Author Archives: OH&S News

Appeals Court Upholds Florida Emergency Generator Rule

Appeals Court Upholds Florida Emergency Generator Rule"The ruling from the First District Court of Appeal today reaffirms our position that the top priority of nursing homes and assisted living facilities should be protecting the lives of their patients," Gov. Rick Scott said in an Oct. 19 statement.Oct 20, 2017Florida Gov. Rick Scott applauded an Oct. 19 ruling by Florida's First District Court of Appeal that denied a challenge to the governor's emergency generator rule that requires every nursing home and assisted living facility in the state to have a working generator and 96 hours of fuel to keep their patients safe during a disaster."The ruling from the First District Court of Appeal today reaffirms our position that the top priority of nursing homes and assisted living facilities should be protecting the lives of their patients," Scott said in a statement. "Currently, AHCA [the state Agency for Health Care Administration] is working to make this important emergency rule permanent through a public rule making process and we will work with the Legislature to further protect patients. I've also called on the Constitution Revision Commission to look at measures to protect vulnerable individuals. I look forward to AHCA continuing to aggressively enforce these rules as we explore every possible way to protect Floridians."The rule was issued after nine patients died at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, Fla., during and after Hurricane Irma -- deaths attributed to a power failure at the facility."Let's remember that the tragedy at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills is under criminal investigation by local law enforcement and FDLE. AHCA and DCF are also conducting investigations. We must learn why this facility chose not to evacuate their patients to safety or call 911," Scott said. He said associations representing nursing homes and assisted living facilities filed appeals claiming there is no "immediate danger" or emergency justifying the emergency generator rule.Let's block ads! (Why?)

NTSB Meeting Nov. 14 on Fatal Amtrak Crash

NTSB Meeting Nov. 14 on Fatal Amtrak CrashThe crash occurred about 7:50 a.m. on Sunday, April 3, 2016, and involved a train traveling on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The train was moving at 106 mph at the time it struck the backhoe -- within the maximum authorized speed of 110 mph.Oct 20, 2017The National Transportation Safety Board will meet Nov.14 to determine the probable cause of a fatal crash involving an Amtrak passenger train that struck a backhoe near Chester, Pa., on April 3, 2016. The backhoe was involved in roadway maintenance work; both the backhoe operator and a supervisor were killed.The crash occurred about 7:50 a.m. on Sunday, April 3, and involved a train traveling on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The train consisted of a locomotive, eight passenger cars, one café car, and one baggage car, and it was moving at 106 mph at the time -- within the maximum authorized speed of 110 mph. According to NTSB, the locomotive struck the backhoe and debris struck and damaged the passenger cars.The train had seven crew members and 337 passengers on board at the time of the accident; 41 people were transported to local hospitals.The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time in Washington, D.C. Personnel from NTSB and investigative staff from the Office of Railroad, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Investigations will participate. It will be webcast live; a link to the webcast will be available shortly before the start of the meeting at http://ntsb.capitolconnection.org/.Let's block ads! (Why?)

