Summer hazards on the road and in the water, a worker drowning death in an elevator and a big defeat for Big Tobacco in San Francisco. These were among the top occupational safety and public safety and health stories featured on this week.

How an extra hour of sleep can change work-life balance

Lucy Benton

June 8, 2018

We live in a reality where we always have to be in a rush. Thus, we deprive ourselves of many important things, like getting enough exercise or sticking to a healthy diet. But most importantly, we deprive ourselves of sleep. And while most of us think that a couple of sleepless nights won’t harm us, constantly skipping on a full night’s sleep can cause a detrimental damage.

Driver mystery behind Tesla crash

June 8, 2018

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators may never know why the driver of a Tesla failed to heed alerts for him to put his hands on the steering wheel in the minutes before a fatal crash. The ongoing inquiry into the accident on U.S. Highway 1010 in Mountain View, California on March 23, 2018 has determined that the Tesla provided two visual alerts and one auditory alert for the driver to place his hands on the steering wheel more than 15 minutes before the crash.

General industry and maritime silica standard takes effect June 23

June 8, 2018

General industry and maritime employers must comply with OSHA’s silica standard by June 23, except for phase-in dates for medical surveillance and for engineering controls in the oil and gas industry.

Is that deli food you’re buying safe?

June 7, 2018

Although most delis keep food cold enough to reduce growth of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) and other germs that cause foodborne illness and outbreaks, but one in six delis do not. That finding by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study matters because Lm causes the third highest number of foodborne illness deaths in the United States each year. 

How a Caribbean Fantasy turned into a Caribbean nightmare

June 7, 2018

A fire aboard a massive cruise ship caused by leaking fuel could be a “dress rehearsal for a future tragedy” if the cruise industry and the company that operated the ship doesn’t make changes. That dire warning from National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt came during the board’s Tuesday meeting about the Aug. 17, 2016 aboard the Caribbean Fantasy – an incident that resulted in injuries to dozens of passengers.

Hotel sued over worker's drowning death in elevator

June 7, 2018

The family of a hotel employee who drowned in a flooded elevator during Hurricane Harvey is suing her employer for what they say was a preventable death. A lawsuit filed this week in Texas claims that the death of 48-year-old Jill Renick, an Omni Houston Hotel employee, was due to gross negligence on the part of the hotel. The suit also names Otis Elevator as a defendant, citing the absence of flood sensors on the hotel’s elevators.

Safety stars get recognition

June 7, 2018

Several occupational and environmental safety and health professionals who’ve made extraordinary achievements in their sectors have received recognition lately: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) engineer Lt. Michael Shahan was awarded the Green Medal at the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Joint Engineers Training Conference on May 25.

A FairWarning story

San Francisco’s sweeping ban on flavored tobacco products upheld by voters

Paul Feldman

June 6, 2018

In a closely watched election contest, San Francisco voters have upheld a first-in-the-nation ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, overwhelmingly rejecting an $11.6 million campaign by R.J. Reynolds to scuttle the law. San Francisco officials last June approved the ban but a petition drive funded by Reynolds, the maker of the top-selling menthol brand, Newport, forced the issue onto yesterday’s ballot.

A Confined Space blog post

Inspector General issues bizarre chemical safety board report

Jordan Barab

June 6, 2018

The Inspector General (IG) issued a somewhat bizarre report yesterday on “management challenges” at the Chemical Safety Board. The IG is required by the Reports Consolidation Act of 2000 “to report what we consider the most serious management and performance challenges facing the CSB.”

Sobering study from states’ safety association

June 6, 2018

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a study last week that finds that the percentage of fatally-injured drivers with known drug test results* who tested positive for drugs has risen over 50% in the last ten years.

Mont. trucking company convicted of felonies related to worker injuries

June 6, 2018

An eight-day trial in Billings, Montana last month ended with guilty verdicts against a trucking company and its CEO stemming from a 2012 explosion at an oil and gas processing facility in Wibaux, Mont., that seriously injured three workers. Defendants Woody’s Trucking, LLC and Donald E. Wood Jr. were convicted on 13 of the 14 charges against them, which included conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, and obstruction of justice.

Total Worker Health symposium moves the initiative forward

June 5, 2018

The changing nature of work and the need for innovative, comprehensive approaches to worker safety, health, and well-being were the focus of the 2nd International Symposium to AdvanceTotal Worker Health® held last month at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Top five ways children are dying accidentally

June 5, 2018

With preventable deaths at an all-time high, National Safety Council calls on parents to use National Safety Month to assess the greatest threats to young children’s safety. 

Glass falls from skyscraper construction site, kills worker

June 5, 2018

One man was killed and another injured at a New York City construction site when a large piece of glass fell from one of Manhattan’s tallest skyscrapers. According to news reports, 67-year-old security guard Harry Ramnauth died and a 27-year-old sustained injuries that required hospitalization when the eight-foot-by-14-foot glass panel fell at around 10:30 on Saturday morning.

World Environment Day to focus on plastic pollution

June 5, 2018

One Comment

Coming just a week after a whale died near Thailand and was found to have 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach, this year’s World Environment Day - today - has a timely theme: “Beat Plastic Pollution.” Begun by the United Nations (UN) in 1974 as way to raise awareness of the need to protect the environment, World Environment Day has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is observed in more than 100 countries.

Power plant worker dies after being pulled into conveyer

June 5, 2018

A New Jersey energy company has wracked up 25 safety violations in the wake of an employee fatality that occurred at the company’s Springfield, New Hampshire plant in November 2017. The EWP Renewable Corp. employee suffered fatal injuries after he was pulled into a conveyer.

A swimming hazard that you don’t think about

June 4, 2018

With warm weather here, many people will be swimming in pools or wading into water at boat ramps – both of which harbor a danger that most of us are unaware of. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is trying to change that, by raising the alarm about electric shock drowning (ESD), which happens when marina or onboard electrical systems leak electric current into the water.

How to have a safe summer (on the road)

June 4, 2018

A little preparation can go a long way toward make sure your summer travels by car will be safe ones. That’s the message the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is trying to get across to motorists in a dedicated page chock full of safety tips, a video and a downloadable safety checklist that drivers and passengers should follow before, and during, their trips.

A high protein diet raises risk of heart failure

June 4, 2018

For middle-aged men, eating higher amounts of protein was associated with a slightly elevated risk for heart failure than those who ate less protein, according to new research in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.