Weekly news roundup
From Bangladesh to Texas...
Updates on the Texas fertilizer plant explosion and the Bangladesh factory building collapse, a preview of AIHce 2013 and an OSHA change in who may accompany its inspectors on “walkarounds” were all featured news on ISHN.com this week:
It's all about jobs, jobs, jobs
By Dave Johnson
AIHA does a solid job of appealing to and catering to the needs of young professionals. This year’s CareerAdvantage in Montrealfeatures sessions designed to help those in the occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) field advance their current careers and find and maintain positions in the industry.
Customization is the goal
By Dave Johnson
Mobile apps are quickly becoming a mandatory staple of meetings and conventions of all sorts. The “AIHce 2013 Mobile App” allows attendees to create and manage their schedule, view detailed session and exhibitor listings, and stay informed about the latest meeting happenings. All this from the convenience of a mobile device.
Terminology changes with profession
By Dave Johnson
AIHA calls its members “occupational and environmental health and safety professionals.” That about covers it all. The organization says “members play a crucial role on the front line of worker health and safety every day.” Note the inclusion of safety.
-attend the conference in your pajamas
By Dave Johnson
Virtual conferences are becoming a staple to complement good old bricks and mortar meetings. This is particularly important with travel budgets still tight, and the need to obtain certification maintenance points essential.
Blast blew debris 2 ½ miles
Nearly a month after the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas that killed 14 people and injured another 200, investigators are still unable to determine the cause of the tragedy.
Confined space, other violations
An OSHA inspection prompted by three workers being hospitalized for serious burns from a flash fire has resulted in $60,000 in fines against two government contractors.
Exposure to substance can cause range of health problems
Employers and workers who need information about the health risks of chromium can find numerous resources on a new page on OSHA’s website that’s dedicated to the topic. The Chromium Safety and Health Topics Page provides details about the health risks of various forms of chromium.
Public safety, not worker safety the focus
The Big Apple’s crane regulations trump OSHA’s, according to a recent ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which upheld a lower court ruling.
It’s “a moral choice”
It isn’t often that the results of one’s safety efforts in the workplace are easily measured, but in the case of Jeremy Bethancourt, that measurement is 11. And counting. Since the Arizona businessman began developing and implementing strengthened fall procedures at Scottsdale, Arizona-based LeBlanc Building Co. in 2006, 11 construction workers employed by LeBlanc have had falls arrested, saving them from likely serious injury or death.
More than 4,000 died in crashes in 2011
With motorcycle-related deaths on the rise – in contrast to automobile fatalities – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding drivers of cars, trucks and buses to watch out for motorcycle riders.
-But don’t head to animal shelter for that reason alone
Having a pet might lower your risk of heart disease, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement. The statement is published online in the association’s journal Circulation. “Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decreased risk of heart disease” said Glenn N. Levine, M.D., professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and chair of the committee that wrote the statement after reviewing previous studies of the influence of pets.
OSHA’s silica standard: 829 days and counting
In a letter sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last week, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) blasted the agency for failing to complete its review of OSHA’s proposed crystalline silica standard and other regulatory items within the legally mandated time frame.
Changes would affect existing and new steam-electric power plants
The American Public Health Association (APHA) says it supports standards proposed recently by the Environmental Protection Agency that would set the first-ever federal limits on toxic pollutants in wastewater discharged from coal-fired power plants.
10,000 killed on U.S. roadways each year
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) today unveiled an ambitious new plan aimed at eliminating alcohol-impaired driving crashes. The 19 recommendations contained in the plan call for stronger laws, swifter enforcement and expanded use of technology.
Agency drops penalties by nearly 65 percent
For reasons that have not been disclosed, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has sharply reduced fines levied recently against Disneyland Resorts for health and safety violations at Disneyland.
Lively opinions, useful suggestions
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has established a Facebook page devoted to the April 17 West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion – and although a large photo of the memorial for the victims is prominent on the page, the ongoing FB conversation is mostly forward-looking.
Company fined previously for confined space violations
OSHA has cited Phoenix Industrial Cleaning for 28 serious safety violations following the death of a worker who fell from ladder inside of a storage tank, apparently after being overcome by methylene chloride vapors at a chemical manufacturing facility in Wheeling, Ill. on Nov. 29, 2012.
Government to make it easier to form unions
The death toll in that collapsed Bangladesh factory building has reached 1, 127 people – making it the world’s worst industrial disaster since the 1984 Bhopal gas leak in India, which claimed an estimated 3,787 lives.
Change angers some employers
Union officials or community organizers will be allowed on “walkaround” OSHA inspections at non-union workplaces, under a new interpretation of regulations by the agency in a recent interpretation letter. The revision comes in response to a letter from Steve Sallman, Health and Safety Specialist for the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.
Volunteer paramedic under scrutiny
The Texas Rangers and the McLennan County Sheriff's Department Officials are helping to conduct a criminal investigation into the April 17 explosion in West, Texas that killed 14 people and demolished hundreds of homes.