MSD rates in construction take a surprising turn, Amazon criticized in new report and workplace safety experts want Congress to take it slow on marijuana legalization. These were among the top stories featured on this week.

Hundreds show up for congressional hearings on e-cigarettes

October 18, 2019

Some 250 cardiovascular disease patients, survivors, caregivers, researchers descended on Washington, D.C. this week to urge lawmakers to remove flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars and menthol cigarettes, from the market. The activists, part of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) You’re the Cure grassroots network, were in the nation’s capital for congressional hearings about the health threats of electronic cigarettes.


Applying for unemployment insurance? You could be drug tested

October 17, 2019

A new rule by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will allow states to expand the parameters used to conduct drug testing on people who apply for unemployment insurance. The rule, which was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, allows drug testing in occupations where it is regularly conducted. It includes testing for marijuana, opioids and a variety of other substances. Jobless workers who fail the test would be blocked from getting the assistance.


Feds to focus on making bicyclists safer

October 17, 2019

With bicycling growing increasingly popular as a means of transportation – and more and more cities adding bike lanes to their roadways – the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is considering ways to improve the safety of bicyclists in the U.S. To that end, the agency has conducted its first analysis of the subject in 47 years.


Corroded pipe a factor in massive Pa. refinery blast

October 17, 2019

An update released yesterday by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) into its investigation of an explosion and fire at a Philadelphia refinery earlier this year says the incident began with a pipe elbow that had corroded to about half the thickness of a credit card.


Young adults with PTSD may have a higher risk of stroke in middle age

October 17, 2019

Young adults who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be more likely to experience a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or major stroke event by middle age, raising the risk as much as other better-known risk factors, according to new research published in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association (AHA).


Flu season returns: Protect yourself now

October 16, 2019

Cases of the flu are already on the rise around the nation as flu season begins. Johns Hopkins Medicine experts say now is the time to fight against the flu as the number of people getting sick from the potentially life-threatening virus will increase in the coming months. Doctors recommend everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine each year to prevent the virus or reduce the seriousness if you do get sick.


New report says Amazon workplace is high pressure, unhealthy

October 16, 2019

Sixty-six percent of Amazon employees at the company’s Staten Island distribution center reported working while in pain, according to a new report released by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH). The worker safety organization timed the report, "Time off Task: Pressure, Pain, and Productivity at Amazon" to coincide with the anniversary of the Staten Island facility's opening.


Few answers so far in fatal crash of vintage plane

October 16, 2019

Shortly after takeoff on October 2, 2019, on a day with calm winds and good visibility, the pilot of a vintage B-17 plane told air traffic control (ATC) at Bradley International Airport that he wanted to return to the airport because there was a "rough mag" on the No. 4 engine.


A NIOSH Science Blog post

It’s National Bosses Day. Who is your dream boss?

Chia-Chia Chang MBA, MPH

October 16, 2019

Having a “dream job” is an aspiration for many people, but without a good boss, a dream job can become a nightmare. Our front-line supervisor or manager plays an unparalleled role in creating and sustaining safe work environments, health supportive-policies, and psychosocial safety. The best bosses partner with workers to design healthy jobs that provide meaning and social support and are rewarding –in all senses.


Hearing loss risk at Ohio concrete company

October 15, 2019

Hearing conservation has apparently not been a priority at Prestress Services Industries of Ohio LLC, a full-service structural precast company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Among the 20 safety and health violations found by OSHA inspectors at the company’s Mount Vernon, Ohio concrete production plant: Noise levels in the facility were above the permissible exposure limit, and


Employer-reported work-related MSDs in construction down sharply

-But self-reported MSDs remain flat

October 15, 2019

A new Quarterly Data Report (QDR) from the Center for Construction Research and Training examines trends in work and non-work related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), the soft-tissue injuries caused by exposure to repetitive or sudden motions, forces, and awkward positions. In 2017, the rate of employer-reported, work-related MSDs in construction was 31.2 cases per 10,000 FTEs, less than one-quarter of 1992's level.


Report from abroad:

Spain wants big change in workplace silica exposure levels

October 15, 2019

The Spanish government’s recent proposal to double the occupational exposure limit value (OELV) for silica is being met with opposition by worker safety advocates. The current limit is 0.05 mg/m³. Under a draft decree presented to the national occupational health and safety commission earlier this month, OELV would be raised to (0.1mg/m³).


Workers at Wisc. company exposed to machine hazards

October 14, 2019

A Wisconsin company that produces aluminum and steel castings has been cited by OSHA for continually exposing employees to machine hazards at its facility in Niagara, Wisconsin. The company faces $ 206,291 in penalties.


New Orleans hotel-under-construction collapse kills 2

October 14, 2019

Crews yesterday resumed searching for a person still missing in the rubble of a New Orleans construction site after a deadly building collapse on Saturday. News report say six to eight floors of the under-construction Hard Rock Hotel collapsed, killing two people and injuring at least 18 others.


ESFI urges states to keep up to date on electrical safety codes

October 14, 2019

Indiana last week became the latest state to adopt the 2017 National Electric Code (NEC) as a reference standard to be used in the state’s Uniform Building Code, leaving Illinois, Kansas as the only two states still using a nine-year old version electrical building safety standard. Nevada and Washington, D.C. use the NEC issued in 2007.