Criminal charges for a crane operator in a co-worker’s jobsite death, legislation to prevent workplace violence in the health care industry and the costs of obesity among the workforce were among the top stories featured on this week.


A NIOSH Science Blog post

Are there nano- and microplastics in the workplace?

February 21, 2020

The growing problem of plastic pollution in the environment is receiving an increasing amount of attention (see article in Nature). Small particles of plastics are often referred to as microplastics (plastic particles smaller than 5 mm [1]) and nanoplastics (the nanoscale fraction of plastic particles). Nano- and microplastic particles (NMPPs) can be formed through environmental and mechanical degradation (the top-down mechanism).


New NSC report shares how existing technologies can save employee lives

Work to Zero research identifies the most relevant workplace hazards and maps more than 100 technologies to mitigate the risks

February 20, 2020

The National Safety Council (NSC) released its first Work to Zero research report, Safety Technology 2020: Mapping Technology Solutions for Reducing Serious Injuries and Fatalities in the Workplace. With workplace deaths in the U.S. on the rise, this new report indicates employers may not be doing enough to protect their workforce.


Burn injuries at Indiana foundry send 4 to hospital

February 20, 2020

Four workers who were performing maintenance at the Waupaca Plant in Tell City, Indiana were transported to the University of Louisville Hospital’s burn unit on Monday after being injured at the facility. Officials have released few details about the incident, which occurred at 10:30 a.m. in the company’s cupola, according to news sources.


Oregon music fest turns deadly for workers: employer cited

Alarm devices were disabled

February 20, 2020

A popular and long-running Oregon music festival turned deadly last summer when two a boom lift tipped, killing two workers. That incident at the Pickathon Music Festival, an annual three-day extravaganza outside of Oregon that has been held every August since 1999, led to a state OSHA investigation and fines for the workers’ employer.


Study IDs states with highest rates of melanoma due to UV radiation

Several landlocked states among those with highest rates

February 19, 2020

A new study finds a wide state-by-state variation in rates of melanoma caused by ultraviolet (UV) exposure with highest rates in several states on the East and West Coast including Hawaii, but also a few landlocked states, including Utah, Vermont, and Minnesota. The report finds state-level incidence rates for UV-attributable melanoma ranged from 15 cases per 100,000 in Alaska to 65 cases per 100,000 in Hawaii.


Excess costs for obese employees vary between industries

February 19, 2020

Although obese employees incur higher direct and indirect costs, the extent of obesity-related costs tends to be lower in some industrial sectors — including healthcare, reports a study in the February Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Dominique Lejeune, MSc, of Groupe d'analyse, Ltée, Montréal, QC, Canada, analyzed variations in the relationship between obesity and healthcare and other employee costs.


Toxic smell turns out to be fatal for Neb. homeowner

February 19, 2020

On an unseasonably warm autumn night in 2016 near Tekamah, Nebraska, a resident ventured out of his home to find the source of the sharp, overpowering odor he was smelling. What he didn’t know was that an 8-inch-diameter underground transmission pipeline owned and operated by Magellan Midstream Partners, LP had ruptured and released 2,587 barrels (108,654 gallons) of liquid anhydrous ammonia onto his property.


$280K in fines for hexavalent chromium exposure, other hazards

February 19, 2020

OSHA has cited Cleveland Brothers Inc. – doing business as CB HYMAC – for exposing workers to hexavalent chromium fumes and other safety hazards at the company’s shop in Camp Hill, Penn. The company, which provides hydraulic service and repair, machining and chroming services, was cited for one willful violation and 18 serious and two other-than-serious citations.


Thinking of notifying OSHA that your workplace is unsafe?

You can remain anonymous

February 18, 2020

If you believe conditions at your workplace are unsafe or unhealthy, you’ve got some options. First, though: before seeking government intervention, OSHA recommends that you bring the conditions to your employer's attention, if possible. If that doesn’t bring about changes, and you believe that there is a serious hazard in your workplace, or that your employer is not following OSHA standards, you can file a complaint.


NIOSH develops agenda for healthy work design and well-being

February 18, 2020

It started with a series of conference calls and emails, which led to a draft list of relevant topics. That list was then refined and grouped into seven broad objectives, and working subgroups were formed for each of those objectives. The result? The Healthy Work Design and Well-Being (HWD) Agenda, released last month by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).


Safety and security in warehouses: What to know

Kayla Matthews

February 18, 2020

Warehouses are home to all sorts of technology and machinery, but their most valuable occupant is also perhaps the most vulnerable: human employees. When it comes to ensuring the safety of warehouse workers, shortcuts aren't an option. Warehousing has a higher fatal injury rate than the national average across all industries.


Elliott H. Berger receives 2020 NHCA Michael Beall Threadgill Award

Award honors outstanding leadership and service to NHCA

February 18, 2020

During the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) awards luncheon on February 22, 2020 at the NHCA Annual Conference in Destin, FL, Elliott H. Berger, M.S., FAIHA, INCE, will be recognized for his outstanding leadership and service to the organization with the Michael Beall Threadgill Award.


NHTSA issues $562 million in highway safety grants

February 18, 2020

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released of $562 million in grants for highway safety programs to Offices of Highway Safety in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, United States territories, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. “These highway safety grants will help save lives by addressing impaired driving, promoting seat belt use, improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety and funding other important traffic safety efforts,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.


Australian crane operator pleads guilty in co-worker’s death

February 17, 2020

The operator of a crane involved in the death of a worker at an Australia construction site has pleaded guilty to reckless conduct exposing persons to a risk of serious injury or death. Michael Watts entered the guilty plea last week to the offense under the country’s Work Health Safety Act 2011. Watts had originally been charged with manslaughter under the Crimes Act.


Cookie factory injury leads to citations

February 17, 2020

OSHA has cited a New York cookie maker for exposing employees to falls and other hazards at the Ferndale, New York, facility. Nonni’s Foods LLC, manufacturer of premium cookies, faces $221,257 in penalties. OSHA opened an inspection on Aug. 22, 2019, after learning that an employee fell on Aug. 7, 2019, and was hospitalized.


Bill aimed at preventing workplace violence in the health care industry advances In Congress

Laurel Cornell

February 17, 2020

According to OSHA, health care employees experience nearly as many serious injuries due to workplace violence as do employees in all other industries combined. As a result, dating back to at least 2015, the agency has continued to strongly encourage health care employers to maintain robust programs to safeguard against workplace violence.


Sitting more is associated with higher heart disease risk in older women

Journal of the American Heart Association Report

February 17, 2020

Longer sitting times were associated with higher levels of heart disease risk among overweight and obese post-menopausal women overall, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the open access journal of the American Heart Association.