Author Archives: OH&S News

U.S. Fatal Work Injury Rate Dropped in 2017

U.S. Fatal Work Injury Rate Dropped in 2017 Fatal falls were at their highest level in the 26-year history of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) and accounted for 887 workers' deaths. BLS also reported that fatal occupational injuries involving confined spaces rose 15 percent to 166 in 2017 from 144 in 2016. Dec 18, 2018 A total of 5,147 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2017, down slightly from the 5,190 fatal injuries reported in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Dec. 18. BLS reported that the fatal injury rate decreased to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers from 3.6 in 2016. Fatal falls were at their highest level in the 26-year history of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) and accounted for 887 workers' deaths (17 percent of the total). Transportation incidents remained the most frequent fatal event in 2017, with 2,077 (40 percent) occupational fatalities. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals decreased 7 percent in 2017, with homicides and suicides decreasing by 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Unintentional overdoses due to non-medical use of drugs or alcohol while at work increased 25 percent, from 217 in 2016 to 272 in 2017. This was the fifth consecutive year in which unintentional workplace overdose deaths have increased by at least 25 percent. Contact with objects and equipment incidents were down 9 percent (695 in 2017 from 761 in 2016), with caught in running equipment or machinery deaths down by 26 percent (76 in 2017 from 103 in 2016). BLS also reported that fatal occupational injuries involving confined spaces rose 15 percent to 166 in 2017 from 144 in 2016, while crane-related workplace fatalities fell to their lowest level ever recorded in the CFOI, to 33 deaths in 2017. There were 258 fatalities among farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers in 2017. Approximately 63 percent of these farmers were age 65 and over (162), with 48 being age 80 or older. Of the 258 deaths, 103 involved a farm tractor. BLS also reported that 15 percent of the fatally injured workers in 2017 were age 65 or over – and this is a series high. By contrast, in 1992, the first year CFOI published national data, that figure was 8 percent. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Agency Warns Dental Patients of Infection Potential

Agency Warns Dental Patients of Infection Potential "Even though the risk of infection from this situation is likely to be low, we don't know the exact risk for each patient at this clinic," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. "Because infections can spread when good infection control practices are not followed, if you've been a patient at the George M. Davis Clinic, talk with your health care provider to help determine if you should get tested." Dec 18, 2018 Public Health — Seattle & King County is warning patients who received dental services from the George M. Davis Dental Clinic in Burien, Wash., to consider being tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV infection. The George M. Davis Dental Clinic, in operation since 1982, has been closed following an infection control inspection by the Washington State Department of Health - Dental Quality Assurance Commission on Aug. 2, 2018, Public Health reported in its notice. "The inspection was performed in response to a complaint, and it identified multiple infection control problems, including the cleaning, disinfection, sterilization, and storage of reprocessed instruments. These findings prompted the Dental Quality Assurance Commission to suspend the dental license of George Max Davis," it states. The notice said Public Health "does not know of any infections associated with this clinic, but inadequately cleaned and sterilized instruments can potentially spread infections to patients during dental procedures. Overall, they believe that the risk of infection is likely to be low for most patients. As a precaution, Public Health advises anyone who was a patient at the George M. Davis Dental Clinic to talk to their health care provider about testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Any patients who might have had procedures such as extractions or procedures requiring shots in the mouth may be at relatively higher risk and should be sure to consult with their health care provider." "Even though the risk of infection from this situation is likely to be low, we don't know the exact risk for each patient at this clinic," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. "Because infections can spread when good infection control practices are not followed, if you've been a patient at the George M. Davis Clinic, talk with your health care provider to help determine if you should get tested." The notice also says neither Public Health nor the Dental Quality Assurance Commission has been able to obtain a patient list from the now-closed clinic for the purposes of contacting patients directly, so Public Health is reaching out through media outlets to alert former clinic patients who may be at risk. Any former patient of the George M. Davis Dental Clinic who does not have access to a health care provider for testing can contact Public Health for help at 206-296-4949. Let's block ads! (Why?)

