Weekly News Round-UpVPP problems, the NTSB’s “Ten Most Wanted” and water woes in West Virginia were among this week’s most-read EHS-related stories on ISHN.com:

Report: OSHA doesn’t have sufficient control over VPP Program

Participants not necessarily the safest companies

OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) have come under fire from the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General, which says the agency fails to ensure that only safe worksites remain in the program.

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You can prevent carbon monoxide exposure

Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year. Do install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.

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Weather, not anti-fatigue rules caused flight cancellations, say pilots

The recent spate of airline flight cancellations due to the polar vortex was not made worse by the Departments of Transportation’s (DOT) new hours-of-service rules for pilots, according to the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).

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NTSB releases “Ten Most Wanted” list of transportation improvements for 2014

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) today released its 2014 Most Wanted List, the top 10 advocacy and awareness priorities for the agency for 2014, which for the first time includes improving operational safety in rail mass transit.

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OSHA releases new info to protect hospital workers, enhance patient safety

OSHA has launched a new educational Web resource which has extensive materials to help hospitals prevent worker injuries, assess workplace safety needs, enhance safe patient handling programs, and implement safety and health management systems. The materials include fact books, self-assessments and best practice guides.

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Congress reminds OSHA of small farm exemption

Grain bin safety issues caused a furor

Congress is using an omnibus appropriations bill scheduled to be voted on this week to remind OSHA of a 36-year-old Congressional exemption that keeps small farms out of the agency’s regulatory reach. The language added to the bill “makes crystal clear…that OSHA policies and inspectors better get in line with the law,” according to U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.).

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Company policies may contribute to health impact on the bottom line

Insurance, time off affect business outcomes

Human resources policy in areas such as health insurance benefits, paid time off, and compensation are important "missing variables" in studies connecting health and business outcomes, according to a report in the January Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

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CPWR releases construction safety videos based on real-life tragedies

NIOSH FACE reports provide the stories

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has used reports produced by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as the basis of three short training videos that vividly illustrate some of the hazards of construction work.

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Workplace mistreatment and sickness absenteeism from work:

Results from the 2010 National Health Interview survey

A recent NIOSH study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine showed that more than 7.6% of working Americans reported that they were mistreated at their workplace in 2010, and this mistreatment was associated with a 42% increase in the number of missed work days, controlling for covariates.

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Backers, supporters square off over OSHA’s injury/illness tracking proposal

Bid to publicly post data draws most attention

By Maureen Paraventi

OSHA’s proposal to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses will either improve worker safety or pose an undue burden on employers. Those are among the reactions being voiced by safety advocates and industry groups as OSHA holds public meetings on the proposal.

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Flood of lawsuits, not clean water, in wake of W. Virginia chemical spill

U.S. attorney is investigating company’s actions

The company responsible for the chemical spill that caused the loss of water service to thousands of West Virginia residents is the target of 18 lawsuits – so far – and a temporary restraining order that prohibits it from destroying or removing evidence from its facility.

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COPD, weather and the environment

Our respiratory tracts are affected by the air we breathe, and changes in season, temperature and air quality can increase Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) symptoms. During the winter, cold air can trigger a reaction that constricts the airway and decreases air flow into the lungs.

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What you should know about ozone

Ozone is a gas that you cannot see or smell. Ozone occurs naturally in the sky about 10 to 30 miles above the earth's surface. Sometimes, this ozone is called "good ozone" because it forms a layer that protects life on earth from the sun's harmful rays. Ground-level ozone, on the other hand, can be bad for your health and the environment.

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Speed not a factor in Dec. North Dakota train derailments, collision

NTSB wraps up on scene work, moves investigation to D.C. headquarters

The Dec. 30th train accident near Casselton, North Dakota caused an estimated $6.1 in damage – and promoted the evacuation of 1,400 residents. A preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) lays out the facts and figures behind the derailments and collision involving two BNSF Railway trains, but does not identify a cause.

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Does your doctor talk to you about how much you drink?

Alcohol screening is neglected, says CDC

Only one in six adults -- and only one in four binge drinkers -- says a health professional has ever discussed alcohol use with them even though drinking too much is harmful to health, according to a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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What you should know about particulate matter

Particle pollution, or particulate matter, consists of particles that are in the air, including dust, dirt, soot and smoke, and little drops of liquid. Some particles, such as soot or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen. Other particles are so small that you cannot see them.

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The dangers of school bus idling

Twenty-five million children in the U.S. ride the bus to and from school, spending an average of an hour and a half on a bus each day. Depending on the design of your child’s bus, it could be emitting harmful particles.

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Obesity is a risk factor for the development of asthma

Obesity is associated significantly with the development of asthma, worsening asthma symptoms, and poor asthma control. This leads to increase medication use and hospitalizations. In 2010, the obesity rate among adults with current asthma (38.8%) was significantly higher than the rate among adults without current asthma (26.8%).

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Tests on W. Virginia water show improvement

CSB to investigate chemical spill

Tests done this morning at a West Virginia water treatment facility show some improvement in water quality – a sign that area residents may soon be able to drink water from their own taps.

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