Florence’s dangers, new data on workplace wellness program participation and the relationship between job stress and suicidal thoughts were among the top stories featured on ISHN.com this week.

Five companies fined in Fla. bridge collapse

September 21, 2018

Six months after the fatal collapse of a pedestrian bridge in Miami, Florida, OSHA has announced citations against multiple contractors. The catastrophic failure of the bridge on March 15 occurred before the structure was even officially open, just days after crews dropped a 950-ton span in place. One bridge worker and five motorists were killed. Eight other people – five of them employees - were injured.

How success sank a ship, endangered the crew

September 20, 2018

A too-large catch was behind the sinking of a commercial fishing vessel last year off the coast of Virginia, according to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report. There were no injuries or fatalities among the crew, but the five people on board the Langley Douglas had to be rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.

Why some workers don’t use workplace wellness programs

September 20, 2018

Workplace wellness programs often offer an array of health-improvement activities, including courses to quit smoking, exercise or physical fitness classes, nutrition or stress management education, and ergonomic testing of work conditions and equipment. In 2017, 39% of private industry workers and 63% of state and local government workers had access to such programs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, access does not always mean that employees use these programs.

Want to have a say on construction safety?

September 20, 2018

OSHA is seeking members to serve on its Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health. The group advises the Secretary of Labor on developing standards and policies affecting the construction industry. OSHA is seeking employee, employer, state safety and health agency, and public representatives with experience and expertise in construction-related safety and health issues to fill 14 vacancies.

Electrical safety during hurricane season

September 20, 2018

Hurricane Florence is no longer a hurricane, but other ferocious storms will likely make an appearance during hurricane season. Among the hazards associated with hurricanes are electrical dangers. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says the following electrical safety tips that can help reduce the risk for injury and damage to homes: 

A Confined Space blog post

Weekly Toll: Employees killed at work

September 19, 2018

Two Employees Killed in Robbery at Upstate New York Chili’s Restaurant- DeWitt, NY — A Chili’s restaurant was robbed early Saturday morning, and two employees who were closing up have been shot and killed. The incident occurred just after 1 a.m. on Saturday morning at a Chili’s Bar and Grill in DeWitt, New York. The chain was part of the ShoppingTown Mall on East Erie Boulevard, where officers responded to the call at 1:04 a.m., according to the Post Standard.

Laws and policy changes needed to combat U.S. opioid epidemic

September 19, 2018

Now that the U.S. Senate and House have individually passed bills to help address the nation’s opioid epidemic, the American Psychological Association (APA) is urging Congress to sign legislation into law this year. The bills include several provisions that will help reduce overuse of opioid prescriptions and increase access to substance use treatment, recovery and support services. The APA says it’s sharing recommendations with Congress to improve the legislation.

EU worker groups seeking shorter working week

September 19, 2018

The United Kingdom’s (UK) Trade Union Congress (TUC), the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and other European trade unions are calling for a reduced working week, which ETUI researchers argue would deliver benefits of less stress, higher worker satisfaction and increased gender equality. At its annual Congress earlier this month, the TUC’s Director General, Frances O’Grady, said that advances in technology mean that a four-day work week by the end of this century was a realistic goal for most people.

A NIOSH Science Blog post

Job strain, long work hours, and suicidal thoughts

BongKyoo Choi ScD, MPH Sarah Mitchell MPH

September 18, 2018

September 9-15th, 2018 was National Suicide Prevention week. Workplace suicide and mental health in general are often underrepresented in workplace health and safety discussions. However, globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, the leading cause of disability (WHO, 2017). In the US, the suicide mortality rate increased by 24% from 1999 to 2014, particularly among middle-age adults.

AHA: FDA not doing enough to curb teen e-cigarette use

September 18, 2018

Don’t count on the tobacco companies to reverse the sharp rise in e-cigarette use among teens. That’s the message the American Heart Association (AHA) is sending to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who promised last week that the federal government would act to curtail youthful e-cigarette use.

When it comes to safety, we speak with one voice

Jamie Vos

September 18, 2018

It didn’t take very long into the first morning of the construction industry safety conference for me to start second-guessing myself. While the prominent event presented a unique opportunity for me to network with contractors and safety directors who work directly in the field, and it allowed me direct access to the people who manage safety policies and procedures within an industry where Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) members’ equipment is used, I couldn’t help but wonder if the other attendees had different viewpoints about safety than I did.

What you need to know about new fed compliance office

September 18, 2018

The U.S. Labor Department says its new Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI) will strengthen compliance assistance outreach by promoting a greater understanding of federal labor laws and regulations. In announcing the new office last month, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said OCI efforts will help companies prevent violations and protect Americans' wages, workplace safety and health, retirement security, and other rights and benefits. As part of its work, OCI will work with the enforcement agencies to refine their metrics to ensure the efficacy of the Department's compliance assistance activities.

How and why to verify worker training

Integrating technology with photo ID cards assures workers’ credentials

David Finkelstein

September 17, 2018

Ensuring that workers do only jobs they’re trained for is critical in industrial safety. An untrained worker who botches a job can do a lot of damage. But in the rush to get things done, proper vetting can get overlooked. How can supervisors in the field know for sure about whether a particular worker is qualified to do a specific task or operate a certain piece of machinery? It’s challenging on the factory floor and even more so in the field.

Wall collapse in NYC buries construction worker

September 17, 2018

A starkly worded tweet from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) spelled out the fate of a construction worker buried under rubble last Wednesday: “The incident is transitioning from a rescue to a recovery.” The tweet came after first responders dug for three hours in heavy rain through a mixture of mud and concrete for hours in an effort to find the worker who disappeared when a retaining wall cracked and collapsed.

Is your workplace ready for a natural disaster?

September 17, 2018

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Florence is a reminder that severe weather can wreak havoc on human, animal and environmental health and welfare. OSHA is reminding employers and workers that September is National Preparedness Month – a good time to prepare for severe weather emergencies whether or not you live in a hurricane zone. Other parts of the country may experience tornadoes, extreme storms, flooding, wildfires and other acts of nature that threaten safety.

Staying safe amid Florence's hazards

September 17, 2018

Although Florence may no longer be a hurricane, the storm still poses plenty of danger for people who are in or will be returning to affected areas. Electrocution, water-borne infections and drowning are among the health risks associated with flooding, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has issued the following safety tips: