Motorcycle crash prevention technology, a legislative move to shield autonomous vehicles from federal regulations and sobering new U.S. obesity statistics were among the top stories featured on this week.

A Confined Space Blog post

There he goes again: Kavanaugh still doesn’t get it


By Jordan Barab

September 14, 2018

Good news! Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh does not think it is unreasonable for workers to expect to come home safely at the end of the day, even if they work in the entertainment industry. So he claims in his response to a written question from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Unfortunately, “expecting” isn’t doing. And Kavanaugh, in his dissent from the SeaWorld case, in his testimony before Congress, and now in his written responses, seeks to take away the ability of workers to make that expectation a reality.

Are your kids’ school lunches safe to eat?

September 14, 2018

In 1997, hundreds of elementary school children in Michigan contracted Hepatitis A from a contaminated strawberry dessert served in the school’s cafeteria. Immediate effects included vomiting, high fevers, body aches, headaches, and abdominal painting. Among the long-term effects: hair loss, fatigue and shingles.

Workplace safety will be in the spotlight in Philadelphia

September 14, 2018

Reducing workplace injuries will be the focus of an Arbill Manufacturing Day panel discussion coming up in October that will feature ISHN Dave Johnson as a panelist. Johnson is the industry’s longest-tenured editor, with 31+ years’ experience leading ISHN. He and co-panelists Dave Blanchard of EHS Today and Jerry Laws of Occupational Health will share their insights on the state of workplace safety.

Lack of lockout leads to finger amputation

September 14, 2018

OSHA has cited pallet manufacturer Buckeye Diamond Logistics Inc. - which operates as BDL Supply - for lockout/tagout hazards after an employee suffered an amputation at the Columbus-based company. OSHA proposed penalties of $191,794 for two repeated and four serious violations.

More than a third of U.S. adults in 7 states are obese

September 13, 2018

The adult obesity rate is at or above 35% in seven states and at least 30% in 29 states, according to the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data issued by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The rates increased in Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Carolina between 2016 and 2017, and remained stable in the rest of states.

Keep your drone out of the hurricane zone

September 13, 2018

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is warning drone owners and operators they may face significant fines if they interfere with emergency response operations in the areas affected by Hurricane Florence. Many aircraft that are conducting life-saving missions and other critical response and recovery efforts are likely to be flying at low altitudes over areas affected by the storm.

A FairWarning story

Safety would take a back seat if senate passes bill on driverless cars, critics say

Myron Levin

September 13, 2018

Consumer advocates are attacking a bill heading for a vote soon in the U.S. Senate that would clear legal obstacles for the deployment of driverless cars — a proposal that, critics say, lacks safeguards needed to protect the public and largely would let vehicle manufacturers regulate themselves. The measure, which is being pushed by auto and tech industry lobbyists, is called the AV START Act, standing for “American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies.”

Artificial intelligence may not help predict oil and gas incidents

September 13, 2018

As artificial intelligence (AI) systems begin to control safety-critical infrastructure across a growing number of industries, DNV GL has released a position paper on the responsible use of AI. The paper asserts that data-driven models alone may not be sufficient to ensure safety and calls for a combination of data and causal models to mitigate risk.

NTSB: Technology could help prevent motorcycle crashes

September 12, 2018

Many high-risk traffic situations between motorcycles and other motor vehicles could be prevented if vehicle drivers were better able to detect and anticipate the presence of a motorcycle when entering or crossing a road, making a turn or changing lanes.

EPA’s bid to ease methane rules pleases oil industry, angers environmentalists

September 12, 2018

A new proposal released by the EPA yesterday would reduce the frequency of methane leak inspections required of oil and gas companies, and give those companies more time to fix leaks when they find them – changes the agency admits could harm public health. The move is the Trump administration’s latest effort to relax Obama-era regulations intended to combat climate change.

Canadian utility contractor wins safety award

September 12, 2018

Distinct Infrastructure Group Inc. (DIG) recently announced that it has been recognized by the Utility Contractors Association of Ontario (UCA) with the Association's 2018 Safety Performance Award. Each year the UCA recognizes contractors who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to safety and achieved outstanding safety results. This year DIG was recognized in the category of contractors with over 250,000 hours of work performed.

Electrical contractor reaches 1-million hours without an injury

September 12, 2018

An electrical contractor recently celebrated reaching the milestone of one-million safe working hours. Wayland, Michigan-based Windemuller said in August, 2018 it hit the mark without any recordable OSHA injuries as of July. The company’s streak started in May 2016.

Safeguarding utility workers: innovative device aims to reduce electrocution deaths

September 11, 2018

Three University of Idaho graduates have developed a safety device that utility workers clip onto their hard hats. It beeps and flashes when workers approach a high-voltage electrical source, reducing the risk of electrocution.

Risk management standard gets an update

September 11, 2018

A decade-old standard developed to help companies with risk management has been revised and adopted as a U.S. national standard. The new version reflects the evolution of risk management from a separate, departmentalized activity to an integrated management competency.

It’s good to talk!

Openness about depression in workplace increases productivity

September 11, 2018

Employees who feel able to speak openly about their depression with their managers are more productive at work than employees whose managers avoid talking to them about their condition, says new research from the Personal Social Services Research Unit of the London School of Economics (LSE).

About that near miss at Philadelphia International Airport…

September 11, 2018

A pilot who mistaken lined up with a taxiway instead of a runway nearly caused his or her small plane to collide with four passenger jets that were on the taxiway, according to a preliminary report on the incident by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Want to lower your blood pressure without taking medication?

September 10, 2018

Lifestyle changes – like eating healthier and exercising – can reduce the need for antihypertensive medications, and they can do it pretty quickly, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Joint Hypertension 2018 Scientific Sessions. Study participants with high blood pressure saw significant improvement within 16 weeks after making lifestyle changes. Such changes are the first step in reducing blood pressure according to the 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Hypertension Guideline.

Construction safety threatened by workforce shortages

Contractors identify strong safety programs as means to address skilled labor scarcity and substance abuse

September 10, 2018

A shortage of skilled workers is the number one factor affecting jobsite safety, according to a report by the Q3 2018 USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (Index). The report revealed a widespread concern among commercial construction businesses about anticipated labor shortages over the next three years, with 88 percent of contractors expecting to feel at least a moderate impact from the workforce shortages in the next three years.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day

…and September is National Suicide Prevention Month

September 10, 2018

The recent spate of celebrity suicides – Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, Robin Williams – is the tip of a very large iceberg, according to data from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which found that in 2014, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

When a foot puncture wound is an emergency

September 10, 2018

Call 911 if the person is seriously injured or a puncture wound: • Bleeds excessively • Spurts blood • Does not stop bleeding after 10 minutes of firm pressure • Is to the chest, abdomen, or neck • Is accompanied by any emergency symptoms: severe pain, fast breathing or trouble breathing,