HELP Chairman Will Not Seek Re-Election in 2020

HELP Chairman Will Not Seek Re-Election in 2020 U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander will not seek re-election to the Senate in 2020, according to a statement he released Dec. 17. Dec 18, 2018 U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who chairs the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced Dec. 17 that he will not seek re-election to the Senate in 2020. "I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate in 2020," Alexander said. "The people of Tennessee have been very generous, electing me to serve more combined years as Governor and Senator than anyone else from our state. I am deeply grateful, but now it is time for someone else to have that privilege." Alexander serves as chairman of the HELP Committee, which has oversight over OSHA and the Department of Labor. During his time as chairman, he has reported 45 bills that became law. In 2018, he authored the Opioid Crisis Response Act, which was signed into law in October 2018. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam released this statement about the senator following his announcement: "It is almost impossible to measure the impact of Lamar Alexander’s commitment to Tennessee. His time as governor paved the way for the economic position we enjoy today as a leading state for business, and his educational reforms were ahead of his time. As a senator, he has distinguished himself as a national leader, while always reminding everyone that our founders designed our government for most of the power to be delegated to the states. No one has served our state longer as a governor and senator, and few, if any, have served it better than Lamar." Let's block ads! (Why?)

NIOSH Develops Tools to Help Identify and Assess Areas of Dampness and Mold

NIOSH Develops Tools to Help Identify and Assess Areas of Dampness and Mold Dampness can promote the growth of mold, bacteria, fungi, and insects. Workers and others in damp buildings can be exposed to airborne pollutants from biological contaminants and the breakdown of building materials. Dec 18, 2018 NIOSH has developed and released the Dampness and Mold Assessment Tool to help employers identify and assess areas of dampness in both general buildings and school buildings. “Implementing regular visual inspections for dampness can help to identify trouble areas before they become major problems and help to prioritize maintenance and repair,” said David Weissman, M.D., director of NIOSH’s Respiratory Health Division. “The Dampness and Mold Assessment Tools provide an inexpensive mechanism to investigate, record, and compare conditions over time.” Nonindustrial buildings like offices and schools can develop moisture and dampness problems from roofs and window leaks, high indoor humidity, and flooding events, among other factors. Dampness can promote the growth of mold, bacteria, fungi, and insects. Workers and others in damp buildings can be exposed to airborne pollutants from biological contaminants and the breakdown of building materials. According to NIOSH, research has shown that exposure to building dampness and mold are associated with a number of health problems, including: Respiratory symptoms (such as in the nose, throat, or lungs) Development or worsening of asthma Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (a rare lung disease in which lungs become inflamed as an allergic reaction to inhaled bacteria, fungi, organic dusts, and chemicals) Respiratory infections Allergic rhinitis (often called “hay fever”) Bronchitis Eczema The Dampness and Mold Assessment Tools provide a guide for users to assess all rooms for areas of dampness and mold and identifying the source(s) of the dampness and mold. The tools include a checklist and instructions for assessing and recording any damage found and for tracking conditions over time. Workers who suspect their health problems are related to exposure to building-related dampness or mold should report new, persistent, or worsening symptoms to their personal doctor and to a designated individual at their workplace per their employer. Let's block ads! (Why?)

OSHA Renews Charter of its Maritime Advisory Committee

OSHA Renews Charter of its Maritime Advisory Committee MACOSH is made up of 15 representative members appointed by the secretary from multiple segments of the maritime industry (such as shipyard, commercial fishing, and long shoring) and representing multiple views and interests, such as management, safety and health professional organizations, and labor. Dec 18, 2018 OSHA is renewing the charter of the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, according to a Federal Register notice dated Dec. 14. The Secretary of Labor is renewing the MACOSH charter after consultation with the General Services Administration and in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). MACOSH is made up of 15 representative members appointed by the secretary from multiple segments of the maritime industry (such as shipyard, commercial fishing, and long shoring) and representing multiple views and interests, such as management, safety and health professional organizations, and labor. The term of the most recent MACOSH membership expired on Jan. 20, 2018, and OSHA accepted nominations for new members through Dec. 10, 2018. According to the MACOSH website, its objective is to advise the Secretary and address the concerns of the maritime community on issues relevant to the safety and health of maritime industry workers, focusing primarily on the shipbuilding, shipbreaking, ship repair, commercial fishing, longshoring, and marine terminal industries. The Committee will function solely as an advisory body in compliance with FACA and OSHA regulations, the notice said. It also said that OSHA will publish a list of MACOSH members in the Federal Register. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Toyota Issues Recalls of Almost 134,000 SUVs, Trucks

