From hearings on President Obama’s choice to head up the EPA to NIOSH targeted for a massive budget cut to eye and vision health, here are the week’s top OEHS-related stories as featured on

Power outages can bring power dangers

CDC warns that use of portable generators can endanger energy workers

With spring storms capable of bringing with them high winds and a considerable potential for damage, it is important to be prepared for power outages – especially in the workplace, where they can result in accidental electrocutions.

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EPA nominee McCarthy getting support from industry

Missouri levee project threatens the nomination process

President Obama’s pick for EPA administrator goes on the hot seat today. Gina McCarthy, the Environmental Protection Agency's top air quality official since 2009, will appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee as part of a nomination process that is already embroiled in a political spat.

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OSHA is OK, NIOSH takes a big hit in Obama’s proposed budget

ERCs, AFF program among areas that lose funding

Reactions to the budget proposed yesterday by President Obama have been swift and sharp, but they will probably prove to be sound and fury, signifying nothing, if Aaron Trippler’s predictions are accurate.

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Obama cuts EPA’s 2014 budget by nearly $300 million

More technology will be leveraged to “transform”agency

The Obama Administration today proposed a Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 2014) budget of $8.153 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This request is $296 million below the EPA’s budget for Fiscal Year 2012.

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Combustible tobacco dust found at Connecticut manufacturing facility

OSHA: Workers were in danger

OSHA has cited Nuway Tobacco Co. for 22 alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its South Windsor manufacturing facility. The tobacco sheet manufacturer faces $59,869 in proposed fines following an inspection by the agency’s Hartford Area office.

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Lack of leadership worries U.S. employers

Lagging productivity also a concern

For the third year in a row, lack of high-potential leaders is the most pressing concern for human resources executives, with 32 percent putting it at the top of their list in a recent survey by Right Management.

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Flour mill explosion shows need for combustible dust standard, says NCOSH

One worker seriously injured in blast

An explosion at a flour mill in Statesville, N.C. last weekend that seriously injured a worker highlights the need for a combustible dust standard, says the National Council of Occupational Safety and Health.The blast at the Bartlett Milling Co. occurred while two maintenance workers were repairing a piece of equipment.

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Pilot caused crash that killed emergency medical workers, NTSB finds

Pilot made multiple personal calls & texted during critical decision-making period

A pilot’s decision to depart on a mission despite a critically low fuel level as well as his inability to perform a crucial flight maneuver following the engine flameout from fuel exhaustion was the probable cause of an emergency medical services helicopter accident that killed four in Missouri, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said yesterday.

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AIHA issues position statement on mold

Link to asthma, other respiratory problems highlighted

While brief episodes of mold in a building are normal and pose little risk to health, persistent dampness and mold damage requires prevention, management and effective remediation in order to reduce new onset asthma, lead to savings in health care costs, and improve public health.

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Tyson Foods, EPA reach settlement over ammonia releases in multiple states

One fatality, multiple injuries from leaks

The EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice have announced a settlement with Tyson Foods, Inc. and several of its affiliate corporations over incidents in which anhydrous ammonia was released at facilities in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska, resulting in multiple injuries, property damage, and one fatality.

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Nebraska farmer turns anti-Keystone pipeline spokesman

New TV ads focus on potential for oil spills

 “Are you willing to risk Nebraska’s future for foreign profit?” asks one of the state’s farmers, in one of the national TV ads launched this week by a coalition of groups opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline.

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OSHA to CVS: Get an emergency action plan

“Hazards can vary from location to location”

OSHA is proposing $40,000 in fines for CVS Pharmacy Inc. for an alleged repeat violation of safety standards following an inspection of the retailer's Red Hook store by OSHA's Albany Area Office begun in January in response to a complaint.

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Fact or fiction: Are carrots actually good for your eyes?

Vitamin A has one super-specific job

If you hated carrots as a kid, you probably got plenty of finger-wagging from various adults, all of whom had the same kernel of truth: you have to eat them, because they’re good for your eyes. But, like most things adults told you when you were a tyke, you probably disregarded it as a mythical mantra, mean to make you miserable, according to the blog Blisstree.

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Workplace dissent is good for safety, says ASSE journal article

SH&E pros must learn power of persuasion

There’s a link between how organizations are structured and how strong their commitment to safety is, according to an article in this month’s ASSE Professional Safety journal, The Dissenting Voice – Key Factors, Professional Risks and Value Add.

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AIHA calls for tougher combustible dust legislation

Supports pending bill, but suggests changes

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) says it supports a bill that would direct OSHA to to issue an interim and final standard regarding worker exposure to combustible dust – with some reservations.

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Indiana puts focus on roadway worker safety

New state program encourages contractors to develop work zone safety programs

The Indiana Department of Labor (IDOL) has launched a statewide safety initiative aimed at reducing workplace transportation-related deaths. In 2012, three Hoosier construction workers were killed while in a work zone.

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What your eyes can reveal about your health (and why you shouldn’t ignore it)

Problems can sneak up on you

When it comes to maintaining good eye health, those cherry-red Prada glasses you keep passing in the window are not the end of the discussion. Along with your general doctor and gynecologist, an eye doctor is also key, according to the blog Blisstree.

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