The effect of plastic on workers in the plastic industry, Apple’s efforts to resist curbs on distracted driving and amateur video helps a state OSH agency crack down on asbestos violators. These were among the top safety stories featured this week on

Poor workmanship caused deadly Pennsylvania house explosion

March 1, 2019

An improperly installed gas connection that allowed natural gas to seep into a single-family house was the probable cause of a deadly 2017 explosion in Millersville, Pennsylvania, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined. The July 2, 2017 explosion at 206 Springdale Lane killed one person and injured three others, destroyed the residence and significantly damaged six neighboring homes, one of which was subsequently condemned.


3 most common workplace eye injuries — and how to avoid them

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Corey Berghoefer

March 1, 2019

When new hires or temporary staff members join your team, it isn't enough to simply lay out the plan, give them their tools and expect them to get to work. In fact, failing to educate your team on proper safety protocols is exactly the kind of negligence that often leads to workplace eye injuries — or worse. When it comes to eye injuries, the numbers are astonishing. In the U.S., more than 2,000 workers injure their eyes on the job every single day, with roughly one out of every 10 of those injuries resulting in employees missing work in order to recuperate. That's a drain on your bottom line to the tune of $300 million in medical bills, compensation and time off annually — and that's something you just can't afford.


Report from Europe

Plastic – a human health crisis

February 28, 2019

Plastic is a human health crisis hiding in plain sight, according to a recent report from a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) lead by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). To date, research into the human health impacts of plastic have focused narrowly on specific moments in the plastic lifecycle, often on single products, processes, or exposure pathways.


“Vulnerable road users” get special attention from NTSB

February 28, 2019

Motorcyclists and pedestrians were the focus of two recent National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports which used analyses from accident investigations to form recommendations to enhance safety for the two groups going forward. Motorcyclists—motorcycle riders and their passengers—have the highest risk of fatal injury among all motor vehicle users.


A FairWarning Story

Apple has swatted away distracted driving lawsuits without much trouble so far

Myron Levin

February 28, 2019

Garrett Wilhelm was chatting with the Facetime app on his Apple iPhone, police say, as he sped along an interstate highway northwest of Dallas on the day before Christmas in 2014. He crashed his SUV into a sedan carrying a young family, killing five-year-old Moriah Modisette and injuring her parents and sister.


March is National Ladder Safety Month

February 28, 2019

Every year more than 100 workers are fatally injured and thousands suffer disabling injuries in ladder-related incidents. In March, the American Ladder Institute (ALI) is sponsoring its annual National Ladder Safety Month to promote ladder safety at work and home.


Two crew members die, two are rescued when fishing boat sinks

February 27, 2019

Flooding in a tank that held clams caused a fishing vessel to capsize and sink off the coast of Massachusetts, according to an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Two crew members were trapped on board and died when the uninspected fishing vessel Misty Blue sank on December 4, 2017.


National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction set for May 6-10

February 27, 2019

OSHA and its partners will host events throughout the country in honor of the sixth annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction May 6-10, 2019. Employers and workers will pause to talk about fall hazards, OSHA compliance, and industry best practices to prevent falls. The 2019 poster is now available on OSHA's publications page.


Only $9,472 for a head injury that put TV stunt man in a coma

February 27, 2019

A motion picture company has been issued a serious citation by OSHA for an accident in August 2018 that left a stunt man hospitalized for weeks with serious injuries. The agency says Eye Productions, Inc. failed to protect stunt coordinator Justin Sundquist from hazards while filming the CBS television show MacGuyver in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia. Sunquist fell from the back of a vehicle that was traveling at approximately 18 mph, according to OSHA.


Crane operator certification rule now being enforced

February 27, 2019

OSHA is now enforcing the requirement that employers must evaluate the competency of their operators before allowing them to operate cranes independently. The agency updated its standard for cranes and derricks in construction by clarifying each employer's duty to ensure the competency of crane operators through training, certification or licensing, and evaluation.


U.S. Navy sailors get help with hearing loss prevention through innovative program

Developer wins this year's Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award

February 26, 2019

Exposure to loud flight deck operations and noisy equipment takes a toll on U.S. Navy sailors: approximately one in four suffer from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). One man’s innovative and broad-based approach to the problem has earned him this year’s The Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award. The multi-tiered program to NIHL among sailors developed by Kurt Yankaskas of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the NIHL Research Program maximized the use of various funding strategies within Department of the Navy and DoD.


Fatal results after a crack in a trench wall fails to stop work

February 26, 2019

One worker noticed a large crack in the soft dirt of an unprotected wall of a utility trench. He and the other worker in the trench at that time were told to use caution…but continue working. The subsequent collapse of that unprotected wall killed a man and earned his employer nearly a quarter of a million dollars in fines from Cal/OSHA. Investigators for the state agency said Livermore-based contractor Platinum Pipeline, Inc. committed willful-serious safety violations by instructing employees to continue grading the bottom of the trench without providing any protection, even after identifying the soil as unstable. 


Nosy neighbors help Washington crack a case of asbestos violators

Companies tried to avoid responsibility by creating "a legal web of confusion"

February 26, 2019

It almost sounds like the plot of a movie. Alert neighbors living near a home being renovated notice that some workers are improperly removing exterior asbestos tiles from the structure. They confront the man who claims to be the homeowner. He promises to remove the asbestos correctly, but the neighbors take videos showing that his workers continue to commit asbestos-related violations. Angry that the neighborhood’s residents – and those workers – are being exposed to the dangerous substance, they contact the...


OSHA urges employers to prevent worker exposure to carbon monoxide

February 26, 2019

OSHA is reminding employers to take necessary precautions to protect workers from the potentially fatal effects of carbon monoxide exposure. Every year, workers die from carbon monoxide poisoning, usually while using fuel-burning equipment, tools, compressors and pumps, gas-powered forklifts, and other devices in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation.


EPA sued over inaction on methylene chloride in paint strippers

February 25, 2019

Two nonprofit organizations have filed a federal complaint against the EPA for its failure to regulate methylene chloride, a chemical found in paint strippers that has been blamed for 50 deaths. Andrew Wheeler, Acting Administrator of the EPA, is also named in the suit. The complaint by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement alleges that the EPA has violated its statutory obligations by not enacting a ban on the substance in paint and coating removal products, despite determining that methylene chloride presents “an unreasonable risk of injury to health” more than two years ago.


Could a dropped Thermos bottle have caused deadly bus accident?

February 25, 2019

A dropped Thermos bottle lodged between the brake and accelerator pedals could not be ruled out as a possible cause for the fatal 2017 collision between two buses in Flushing, New York, according to a report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). On Sept. 18, 2017, at 6:16 a.m., a motorcoach operated by Dahlia Group Inc. collided with a New York City Transit Authority bus at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Main Street in Flushing. The motorcoach was traveling 60 mph — twice the posted speed limit.


4 habits that may be raising your blood pressure

February 25, 2019

With nearly half of American adults having elevated blood pressure, it’s important for everyone to understand that some common habits may affect blood pressure, making the condition more difficult to control. That’s why the American Heart Association is providing quick reference tools for health care providers to guide their patients in discovering “BP raisers” that are often hiding in plain sight.


NOT good vibrations give farmers MSDs

February 25, 2019

Long hours of sitting on machinery and working in uncomfortable positions, like kneeling and crawling, along with lifting heavy loads can lead to injuries for farmers. Because of such physically demanding environments, farmers have a greater risk than workers in many other industries of experiencing musculoskeletal disorders—soft-tissue injuries from frequent motion, force, and awkward positions—especially low back pain.