Toyota Issues Recalls of Almost 134,000 SUVs, Trucks Toyota is conducting a safety recall involving certain 2018-2019 Model Year Tacomas, 2008-2019 Model Year Land Cruisers and 2008-2019 Model Year Lexus LX 570 vehicles in the United States, the company announced Thursday. Dec 17, 2018 Toyota is conducting a safety recall involving certain 2018-2019 Model Year Tacomas, 2008-2019 Model Year Land Cruisers and 2008-2019 Model Year Lexus LX 570 vehicles in the United States, the company announced Thursday. The first recall involves approximately 89,700 Land Cruiser and LX 570 vehicles. The seatbelt tension sensor for the front passenger occupant classification system could malfunction over time and cause the airbag warning light and the passenger airbag “OFF” indicator to light up. Toyota’s recall notice also reports that the front passenger airbag, knee airbag, and passenger seat-mounted side airbag may be deactivated, posing an increased risk of injury to occupants should a crash occur. Toyota is currently working on a fix for these problems and will notify owners by mid-February 2019. The second recall involves approximately 44,000 2018-2019 Model Year Tacomas. A seal in certain brake master cylinders could become damaged over time and leak brake fluid internally due to improper manufacturing processes by a part supplier. The brake pedal feel could change and front brake performance could be reduced suddenly, both potentially leading to increased vehicle stopping distance and increased crash risk. Toyota dealers will replace the brake master cylinder with a new one unaffected by this condition for all involved vehicles at no cost to consumers. The company will notify all owners of involved vehicles by first-class mail beginning in late January 2019. For the latest Safety Recall information on Toyota, Lexus, or Scion vehicles, Toyota said customers should check the status of their vehicle by entering their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or license plate information at Toyota.com/recall. Safety Recall inquiry by individual VIN is also available at the NHTSA website. Let's block ads! (Why?)

NTSB to Unveil New Most Wanted List Jan. 9

NTSB to Unveil New Most Wanted List Jan. 9 NTSB also will host a Twitter Q&A during the event. To participate in the Twitter Q&A and to stay up to date with the Most Wanted List, follow the agency on Twitter at @NTSB and use the hashtag #ntsbmwl. Dec 17, 2018 The National Transportation Safety Board will unveil its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements during a kickoff event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 9, 2019, starting at 10 a.m. EST. The event will start with opening remarks from NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt, who will announce the Most Wanted List. The chairman will join NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg and Board Members Jennifer Homendy and Earl Weener for a panel discussion about the items on the Most Wanted List and the safety recommendations associated with the list. A question and answer session will follow the panel discussion. NTSB also will host a Twitter Q&A during the event. To participate in the Twitter Q&A and to stay up to date with the Most Wanted List, follow the agency on Twitter at @NTSB and use the hashtag #ntsbmwl. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Oregon OSHA Pesticide Drift Regs Taking Effect Jan. 1

Oregon OSHA Pesticide Drift Regs Taking Effect Jan. 1 The rules expand a protective zone, extend the evacuation period, require storage for boots and shoes to prevent pesticides from being tracked into workers' housing, and require doors, windows, and air intakes to be closed when pesticides are applied. Dec 17, 2018 Oregon OSHA's latest "Health and Safety Resource" newsletter reminds employers in the state that Jan. 1, 2019, is the effective date of the agency's rules increasing protection against the risk of pesticides drifting when spraying occurs outdoors. The rules expand a protective zone, extend the evacuation period, require storage for boots and shoes to prevent pesticides from being tracked into workers' housing, and require doors, windows, and air intakes to be closed when pesticides are applied. The rules exceed EPA's rule requiring Application Exclusion Zones in several ways, according to the newsletter. It points out that EPA's rule was designed to protect workers in the field but doesn't account for the interaction of the Application Exclusion Zone with workers' farm housing and other agricultural structures. For example, the Oregon OSHA AEZ rules say the Application Exclusion Zone is 100 feet when the pesticide applicator is not required to use a respirator, and also that people must not re-enter the AEZ for an additional 15 minutes, either by staying indoors or remaining evacuated. EPA's rule allows people to return to the AEZ immediately after the pesticide spraying machinery has passed by. Oregon's rules say the AEZ expands to 150 feet when the applicator is required to use a respirator. Let's block ads! (Why?)

