The 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:
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.
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.
Low wage workers pay to work
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.
-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.
Routines can result in carelessness
There are many gloves and sleeves specially designed to protect hands and arms. Here are some examples:
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.