Upper Big Branch mine disaster rescue put more lives at risk
The 31 mine workers hit by the explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia last year weren’t the only people whose lives were at risk that day. Some of the mine rescuers who tried to find the disaster’s victims say their lives were also endangered by a reckless mine rescue effort.
Workplace safety trumps threats by disabled employee
Last month, the California Court of Appeal ventured into the uncharted area of state law regarding how an employer may address disability-caused misconduct involving threats or violence against coworkers. In Wills v. Superior Court of Orange County (G043054), the Court of Appeal held plaintiff Linda Wills’ Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) claim failed because her misconduct provided a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for her termination.
Physician, heel thyself
When a doctor thoughtlessly dresses down a nurse in front of patients or their families, it’s not just a personal affront, it’s an incredible distraction, taking our minds away from our patients, focusing them instead on how powerless we are. That said, the most damaging bullying is not flagrant and does not fit the stereotype of a surgeon having a tantrum in the operating room. It is passive, like not answering pages or phone calls, and tends toward the subtle. And because doctors are at the top of the food chain, the bad behavior of even a few of them can set a corrosive tone for the whole organization. Nurses in turn bully other nurses, attending physicians bully doctors-in-training, and experienced nurses sometimes bully the newest doctors.
The next step for researchers is not finding brain trauma
When the N.F.L. veteran Andre Waters killed himself in late 2006, the subsequent discovery of damage in his brain shocked the football community into asking how many other retired players might have an incurable disease. After the recent suicide of Dave Duerson, however, and last Monday’s announcement that he also had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain damage formerly associated with boxers, the finding shocked no one. Duerson became the 14th retired N.F.L. player — of 15 examined by Boston University researchers — to test positive for the condition.
OSHA takes aim at distracted driving
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be holding employers responsible for accidents caused by employees who are distracted by cellphone usage while driving during the course of their employment. David Michaels, the head of OSHA, recently announced his agency’s intention to issue a citation or fine for distracted driving. The first cases OSHA wants to pursue are those in which an accident results from an employer setting up a situation in which an employee has a strong incentive to or is required to use a phone while driving.
Worker health and safety now paramount for North American Wind Farms
The wind industry remains one of the fastest growing forms of non-traditional electricity generation in North America and finished last year with a total of 40,180 MW of installed capacity, with a further 5,600 MW of new wind projects under construction. But while this sustained growth in new installations continues a new challenge is rapidly taking centre stage – the health and safety of wind technicians working on site at wind farms. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has therefore recently turned its attention to the wind industry, and is making moves to understand in what way safety standards should apply.
Occupational highway transportation deaths — United States, 2003–2008
A total of 8,173 workers died from highway transportation incidents during 2003–2008, representing 24% of all fatal occupational injuries for the period. The annual average fatality rate for workers was 0.9 highway transportation deaths per 100,000 workers; that rate decreased an average of 2.8% annually during the period.
Short breaks may counteract toll of sedentary time
As Travis Saunders has explained, evidence is accumulating about the unhealthy effects of excessive sedentary time. This isn’t just because sitting burns fewer calories than walking or standing, but because sedentary behavior is associated with changes in triglyceride uptake, HDL cholesterol, and insulin resistance. And bouts of intense exercise every morning or evening can’t completely offset the effects of spending several hours sitting at a desk or behind the wheel. Given that a large segment of our population works at sedentary jobs, this is disturbing news. But a recent story by NPR’s Patti Neighmond offered some hope, with a mention of an Australian study that suggests brief activity breaks can reduce the risk of metabolic problems from extensive sedentary time.
Picturing Safety: OSHA celebrates 40 years with photo contest
In celebration of 40 years of making workplaces safer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a new photo contest to boost awareness of workplace safety issues. Anyone with a camera is invited to take a photo of a scenario or setting they believe represents an image of occupational health and safety (OHS) and submit it to OSHA.
Ashland officials ask for “panic pendants”
Concern about security at Ashland City Hall has prompted the police department to recommend providing employees with “wireless panic pendants,” according to Tuesday’s city council agenda. The $1,817 alarm system, not including a $306 annual fee, would feature 12 panic pendants, a central security panel, a wireless transmitter, and two blue strobe lights. Employees could use the pendants to call on “law enforcement personnel,” according to agenda documents.