OSHA reveals the most-cited safety and health violations of the year, research links flavored e-cigarettes to the youth vaping epidemic and the NSC announces plans to issue an opioid help kit for employers. These were among the top occupational safety and health stories featured this week on ISHN.com.

Lab employee with cancer sues over hazmat exposure

September 13, 2019

A former employee of a subcontractor at Brookhaven National Laboratory has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the lab manager and the manufacturers of a cleaning solvent he claims caused his cancer. Joseph Marino, who worked as a computer technician at the Upton, New York lab in 1999 and 2000, has been diagnosed with clear cell renal carcinoma.


This week in workplace safety

September 13, 2019

In Clearwater, Florida, a construction worker was killed Tuesday morning when he was struck by a backhoe. According to Clearwater police, the incident occurred as crews were clearing land for a town home development. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. In New Oxford, Pennsylvania, 44-year-old Eva DeVincentis was killed Wednesday afternoon in a forklift accident at her workplace, Winter Gardens Quality Foods.


NTSB: Crew on doomed diving boat was asleep

September 13, 2019

All six crew members aboard the commercial diving vessel Conception were asleep at the time fire broke out aboard the 75-foot commercial diving vessel Sept. 2. One crew member and all 33 passengers perished when the ship sank in Platts Harbor off Santa Cruz Island. Those stark facts are in the preliminary report issued yesterday by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on the incident, which occurred on the last night of a three-day diving trip to the Channel Islands.


Trump rolls back protections on waterways

September 13, 2019

The Trump administration yesterday repealed an Obama-era rule that requires landowners to obtain federal permits before developing or polluting navigable waterways. The 2015 rule clarified the Clean Water Act - also known as Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. It has been the target of lawsuits by farmers, the mining industry and business interests, who claim it restricts development and infringed on property rights. Environmental groups, however, say its expansive definition of navigable waterways is vital in ensuring the safety of wetlands, streams and ponds that feed into larger waterways.


Pipelines in U.S. just got safer

September 12, 2019

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) just got to check off three more items on its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. The latest three, intended to improve pipeline safety, call for improved inspection programs, better records and documentation of natural gas systems, and procedures to mitigate risks identified during management of change operations.


Company cited for combustible dust blast that injured workers

September 12, 2019

Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. of Steeleville, Illinois has been cited by OSHA for six safety violations including three willful after two maintenance employees conducting welding operations sustained serious burns to their upper bodies as the result of an explosion within a dust collector at the company's pasta manufacturing plant on Oct. 6, 2011. The incident occurred as the two employees were repairing a hole in the side of a metal trough.


Health groups support Trump’s proposed ban on flavored e-cigarettes

September 12, 2019

Health experts are cheering President Trump’s vow to ban flavored e-cigarettes, which they say are a major reason for the sharp rise in youthful vaping in the U.S. Trump made the announcement on Wednesday, noting “We can’t have our youth be so affected.” A half dozen recent deaths and hundreds of cases of lung disease across the country appear to be related to vaping, although the cases are still under investigation.


Feds are working on drone traffic management systems

Tests are promising

September 12, 2019

Traffic signals in the sky? Not quite, but federal agencies are developing a traffic management system that will allow drones to safely fly at low altitudes (below 400 feet) in airspace where Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic services are not provided – without interfering with other air traffic. In demonstrations conducted recently as part of a pilot program, the FAA, NASA and partners, drones conducted a variety of operations at three test sites.


Workplace violence strikes Fla. building supply company

September 11, 2019

A workplace dispute apparently led to a violent attack this morning at a Florida construction supply company in which an employee stabbed five people – four of them co-workers. The fifth victim was reportedly at the Dyke Industries Tallahassee distribution center for a job interview. All of the victims were transported to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare for treatment and are expected to survive. They are reportedly in conditions ranging from serious to good.


Integrating occupational safety and health with workplace wellness

September 11, 2019

A grant program is helping small- to medium-sized employers in Ohio integrate their occupational safety and health (OSH) efforts with workplace wellness programs, reports the September Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. At least of half of employers participating in the Workplace Wellness Grant Program (WWGP) achieved some level of integration between their OSH and workplace wellness programs within the first year.


Two Michigan workers crushed by granite

September 11, 2019

Two employees of a granite and marble business in suburban Detroit were fatally crushed Monday afternoon when multiple slabs of granite fell on them. Sterling Heights Fire Chief Chris Martin said it appeared that the workers were using an overhead crane to move granite slabs – each weighing more than 1,000 pounds. When slabs were lifted off their storage rack, others shifted, causing slabs to fall on the men.


