An EPA climate change-related rule rollback, “burnout training for doctors, and a legal challenge filed by miners an Mine Safety and Health Administration action. These were among the top occupational safety, health and environment stories featured on this week.

EPA proposes reducing coal-fired plant emission limits

December 7, 2018

The EPA’s proposed rollback of Obama-era limits on greenhouse gases emitted by coal-fired plants is drawing opposition from health and environmental groups. At issue: Carbon Pollution Standards for New, Modified and Reconstructed Power Plants, enacted in 2015, which were intended to slow climate change and reduce its effects.

NFPA launches new standard for drone public safety operations

December 7, 2018

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has released its first unmanned robotics guidance for first responders and others. NFPA 2400®, Standard for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Used for Public Safety Operations was developed by representatives from public safety departments with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), including the fire service, law enforcement, and emergency medical services.

One company, two worksites, same fall protection violations

December 7, 2018

OSHA has cited Derek Williams – operating as Elo Restoration Inc. – for exposing employees to fall hazards at two separate worksites in St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, Florida. The roofing contractor faces $116,551 in penalties. OSHA initiated an inspection as part of the Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction.

American Heart Association to U.S. schools: Ignore USDA’s rollback of nutrition rules

December 7, 2018

The American Heart Association issued the following statement in response to the final rule on school nutrition standards issued yesterday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The rule eliminates the final sodium target, decreases the amount of whole grains, and allows 1 percent flavored milk in school meals.

FAA using “Buzzy the Drone” to teach drone safety

December 6, 2018

With drones continuing to soar in popularity, it’s likely that there will be plenty of them under Christmas trees this year, ready to be unwrapped, taken outside and flown. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) has created a “Buzzy the Drone” character to teach newbies the do’s and don'ts of being a responsible drone operator and flying their new drone safely.

Driver health issues led to multiple fatality bus crash

December 6, 2018

A 2016 bus crash near Laredo, Texas that killed nine people was caused by the driver’s fatigue and diabetes complications, according to an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The May 14 incident occurred at approximately 11:24 a.m., central daylight time, when a 49-passenger motorcoach, operated by OGA Charters LLC of San Juan, Texas, entered a horizontal curve to the right, but drifted from its lane to the left.

Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week set for March 25-29, 2019

Engulfment a leading cause of grain bin deaths

December 6, 2018

OSHA and its Alliance partner, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), in cooperation with the Grain Elevator and Processing Society, will hold Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week, March 25-29, 2019. The event will focus on grain bin entry, machine guarding, respiratory protection, falls, heat, lockout/tagout, and other industry issues.

A NIOSH flashback:

How to work safely with robots – circa 1984

December 6, 2018

With the recent focus on robots and worker safety, it may be surprising to learn that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) first addressed this issue 34 years ago. In 1984, the agency released safety recommendations for working with robots after an experienced operator of an automated die-cast system died when he became pinned between the back end of an industrial robot and a steel safety pole.

Work-related cancers cost the EU $343 - $776 billion a year

December 5, 2018

Work-related cancers cost between €270 ($343) and €610 ($776) billion a year in the EU-28 (the European Union including the United Kingdom, which is soon to become a non-member), according to a new book from the European Trade Union Institute.

LOTO lack leads to amputation

December 5, 2018

An amputation injury at an ice cream manufacturing facility in Lakewood, New Jersey has earned an employer $103,476 in proposed penalties. The citations issued by OSHA against Mister Cookie Face LLC for machine safety hazards followed an incident in which a sanitation employee suffered a fingertip amputation and a fractured finger when the machine he was attempting to unjam, activated.

“Burnout” training helps doctors deal with emotions

December 5, 2018

A new form of training is aimed at countering physician burnout – a mental health issue which has emerged as a significant problem in the U.S. for both the medical professionals who suffer from it and the patients whose care may be affected by it. Physician burnout may lead to errors in care that can raise the cost of both health care – potentially putting it beyond some patients’ means – and malpractice insurance.

DOL’s Sweatt talks silica enforcement, trenching safety to ISEA

December 5, 2018

Loren Sweatt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, spoke last week at the International Safety Equipment Association Annual Meeting in Alexandra, Virginia.

Miners' union sues MSHA for lifting Affinity Mine’s POV status

December 4, 2018

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) last week filed a complaint in the United States District Court for Southern District of West Virginia, charging that the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) unlawfully released Pocahontas Coal Company, LLC’s Affinity Mine from MSHA’s Pattern of Violations (POV) status in August.

A Confined Space blog post

Weekly toll: Three weeks of death on the job

Jordan Barab

December 4, 2018

Excuse the length of this depressing exercise, but I’ve been away for a couple of weeks and unlike me, workplace death takes no vacation. The usual falls, machinery deaths, vehicle accidents. Also several sanitation workers lost their lives over the past several week, as well as retail workers shot on the job.

NTSB: 3rd party drilling caused deadly natural gas blast

December 4, 2018

Two years after a natural gas-fueled explosion rocked downtown Canton, Illinois, killing one person and injuring 11 others, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has concluded its investigation into the incident.

From the NIOSH Director:

Advancing oil and gas workplace safety and health research

Dr. John Howard

December 4, 2018

The oil and gas extraction industry continues to expand in the United States, but this growth comes with increased risks for workers in the industry. During 2003–2016, 1,485 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job, resulting in an annual fatality rate more than six times higher than the rate among all U.S. workers.

A NIOSH Science Blog post

Improving programs to control hazardous energy

New NORA website offers tools and templates

December 3, 2018

A new website from the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Manufacturing Sector Council features ways in which businesses and companies can safeguard employees from the release of hazardous energy (any source of electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other energy) during service and maintenance activities.

When running a marathon is NOT good for your health

December 3, 2018

A new report may give pause to “amateur” marathon runners – that is, those who undertake the grueling endurance event without sufficient training. Research just published in Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association, found that running a marathon when you’re not ready can increase cardiac strain.

One child dead, dozens injured in Arkansas bus crash

December 3, 2018

A bus crash early this morning in Arkansas claimed the life of one child and left dozens of other people – mostly children – injured, according to news sources.

How to make your holidays – and beyond - healthier

"Your holiday activities don’t have to involve eating"

December 3, 2018

Few Americans get enough physical activity, and many don’t eat a healthful diet. The winter holidays can be a great time to think about your goals for the year ahead. Follow these tips to jump start your resolutions, and be your healthiest self this holiday season.