The role physical activity plays in heat-related illness, this year’s “Dirty Dozen,” and a giant coffee chain finds that it has to protect its workers from dangerous objects left behind by drug users. These were among the occupational safety and health stories featured this week on


Cannabis industry and workers comp: A fast moving legal landscape

April 25, 2019

Are insurers required to reimburse for medical marijuana in workers compensation? That is one of the topics covered by Laura Kersey in an online article for the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). Kersey writes that insurers are increasingly receiving requests to reimburse for medical marijuana use for workers compensation treatment, and explains how that issue is complicated by the federal-state schism in the status of cannabis.


CSB wants EPA to update HF study in wake of refinery fires

April 25, 2019

The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is calling on the EPA to review its existing Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) study to determine the effectiveness of existing regulations as well as the viability of utilizing inherently safer alkylation technologies in petroleum refineries. In a letter sent to the EPA, the CSB notes that in the last four years, the agency has investigated two refinery incidents where an explosion elevated the threat of a release of HF.


National COSH rolls out this year’s Dirty Dozen

Maureen Paraventi

April 24, 2019

The world’s largest online seller of goods tops the “Dirty Dozen” list of unsafe employers released by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s (National COSH) today. The annual reveal is timed to coincide with Workers Memorial Week (April 22 – 29), which honors those who have been injured, suffered illnesses or lost their lives at work. Amazon as had six worker fatalities at its facilities since 2018;.


How a fatal apartment building explosion could have been prevented

"This tragic event could have been avoided if the necessary checks were done"

April 24, 2019

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that the Aug. 10, 2016, natural gas fueled explosion and fire in a Maryland apartment building that killed seven people was caused by the failure of an indoor mercury service regulator with an unconnected vent line. The unconnected vent line and failed service regulator resulted in a leak of natural gas that accumulated in the apartment building’s meter room until it reached explosive levels and ignited.


Starbucks taking steps to protect workers from sharps injuries

Drug users leave hypodermic needles in bathrooms

April 24, 2019

Starbucks is installing needle-disposal boxes in bathrooms at its locations in dozens of U.S. markets, due to employee concerns about sharps injuries from hypodermic needles left by drug-using customers. According to Business Insider, two employees of the giant coffee chain were stuck with hypodermic needles in 2018 at a store in Eugene, Oregon. OSHA investigated and fined Starbucks $3,100.


Colorado workers comp data shows cannabis industry injuries

April 24, 2019

Strains, cuts and slip and falls are the top causes of injuries in Colorado’s cannabis industry, according to Pinnacol Assurance, the state’s largest workers’ compensation insurer. Pinnacol recently released an analysis of the cannabis industry’s most common occupational injury trends in Colorado.


NYC takes on climate change at city level

April 23, 2019

New York City has passed a measure that caps emissions for large buildings – part of a handful of bills called the Climate Mobilization Act that are intended to combat climate change on a municipal level. The measure will likely create thousands of blue collar jobs – and likely cost the city’s landlords billions of dollars.


Feds initiative aimed at reducing railroad crossing deaths

April 23, 2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are hoping that a $5.6 million public safety awareness campaign will make Americans take railroad crossing safety more seriously. The numbers suggest that that is not currently the case. Every four hours in America, a person or vehicle is struck by a train at a rail crossing.


Disney fined for delays in reporting worker injuries

April 23, 2019

The Walt Disney Company has been fined $13,260 for failing to report two workers’ injuries in a timely manner. The injuries occurred at the company’s Epcot Center and Beach Club Resort in December 2018. One was serious enough that the employee required surgery.


Fall, trenching & hazmat hazards: safety violations across the USA

April 23, 2019

A fatal fall, hazmat exposure and trenching hazards are among the workplace conditions that resulted in federal and state OSHA violations in recent cases.


What’s next in OSH: Edible safety messages

April 22, 2019

A Certified Safety Professional (CSP) with 17 years’ experience in the field has found a way to communicate safety messages to workers by way of their taste buds. Cynthia Braun, who is also a Certified Environmental Trainer (CET), and Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM), is the is the President and Principal Consultant of Braun Safety Associates, LLC, an occupational safety consulting and training firm in Littleton, CO.


Wyoming nursing facility scores a zero – in a good way

Hospice partnered with state’s OSHA Consultation program to improve workplace health and safety

April 22, 2019

A skilled nursing facility in Cheyenne, Wyoming has achieved injuries, illnesses and lost days that are dramatically below the average for their industry since it began working with Wyoming OSHA Consultation. From 2016 through 2017, the Davis Hospice Center’s Total Recordable Case Rate (TRC) rate was zero, and their Days Away from Work, Job Transfer and Restriction (DART) rate was also zero. These rates are astounding when discussing the healthcare industry and health and safety challenges they face.


Physical activity key to farmers' heat-related illness

New study explores the link

April 22, 2019

Farm workers are at high risk for heat-related illness in hot temperatures, especially during summer crop production. Farming is also physically demanding, further increasing the likelihood of developing heat-related illness. In California, where an estimated 30%-40% of U.S. farm workers are employed, temperatures in the state’s Central Valley – are typically in the 90s in June and July.


$600K+ in safety fines for Pa. contractor

"Knowingly and repeatedly" ignored fall protection requirements

April 22, 2019

OSHA has cited framing contractor Navy Contractors, Inc. for willfully exposing employees to fall hazards at residential construction sites in Royersford, Collegeville, and Center Valley, Pennsylvania. The company faces $603,850 in penalties. The agency initiated inspections at the three jobsites after inspectors saw employees performing framing work without fall protection.