Weekly News Round-UpDidn’t make it to AIHce 2013? No worries. The week’s round-up of top EHS-related news includes plenty of coverage of the convention, along with accident updates, compliance tales and a startling finding about victims of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

Foot-deep wood shavings among hazards found at NY worksite

Workers allowed to smoke near combustible dust accumulations

The large penalties levied against an Albany, NY manufacturer “reflect the breadth and severity” of the hazardous conditions found at its plant, according to OSHA’s Kimberly Castillon. "The fact that a catastrophic incident has not occurred does not absolve this employer of its responsibility to reduce and prevent risk and eliminate hazards that could injure or kill its workers."

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No fatalities in Washington bridge collapse

Large truck reportedly struck bridge, causing incident

Witnesses say the collapse of a bridge in Washington state last night occurred after an oversized truck struck the metal arches that cover traffic crossing the bridge. There were no fatalities or serious injuries, although three people were rescued after their vehicles plunged into the Skagit River. They were taken to area hospitals.

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Watery excavation with no quick way out earns company OSHA citations

Agency: “These workers were fortunate”

OSHA has cited Accadia Site Contracting Inc. for alleged willful and serious excavation safety violations found at a water main site at Lewiston Road and McKinley Avenue in Niagara Falls. The Depew-based contractor faces a total of $84,000 in proposed fines after an inspection by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office.

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OSHA may extend crane operator certification deadline

2017 compliance date instead of 20142

OSHA has announced that it will propose extending the compliance date for the crane operator certification requirement by three years to Nov. 10, 2017. The proposal would also extend to the same date the existing phase-in requirement that employers ensure that their operators are qualified to operate the equipment.

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Meeting today’s occupational safety challenges a topic at AIHce

Industrial hygienists urged to educate managers

Occupational exposures facing modern workers are more challenging than ever before – and require more from safety professionals.That point was made by L. Casey Chosewood, MD, of NIOSH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the third day General Session at AIHce 2013.

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Diagnosing heart attacks: There’s an app for that

Could help save lives

An experimental, inexpensive iPhone application transmitted diagnostic heart images faster and more reliably than emailing photo images, according to a research study presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2013.

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Worker fired after demanding msds for potential chemical exposure

Wanted to know what PPE to use

After a flurry of legal activity, a miner who was fired from a California rare earth minerals operation after complaining about unsafe working conditions has been reinstated – temporarily. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says the employee, who spoke out about various safety issues at the mine, had refused to work on a sodium carbonate tank until the operator provided him with a material safety data sheet so he would know what to do in the event of overexposure.

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Most Americans have smoke-free homes

Millions of nonsmokers still exposed to second-hand smoke

Four out of five U.S. adults report having voluntary smoke-free rules in their homes and three out of four report having voluntary smoke-free rules in their vehicles, according to a study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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ASSE urges Obama to act on OSHA’s I2P2

Standard would be a “gamechanger”

The White House should move forward immediately on OSHA’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) rulemaking, said Rick Pollock, president of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), in a May 16 letter to President Obama.

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Takeaways from OSHA chief talk

"The standards system doesn't work"

Actually OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels did not give a “talk” at Tuesday morning’s opening session at the AIHce. Instead, the packed assembly room was treated to a conversation between Dr. Michaels and one of his predecessors, John Henshaw, who headed OSHA during the Bush II administration.

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Will OSHA ever take on job stress?

A "complicated" subject

The short answer, according to agency chief Dr. David Michaels, who was asked the question in a Q&A session Tuesday morning, is NO.  Dr. Michaels was emphatic on that point. “We have too much on our plate now,” he said.

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Try this at your next safety and health meeting

Learn what's on employees' minds in one fell swoop

At the AIHce Tuesday afternoon they called it “IGNITE” – enlightenment in a hurry. Of course we are all in a hurry these days, and grab our news on the go, preferably in easy to digest bite-size bits. That’s the idea behind IGNITE, which was a 90-minute session at AIHce.

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Can you tell industrial hygiene from safety, anymore?

Line between the two is blurred

Check out these safety-related educational topics being presented at the AIHce: Predict the shortcut before it results in an employee injury; Building a safety culture at the world’s largest airline; Safety eyewear and ANSI standards.

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Are you ready for Total Health?

Dr. L. Casey Chooswood, MD’s presentation at the Wednesday morning kick off session was an introduction to one of NIOSH’s prized projects, in line with NIOSH boss Dr. John Howard’s vision for the future, namely Total Worker Health™. What is it?

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Could you stand at work all day?

