Weekly news round-up
Plenty of U.S. drivers still driving distracted
From a deadly explosion at a TX fertilizer plant to health care workers’ risk of exposure to chemotherapy drugs, here are the top OEHS-related stories as featured on ISHN.com:
“World Day for Safety and Health at Work”
In addition Workers Memorial Day in many countries and Workers’ Day of Mourning in Canada, April 28th has also been designated World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The focus this year is on the prevention of occupational diseases.
Caring for sick is a "high-hazard" occupation
Approximately eight million U.S. health care workers are year are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs used to treat patients. “It seems counter-intuitive that the health care industry, whose mission is the care of the sick, is itself a "high-hazard" industry for the workers it employs,” notes a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage on the subject.
Employee gets caught in unguarded hopper
OSHA has cited food giant Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. with eight safety violations following the death of a worker who became caught in an unguarded hopper while attempting to remove a piece of cardboard at the company's facility in Canton, Ga.
Unknown number of fatalities at this time
An explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas last night powerful enough to cause a magnitude 2.1 earthquake has killed up to 15 people – and possibly more. Waco, Texas police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said he expects the casualty rate to rise. A number of firefighters are among those still missing after the blast. (Firefighters – including volunteers – were at the plant fighting the blaze when the explosion occurred.)
Survey finds U.S. drivers still using cell phones in large numbers
It’s official: Americans are ignoring the warnings about the dangers of distracted driving and continuing to use their cell phones while behind the wheel. A new survey by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) -- released in conjunction with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month -- shows that at any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
Uses ‘report or explain’ approach
A proposal to introduce new sustainability reporting requirements across the European Union (EU) could open the door for a quantum leap in transparency and accountability among European companies, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) said recently.
“Not the first time”for Mike Mike Neri Sewer & Water Contractor Inc.
OSHA has cited an Illinois contractor for seven safety violations, including three willful, for failing to protect workers from cave-ins and moving soil and chunks of asphalt during trenching operations. The inspection was initiated under OSHA's national emphasis program for trenching and excavation after an OSHA inspector witnessed apparent cave-in hazards while traveling past a construction site in Des Plaines on Oct. 3, 2012.
Survey finds confusion over terms
A new study finds that 71 percent of Americans now consider the environment when making purchasing decisions. This is up from 66 percent in 2008. The Cone Communications study also found that a majority of Americans (71 percent) regularly read and follow instructions on how to use the “green” products they select, while 66 percent also indicated that they follow instructions on how to dispose of products properly.
Cuts come “at the expense of our nation’s health”
President Obama’s recently released budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 fails to adequately fund key health programs, according to Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.
Drivers, passengers more likely to die than construction workers
Thirty-eight percent of highway contractors had motor vehicles crash into their construction work zones during the past year, according to the results of a new highway work zone study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
Treatment for broken bones, etc. was denied or delayed to get bonuses
A former safety manager of the Shaw Group has been sentenced to 78 months in prison for deliberately falsifying records of workplace injuries. Shaw, formerly Stone and Webster Construction, held a contract for construction services at several TVA facilities, and used the false injury reports to claim bonuses of more than $2.5 million under the contract.
Company “repeatedly” failed to apply safer design principles
Missed opportunities to apply inherently safer design, failure to identify and evaluate damage mechanism hazards, and the lack of effective safeguards culminated in the vapor cloud release and massive fire that occurred at the Chevron refinery on August 6, 2012,a draft report by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has found.
Event emphasizes work zone safety training
orkers at many Georgia construction sites are participating in a safety stand-down that started today and runs through April 19th – which also happens to be National Highway Work Zone Awareness Week.
Disneyland closes rides after OSHA citations
Several rides at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim remain closed in the wake of seven safety citations issued against the resort by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA).
Four died, six survived accident with serious injuries
The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the probable cause of the accident in the southern Gulf of Mexico was the failure of Trinity Liftboats (the vessel owner/operator) and Geokinetics (the chartering organization) to adequately plan and prepare for a rapidly and locally developing hurricane.
Occupational accidents claimed 19 miners’ lives last year
Fatality and injury rates in 2012 were the lowest in the the history of U.S. mining, according to statistics released recently by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). “MSHA at a Glance,” with updated information on inspections, violations, mines and miners, as well as injury and fatality rates, is available on the agency’s website, www.msha.gov, under “Fact Sheets.”