New Orleans Announces Plan to Address Opioid Addiction, Overdoses

New Orleans Announces Plan to Address Opioid Addiction, Overdoses"Right here in New Orleans, 166 of our brothers and sisters succumbed to opioid addiction last year and lost their lives to overdose. We can't tackle this problem alone," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.Oct 20, 2017New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the New Orleans Health Department, and other local public safety agencies and community partners released what they called a comprehensive plan on Oct. 18 to address opioid addiction and overdoses in the city of New Orleans. The plan calls for increased access to naloxone; community education; increased options for safe medication disposal; engaging pharmacies to increase opioid counseling when medication is dispensed; and linking nonfatal overdose victims in the emergency department directly with treatment resources."Across the country, our nation has witnessed the devastating effects of opioid addiction. Right here in New Orleans, 166 of our brothers and sisters succumbed to opioid addiction last year and lost their lives to overdose. We can't tackle this problem alone. That's why releasing and executing this community-based response to address opioid addiction and overdose in New Orleans is so imperative," Landrieu said. "My administration, along with our community partners, pledge to work tirelessly to empower all New Orleanians to make a difference in the lives of those touched by opioid addiction while leveraging our medical, public health, and criminal justice systems to best support those efforts."The health department issued a public health advisory in January 2016 about a significant increase in heroin- and opiate-related overdoses, and the city's medical director, Dr. Joseph Kanter, issued a standing order for anyone in New Orleans to be able to purchase naloxone without a separate prescription. (For participating pharmacies, visit www.nola.gov/health-department.)"The opioid epidemic is truly a public health crisis for our community, and we are committed to working collaboratively with the city and partners to address the problem through a coordinated, multi-sectored approach," Louisiana Public Health Institute CEO Joe Kimbrell said Oct. 18. Dr. Rochelle Head Dunham, executive and medical director of the Metropolitan Human Services District, said MHSD "is poised to continue providing comprehensive community-based prevention and treatment addiction services, while combining resources with the NOHD in addressing the opioid crisis."The city also announced it has issued a Request for Proposals from law firms licensed to practice in the state of Louisiana interested to determine claims against pharmaceutical companies and distributors for their role in the opioid crisis.Let's block ads! (Why?)

First Floating Wind Farm Starts Production in Scotland

First Floating Wind Farm Starts Production in ScotlandScotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, officially opened the 30MW farm, which Statoil operates in partnership with Masdar. The farm is located 25 kilometers offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.Oct 19, 2017The world's first floating wind farm, named Hywind Scotland, has begun delivering electricity to the Scottish grid, the Norwegian energy company Statoil reported Oct. 18, saying Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, officially opened the 30MW farm, which Statoil operates in partnership with Masdar. The farm is located 25 kilometers offshore Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland."Hywind can be used for water depths up to 800 meters, thus opening up areas that so far have been inaccessible for offshore wind. The learnings from Hywind Scotland will pave the way for new global market opportunities for floating offshore wind energy. Through their government's support to develop the Hywind Scotland project, the UK and Scotland are now at the forefront of the development of this exciting new technology. Statoil looks forward to exploring the next steps for floating offshore wind," said Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of the New Energy Solutions business area at Statoil.Sturgeon said the farm "will provide clean energy to over 20,000 homes and will help us meet our ambitious climate change targets. This marks an exciting development for renewable energy in Scotland," she added. "Our support for floating offshore wind is testament to this government's commitment to the development of this technology and, coupled with Statoil's Battery Storage Project, Batwind, puts us at the forefront of this global race and positions Scotland as a world center for energy innovation."The onshore operations and maintenance base for Hywind Scotland is located in Peterhead and its operations center is located in Great Yarmouth. Linked to the Hywind Scotland project will be Batwind, a 1MWh lithium battery storage solution for offshore wind energy that the partners will install.Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, pointed to upcoming opportunities. "Masdar has a long-standing commitment to renewable energy in the United Kingdom, and we are immensely proud to deliver our first project in Scotland alongside our partners," he said. "Hywind Scotland is showing that floating wind technology can be commercially viable wherever sea depths are too great for conventional fixed offshore wind power. This opens up a number of new geographies, and we are already looking at future opportunities with our partners, building on our existing international portfolio in onshore and offshore wind energy and solar power."Let's block ads! (Why?)

Apprenticeship Expansion Task Force's Members Announced

Apprenticeship Expansion Task Force's Members AnnouncedAn executive order from President Donald J. Trump called for the secretary of Labor to establish a Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion that will identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeship programs are insufficient.Oct 19, 2017U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta this week announced the members of the President's Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. The task force represents companies, trade and industry groups, educational institutions, and labor unions, with its members having experience in addressing the nation's skills gap, according to DOL."Expanding apprenticeships will help Americans learn the skills they need to fill jobs that are open right now and in the future. I am pleased to see business leaders, unions, educational institutions, and industry groups come together to help the American worker," said Acosta. "The members of the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion will provide varied perspectives that will help guide the Administration’s strategy on growing apprenticeship programs nationwide. I am grateful for their participation in this important effort."This follows an executive order from President Donald J. Trump to expand apprenticeships in America. It called for the secretary of Labor to establish a Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion that will identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeship programs are insufficient.The task force's members include Acosta; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross; Michael Bellaman, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors; Joshua Bolten, president and CEO of the Business Roundtable; Cari Dominguez, director of Manpower Inc.; Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Andrew Liveris, executive chairman of DowDuPont; Douglas J. McCarron, general president, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association; and Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Texas on the Lookout for School Bus Passing Violators

