NIOSH uses robotic arms to test healthcare PPE, teen workers get safety info from OSHA and FairWarning sheds a light on the hazards faced by small farmers in the U.S. These were among the occupational safety and health stories featured on this week.

What causes numbness in hands?

And what can you do about it?

April 19, 2019

According to the Mayo Clinic, hand numbness is usually caused by damage, irritation or compression of one of the nerves or a branch of one of the nerves in your arm and wrist. Diseases affecting the peripheral nerves, such as diabetes, also can cause numbness, although with diabetes similar symptoms usually occur first in your feet.


CPR issues guide to help workers reduce toxic exposures

April 19, 2019

Every day, an average of 137 workers in the United States lose their lives to diseases and illnesses caused by on-the-job exposures to hazards like silica dust, asbestos, and a wide variety of toxic chemicals. That means every year, roughly 50,000 people die from occupational illnesses, and the toll is likely much higher because of underreporting and incomplete statistics.


OSHA initiative aims to keep young workers safe at summer jobs

April 19, 2019

OSHA is using – what else? – social media to reach young people who may soon be working in summer jobs. The goal: to give them tips in staying safe in the workplace. Because teens with little or no experience may not always recognize the hazards in their workplaces, they are especially vulnerable to occupational injuries and fatalities. OSHA and the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division will run a social media campaign through May 17 (with the hashtag #MySafeSummerJob) to educate young workers how to protect themselves on the job.


ASSP election results highlighted by Stegall’s move to president

April 18, 2019

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the world’s oldest professional safety organization, has announced its new leaders from the 2019 Society elections. All terms begin July 1. Diana Stegall, CSP, CFPS, ARM, SMS, CPCU, will serve as ASSP president for 2019-20. “Elections are the heart of a professional society, and it’s great to see our members staying involved,” said ASSP President Rixio Medina, CSP, CPP, whose term expires June 30.


Here are the health, environmental concerns keeping us up at night

Falls, climate change, tsunamis

April 18, 2019

What Americans fear most in terms of health and wellness is not necessarily what is currently posing the most danger to them, according to a recent survey by SafeWise. In The State of Safety, a report based on the results of the survey, the independent review site found that falls are the biggest health and wellness concern, while an accidental overdose is way down on the list, coming in at number nine for both men and women.


Inside NIOSH:

Robotic arm tests glove-gown protection in healthcare

April 18, 2019

During recent disease outbreaks, most notably the 2014 Ebola epidemic, the importance of effective personal protective equipment (PPE) was emphasized once again. When designed and used properly, PPE can protect healthcare workers from potentially deadly infectious diseases and viruses, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, Ebola, and HIV.


A FairWarning Story

No verdict in sight on safety of crumb rubber fields, prompting angst all around

Marjie Lundstrom

April 18, 2019

Amanda Gabriele of North Haven, Conn., would love to be wrong. The mother of two, Gabriele has been anxiously awaiting results of a federal study begun in 2016 to unravel the public health mystery of synthetic turf laced with crumbs of ground-up tires. With at least 12,000 crumb rubber fields already in use in the United States – and 1,200 to 1,500 more going in each year – the stakes of the federal study are high: Has America finally found a new home for its old, cast-off tires?


StarKist fined by EPA for polluting harbor in American Samoa

April 18, 2019

The EPA has announced $84,500 in penalties against StarKist Co. and its subsidiary, Starkist Samoa Co., for violating the terms of a 2018 settlement designed to remedy deficiencies at their tuna processing facility in American Samoa to achieve environmental compliance. “EPA will continue to work closely with StarKist to ensure the needed safety and pollution control upgrades are realized, per our agreement,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker.


A NIOSH Science Blog post

Workplace smoke-free policies and cessation programs

April 18, 2019

Nearly half a million Americans still die prematurely from tobacco use each year despite the fact that it is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the U.S.1, 2. So what can be done to prevent the toll of smoking in the U.S.? The workplace is an important setting for implementing tobacco control interventions. 3, 4 


Health groups want added sugar amounts on food labels

April 17, 2019

A label showing added sugars content on all packaged foods and sugary drinks could have substantial health and cost-saving benefits in the United States over the next 20 years, according to a new study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation. Using a validated model, researchers were able to estimate a significant reduction in cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes cases from 2018 to 2037, if such a mandated addition to the Nutrition Label was implemented.


ISO publishes two standards to combat climate change

Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis

April 17, 2019

Floods, droughts, record-breaking temperatures – the evidence indicates that addressing climate change has become one of the world’s most pressing issues, which is why the publication of two International Organization for Standards (ISO) standards will have a significant part to play in helping to reduce damaging greenhouse gases. Tackling the effect of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on global warming and the subsequent impact on climate change is one of the defining, and intractable, challenges of our time.


