Worker injuries linked to opioid-related deaths and suicides, a Total Worker Health report card and heat-related illness takes a toll on construction workers. These were among the top stories featured on this week.

Machinery-related mining deaths up in the U.S.

August 16, 2019

A fatality earlier this month involving a hydraulic breaker represents a sharp uptick in U.S. mining industry deaths caused by machine accidents, according to the Mine Safety and Health Admininstration (MSHA). The 32-year-old general manager/owner and the excavator operator were in the process of positioning the excavator for a motor exchange when the hydraulic breaker attachment fell off the excavator and hit the victim.


Construction workers hit hard by heat-related illness

August 15, 2019

Although they compose only six percent of the total U.S. workforce, construction workers accounted for 36 percent of all occupational heat‐related deaths from 1992 to 2016 – and climate change may have something to do with it. That’s one of the key findings from new research from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR).


Eating plant-based foods linked to better heart health

August 15, 2019

“While you don’t have to give up foods derived from animals completely, our study does suggest that eating a larger proportion of plant-based foods and a smaller proportion of animal-based foods may help reduce your risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other type of cardiovascular disease,” said lead researcher, Casey M. Rebholz, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.


With marijuana legalization, drugged driving dangers get a higher profile

Many users think they can't be arrested for a DUI

August 15, 2019

Picnics. Family gatherings. Barbecues. Plenty of adult beverages and now, legal marijuana. During the long Labor Day weekend, many Americans will enjoy themselves in many different ways – some of which will hamper their ability to drive safely. That’s where tens of thousands of law enforcement officers across the U.S. (who won’t get days off over the holiday) come in. They’ll be enforcing a crackdown on impaired drivers, spearheaded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


Fuyao Glass again cited for workplace hazards

August 15, 2019

Despite a dozen OSHA inspections in the past four years, the Fuyao Glass America Inc. plant in Moraine, Ohio is still exposing employees to a variety of safety and health hazards. That’s according to the most recent OSHA action, which found that in addition to electrical safety violations, the company has failed to:


NTSB: Collision that killed ten sailors was due to insufficient training

Dozens were injured in crash between U.S. Navy vessel, tanker

August 14, 2019

Two years after a devastating collision in Singapore that claimed the lives of ten U.S. Navy sailors and injured 48 more, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that a lack of training was a key factor in the August 21, 2017 tragedy. Inadequate bridge operating procedures and a lack of operational oversight also contributed to the incident involving the USS John S. McCain, a destroyer, and the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC, a chemical tanker.


Maintaining a healthy blood pressure may help prevent dementia

75 million people in the U.S. have high blood pressure

August 14, 2019

In a study that spanned two and a half decades and looked at data from more than 4,700 participants, Johns Hopkins researchers have added to evidence that abnormal blood pressure in midlife persisting into late life increases the likelihood of developing dementia. Although not designed to show cause and effect, the study suggests that maintaining a healthy blood pressure throughout life may be one way to help decrease one’s risk of losing brain function.


The American Cancer Society reminds parents that HPV vaccine should be part of the back-to-school routine

August 14, 2019

Prepping for back-to-school means buying new supplies, clothes, and backpacks, but it's also time to make sure your children are protected from cancer. This fall, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is reminding parents that making sure girls and boys ages 11-12 receive the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine should be part of the back-to-school routine.


A NIOSH Science Blog post

Injured workers more likely to die from suicide or opioid overdose

Katie M. Applebaum ScD Andrew Busey BS Leslie I. Boden PhD Paul K. O'Leary PhD Yorghos Tripodis PhD

August 14, 2019

In the study, “Suicide and drug‐related mortality following occupational injury,” published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, researchers found that workplace injury significantly raises a person’s risk of suicide or overdose death. Earlier studies have shown that injured workers have elevated rates opioid use and depression.


Bigger companies score higher on total worker health implementation

August 13, 2019

Compared to small and "micro" businesses, larger companies have made more progress toward introducing the Total Worker Health (TWH) approach to worker health and safety, reports the August Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. "Our results indicate a need for intervention research that specifically targets microbusinesses and small businesses, especially in light of the outsized health and safety risks encountered in these sectors of the economy," write Liliana Tenney, MPH, and colleagues of Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Aurora.


Company found in contempt of court for failing to pay OSHA fines

August 13, 2019

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has found Altor Inc. - a construction company based in Washington Township, New Jersey and its president Vasilio Saites in contempt of court for failing to pay $412,000 in penalties assessed by OSHA. The agency cited Altor for numerous safety violations, including multiple willful violations of OSHA’s fall protection standards. 


Greenhouse gases are a key factor in the Earth's changing climate

August 13, 2019

A pollutant associated with climate change is sulfur dioxide, a component of smog. Sulfur dioxide and closely related chemicals are known primarily as a cause of acid rain. But they also reflect light when released in the atmosphere, which keeps sunlight out and creates a cooling effect. Volcanic eruptions can spew massive amounts of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, sometimes causing cooling that lasts for years.


FREE Webinar

Free webinar: Visual Literacy & Safety Leadership

August 13, 2019

Leaders may not be at the “front line of safety,” but they must have an ability to “see safety” - to understand how visual bias impacts safety programs and how those biases influence not only their operating staff, but also themselves. By understanding their own visual literacy gaps, and those of others, leaders can develop a higher degree of empathy for the reality of getting work done safely.


Flagger’s mistake caused death on the tracks

August 13, 2019

A fatality that occurred when an Atlanta transit train struck equipment that was on the train tracks was the result of a flagperson moving the on-track equipment (OTE) outside of the restriction area without authority and on-track protection. That’s the conclusion of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigated the incident. 


New OSHA findings: fatality investigations have increased

Kayla Matthews

August 12, 2019

In 1970, the Occupational Safety Health Act created a government body tasked with nothing more or less than helping ensure safe workplace conditions for all. The most recent report from OSHA shows that the organization is struggling in that mission. There are several reasons for the downturn in workplace safety OSHA describes in its most recent report on inspections and fatalities in U.S. workplaces. But first, we need the details:


ISEA launches Safe Hands at Work campaign

#SafeHands hashtag helps spread the word

August 12, 2019

If you’re seeing the hashtag #SafeHands a lot these days, it’s because the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) has launched an awareness and education campaign to help workers and employers focus specifically on the safety of hands, the second mostly commonly injured body part in the workplace.


Company cited after employee killed in trench collapse

August 12, 2019

OSHA has cited Payne Enterprises Inc. – a plumbing contractor based in Dayton, Ohio – for exposing employees to multiple trenching and excavation hazards following an employee fatality. The company faces penalties of $145,860.


It’s Safe + Sound Week

August 12, 2019

This week, Aug. 12 – 18, is Safe + Sound Week, an annual, nationwide event that recognizes the successes of workplace safety and health programs and offers information and ideas on how to keep America's workers safe. According to OSHA, last year more than 2,700 businesses participated in the program, which is aimed at helping employers get their programs started, energize an existing one, or recognizing their safety successes.


A FairWarning Story

The gas field next door: Living amid old storage wells at risk of leaks

Susan Abram

August 12, 2019

More Americans than previously estimated live within a city block of aged, underground natural gas storage wells, some more than a century old and most of them lacking modern designs to prevent major leaks, according to researchers from Harvard University.