Weekly News Round-UpOSHA’s silica and injury/illness tracking proposals, the Kleen Energy plant explosion legacy and the dangers of indoor tanning were among the week’s top EHS-related stories featured on ISHN.com:

Feds propose drug, alcohol testing clearinghouse for truck & bus drivers

Employers would be required to check it before hiring

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced a proposed rule to establish a drug and alcohol clearinghouse for all national commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. The agency said the clearinghouse would help improve roadway safety by making it easier to determine whether a truck or bus driver is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle for failing to comply with federal drug and alcohol regulations, including mandatory testing.

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The Kleen Energy plant tragedy-

4 years after deadly plant explosion: no ban on gas blows, fines slashed

By Dave Altimari and Matthew Kauffman

After six workers were killed in a massive gas explosion at the Kleen Energy plant in Middletown, Connecticut four years ago, federal investigators tallied hundreds of violations at the site and issued $16.6 million in penalties against more than a dozen companies — the third-largest workplace-safety fine in the nation's history.

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Obese patients with judgemental doctors less likely to shed pounds

Study: Physicians should lose negative attitudes

Overweight and obese people who feel their physicians are judgmental of their size are more likely to try to shed pounds but are less likely to succeed, according to results of a study by Johns Hopkins researchers.

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Conn. reproductions manufacturer reproduces hazards as well

Artbeats Inc. faces citations, fines for repeat violations

OSHA has cited Artbeats Inc. for repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Cheshire facility. The company, which manufactures reproductions of prints and paintings, faces $56,430 in proposed fines following an inspection by OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office begun Dec. 3, 2013, in response to a worker complaint.

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Comment period on injury/illnesses tracking proposal to end March 10

If you plan to comment on OSHA’s propsed rule to change tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses, you should do it soon. The agency has announced that the comment period on the proposal, which is says will help imrove workplace safety and health, will close on March 10, 2014.

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Thousands comment on OSHA’s silica proposal

Safety, business groups disagree

The public comment period on OSHA’s proposal to reduce worker exposure to silica dust ended this week, leaving the agency with more than 2,700 responses to process. The rule would decrease the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica dust – a substance that causes cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in those who are exposed to it.

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NTSB calls for recorders, signage to improve rail safety

A Dec. 2013 train derailment that killed four people and injured dozens of others has produced a flurry of safety recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is calling for the use of inward and outward facing audio and image recorders, among other things.

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EPA goes after big violators, billions in fines

Deepwater Horizon cases and Walmart’s hazardous waste policies were among the cases pursued by the EPA last year. The agency’s annual enforcement report shows a focus on major violators that have the most impact on public health.

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Should airline passengers get to use cell phones in flight?

DOT wants your opinion

While pilots and co-pilots are prohibited from using cell phones and other personal electronic devices (PEDs) inflight, the jury is still out on whether passengers will get to wirelessly chat while en route to their destinations.

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Does your teen tan?

State restrictions succeed in reducing indoor tanning among teen girls

Female high school students in states with indoor tanning laws -- particularly those with parental permission laws and age restrictions -- were 42 percent less likely to engage in indoor tanning compared to students in states without any laws, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study published online by the American Journal of Public Health.

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Disabled machine guarding leads to worker fatality in Florida

LOTO lack, shock and tripping hazards found at facility

A 32-year-old worker at a wire mesh manufacturer died in August of last year because machine guarding had been disabled, according to an OSHA investigation. Florida-based Wire Mesh Sales LLC has been cited for dozens of safety violations and faces penalties of $697,700 in connection with the fatality.

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Highway fatalities an “epidemic,” says NTSB

Transportation fatalities in the United States increased by three percent in 2012 from 2011, according to preliminary figures released recently by the National Transportation Safety Board.

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FAA bans PEDs in the cockpit

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week today issued a final rule that reinforces that airline pilots cannot use PEDs for personal use in all operations.

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A lesson from tragedy:

How to avoid a fire caused by heating equipment

In the wake of a house fire that killed a mother and eight children in Kentucky January 30, Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is offering tips on how other can avoid similar fire tragedies. Police said the fire in the Kentucky incident started when a combustible material fell against an electric heater in a bedroom as a family slept.

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Worker in N.Y. fatally burned in confined space accident

No gas detection measures in place, inadequate ventilation

Serious workplace safety violations were found in connection with a September 2013 explosion that killed one worker and injured another at Canastota Wastewater Treatment plant in New York, according to OSHA.

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