforcement

April 18, 2018

A new report from the American Lung Association (ALA) finds 133.9 million Americans at risk from air pollution – much of it ozone pollution that is worsening significantly due to warmer temperatures. The ALA’s 2018 "State of the Air" report found that the four in ten Americans (41.4 percent) who live in counties with unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution are at greater risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.

Missing part could be key to Southwest flight’s catastrophe

April 18, 2018

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is focusing on a missing fan blade in its investigation of a Southwest Airlines plane that made an emergency landing Tuesday after its left engine failed. One passenger on the plane was killed in the dramatic incident, which occurred on Southwest Flight 1380 as the plane was flying from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Love Field in Dallas.

Utah feed company maintains zero injury, illness rate

April 18, 2018

Ten. Six. Zero. Those are important numbers for a Utah animal feed manufacturer Balchem Corporation. The company recently celebrated ten years in OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, and six years of maintaining an annual recordable injury and illness case rate of zero. That last accomplishment resulted in reductions in its worker compensation insurance premiums.

Garbage collectors want tougher penalties for motorists who endanger them

April 18, 2018

While a great deal of roadside safety attention is focused on construction zones, garbage collectors are also at risk of being struck by motorists who don’t slow their speed and give refuge trucks sufficient space.

High winds may have caused fatal fall from ladder

April 17, 2018

Strong wind gusts may have been a factor in a fall that killed a Houston-area construction worker last week, according to the Star-Telegram. The April 13 incident occurred at the Hurst Conference Center and claimed the life of an employee working for a roofing contractor.

A Confined Space blog post

Acosta refuses to commit to preserving OSHA recordkeeping rule

April 17, 2018

In a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee today, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta today refused to commit not to rescind OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping rule. The rule, issued in 2016, requires employers to send injury and illness information into OSHA and prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for reporting injuries.

Tesla accused of underreporting worker injuries

Shades of gray come into play

April 17, 2018

Electric car maker Tesla is being accused of underreporting and mischaracterizing worker injuries at its Fremont factory in order to make its safety record appear to be better than it, claims a new report. Reveal, a news site from the Center for Investigative Reporting, says Tesla has been lowering its official injury count by classifying musculoskeletal injuries, toxic fume exposure and other work-related injuries as personal medical issues or minor accidents.

Kentucky lawmakers didn’t consult with feds about limiting black lung claims reviewers

April 17, 2018

The federal agency that trains, tests and certifies the physicians who read X-rays and diagnose the deadly coal miners’ disease black lung said it was not consulted by Kentucky lawmakers in the 14 months they considered a new law that mostly limits diagnoses to pulmonologists working for coal companies.

Blocked exits, excessive noise at NJ manufacturing plant

April 16, 2018

A complaint about unsafe working conditions brought OSHA inspectors to the Paterson, New Jersey facility of plastics manufacturer Douglas Stephen Plastics Inc., where they discovered a number of hazards that resulted in citations.

What do millennial workers want?

April 16, 2018

Millennials have a reputation for not being intensely loyal to their employers and willing to change jobs quickly – but is that reputation deserved? A couple of researchers who are themselves millennials set out to test negative perceptions about workers born between 1981 and 1996 – and some of their results are surprising.

The Price of Our Clothes

April 16, 2018

An exhibit taking place right now in a Massachusetts museum draws on worker safety tragedies of the past and present and focuses attention on our relationship with the people who make the clothes we wear – especially those in third world countries.

The 360-degree saga of the joint employer rule

April 16, 2018

On Feb. 26, the National Labor Relations Board reversed its previous ruling on the controversial Browning-Ferris case, a stunning backtrack of its December decision to undo the Obama-era rule aimed at protecting working people from unaccountable corporations.