Texas on the Lookout for School Bus Passing ViolatorsDuring 2016 and so far in 2017, Texas Highway Patrol troopers have issued 1,100 citations and 573 warnings for passing a stopped school bus.Oct 19, 2017The Texas Department of Public Safety has stepped up its enforcement of laws prohibiting drivers from passing stopped school buses during National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 16-20). DPS is asking Texans to comply with the laws, which make it illegal to pass any school bus, in either direction, when it is stopped and operating a visual signal – either flashing red lights or a stop sign. During 2016 and so far in 2017, Texas Highway Patrol troopers have issued 1,100 citations and 573 warnings for passing a stopped school bus."Motorists should always be alert and practice safe driving habits when traveling near school buses or anywhere school children gather, including bus stops," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "Texas parents can rest assured that DPS will not tolerate those who recklessly endanger children by ignoring the law.""Ensuring our students have a safe trip to and from school is a commitment the Texas Education Agency shares with the Texas Department of Public Safety," added Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. "We commend the dedication of our Texas Highway Patrol, as well as local law enforcement, during National School Bus Safety week and throughout the year in working to keep our students safe."During the week, troopers in many areas are riding on or following school buses to catch motorists who break the law and also are patrolling areas where school buses pick up and drop off students. Drivers who violate the law could face fines as high as $1,250.State law says a motorist may not proceed until one of the following occurs: the school bus resumes motion; the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or the visual signal is no longer activated. If a road is divided only by a left-turning lane, drivers on both sides of the roadway must stop for school buses with alternating red flashing lights activated. However, if the lanes are separated by an intervening space or physical barrier, only motorists traveling in the same direction as the bus are required to stop.According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 42,000 school buses transport approximately 1.5 million Texas children every school day.Let's block ads! (Why?)

NFPA Taking Feedback on PPE Question

NFPA Taking Feedback on PPE QuestionNFPA is asking whether it should develop a new contamination control standard that identifies best practices for cleaning firefighters' PPE and how gear should be handled after possible exposure to contaminants, or, alternatively, put that information into the existing NFPA 1581 standard.Oct 18, 2017The National Fire Protection Association is seeking stakeholders' feedback on whether it should develop a new contamination control standard that identifies best practices for cleaning firefighters' PPE and how gear should be handled after possible exposure to contaminants, or, alternatively, put that information into the existing NFPA 1581, Standard on Fire Department Infection Control Program.A recent NFPA blog post asking the question explained that the NFPA Standards Council has received a New Project Initiation Request from the fire service asking that NFPA consider developing an ANSI Accredited Standard to establish minimum requirements for the effective contamination control of fire department personal and their PPE, accessories, and equipment."As a result of multiple efforts, including 'Campaign for Fire Service Contamination Control' – a one-year project conducted by the Fire Protection Research Foundation that's nearing its completion – we now have some answers. The next step is identifying how to best deliver those requirements, guidelines and recommendations in our codes and standards," the post says.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Big Street Repairs Up to Dallas Voters Next Month

