Employers grapple with the coronavirus, flight attendants cheer a proposed comfort animals on planes rule and indoor air quality affects construction workers, too. These were among the top occupational safety and health, environmental health and safety and regulatory stories featured on ISHN.com this week.

Alarming silicosis rate in Australia brings calls for urgent action

January 31, 2020

Australia’s largest union representing workers in construction, forestry, maritime and mining and energy is demanding urgent national action on silicosis after revelations that 1-in-5 Queensland stone workers tested positive to the potentially fatal disease. The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU ) says the severity of the risks associated with engineered stone products calls for a nationally coordinated approach rather than piecemeal regulations and health monitoring programs.


ACGIH® Board ratifies 2020 TLVs®and BEIs®

January 30, 2020

ACGIH® announced today that its Board of Directors ratified the 2020 Threshold Limit Values (TLVs®) for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs®). The Board also approved recommendations for additions to the Notice of Intended Changes (NIC).


Mental illness and work

January 30, 2020

Ignoring mental health problems in the workplace can lead to conflicts between employees, affect productivity and, of course, result in a worsening of the mental health issues being experienced by individuals. Here are recommendations from Mental Health America for employers who want to support mental health in their workplaces:


Flight attendants: Limiting onboard support animals will help keep us safe

January 30, 2020

Flight attendants are applauding the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) bid to restrict the types of animals allowed in cabins, saying emotional support animals have threatened the safety and health of crew members as well as passengers. Amid a surge in passengers claiming that their emotional support animals – of many species – must fly with them in the passenger areas of planes, the DOT has released a notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks to amend the definition of a service animal in air transportation.


What to expect from OSHA in 2020

January 30, 2020

OSHA stayed busy in fiscal year 2019. The agency trained a record 1,392,611 workers on safety and health requirements through its various educational programs. OSHA also helped small employers identify 137,885 workplace hazards through its On-Site Consultation Program, which OSHA estimates protected 3.2 million workers from potential harm.


Florida shooting range to pay $30K in safety whistleblower case

January 30, 2020

A Florida shooting range employee who was fired after reporting workplace safety concerns to OSHA will get $30,000 in back wages and compensatory damages, under a settlement with the agency. The U.S. Department of Labor says the agreement with Orlando-based Shooting Gallery Range Inc. is the result of a U.S. District Court consent judgment issued January 24, 2020.


Recent OSH incidents across the U.S.

January 30, 2020

Woodburn, Indiana: Sean Redden was crushed to death early Tuesday morning in an industrial press at the BF Goodrich tire plant. The Allen County Coroner's office has ruled his death an accident. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be conducting an investigation into the fatality. The plant's union, United Steelworkers Local 715L, said in a statement that it is eager to assist in the investigation and work with the plant’s management “to prevent another tragedy in the future.”


Ky. reinstates OSH regulatory agency

January 29, 2020

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has announced plans to reestablish the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board – a regulation-setting agency that had previously been abolished by his predecessor, former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. The newly formulated board will consist of 12 members representing industry, agriculture, labor, and safety and health.


Here’s what OSHA is telling employers about the new coronavirus

January 29, 2020

Most American workers are not at significant risk of contracting the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – but there are certain categories of employees who may be in danger of exposure, according to OSHA, which has published a webpage about rapidly-evolving outbreak. Chinese health officials have reported thousands of infections with 2019-nCoV in that country, with the virus reportedly spreading from person-to-person in many parts of that country.


A FairWarning Story

Report card for the states rates those with best and worst laws to cut traffic deaths

Amy Martyn

January 29, 2020

Drunk drivers, motorcyclists and young or distracted motorists make up the majority of those involved in fatal vehicle crashes, and many states are failing to pass key safety measures that could prevent such deaths, according to a new report by a highway safety group.


Workers comp reports show effects of on-the-job injuries in different states

January 29, 2020

Occupational injuries have a significant effect on earnings and injured workers can have difficulty getting the health care service they need. These were among the findings of reports just released by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), which compared the outcomes of workers injured on the job in Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, and Georgia with outcomes in 11 other states.


Bryant helicopter crash may have been prevented by safety device NTSB wanted, FAA didn’t

January 29, 2020

Terrain awareness technology that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been pushing for since 2006 may have helped prevent the helicopter crash that killed nine people on Sunday – including NBA legend Kobe Bryant – but the FAA refused to make it mandatory.


More people in poor health at a younger age

January 29, 2020

Heart disease and stroke deaths have declined, according to data reported in the just published American Heart Association’s (AHA) Heart & Stroke Statistics - 2020 Update, but that decrease has slowed significantly in recent years. Further discouraging is that more people are living in poor health, beginning at a younger age, as a direct result of risk factors that contribute to these leading causes of death worldwide.


Staying “macho” may worsen PTSD in vets

January 28, 2020

To help service members perform better in the field, military training emphasizes the importance of certain traits associated with traditional masculinity, including suppression of emotion and self-reliance. But when veterans return home, strict adherence to these traits can become detrimental, leading to more severe post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and making it more difficult to treat, according to research published by the American Psychological Association (APA).


MSHA recounts safety efforts taken in 2019

January 28, 2020

Last year, the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) focus was largely on responding strategically to spikes in particular causes of mining accidents. That’s according to Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health David Zatezalo, who reviews the agency’s 2019 activity in a post on the U.S. Department of Labor blog.


Employee injured in trench collapse; company cited

January 28, 2020

OSHA has cited Goose Lake Construction Inc. after an employee suffered serious injuries when an unprotected trench collapsed, burying him up to his waist at a Glencoe, Illinois, worksite. The agency proposed penalties of $233,377.


Safety harness was culprit in deadly helicopter crash

January 27, 2020

A harness intended to keep helicopter passengers safely in place was the cause of the aircraft losing power and ending up in New York City’s East River, in which all five passengers drowned. The pilot sustained minor injuries. That’s the conclusion of the NTSB's investigation into the March 11, 2018 incident involving a doors-off sightseeing helicopter.


Poor indoor air quality can affect construction workers

January 27, 2020

During evaluations of construction workplaces, investigators with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) identified issues that could affect indoor environmental quality (IEQ) such as: a lack of dust control; the use of high emission building materials and limited communication with occupants about hazards related to the work being done.


January workplace incidents claim lives, cause injuries

January 27, 2020

In New Jersey, a company that passed its OSHA safety inspection in 2018 experienced a worker fatality January 18th of this year, according to news sources. Twenty-eight-year-old Felipe Rodriguez-Tzon died while cleaning under a conveyer in a Safeway Fresh Foods freezer warehouse in Vineland. The incident occurred shortly after midnight.


Can face masks protect you from catching coronavirus?

Studies suggest they may provide some benefit, but what’s out there isn’t conclusive

Carla Cantor

January 27, 2020

As public health officials work to contain the mysterious, pneumonia-like virus that has gripped Asia, people are taking measures to protect themselves against the expanding outbreak. The yet-unnamed coronavirus, a family of viruses that affect the respiratory tract, has killed 41 people and sickened more than 1,000 at last count, including a man in Washington state and woman in Chicago who both had recently traveled to Wuhan.