Weekly News Round-Up
From oil and gas industry safety concerns to fall-related fatalities to truckers hours of service, here are the top OEHS-related stories of the week as featured on ISHN.com:
Most positive outlook: a “flat-line” budget
With $4.6 trillion in cuts proposed over the next decade, it’s difficult to predict what effect Rep. Paul Ryan’s ambitious GOP budget plan would have on specific programs and agencies, such as OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
It’s safety advocates v. DOT in long-disputed issue
A new battle in the long legal war over truckers’ hours of service (HOS) is taking place in a federal appellate court in Washington, D.C. today. Nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen is attempting to force the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to require what it calls “meaningful limits” on the hours truckers may drive – limits that Congress called for nearly 20 years ago, in an effort to improve transportation safety.
Could architects & designers collaborate in the U.S.?
The Access Industry Forum (AIF) has introduced a dedicated work at height information helpline for DIOHAS, the Designer’s Initiative on Health & Safety, whose members include professionals from the major architectural practices, other construction disciplines and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
Review is “painfully slow going”
The European Commission has announced plans to amend five health and safety at work Directives, in order to align them with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), but critics charge that the changes won’t make workers any safer.
Improving both health, performance is goal
With the oil and gas industry facing some unique safety and health challenges – such as long hours and worksites in areas at risk for vector-borne diseases -- an industry association is making available two publications to address those challenges.
M.R. Asphalt, Inc. cited for failure to provide fall protection
An employee checking asphalt levels from the top of a tank died after falling 15 feet and hitting his head on a concrete structure supporting the tank. The September 2012 accident at Corvallis, Mont.-based M.R. Asphalt Inc. resulted in 16 safety and health violations, including one willful for failing to provide a guardrail or fall protection on the working surface.
Leading cause of death in workplace
Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents, according to federal OSHA. They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities. The OSHA standards for walking/working surfaces apply to all permanent places of employment, except where only domestic, mining, or agricultural work is performed.
“World Class Employee Award” winner fired after 30 years of service
OSHA has ordered the Union Pacific Railroad Co., headquartered in Omaha, Neb., to immediately reinstate an employee who was terminated in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act for reporting a work-related injury. The company will pay more than $350,000 in back wages with interest, compensatory and punitive damages.
In a Q&A, gun violence researcher Dr. Garen Wintemute says new rules on firearms sales could happen this time
By FairWarning’s Lilly Fowler
Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency physician and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, is a pioneer in the study of gun violence as a public health issue. In his latest report, he argues that background checks should be required for the 40 percent of firearms sales made by private parties, rather than licensed dealers.
Employer Highway Technologies cited
OSHA has cited Highway Technologies Inc. in Minneapolis for 10 safety – including six willful – violations after a worker died from injuries sustained while working with equipment that came into contact with overhead power lines on I-94 near Menomonie, Wis., on Sept. 17, 2012.
Higher rates among younger, Hispanic workers
A new NIOSH-funded study on fatalities in the construction industry suggests roofers in residential construction are among those most likely to die in falls from roofs. The study, "Fatal falls from roofs among U.S. construction workers," finds that "the odds of fatal falls from roofs were higher for roofing and residential construction than any other construction sector."
Experience helps police officers, firefighters cope
Police officers and firefighters who are relatively new to the job run the risk of experiencing mental health problems from being exposed to disturbing events, a new study finds. Those with more time on the job show no such increased risk.
Survey also finds support for immigration reform
Rising health care and insurance costs are keeping manufacturers awake at night, according to a quarterly survey by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and IndustryWeek. Other top concerns? Political uncertainty and the unfavorable business climate.
Flight attendants: "We are last line of defense in aviation security"
A recent decision by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to allow small knives on passenger planes is drawing opposition from flight attendants, airlines and politicians as well as the families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Emergency responders in Boston said a construction worker who fell 30 feet was spared serious injury when he landed on bubble wrap, according to UPI. A spokesman for the Boston Fire Department said the 38-year-old worker fell 30 feet off a building and landed in a pile of bubble wrap taken from the construction site`s scaffolding.
Smithville Manufacturing Co. cited for hazards
OSHA defines a willful violation as “one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.” Of the 21 healthy and safety violations earned by Smithville Manufacturing Co. in Ohio recently, only one was willful – but it was the one related to the traumatic amputation of a worker’s finger by an unguarded press machine.
Board is considering five new aviation Safety Alerts
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will meet tomorrow to consider five Safety Alerts aimed at reducing the number of general aviation accidents. A Safety Alert is a brief information sheet that pinpoints a particular safety issue and offers practical remedies to address the hazard.
Repeat violations get Mahle Engine Components SVEP status
Workers at an Ohio manufacturing company were exposed to lead, according to OSHA – along with electrical and machine guarding hazards. The OSHA inspection that uncovered those conditions lead to 26 health and safety violations against Mahle Engine Components USA Inc.
Falls over 30' cited in 25 percent as well
Fatal falls, slips, or trips took the lives of 666 workers in 2011, or about 14 percent of all fatal work injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Falls to lower level accounted for 541 of those fatalities.