Weekly News Round-UpThe death toll from the Bangladesh factory building collapse rises, a U.N. report on occupational rates surprises, and OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels puts occupational health and safety into perspective in a speech on a solemn occasion. Here are the week’s top OEHS-related stories as featured on ISHN.com:

Michaels on Workers’ Memorial Day: “This is why we do what we do.”

Discusses worker fatalities, OSHA initiatives

...Sadly, we have more to reflect on this year than we would have liked. Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones in the April 17 fertilizer plant fire and explosion in West, Texas. Among the 14 dead and approximately 200 wounded were heroic paramedics and firefighters, and plant workers who - in a scene reminiscent of 9/11 — rushed toward the fire, desperately trying to cool the fire to give time to warn and evacuate residents.

Read More

Dramatic fall prevention videos available online

True stories of fatalities can help train workers

Two short, dramatic worker safety videos presenting the hazard of fatal falls on the job are now available online. Produced by the California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program, with support from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the videos illustrate true stories about the death of a worker who fell through a skylight and a solar installer who fell off a roof.

Read More

Taken for a ride: Temp agencies and ‘raiteros’ in immigrant Chicago

Low wage workers pay to work

By Michael Grabell

No Comments

Ty Inc. became one of the world's largest manufacturers of stuffed animals thanks to the Beanie Babies craze in the 1990s. But it has stayed on top partly by using an underworld of labor brokers known as raiteros, who pick up workers from Chicago's street corners and shuttle them to Ty's warehouse on behalf of one of the nation's largest temp agencies.

Read More

Senate panel will investigate fertilizer plant explosion

-One of many inquiries into the tragedy

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer said this week that the Environment and Public Works Committee she chairs will investigate the devastating West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people – many of them first responders – on April 18th.

Read More

Hand and arm protection

Routines can result in carelessness

There are many gloves and sleeves specially designed to protect hands and arms. Here are some examples:

Read More

ND oil field worker killed; employer cited

First Choice Energy lacked “most basic” confined space protocols

OSHA has cited First Choice Energy of Minot with nine serious safety violations for exposing workers to unsafe conditions at an oil field drilling and fluid disposal operation in Stanley. The inspection was prompted after a worker was killed after being caught in the agitator of an oil field vacuum truck storage tank on March 14.

Read More

President declares May 2013 as Building Safety Month

Proclamation recognizes role codes and standards play in public safety

President Barack Obama has signed a proclamation declaring May as Building Safety Month. “When natural disasters and other hazards put American lives at risk, robust codes and standards for our buildings play an important role in keeping us safe,” the proclamation reads. “They ensure our homes and businesses are resilient to the challenges of our time -- not just by making them structurally sound, but also by boosting their energy efficiency.”

Read More

Hand protection pioneer inducted into IGA Hall of Fame

Craig Wagner helped in development of chemical and cut resistance

Craig Wagner, President of Global Glove & Safety Mfg., Inc. was inducted recently into the prestigious International Glove Association (IGA) Hall of Fame. With more than 28 years of experience in sales, manufacturing and design, Craig Wagner has been instrumental in the evolution of hand safety PPE, from dipped products, chemical resistance, disposables and mechanics style to the latest in HDPE cut resistant yarns. 

Read More

BLS: Workplace deaths in U.S. down slightly

Roadway incidents accounted for 1,000+ cases in 2011

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released data last week showing that the final count of fatal work injuries in the U.S. in 2011 was 4,693 -- the third lowest annual total since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992.

Read More

Our hands at work: hazards and injury prevention

Injuries can happen quickly - over over time

The hand is the part of the body most often injured and these injuries are sometimes difficult to heal. Hand injuries are preventable. By identifying hazards and developing safety measures, you and your employer can prevent your hands from being among the 500,000 injured in Canada every year.

Read More

NC occupational fatality report highlights enforcement weaknesses

State fines far below what’s allowed by OSH act

A report focusing on the nearly 150 worker deaths in North Carolina in 2011 demonstrates the effect of lax enforcement and weak fines, according to the National Council of Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), which issued the document.

Read More

OSHA increases protection for temp workers

Changes prompted by recent fatal incidents

In a memo sent Monday to OSHA’s regional administrators, Director of Enforcement Programs Thomas Galassi said the agency is making a “concerted effort” to better protect temporary workers from workplace hazards using enforcement, outreach and training.

Read More

Candy maker accidentally releases 8,000 pounds of ammonia

Process safety management program failed

OSHA has cited New England Confectionery Company Inc., also known as Necco, for 19 alleged serious violations of workplace health and safety standards at its Revere production plant. The manufacturer of Necco Wafers, Clark Bars and other candies faces proposed penalties of $133,000 in connection with the release of 8,000 pounds of ammonia from the plant's refrigeration system on Oct. 5, 2012.

Read More

Oregon worker dies in meat blender

OSHA investigation underway

News sources are reporting that a worker in Oregon was killed on Friday after falling into a blender used for processing meat. Authorities said the accident at Interstate Meat Distributors in Clackamas claimed the life of 41-year-old Hugo Avalos-Chanon, a contract worker employed by DCS Sanitation Management.

Read More

OSHA releases bilingual ladder safety booklet

“Falling off Ladders Can Kill”

Just in time for the spring and summer construction season, OSHA has produced a new bilingual English-Spanish booklet, "Falling off Ladders Can Kill: Use Them Safely."

Read More

UN report: Work-related diseases kill more people than work-related accidents

In addition to death toll, financial cost is enormous

A new report from the United Nations calls for “urgent and vigorous” action to address the issue of work-related diseases, which kill approximately two million people around the world each year. About 160 million more are afflicted by non-fatal occupational illnesses.

Read More

St. Louis roofing co. cited six times for same fall protection violation

Fourteen feet up without fall arrest systems

OSHA has cited roofing contractor KG Framing and Construction LLC with 12 safety violations, including one willful and three repeat, for failing to provide roofers with protection from falls at a commercial shopping site in Maryland Heights.

Read More

NIOSH recommends new exposure levels for nanomaterials

Minimizing worker exposure is recommended

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is recommending that occupational exposures to carbon nanotubes and nanofibers be controlled to reduce worker’s potential risk for certain work-related lung effects. NIOSH is the first federal agency to issue recommended exposure levels for this growing industry.

Read More

Death toll in Bangladesh building collapse nears 400

Owner arrested while attempting to flee country - but will anyone be held accountable?

The death toll in last week’s collapse of a factory building near Dhaka in Bangladesh has risen to at least 398, according to Red Crescent officials in that country, who say that they don’t expect additional survivors to be found.

Read More

Workplace safety a “global concern”

Safety statistics hard to come by in developing nations

With the death toll now exceeding 350, the collapse last week of a factory building in Bangladesh helps focus attention on International Workers’ Day – May 1 -- as well as Workers’ Memorial Day and National Day of Mourning (in Canada), both of which were yesterday but continue to be observed in ceremonies this week.

Read More