Weekly news round-up
Heat stroke prevention, working safely while pregnant and an oil refinery fire in Texas were among the top occupational safety and health stories featured on ISHN.com this week.
Although the injury and illness rate for poultry workers remains higher than for all private industry workers, new Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the rate is trending downward. The BLS reported that there were approximately 230,000 poultry processing workers in 2016. That year, there was an incident rate of 4.2 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time equivalent workers; higher than the rate for all private industry workers, which was 2.9 per 100.
From the NIOSH Director’s Desk:
Someone once said, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.”
They may have been on to something. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) believes that having the right amount of knowledge helps protect workers from harmful levels of chemicals. For this reason, NIOSH recently released a report on occupational exposure banding to assess chemical hazards in the workplace.
OSHA has cited Pukall Lumber Company Inc. – a lumber mill in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin – for exposing employees to multiple safety hazards following a worker fatality. The company faces penalties of $348,467. An employee suffered fatal injuries when caught in an outdoor bark conveyor belt in January 2019. OSHA cited Pukall Lumber for two willful violations for failing to implement energy control procedures, and ensure the conveyer had adequate guarding to prevent employees from coming in contact with the moving parts.
A fire caused by a gas line rupture early this morning in Kentucky killed one person and injured at least others, according to news reports. The fire damaged a half dozen mobile homes as well as train tracks. Don Gilliam, director of Lincoln County Emergency Management, said the 30” gas line breached shortly before two a.m in Hustonville.
ExxonMobil sent 66 of its employees and contractors for medical evaluation yesterday after an explosion and fire at one of its Texas oil refineries. News sources say an estimated 37 people sustained minor burn injuries. The incident at the Baytown facility, which processes propane and propylene, occurred shortly after 11 a.m. Authorities issued a shelter-in-place order for approximately 5,000 area residents.
Fewer injured workers are receiving opioids, and more are receiving non-opioid medications (e.g. NSAIDs) and non-pharmacologic treatments like physical therapy, according to a study just released by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). John Ruser, president and CEO of WCRI, said opioid overdose deaths continue to be a top public health priority in the United States.
The International Glove Association (IGA) is pleased to announce that they have a new Glove Selection Guide designed as a resource to aid in proper glove selection and use, available online July 31, 2019. This Glove Guide was created by multiple members of the IGA, creating an unbiased and well rounded base to build this educational resource.
A renovation project in Pennsylvania has resulted in OSHA citations against a New Jersey contractor. The agency cited Scot Christopher Rule LLC for exposing workers to lead and other workplace hazards as the company renovated and remodeled a worksite in Easton, Pennsylvania. The company faces $104,637 in proposed penalties.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed a training bundle to help facility managers, building owners, engineers, designers, and code officials address essential safety and security features in the buildings that they are charged with keeping safe and functional.
Today is National Heatstroke Prevention Day (July 31st), a good time to focus attention on precautions that should be taken against extreme heat and humidity. Employees who are new to outdoor work at at greatest risk for heat-related illnesses. Cal/OSHA found that of 25 incidents of heat-related illness they investigated, almost half of the cases involved a worker on their first day of work.
Although many women can and do work throughout their pregnancies – depending upon the physical demands of their job – being pregnant can present challenges in the workplace. The Mayo Clinic offers guidance on how to alleviate common pregnancy discomforts that may occur at work, and how to determine if a work task might jeopardize a pregnancy.
After being trapped for approximately three hours, a construction worker was extricated yesterday from the sand and debris in which his foot had been caught at a downtown Minneapolis construction site. In a statement, project manager Kraus-Anderson said the worker’s “foot was caught between the retaining wall board and the building’s footings, with sand up to his knees” while he was removing the retaining wall boards.