NTSB to California: Fix your traffic markers

September 11, 2019

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a Safety Recommendation Report as part of its ongoing investigation of the fatal, March 23, 2018, crash of a Tesla in Mountain View, California. In its report the NTSB issued a safety recommendation to the California State Transportation Agency calling upon the organization to develop and implement a corrective action plan that guarantees timely repair of traffic safety hardware and includes performance measures to track state agency compliance with repair timelines.


A FairWarning Story

There’s been an uptick in the use of the crackpot cure, miracle mineral solution

Hillel Aron

September 11, 2019

It’s been denounced as a dangerous snake oil remedy – akin to drinking bleach. It has caused at least two deaths and a number of serious injuries, and one of its marketers went to prison. But nearly 10 years after the Food and Drug Administration first warned consumers about the dangers of Miracle Mineral Solution – which promises to cure everything from cancer to HIV/AIDS to the flu to autism – people are still taking it, and their numbers appear on the rise.


OSHA reveals Top 10 Violations for 2019 at NSC Congress & Expo

September 10, 2019

Today, the National Safety Council and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2019. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented the Top 10 on the Expo floor as part of the NSC Congress & Expo in San Diego.


UPS worker hospitalized for heat-related illness

September 10, 2019

Delivery service UPS, Inc. has been cited for failing to protect employees working in excessive heat after an employee suffered heat-related injuries near the Riviera Beach, Florida, facility. The employee required hospitalization after becoming ill while delivering packages on a day when the heat index ranged between 99 and 105 degrees. The company faces $13,260 in penalties, the maximum penalty allowed by law for a serious violation.


BrandSafway Houston receives fourth consecutive Diamond STEP Award

-Recognition for safety efforts and results in 2019

September 10, 2019

The BrandSafway Houston Branch has received a Diamond Level Safety Training and Evaluation Process (STEP) Award, the highest award given out by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), in recognition of its safety practices and results. This is the fourth time this branch has received this award, having also earned it in 2018, 2017 and 2016.


Flavors a big reason e-cigarette users start using

September 10, 2019

Amid the furor over Michigan’s recent ban on flavored e-cigarettes, and skyrocketing rates of youthful vapers comes new research showing that flavors motivate individuals to start using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and are also associated with a stronger perception of being addicted to e-cigarettes.


How does your salary compare with other safety professionals’

September 10, 2019

The average starting salary of an IH/OH professional is on par with software or chemical engineers, which according to a Forbes 2017 report are the highest-paid degrees. That, notes the American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA), makes the case that this is a growing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career.


From 2019 NSC Congres & Expo

NSC soon to unveil Opioid Toolkit

Benita Mehta

September 9, 2019

Lorraine M. Martin, NSC president and CEO, and Joseph A. Reuter, Stericycle executive vice president and chief people officer, spoke to the media Monday morning to discuss the NSC’s new Opioids at Work Employer Toolkit. The toolkit, which will officially be released on September 18, includes more than two dozen resources for four specific groups found in a typical workplace setting: supervisors, HR professionals, safety professionals and employees.


Weekly meetings, safety corrections help high-hazard company achieve zero injuries

“Safety has become visible on a daily basis”

September 9, 2019

Specialty Plastics Company (SPC), in Enid, Oklahoma, is a small company that can boast of a big achievement. Since 2016, SPC has experienced zero recordable workplace injuries. In contrast, for NAICS code 326122, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the industry average total recordable cases rate was 4.1, and the average cases with days away from work, job restriction, or transfer rate was 2.55 for this period. [NOTE: 2017 is the most recent year national averages are available.]


Is your workplace prepared for a natural disaster?

September 9, 2019

With the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian still making headlines, it’s a good time to review your facility’s preparedness for extreme weather, which can strike at work as well as at home. In addition to being peak time for both Atlantic and Pacific hurricanes (more on that below), September is also National Preparedness Month – a reminder that it’s vital to be ready for all kinds of natural disasters.


CSB: Workers can help prevent catastrophic chemical incidents

Agency releases new safety digest on employee participation

September 9, 2019

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has issued a new safety digest on the value of worker participation to prevent chemical incidents. The digest notes that lack of worker participation was a factor in several major incidents investigated by the CSB because workers and their representatives were not engaged to help identify hazards and reduce risks.


Recycling facility worker killed in Nebraska

September 9, 2019

A 60-year-old employee of Omaha’s largest recycling plant was killed in a workplace accident last week. Authorities have identified the victim as Dilaver Gasa, an employee of First Star Recycling. News sources say the incident occurred on Thursday morning, when Gasa was pinned under the bucket of a front end loader.


What happened to the Tennessee Healthy Workplace Act?

Edward Stern

September 9, 2019

Tennessee was the first state to pass the “Healthy Workplace Act” in 2014. The Act addresses “abusive conduct” in state and local government workplaces. By late 2018, parts of the state government and some of the major cities had adopted policies to implement the Act. What the state and cities did can matter to you, even if your organization is not in Tennessee.