Weekly News Round-UpA new killer virus, Chinese poultry plant workers die in a fire and a final rule for workplace wellness programs are among this week’s EHS-related stories as featured on ISHN.com:

How worried should you be about new Middle East virus?

A “potential” threat to national security – along with your health?

An illness which originated in September in the Middle East and has killed at least 30 of the 54 people infected appears to be raising alarms in the U.S.  – but a move by public health officials may just be a strategy to prevent its spread.

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A fatal arc flash tragedy

Wind Energy workers are exposed to hazards that can result in fatalities and serious injuries. Many incidents involving falls, severe burns from electrical shocks and arc flashes/fires, and crushing injuries have been reported to OSHA. One example:

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New personal air pollution sensor wins $100K award

NIH, ONC, and EPA name winner of health and technology challenge

You’ll soon be able to calculate how much particulate matter you’re inhaling with the Conscious Clothing system, a wearable breathing analysis tool that uses groove strips, stretchy, conductive strips of knitted silver material wrapped around the ribcage, to measure breath volume, and collects and transmits data in real time, via Bluetooth, to any Bluetooth-capable device.

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Milwaukee Company penalized $193,500 for failing to protect workers from electrical hazards

In 2004,OSHA issued citations and proposed penalties to Pieper Electric, Inc., of Milwaukee, Wis., for failing to protect workers from electrical hazards. The penalty and OSHA citations are based on an inspection initiated in September 2003 following an incident at a Racine, Wis., wastewater treatment facility where Pieper Electric was contracted to furnish and install various electrical equipment.

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Doors locked in fatal Chinese poultry plant fire

Modern economy not matched by modern safety standards

The death toll from Monday’s poultry plant fire in China has reached 119. Sources say the fire was caused by leakage in tanks of ammonia used as a coolant. In a scene reminiscent of New York’s fatal Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, there were reports that workers trying to escape the fire found exits locked – to prevent theft and to keep them from stepping outside for breaks.

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Get ready to grill – safely

Grills cause thousands of home fires each year

With warm weather upon us and home cooks eagerly firing up the grills, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is recommending that grillers be mindful of safety. June and July are the peak months for grilling fires.

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OSHA proposes $272,000 in fines against US Postal Service for exposing workers to electrical hazards

Four violations deemed "willful"

In a 2010 enforcement case, OSHA cited the U.S. Postal Service for workplace safety violations related to electrical hazards found at the Capitol Heights, Maryland, Processing and Distribution Center. Proposed penalties total $272,000.

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Final rule for workplace wellness programs published

Access, incentives, alternatives

Final rules related to employment-based wellness programs have been published, representing the last step in implementing the Affordable Care Act. Assistant Secretary of Labor Phyllis C. Borzi answered three frequently-asked questions about the rules:

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NJ Sen. Lautenberg, chemical safety advocate, dies at 89

Introduced Safe Chemicals Act in Senate

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., died Monday at the age of 89 from viral pneumonia. First elected to the Senate in 1982, Lautenberg was the oldest member of the Senate.

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Southern workers stand down for heat safety

Heat stroke kills 30 workers a year in U.S.

Construction workers in Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee learned about the dangers of working in summer heat at a one-hour safety stand-down today conducted by OSHA, employers and trade associations.

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OSHA proposes $88,200 in fines against contractor after worker burned in arc flash

By Dave Johnson

OSHA cited O'Connell Electric Co. Inc. of Victor, N.Y., for 14 alleged serious violations of safety standards after a company employee was burned in an electrical arc flash on the North Campus of the State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo. The electrical contractor faces a total of $88,200 in proposed fines.

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Four categories of PPE required for arc flash risks

By Dave Johnson

CATEGORY 0 -Protective Clothing, Non-melting or Untreated Natural Fiber (i.e. untreated cotton, wool, rayon, or silk, or blends of these materials) with a fabric weight of at least 4.5 oz/yd²
• Shirt (long sleeve)
• Pants (long)

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Data collection a challenge for sustainability reporting

Transparency, competitive advantage among reasons to report

Although sustainability reporting in accordance with the GRI Framework (GRI) or another standard involves a substantial workload, a new report offers insights into why many companies are opting to do it.

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Safety tops risk agendas for oil and gas executives

IT security getting special scrutiny

Oil and gas companies’ health, safety and environment (HSE) remains on top of the industry’s risk agenda according to Business Pulse: Exploring the dual perspectives of the top 10 risks and opportunities in 2013 and beyond, a new report released today by Ernst & Young.

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New government institute to focus on offshore oil, gas safety

Goal is to help regulators keep up with technology

As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy development, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director James Watson announced that the BSSE will establish an independent Ocean Energy Safety Institute (Institute) to further enhance safe and responsible operations across the offshore oil and gas industry.

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AIHA wins international award for industrial hygiene video

Work demonstrates importance of industrial/occupational hygiene to worker health and safety

The American Industrial Hygiene Association© (AIHA) has been honored by the International Academy of Visual Arts and awarded two 2013 Communicator Awards for its video: “The Right Thing To Do — What is Industrial Hygiene?”

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Agency releases safety culture statement for offshore oil industry

Regulations “are not enough”

In an effort to promote safety in the offshore oil and gas industry, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has released a nine-point Safety Culture Policy Statement.

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OSHA interprets need for heavy FR uniforms

Comfort versus protection

By Dave Johnson

Scenario: I am an electrician with thirty years of experience.  Currently, I'm employed as an electrician by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, at Orlando International Airport, FL.  For the past ten years I have been wearing lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing while working in the heat and humidity.

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