$66,000 Fine Issued in Fatal California Trench Collapse

$66,000 Fine Issued in Fatal California Trench Collapse On May 9, two Empire Equipment Services workers were installing sewer pipes at the site when a 30-foot-wide section of the trench's sidewall sloughed and collapsed. Only one of the workers was able to escape. Dec 14, 2018 Cal/OSHA has cited a contractor and issued a $66,000 penalty in connection with a fatal trench collapse at a Lake Forest residential construction site. A worker died with a 17-foot-deep trench collapsed on him. The agency said its investigators determined that Empire Equipment Services, Inc. did not properly classify the soil and failed to correctly slope the excavation. On May 9, two Empire Equipment Services workers were installing sewer pipes at the site when a 30-foot-wide section of the trench's sidewall sloughed and collapsed. Only one of the workers was able to escape. Cal/OSHA's investigation found the company failed to ensure the site was inspected by someone who was deemed competent by the employer and familiar with trench hazards, soil classification, and the appropriate safety requirements. The soil at the work site was unstable, requiring an adequate protective system. "Because working in excavations is so dangerous, a competent person must conduct thorough visual and manual tests to properly classify the soil and adequately protect employees from cave-ins," said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "Failing to carry out these requirements can be fatal." Cal/OSHA issued citations to Empire Equipment Services Inc. for two serious accident-related violations and one general violation with $66,000 in proposed penalties. One of the serious violations is classified as repeat. In August 2017, Cal/OSHA had cited the employer, with $24,670 in penalties, for serious safety violations after conducting an inspection at another site in Lake Forest. During that inspection, Cal/OSHA found that the employer had exposed its workers to serious hazards while working in a trench more than 5 feet deep without properly sloping or installing any adequate protective systems. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Incentive Federation Plans to Develop Standards

Incentive Federation Plans to Develop Standards The Incentive Federation, Inc. announced Dec. 12 that it is finalizing proposals to both ANSI to be approved as a developer of a Domestic Standards Program for Workforce Incentives, Rewards and Recognition Standards, and to ISO to have a Technical Committee established to oversee those standards and to eventually have them approved by ISO. Dec 14, 2018 The Incentive Federation, Inc. announced Dec. 12 that it is finalizing proposals to both the American National Standards Institute to be approved as a developer of a Domestic Standards Program for Workforce Incentives, Rewards and Recognition Standards, and to the International Organization for Standardization to have a Technical Committee established to oversee those standards and to eventually have them approved by ISO. The federation has engaged the services of the Healthcare Management Institute of the University of Texas Medical Branch to assist in this process. The timeline for submitting the proposals is by the first quarter of 2019. The Incentive Federation was approved as a member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) earlier this year and will continue its membership in the organization throughout the standards approval and development process. The federation's news release said that standards for the incentive and recognition industry, when properly applied and executed, promise to help businesses deliver more powerful, more effective solutions and programs for rewarding and recognizing excellent employee performance, increasing productivity, and ensuring customer retention and satisfaction. There are five non-profit organizations serving as IFI members, and they have an interest and stake in developing standards for the benefit of their nearly 20,000 members and sponsors, it says, adding that the federation "needs the support of its members, both financial and intellectual, to ensure that the standards being developed represent the interests of the members and, most importantly, the interests and needs of the thousands of businesses employing incentive, recognition or rewards programs for customers and employees." The federal plans to ask IFI members and other industry companies to pledge their support in 2019 and to offer their expertise in helping craft the standards documents. Let's block ads! (Why?)