A blistering report on small farm safety, Samsung Electronics apologizes for work-related illnesses and a dire warning about the effects of climate change on human health. These were among the top occupational safety and health stories featured on ISHN.com this week.

Fla. company fined $94,415 in incident that burned worker

November 30, 2018

The owner of a property maintenance company in McDavid, Florida instructed an employee to ignite wood and debris inside an air burn box using a torch and gasoline. Those directions from to the proprietor of L.A. Disaster Relief and Property Maintenance LLC caused an explosion and left the worker with serious burn injuries. They also resulted in OSHA issuing citations and penalties to the company.

After safety scare, astronauts, cosmonaut again ready to blast off

November 30, 2018

Workplace safety can be especially challenging when the workplace is…space. NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko are set to launch to the International Space Station on Monday, despite a rocket malfunction less than two months ago than forced them to abort a mission.

A FairWarning Story

When workers are killed on small farms, OSHA’s hands are tied

Eli Wolfe

November 30, 2018

As the dim early light washed over the Appalachian countryside, Jason Kingsley began his climb up the side of an 80-foot silo. Kingsley was not a morning person. But he was also broke and unemployed. So when a dairy farmer named Ronald Wood called to ask him to help to rescue a piece of machinery that had accidentally been buried under tons of hay and legumes, Kingsley said yes.

Link found between prescription drug use before, after injury

November 30, 2018

Workers taking opioids or benzodiazepines (anxiety medications) prior to a work-related injury were more likely than other workers to continue taking the drugs after the injury, according to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-funded study at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Samsung apologizes for work-related illnesses at its factories

November 29, 2018

Samsung Electronics has publicly apologized for the illnesses and deaths of some of its employees at its computer chip and display factories and agreed to pay compensation up to 150 million Korean won (~$130,000) per illness. News sources report that Samsung Electronics chief executive Kim Ki-nam, speaking at a press conference, acknowledged that the company “did not fully and completely manage potential health risks at our chip and liquid-crystal display production lines.”

Public health experts urge action on climate change

November 29, 2018

The American Public Health Association (APHA) is calling the National Climate Assessment released last week is “a grave reminder of the action we need to take now to protect our communities from the negative health effects of climate change.” Human health in the U.S. is one of the areas identified in the report as being negatively impacted by climate change.

Civilian worker dies at Army Reserve facility

November 29, 2018

The death of a civilian employee at an Army Reserve facility in California has resulted in OSHA issuing safety violations to the U.S. Army Reserve 63 Regional Support Command. The incident at a Sacramento facility occurred when the automated lifting mechanism of a utility vehicle cargo box failed and pinned the worker between the bed and the vehicle frame, causing him fatal injuries.

Drug overdoses, suicides drive down U.S. life expectancy

November 29, 2018

Life expectancy in the U.S. has declined over the past few years, largely due to drug overdose deaths and suicides, according to a troubling new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Indiana highway work zone safety may get regulatory boost

November 28, 2018

An Indiana legislator is developing a measure intended to make highway construction zones safer for workers. News sources say State Rep. Jim Pressel (R-District 20) has announced plans to introduce a bill to ban cell phone use while driving unless the driver is using a hands-free device. The measure would also include automated enforcement – possibly in the form of cameras at work zones.

NASA to investigate SpaceX's, Boeing's workplace safety culture

November 28, 2018

A space-bound partnership with NASA is about to bring some extra scrutiny here on earth to SpaceX and Boeing Co. The space agency is describing the investigation it will conduct into the workplace safety culture at the two companies as “a cultural assessment study,” that will focus on workplace safety – as well as adherence to a drug-free environment.

Safety culture in the age of IIoT

Kayla Matthews

November 28, 2018

The industrial internet of things (IIoT) has significantly impacted safety for workers and entire companies, and many results are undoubtedly positive. However, since IIoT devices connect to the internet, organizations must follow cybersecurity best practices to ensure cybercriminals don't infiltrate systems and cause dangerous malfunctions.

Contractor removes trenching protection while worker is still in trench

Bay Construction Company cited after the fatality

November 28, 2018

A California construction company that dismantled a trench box while an employee was still working inside, causing him to be fatally crushed, has been cited by Cal/OSHA for safety violations. The agency determined that general contractor Bay Construction Co. committed willful-serious safety violations by unsafely removing a linear support rail that fell and killed the worker.


Level of soot particles in diesel exhaust varies on oil & gas worksites

November 28, 2018

On oil and gas worksites, diesel engines power machines ranging from drilling rigs to high-powered hydraulic fracturing pumps, to generators and lighting equipment. The diesel exhaust from these engines, however, is a toxic mix of chemicals that includes small particles of carbon, or soot, which can be accidentally inhaled.

‘Tis the season to be safe

November 27, 2018

With the holiday shopping season officially underway, OSHA is reminding employers to protect their workers, many of whom are new or temporary hires working in intense conditions. “Whether employees are stocking shelves, packing boxes, delivering products, or selling merchandise, they have the right to a safe workplace,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt.

Towing vessel crew abandons ship to escape fire

November 27, 2018

A towing vessel crew’s inability to close windows and doors when a fire began in the engine room nearly cost them their lives, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigated the incident.

California’s nonfatal worker injuries and illnesses stable

November 27, 2018

California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has posted California’s 2017 occupational injury and illness data on employer-reported injuries. According to the estimates provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), California had 466,600 nonfatal occupational injuries in 2017, a number stable from the prior year.

Asbestos – the hidden health risk of home renovations

Al Johnson

November 27, 2018

A survey conducted earlier this year by a Canadian bank found that nearly 40 per cent of British Columbia (B.C.) homeowners were planning on renovating their homes. And while that’s great news for the construction industry, it’s important to be aware of the health dangers that asbestos-containing building materials in older homes pose to contractors and their crew.

Equipment makers want Cal/OSHA to change ag equipment regulation

November 26, 2018

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), an industry group representing 1,000+ manufacturers, has petitioned Cal/OSHA about making changes to a rule governing the use of highly automated agricultural equipment. The AEM says the regulation, as drafted, would negate many of the benefits of highly automated agricultural equipment and autonomous agricultural equipment. 

Forklift toppled over

NY construction worker killed in struck by accident

November 26, 2018

A construction worker was killed at a Brooklyn, New York worksite on the day before Thanksgiving by a piece of sheet metal that fell from an unapproved forklift. News sources say 44-year-old Over Paredes of Newark, New Jersey was working on the roof of a six-story condo development when a manual forklift that was hoisting part of a metal-framed wall topped onto its side, releasing the metal.

Bill to address health care workplace violence introduced in Congress

November 26, 2018

United States Congressman Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) has introduced a bill that would require OSHA to issue a workplace violence prevention standard for the health care industry. The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, H.R. 7141, directs OSHA to issue a standard requiring health care and social service employers to write and implement a workplace violence prevention plan.

Inside NIOSH:

Workers’ comp could provide valuable research info

November 26, 2018

When thinking of workers’ compensation insurance, we typically think of the money and other benefits provided to workers injured on the job. When public health researchers think of this same insurance, they may also see a potential opportunity to learn more information about work-related health and safety hazards.