The U.S. Chemical Safety Board reverses a controversial accident investigation report policy, the “five second rule” gets debunked and a safety and health management standard is revised. These were among the top articles featured on this week.

Preventing work-related asthma

September 19, 2019

Two recent studies by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are shedding light on how to prevent work-related asthma by controlling exposure to hazardous substances. Work-related asthma can occur when workplace exposure to a hazardous substance triggers symptoms in someone with asthma or causes new asthma to occur in someone who doesn’t already have it.


Safety management standard gets an update

September 19, 2019

Revisions to the standard that guides implementation of safety and health management systems - ANSI/ASSP Z10.0-2019 – have been approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Safety and health management systems set an operational foundation by ensuring that critical processes are integrated, which helps organizations reduce injuries, save lives and maximize financial performance.


Taking too many selfies can injure nerves in wrist

September 19, 2019

A new injury has emerged in this, the digital era: “selfie wrist.” There is no shortage of enthusiastic selfie takers these days, especially among young people, who repeatedly aim their cell phones at themselves in order to visually document their activities, friends and special locations they visit.


Rutgers researchers debunk ‘five-second rule’: Eating food off the floor isn’t safe

Sometimes bacteria can transfer in less than a second

September 19, 2019

Turns out bacteria may transfer to candy that has fallen on the floor no matter how fast you pick it up. Rutgers researchers have disproven the widely accepted notion that it’s okay to scoop up food and eat it within a “safe” five-second window. Donald Schaffner, professor and extension specialist in food science, found that moisture, type of surface and contact time all contribute to cross-contamination.


Lawmakers demand fix for miners’ healthcare

September 18, 2019

“If we don’t take action now, these families in Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, Alabama, Colorado, North Dakota and New Mexico will begin receiving health care termination notices at the end of October. Without congressional action to keep this from happening, they will spend their holiday season worrying about whether or not they will have to choose between their life-saving medications and putting food on the table."


Testing for carbon monoxide in the home

Elizabeth Ortlieb

September 18, 2019

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly toxic, lighter than air gas which is most often found in an area surrounding a combustion source (e.g., a furnace, boiler or space heater) where there is insufficient oxygen to allow for complete combustion of fuel in use. Deemed the “silent killer” because it is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non-irritating, carbon monoxide is virtually impossible to detect without testing.


What your kids should be drinking

September 18, 2019

Many of the products targeted to children, such as toddler formulas, caffeinated beverages and even plant-based/non-dairy drinks like rice and oat milk are NOT on the list of recommended beverages for kids just released by leading medical and nutrition organizations. What did make the list for the birth-to-five-year-old set: breast milk, infant formula, water, and plain milk.


CSB reverses policy, will name names of chemical accident victim

Had stopped so companies wouldn't have implied culpability

September 18, 2019

Under pressure from worker safety advocates, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has decided to return to a policy of including the names of deceased workers in its investigative reports. The CSB, an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical incidents, has included names of fatally injured workers in its reports since 2014. The agency changed its policy in June with the release of two reports on fatal incidents.



Study finds virtual reality training could improve employee safety

September 17, 2019

A new study suggests employee safety could be improved through use of Virtual Reality (VR) in Health and Safety training, such as fire evacuation drills. The Human Factors Research Group at the University of Nottingham in the U.K. developed an immersive VR system to stimulate participants' perception of temperature, and senses of smell, sight and hearing to explore how they behaved during two health and safety training scenarios.


Marijuana breathalyzers coming to workplaces

September 17, 2019

The legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in more and more states is posing a quandary for employers. Traditional methods of drug testing can determine if someone has tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the marijuana ingredient that causes a “high” - in their system, but not when they ingested it. THC can be found for weeks in the blood and urine of regular users.


FAA: Company that sells airplane parts faked airworthiness documents

A "serious risk to the flying public”

September 17, 2019

It’s probably something you don’t want to think about when you board a plane: whether or not the aircraft you’re traveling in is mechanically sound. The Federal Aviation Administration has leveled a half million dollar fine against a company it said deliberately falsified documents attesting to the airworthiness of the ball bearings it was selling.


A NIOSH Science Blog post

Reducing fatigue and stress in the retail industry: Workplace solutions

Donna Pfirman, Seleen Collins

September 17, 2019

Workplace fatigue and stress is a growing topic for worker safety and health research. For instance, workplace studies have shown that the nature of retail industry work may cause fatigue and stress. Nonstandard work schedules such as irregular and extended shifts, long periods of standing, and reduced staffing are a few reasons for health issues related to job fatigue and stress.


Handwashing: Cool water as effective as hot for removing germs

Robin Lally

September 16, 2019

We all know that washing our hands can keep us from spreading germs and getting sick. But a new Rutgers-New Brunswick study found that cool water removes the same amount of harmful bacteria as hot. “People need to feel comfortable when they are washing their hands but as far as effectiveness, this study shows us that the temperature of the water used didn’t matter,” said Donald Schaffner, distinguished professor and extension specialist in food science.


Construction employers run afoul of fall protection regs

September 16, 2019

A fatal fall was among the OSHA enforcement cases finalized over the past few days – violations that show a persistent failure among some construction industry employers to address fall hazards. Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in construction. In Dayton, Ohio, a company that has been cited for fall protection violations five times since 2014 was cited once again.


Cold temp work apparel standard revised

September 16, 2019

Employees who must work in cold temperature environments, such as food processing, pharmaceutical manufacturing or outdoors during the winter just got a bit more protection, in the form of a revision in a workwear standard. The ISEA has released the newly revised standard — ANSI/ISEA 201-2019 American National Standard for Insulation and Wash Durability Classification of Apparel Used in Cold Work Environments.


Why your doctor may not be able to help you avoid diabetes

September 16, 2019

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prediabetes is a serious health condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to meet the threshold for type 2 diabetes. The federal agency says that some 84 million Americans ages 18 or older — more than one out of three — have prediabetes but 90% don’t know it.