A cautionary tale about pharmaceutical research, women in the safety profession and firefighters who face a danger from within were among the stories featured this week on ISHN.com.

No decline in 2018 workplace injury rate

Dave Johnson

November 8, 2019

For the first time since 2012, the national injury rate for U.S. workplaces did not decline in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, unchanged from 2017. In both years the total recordable injury case rate (TRC) per 100 full-time workers was 2.8 cases.

Don’t underestimate danger of driving while sleepy

November 8, 2019

It’s probably not a coincidence that Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® – which officially runs through Sunday – is timed for just after most Americans change their clocks for a return to standard time from Daylight Savings Time. Although the fall adjustment gives people an extra hour, it’s only for one night, and still leaves us struggling to cope with a new sleep schedule.

National Safety Council statement on workplace injuries

November 8, 2019

The National Safety Council (NSC) is concerned with the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing no change in the number of workplace injuries and illnesses between 2017 and 2018. This marks the first year since 2012 that the total recordable cases rate for workplace injuries and illnesses did not decline. Every employee deserves a safe work environment and to return home safely at the end of each work day.

CBD may yield cannabis-positive urine drug tests

November 8, 2019

That CBD wellness product you’re using could cause you to fail a workplace drug test. That’s according to an admittedly small study out of Johns Hopkins Medicine, in which researchers found that a single vaping episode of cannabis that is similar in chemical composition to that found in legal hemp products could possibly result in positive results on urine drug screening tests commonly used by many employers and criminal justice or school systems.

U.S. workers gamble with health insurance benefits, Unum finds

Half of workers will choose a high-deductible health plan, yet lack cash for out-of-pocket costs

November 7, 2019

Nearly half (49%) of U.S. workers plan to enroll in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) for the 2020 benefit season, according to employee benefits provider Unum UNM, -0.43%. However, 41% don’t plan on meeting their deductible in 2019 and 39% found it difficult to pay for out-of-pocket costs not covered by their health insurance, especially Millennials (55%) and Gen Z (49%).

What caused railroad collision in California?

November 7, 2019

The National Transportation Safety Board’s recent report on its investigation into a crash between a train and a “light rail vehicle” near Sacramento, California provides a fascinating glimpse into what goes on behind-the scenes of railroad industry operations. The incident, which occurred at 9:38 p.m. on August 22, occurred when a northbound Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) Blue Line passenger train collided head on with a southbound SacRT maintenance Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) that was stopped.

EPA proposes rollback in coal ash regulations

November 7, 2019

Environmental groups are reacting angrily to the EPA’s announcement this week of a proposed regulation that applies to the management of coal combustion residuals (CCR) from electric utilities, while coal-producing states are supporting the job protection they say will result. If enacted, the regulation would amend a 2015 Obama-era rule establishing a set of solid waste requirements for the management of CCRs.

A FairWarning Story

What’s in a name? Ghostly spirits stalk the medical literature

"Spinning science to sell drugs"

Myron Levin

November 7, 2019

The idea sounded fishy to Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman. She was not about to put her name on a ghostwritten article for a medical journal. But she was curious, so she played along for a while. An associate professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, Fugh-Berman was contacted in 2004 by a medical communications firm working for drug maker AstraZeneca with a proposition: Would she like an author credit on a forthcoming article to be submitted to a journal?

A NIOSH Science Blog post

Partnering to educate English-language learners in Alaska on worker safety and health

November 6, 2019

When you think of diversity in the United States, does Alaska come to mind? In fact, Anchorage, Alaska has some of the most ethno-racially diverse neighborhoods and public schools in the entire U.S. This diversity includes nearly one in ten Anchorage residents identifying as foreign born (Farrell, 2018). In terms of languages spoken in the city, the Anchorage School District has identified over 100 languages that are spoken either by its English-language learners as their first language, or by these students’ families (Hanlon, 2016).

OSH leaders honored by National COSH

November 6, 2019

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) has announced the winners of its 2019 Health and Safety awards, which recognize outstanding contributions towards empowering workers and the fight for safer workplaces and communities. The awards will be presented on Wednesday evening, December 4th, as part of the National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (COSHCON19).

How to make bicyclists safer on U.S. roadways

November 6, 2019

Better roadway design, making bicyclists more visible and head protection are what’s needed to reduce the number of fatal and serious crashes involving motor vehicles and bicycles, said the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) during a public meet this week. In the NTSB’s first examination of bicyclist safety on U.S. roadways since its last report on this topic in 1972, the agency said critical changes were needed to address the recent rise in fatal bicycle crashes involving motor vehicles, even as overall traffic deaths fell in 2018.

CDC program to combat climate change-related EHS threats turns ten

November 6, 2019

The CDC’s Climate and Health Program is celebrating 10 years of supporting state, tribal, local, and territorial public health agencies as they prepare for the continuing health impacts of a changing climate. In 2019 the program provided communities with new resources, tools, and peer-reviewed publications addressing the impacts of climate hazards.

“Fattest states” IDd in new report

November 5, 2019

With November being National Diabetes Awareness Month and Americans collectively spending nearly $200 billion per year on obesity-related health costs, the personal-finance website WalletHub released a report on 2019's Fattest States in America. To determine which states contribute the most to America’s overweight and obesity problem, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 29 key metrics.

Towing vessel crew escapes engine room fire

November 5, 2019

A blaze that broke out in the engine room of a towing vessel on the Lower Mississippi River was probably caused by an engine lube oil leak that ignited off a hot surface near the starboard main engine turbocharger. That’s according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which has completed its investigation into the September 12, 2018 incident.

NSC announces Amazon sponsorship to support women in safety

Funds will go toward helping women pursue safety careers and advancing those already in the field

November 4, 2019

The National Safety Council (NSC) has received a $125,000 sponsorship from Amazon to support women in safety. The sponsorship will go toward bolstering three NSC initiatives: the Council’s Marion Martin Award, Women in Safety Scholarship program and Women’s Division. Although women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, they comprise only 19% of employees within the safety industry.

E-cigarette lung injury cases in U.S. nearing 2K

November 4, 2019

As of the end of October, there were 1,888 confirmed and probable lung injury cases associated with use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products reported to the CDC by 49 states (all except Alaska), the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Approximately 70% of patients are male; the median age of patients is 24 years and ages range from 13 to 75 years and 79% of patients are under 35 years old.

Heart disease increases on-the-job danger for firefighters

November 4, 2019

Heart attacks killed 33 of the 82 firefighters who died while on duty in the U.S. last year, according to a report from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). “Firefighter Fatalities in the United States” is compiled annually by the USFA to identify and analyze all on-duty firefighter fatalities to increase understanding of their causes and how they can be prevented.