After deadly week, NYC worker advocates demand better safety training

April 17, 2019

A coalition of New York City labor organizations is holding a protest today about safety training inadequacies in the city, particularly for immigrant workers. The protest comes on the heels of a particularly deadly week in the city’s construction industry, which saw three immigrant workers killed in incidents at three different worksites.


Speech at AIHce:

Small farmers in U.S. dying in large numbers

April 17, 2019

In rural America, where agricultural workers are dying at rates higher than those of coal miners, farmers often take risks that are no longer tolerated in other work environments. But in Minnesota and other Midwestern states, virtually no one is protecting small farmers. Safety programs have been dismantled, funding has disappeared and in most states rules prevent inspectors from visiting farms with fewer than 11 workers — which is where most of the fatal accidents are happening.


Want to learn a new skill? Take some short breaks

NIH study suggests our brains may use short rest periods to strengthen memories

April 16, 2019

In a study of healthy volunteers, National Institutes of Health researchers found that our brains may solidify the memories of new skills we just practiced a few seconds earlier by taking a short rest. The results highlight the critically important role rest may play in learning. “Everyone thinks you need to ‘practice, practice, practice’ when learning something new. Instead, we found that resting, early and often, may be just as critical to learning as practice,” said Leonardo G. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D.


Groundbreaking Legionella prevention model reported

Number of cases has jumped since 2002

April 16, 2019

A groundbreaking new hazard analysis formula is expected to significantly aid users in preventing Legionella growth in buildings' water systems. Designed by J. David Krause, Ph.D., MSPH, CIH, vice chair of AIHA's Indoor Air Quality Committee and a nationally known expert in toxicology, public health and risk assessment, the tool evaluates the combined effectiveness of control measures used to prevent Legionella and other waterborne pathogens.


Five ways to move more at work and make it count

April is "Move More Month"

April 16, 2019

With the recent news that even small bouts of exercise lead to significant health benefits, the American Heart Association (AHA) is urging adults to move more and make it count where they spend most of their time - at work. “It doesn’t matter whether you get activity in short bursts of a few minutes or longer periods of time,” says Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP and AHA’s chief medical officer for prevention.


What is the National Safety Stand-Down?

April 16, 2019

The 6th annual National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls takes place the week of May 6-10, 2019. The Stand-Down was conceived by OSHA in 2014 as part of the National Falls Campaign to raise awareness surrounding the severity of fall hazards in construction and the importance of preventing them. In a construction setting, the term “safety stand-down” is used to describe a wide variety of activities where normal work is paused and the entire site focuses on a particular safety issue. 


ASSP names new director of professional development

April 15, 2019

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) welcomed its new director of professional development today. Chris Ballman, PHR, MSHR, will oversee the Society’s comprehensive educational offerings that advance the careers of occupational safety and health professionals worldwide. He will also provide leadership oversight of ASSP’s largest annual event – a Professional Development Conference and Exhibition that attracts more than 5,000 industry professionals.


Rogue wave damages fishing vessel; crew survives

April 15, 2019

An unusually large wave thwarted a fishing crew’s attempts to ride out heavy weather in the Bering Sea last year, according to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation into the incident. No fatalities or injuries were reported when the commercial fishing vessel Progress was severely damaged north of Unimak Island, Alaska on January 26.


Fla. worker injured in 26’ fall; company cited

"Providing workers with fall protection is not optional"

April 15, 2019

An Ohio-based construction company failed to ensure that workers used fall protection while doing roofing tasks, leading to a worker sustaining a serious injury, according to an OSHA inspection following the incident. The agency has cited Hiebert Bros Construction LLC for exposing employees to fall hazards after the worker was injured from a 26-foot fall at a construction worksite in Gainesville, Florida. 


High pesticide exposure linked to olfactory impairment in U.S. farmers

April 15, 2019

Exposure to high levels of pesticides may cause farmers over time to lose their sense of smell, according to a study published recently in Environmental Health Perspectives. The study examined high pesticide exposure events (HPEEs) in relation to self-reported olfactory impairment (OI) in participants in the long running, multi-generational Agricultural Health Study (AHS) conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Three NYC construction workers die in one week

April 15, 2019

Three New York City construction workers died last week at three different worksites – two as the result of struck-by incidents. In Brooklyn, news sources report that 34 year-old Gregory Echevarria was killed when part of a crane he was helping to assemble fell on him. The incident occurred at 3:15 a.m. on Saturday at the entrance to the Holland tunnel, when a 7.5 ton counterweight fell on Echevarria.