Sit-stand workstations studied

L Casey Chooswood, MD, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NIOSH, is this morning’s keynote speaker at the AIHce. Dr. Chooswood is in the midst of an interesting experiment. Recently, NIOSH launched an internal NIOSH pilot program to explore the use of sit and stand work stations as part of a workplace health and wellbeing initiative to reduce sedentary work in U.S. workplaces.

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One company with 55 workers and 33 violations

A & B Foundry & Machining facing $170,107 in fiines

OSHA has cited A & B Foundry & Machining LLC with 33 health and safety violations, including four repeat. The Nov. 15, 2012, inspection was initiated under the national emphasis program targeting the primary metals industry. Proposed fines total $170,107.

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Walmart, other retailers refuse to sign Bangladesh factory safety pact

“Our safety plan meets or exceeds proposal”

Walmart and an industry group representing many U.S. retailers say they will not join an international pact intended to improve factory conditions in Bangladesh’s garment industry – although many global retailers have signed the agreement.

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Construction worker killed by falling beam

Crane involved in accident

OSHA is investigating the death last week of an Illinois construction worker who died after being struck by a 70-pound falling beam at a worksite.

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DC gridlocked; action moves to the states

OSHA has few champions in Congress

Monday afternoon AIHA Director of Government Affair Aaron Trippler gave an informal assessment of the political side of occupational safety and health, circa 2013. The reason nothing is getting done in DC is both parties have lost control of their members, said Trippler.

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A safety meeting without an agenda?

Try an "UnSession"

Here is a meeting idea for you to maybe try out. “The UnSession” will be present for two hours this morning at the AIHce in Montreal. UnSessions started in the high-tech industry. They are not for those who like a more passive learning experience with a traditional lecture approach.

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Globalization and smart phones

"Distracted attendance" is the new normal

Good morning from cloudy and cool Montreal, site of the 2014 AIHce. The confab got underway yesterday (Monday) morning bright and early at 8 am. The opening session was pretty much SRO. In the darkened hall I couldn’t help but notice I was surrounded by smartphone gazers.

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Management systems lessons learned

Pin the policy on the front door

Consultants Tom Rancour and Bradford Russell offered these takeaways in a session yesterday afternoon: Some companies implement and dedicate time to management systems, but the guiding principle, the safety and health policy, is buried in some labor manual.

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Boomer EHS pros see the finish line

There IS a life after industrial hygiene

AIHA and ACGIH do much to recognize and encourage the careers of young professionals. But when it comes to traveling to conventions, seniority often rules and so it was yesterday I heard several Baby Boomer EHS pros gabbing on the exhibit floor.

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Takeaways on how to innovate

-including the ten thousand hour principle

Frans Johannsson, author, lecturer and entrepreneur, has made the rounds on network news shows, mostly discussing his two books, “The Medici Effect” (2004; published in 17 translations) and “The Click Moment” (2012). His opening keynote at the AIHce focused on innovation for the lay person, for all of us in the business world. Here are takeaways from his 50-minute rapid-fire, high-energy talk:

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Most Upper Big Branch victims had black lung disease

-even those with less than five years as miners

A study of the lung tissue of miners killed in the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster has determined that most of the victims had black lung disease – adding evidence to the belief that the deadly disease is experiencing a resurgence in the U.S.

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One in five Americans will get skin cancer

“Don’t Fry Day” coming up

With summer just ahead and more and people spending more time in the sun, a group of federal agencies has designated Friday as “Don’t Fry Day,” to remind Americans to reduce their skin cancer risks. The EPA, FDA, CDC and the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention are all part of the effort.

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OSHA impersonator gets 57 months in prison

Mississippi woman bilked 1,000+ in faking training scheme

A Mississippi woman has been sentenced to 57 months in prison for impersonating an OSHA officer and conducting a hazardous waste cleanup training scam on out-of-work fishermen in the Gulf Coast region.

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AIHce 2013 draws 5K+ to Montreal for annual confab

Some already there for pre-show sessions

5,000+ professionals from the occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) world convene in Montreal starting today (Monday, May 20) for 74th annual American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHce). The conference and trade show takes place at the Montreal Convention Center until Thursday, May 23.

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What are the hot issues?

AIHce 2013 topics a reflection of important, emerging concerns

One barometer is to look at the recently formed working groups that will be holding meetings in Montreal: Nanotechnologyworking group; Incident preparation and responseworking group; Oil and gasworking group; Control bandingworking group; Clandestine laboratoryworking group; Green buildingworking group.

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