Federal agencies propose changes to regulations meant to avoid trucker fatigue and silica exposure; napping at work becomes more popular and researchers uncover a link between insomnia and heart disease. These were among the top occupational safety and health stories featured on ISHN.com this week.

Verbal abuse of home care aides a common problem

The number of home care aides is rapidly growing, expecting to account for 1.2 million new U.S. jobs by 2026. These workers support clients with self-care and mobility in their homes and can face physical and verbal abuse because of the isolated nature of their work and limited support. Such violence can lead to depression, physical burnout, and high job turnover.

Fall, trenching hazards keep OSHA busy this week

Two themes emerged this week in the safety and health violations OSHA issued to non-complying companies: workers endangered by fall and trenching hazards. L N Framing, Inc., a residential and commercial framing contractor, was cited for exposing employees to fall hazards at a Jacksonville, Florida worksite. The company faces $58,343 in penalties for failing to ensure that employees used a fall protection system while installing roof trusses and interior framing on the second floor of a residential home under construction.

Engine problems likely took down small plane in Louisiana

An investigation into a fatal plane crash Saturday in New Orleans will be made more difficult by the fact that much of the wreckage was consumed in a post-crash fire. Nevertheless, a senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is on the scene, sifting through the evidence and interviewing witnesses.

Workers’ comp records ID carpal tunnel syndrome risk

Workers who produce clothing, process food, or perform administrative work had the highest rates of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in California, according to NIOSH-funded research published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)external icon. CTS is a musculoskeletal disorder that develops when repetitive, forceful motion causes pressure on a nerve in the wrist. Workers with CTS often experience pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness in their hand.

A FairWarning Story

Battle looms over Trump administration bid to ease safety rules for big rig trucks

Marjie Lundstrom

In Washington, D.C., a new Trump administration plan to relax safety rules for truck drivers has rekindled old heartaches for families across the country. On a sunny Labor Day morning in Oklahoma, Linda Wilburn’s younger son, 19-year-old Orbie, hopped into his 1994 red Camaro and headed east from Weatherford on Interstate 40. The college freshman, excited about his new rental house, needed to collect more stuff from his parent’s place, 10 miles away.

Shipbuilding supervisor plunges to his death

A shipbuilding worker with nearly four decades worth of experience fell to his death yesterday while working on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. News sources say Tim Ewing, a construction supervisor who’d worked for Newport News Shipbuilding for 39 years, may have fallen while working in a tank.

Napping at work. It's a thing.

Workers in India overwhelmingly want a “nap room” in their workplaces, according to a survey conducted by online sleep-solutions startup Wakefit.co. According to a report on the survey titled “Right to Work Naps,” a startling 86 percent of the 1,500 respondents said they wanted a dedicated space for taking naps during their work shifts.

Five amputations in 14 months at Missouri manufacturer

A Missouri barrel maker is facing $413,370 in penalties after an employee suffered a life-changing injury on the job. The incident at Missouri Cooperage Company LLC, a subsidiary of Independent Stave Company, occurred in February 2019, when a worker suffered a finger amputation after her hand was caught between the belt and pulley system. This was the fifth amputation injury the company reported in a 14-month period.

Minn. manufacturer stays SHARP

A safety success story

A desire to go beyond regulatory compliance and increase the safety of employees is behind a Minnesota manufacturer’s use of OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program, through the Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC). That’s how Malco Products, Specific Benefit Corporation (SBC), achieved an OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) designation in 2004 – a designation it has maintained to this day.

Worker safety advocate nominated to head Cal/OSHA

Dave Johnson

The executive director of a California non-profit group advocating worker protection and justice has been nominated by Gov. Gavin Newsom to be the top administrator for California’s state-run worker safety agency, known as Cal/OSHA. The choice of Doug Parker, who has served since 2016 as executive director of Worksafe Inc. in Oakland, was announced Aug. 15 by the governor’s office.

Insomnia tied to higher risk of heart disease, stroke

People suffering from insomnia may have an increased risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation. Previous observational studies have found an association between insomnia, which affects up to 30% of the general population, and an increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

50th anniversary of fatal train crash – and PTC still elusive

Maureen Paraventi

If a federal agency can be frustrated, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is frustrated. The NTSB is commemorating a five decades old railroad tragedy today, and pointing out that the safety recommendation it made in the wake of that incident remains largely unadopted, mostly due to Congressional interference. After investigating a 1969 train collision in Darien, Connecticut that killed four people and injured 43 others, the NTSB issued – for the first time - a recommendation related to positive train control (PTC),

Feds propose changes to regulations limiting truckers’ hours

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has unveiled five proposed changes to existing hours of service (HOS) rules for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. Predictably, the revisions – which FMCSA says will increase safety and save money – are drawing mixed reactions. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said the changes would give commercial drivers more flexibility while maintaining the safety limits on driving time.

OSHA considering changes to silica standard

OSHA may “broaden the circumstances” under which certain employers would be permitted to comply with its Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction, according to a request for information and comment issued by the agency last week. Specifically, OSHA is looking for information on additional engineering and work practice control methods to effectively limit exposure to silica for the equipment and tasks currently listed on Table 1 of the standard.

Carbon monoxide kills two landscaping workers

OSHA has issued serious citations against the employer of two employees who died from carbon monoxide (CO) exposure while being transported to a jobsite. The incident involving AJR Landscaping, Inc. occurred when a gasoline-powered lawnmower was started inside an enclosed company trailer. OSHA initiated an inspection after the Washington Township New Jersey Police Department notified the agency that the workers had died.