The ASSE and AIHA weigh in on OSHA’s proposed silica rule, a worker dies from heat stress and good news about air pollution in the U.S. were among this week’s top EHS-related stories as featured on

EPA: Air pollution down

Total releases of toxic chemicals decreased 12 percent from 2011-2012, according to the EPA’s annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report released this week. The decrease includes an eight percent decline in total toxic air releases, primarily due to reductions in hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions.

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AIHA predicts mold abatement, safe patient handling will be upcoming state-level regulatory priorities

While federal regulatory action get the lion’s share of the attention, EHS professionals should pay even more attention to what happens at the state level, according to American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) government guru, Aaron K. Trippler, for a variety of reasons.

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Where hand injuries occur

Percent distribution of work-related amputations and employment by industry division and selected industries, private sector, 23 States, 1977.

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Fewer U.S. kids dying in car crashes

Child passenger deaths decreased 43 percent from 2002 - 2011

Motor vehicle crash deaths among children age 12 and younger decreased by 43 percent from 2002-2011, according to a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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NIOSH issues new Prevention through Design paper on fall prevention

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has released a new Prevention through Design paper on Preventing Falls through the Design of Roof Parapets (PDF*).

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AIHA submits comment on OSHA's proposed silica rule

In the end, the question that must be answered is “will this proposal be better or worse for employee health and safety?” To this, AIHA believes the answer is a resounding “yes”, and AIHA supports OSHA efforts to move forward with the proposed rule.

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What is the cost of finger amputation surgery?

The cost of surgery for the amputation of a ring finger can range from $20,000 to $60,000 for a person who may not have insurance. This cost covers the surgeon's fees, facility fees, hospital stay, anesthetics, and medical supplies.

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Taking a cruise? How safe will you be?

NTSB to explore that question in an upcoming forum

The recent spate of cruise ship catastrophes has caught the attention of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which has announced that it will hold a public forum on cruise ship safety and oversight on March 25-26 in Washington.

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Temp staffing agency cited along with employer for safety violations

Ga. automotive manufacturer exposed workers to thermal burns, amputation

OSHA has cited HP Pelzer Automotive Systems Inc. of Thomson and staffing agency Sizemore Inc. for 22 safety and health violations following a July, 2013 initiated in response to a complaint alleging hazards at the automotive manufacturing facility. Proposed penalties total $207,100.

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New and updated OSHA resources on falls, asbestos available

OSHA has released a new Fatal Fact resource on "Falls from Telecommunications Towers" (PDF*), illustrating how failure to plan, provide the right equipment, and train workers effectively can lead to worker deaths.

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Statistics on hand and arm loss

There were 1,285,000 persons in the U.S. living with the limb loss (excluding fingers and toes) in 1996. The prevalence rate in 1996 was 4.9 per 1,000 persons. The incidence rate was 46.2 per 100,000 persons with dysvascular disease, 5.86 per 100,000 persons secondary to trauma, 0.35 per 100,000 secondary to malignancy of a bone or joint.

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Public health experts say farm bill is a “mixed bag” for nutritional assistance program

Kids, seniors will be affected by $9 billion cut

The final version of the farm bill awaiting action in Congress includes policy improvements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but it also cuts $8.6 billion over 10 years from the program, according to the American Public Health Association. Under the measure, which has been debated by Congress for more than two years, SNAP and SNAP nutrition education provide millions of seniors, children and families with food assistance and nutrition education to improve access to healthy food and food security.

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ASSE submits comment on OSHA's proposed silica rule

Rule "probably not entirely technologically feasible" for all employers

ASSE commends OSHA for addressing this issue through rulemaking in an effort to further reduce the incidences of occupational illnesses such as silicosis and cancer in general industry, maritime and construction work. While some may debate the science underlying the findings set forth in the proposed rule, overexposure to crystalline silica has been linked to occupational illness since the time of the ancient Greeks, and reduction of the current permissible exposure limit (PEL) to that recommended for years by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is long overdue.

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Brooklyn, NY, recycler cited by OSHA for heat-related death

Company failed to train workers about heat hazards

OSHA has cited Cooper Tank & Welding Corp., doing business as Cooper Tank Recycling, for eight serious health and safety violations following the heat-related death of a 64-year-old worker at the Brooklyn recycling facility on 222 Maspeth Ave.

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Pinch points

“Pinch points” are present in most mechanical devices that, in its operation, might pose a risk of injury to body parts. A pinch point is defined as any point where it is possible for a body part to be caught between moving and stationary portions of equipment. If a worker or any parts of the worker’s body occupies that space during the pinching movement, there is a high probability of injuries such as fractures, amputations, or even death.

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