The Secretary of Labor resigns, NIOSH introduces a new chemical management banding strategy and U.S. states get ranked by happiness. These were among the stories featured on this week.


Using safety painting for OSHA visual organization recommendations

Kayla Matthews

July 12, 2019

Regardless of where you work and how many employees the company has, the environment almost certainly has visual cues that help people spot and avoid dangerous things. That's because OSHA provides approved colors to use around workplaces to designate hazards. Learning about them could help you bring more visual organization to an area and keep workers safer.


Acosta out as Labor Secretary

July 12, 2019

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta is resigning his position, saying he does not want a 2008 plea deal involving billionaire Jeffrey Epstein to become a distraction for the Trump administration. Acosta said he called President Trump this morning to tell him about the resignation, which will take effect in a week. The president praised Acosta as a "tremendous talent.”


Minor accident yields autonomous vehicle info

July 12, 2019

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) doesn’t normally investigate minor accidents, but a collision between a truck and a shuttle caught the agency’s attention – because the shuttle was autonomous. There were no injuries to the seven passengers and one attendant aboard the shuttle or to the driver of the truck in the November 8, 2017 incident in Las Vegas involving a commercial truck and the autonomous shuttle. The shuttle incurred minor damage and the truck had a minor abrasion to one of its tire.


Recent high school grad killed in warehouse accident

July 12, 2019

A teenager who graduated from high school last month was killed July 2nd in a warehouse incident in Indiana. News sources say 18-year-old Timothy “TJ” Rich Jr. died at an Aldi warehouse in Greenwood. Rich was loading a truck when a dock plate – a device used to bridge the gap between a truck and the warehouse floor – came down, killing the teen.


The cost of cancer

July 11, 2019

A new report by American Cancer Society (ACS) researchers translates the toll cancer takes on Americans into cold hard figures. In 2015 alone, the disease took more than 8.7 million years of life and $94.4 billion in lost earnings among people ages 16 to 84 in the U.S. Why crunch the numbers? Why assess the pain caused by the nation’s top killer in terms of dollars and cents?


NIOSH unveils strategy to quickly “band” workplace chemicals

Provides process for chemical management occupational exposure

July 11, 2019

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has come up with a new chemical management strategy that can quickly and accurately assign chemicals into categories, or “bands,” in order to protect workers from potentially harmful substances in the workplace. A vast number of chemical substances do not have occupational exposure limits (OELs) for the workplace.


NTSB investigating fatal Hawaii skydivers plane crash

11 people killed in the incident

July 11, 2019

The engines on a plane full of skydivers sounded normal, according to a witness, but moments later, it crashed just after takeoff from a Hawaii airport, killing all 11 people aboard. The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) initial report into the June 21, 2019 incident provides no insight into possible causes of the crash. The NTSB investigation is ongoing.


MSHA urged to develop silica standard for mines

July 10, 2019

“Until MSHA sets and strictly enforces an evidence-based, silica-specific dust standard, along with improved procedures for measuring and monitoring silica, the agency will not be fulfilling its mission to ‘prevent death, illness and injury from mining and promote safe and healthful workplaces for U.S. miners."


Workplace safety violations across the U.S.A.

July 10, 2019

Multiple hazards at Ohio workplace: OSHA issued 23 citations and $183,738 in penalties to Ohio Gratings, Inc., for inadequate machine guarding and recordkeeping, failing to ensure that workers used personal protective equipment, and exposing workers to struck-by hazards and flammable liquids.


From the NIOSH Director's desk

My Safe Summer Job – It takes teamwork

What was your first summer job?

Dr. John Howard

July 10, 2019

Mine was painting fences in my neighborhood. I combined my love of the outdoors with earning money! One homeowner paid me in silver dollars that he had won in Las Vegas. Whether painting fences, working in the family business, or working in a local shop, restaurant, or office, summer jobs provide valuable opportunities for young people so they can earn money, gain independence, build self-esteem, and explore vocational interests.

The link between regular equipment maintenance and worker safety

Kayla Matthews

July 10, 2019

Safety professionals know how it's necessary to take an all-encompassing look at how to keep workers productive and out of harm's way. For example, those employees might need personal protective equipment, but they also require training that teaches them how to do their jobs without encountering unnecessarily dangerous situations. In short, overlooking one aspect of worker safety could make all the other components of a program useless.


Acosta records PSAs on worker safety amid severe weather hazards

July 9, 2019

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has recorded five new public service announcements (PSAs) discussing how to keep workers safe while performing cleanup and recovery operations following hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes. The 30-second audio messages, recorded in English and Spanish, cover potential hazards posed by chainsaws, downed power lines, unstable surfaces, contaminated floodwaters, and mold exposure.


Not all supplements are heart healthy

July 9, 2019

If you want to reduce your risk of having a heart attack, skip the supplements and cut down on salt instead. That’s the conclusion of a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, which also found that one supplement might actually increase your risk for having a stroke. The goal of the study was to explore the potential for nutritional supplements and dietary interventions to prevent “cardiovascular outcomes,” such as death, myocardial infarction, stroke, and coronary heart disease. 


More DOD sites added to "no drone" list

July 9, 2019

The skies over a dozen U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) locations are about to get a little less friendly for drones, otherwise known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). As of July 11, drone operators are forbidden to fly their aircraft over the following “national security sensitive” locations, based on a request by the DOD:


EU update on occupational exposure to harmful chemicals

July 8, 2019

Although the use of asbestos has been banned in European Union (EU) nations since 2005, the substance remains a health risk in Europe due to its ubiquitous presence in many private and public buildings. Asbestos was one of the major agenda items at last month’s seminar on chemicals and worker protection held in Lisbon. Hosted by the European Trade Union Institute in Lisbon in collaboration with the General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers (CGTP), the gathering brought together more than 40 union representatives from 21 European countries.


A NIOSH Science Blog post

Low back pain among workers: The problem and what to do about it

Kristen Iker MPH CAPT. Sara E. Luckhaupt MD, MPH

July 8, 2019

Are you a worker who is experiencing low back pain? You aren’t alone! A recently published article from NIOSH reports that more than 1 in 4 (26%) working adults experience low back pain. Some groups of workers have more pain than others. For example, workers in construction occupations are more likely to experience low back pain than those in other occupations. And, workers 45-64 years old have more pain than younger workers.


Company cited in fatal building collapse

July 8, 2019

A Long Island, New York construction company faces nearly a quarter of a million dollars in penalties in the death of an employee who was killed when a building he was working on collapsed. OSHA issued willful and serious citations against Northridge Construction Corp., with proposed fines of $224,620.


A failure to communicate resulted in death of NY transit worker

July 8, 2019

Two employees of New York City Transit (NYCT) were struck by a subway train – one fatally - because the Rail Control Center failed to let the train dispatcher and tower operator know that flaggers were on the track. That’s the conclusion of a just-released National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report on the incident, which occurred on November 3, 2016 in a tunnel between the Fort Hamilton Parkway and Church Avenue stations.

Happiest - and unhappiest - states in the U.S.

July 7, 2019

It’s probably no surprise that Hawaii, with its year-round, paradise-like weather, ranks as the happiest state in America, in a Gallup 2018 well-being poll. However, based on the states ranked #2, #3 and #4, weather clearly is not the deciding factor in happiness. Hawaii’s position in the top spot was its seventh such ranking since Gallup began tracking the nation’s wellbeing back in 2008.