Big Street Repairs Up to Dallas Voters Next MonthThe city's $1.050 billion 2017 bond package is on the Nov. 7 ballot as 10 propositions, each being voted on individually. If they pass, projects will begin late this year or in January 2018.Oct 18, 2017Leaders of the city of Dallas hope their voters are eager to see streets, parks, and some city facilities repaired and some flood control and drainage improvements made soon, possibly starting later this year if the city’s $1.050 billion 2017 bond package passes on Nov. 7. The package is on the ballot as 10 propositions, each being voted on individually, with the largest being Proposition A, streets and transportation, at $533,981,000.Tristan Hallman, The Dallas Morning News' City Hall reporter, wrote Oct. 17 that city officials "first plan to issue $350 million in bonds to help refinance current debt and complete some of the remaining projects that were in the 2006 and 2012 bond packages." He explained that the city officials decided to put the bond package on the November 2017 ballot rather than the May 2017 ballot because they were still working to come up with a fix for the Dallas police and fire pension system in the 2017 state legislative session in Austin.Early voting will begin Oct. 23 and end Nov. 3. The bond package's measures are:Proposition A: Streets and Transportation, $533,981,000Proposition B: Parks and Recreation, $261,807,000Proposition C: Fair Park, $50,000,000Proposition D: Flood Control and Storm Drainage, $48,750,000Proposition E: Library Facilities, $15,589,000Proposition F: Cultural and Performing Arts Facilities, $14,235,000Proposition G: Public Safety Facilities, $32,081,000Proposition H: City Hall and City Service and Administrative Facilities, $18,157,000Proposition I: Economic Development, $55,400,000Proposition J: Homeless Assistance Facilities, $20,000,000Let's block ads! (Why?)

Safety Board Calls for Better FAA Oversight of Hot Air Balloon Operators

Safety Board Calls for Better FAA Oversight of Hot Air Balloon OperatorsNTSB faults FAA's oversight of commercial balloon operators, making two recommendations to the agency that ask it to remove the medical certificate exemption for commercial balloon operators and to find ways to better provide oversight of balloon operators.Oct 18, 2017The Federal Aviation Administration is praising the Balloon Federation of America's "Envelope of Safety" accreditation program for balloon ride operations, saying in an Oct. 13 statement that, following the July 30, 2016, balloon accident in Lockhart, Texas, the killed 16 people -- 15 passengers and the pilot, who owned and operated the balloon -- it took proactive steps to increase the safety of hot-air balloon tourism. And the new accreditation program is the result of the year-long FAA "Call to Action" with the commercial hot-air balloon industry, FAA said.On Oct. 17, 2017, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the Lockhart balloon pilot's "pattern of poor decision-making" led to the balloon striking power lines and then crashing to the ground. But the board also faulted FAA's oversight of commercial balloon operators, making two recommendations to the agency that asked it to remove the medical certificate exemption for commercial balloon operators and to find ways to better provide oversight of balloon operators. "Today's recommendations, if acted on, will help to bring the safety standards closer to those that apply to powered flight," NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said. "Balloon pilots, their passengers, and their passengers' loved ones deserve no less."The board found that the medical certification exemption for commercial balloon operators contributed to the balloon crash. Also contributing to the accident were the pilot's impairing medical conditions and medications that likely affected his decision-making, the board found. NTSB said its investigators found that depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and the combined effects of multiple central nervous system-impairing drugs probably affected the pilot's ability to make safe decisions.Let's block ads! (Why?)

'Drug Czar' Nominee Withdraws

'Drug Czar' Nominee WithdrawsU.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., has withdrawn his name from consideration to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, President Donald J. Trump confirmed early Oct. 17.Oct 17, 2017Forty-two days after being nominated to become the latest U.S. “drug czar,” U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., has withdrawn his name from consideration, President Donald J. Trump confirmed early Oct. 17. Trump had nominated Marino to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy on Sept. 5.The withdrawal came less than 48 hours after "60 Minutes" aired a report about a law Marino had sponsored that made it harder for the Drug Enforcement Administration to halt suspicious shipments of prescription drugs. The report was based on an investigation by "60 Minutes" and The Washington Post and caused some senators, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. – the report highlighted the avalanche of opioid painkilling drugs that had been delivered to some counties in his state, leading to a high rate of opioid overdose deaths – to call on the president to withdraw the nomination.Trump also said he probably will officially declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency next week, according to news reports.Let's block ads! (Why?)