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Friday, April 29, 2011

Alice Hamilton Awards for Occupational Safety and Health Announced

The Alice Hamilton Awards for Occupational Safety and Health recognize the scientific excellence of technical and instructional materials by NIOSH scientists and engineers in the areas of biological science, engineering and physical science, human studies, and educational materials.
The Awards honor Dr. Alice Hamilton (1869 - 1970), a pioneering researcher and occupational physician, and are presented each year by NIOSH on the basis of rigorous reviews by panels of scientific experts from outside the Institute.
The top three finalists in each category are:

Engineering and Physical Sciences

Evans DE, Ku BK, Birch ME, Dunn KH. Aerosol monitoring during carbon nanofiber production: mobile direct-reading sampling. Ann Occup Hyg 54(5):514-531, 2010.
Green JD, Yannaccone JR, Current RS, Sicher LA, Moore PH, Whitman GR. Assessing the performance of various restraints on ambulance patient compartment workers during crash events. Int J Crashworthiness 15(5):517-541, 2010.
NIOSH Report of Investigation (RI) 9679: Recommendations for a new rock dusting standard to prevent coal dust explosions in intake airways. By Cashdollar KL, Sapko MJ, Weiss ES, Harris ML, Man CK, Harteis SP, Green GM. Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2010-151, 2010.

Biological Sciences

Sriram K, Lin GX, Jefferson AM, Roberts JR, Wirth O, Hayashi Y, Krajnak KM, Soukup JM, Ghio AJ, Reynolds SH, Castranova V, Munson AE, Antonini JM. Mitochondrial dysfunction and loss of Parkinson's disease-linked proteins contribute to neurotoxicity of manganese-containing welding fumes. FASEB J 24(12):4989-5002, 2010.
Leonard SS, Chen BT, Stone SG, Schwegler-Berry D, Kenyon AJ, Frazer D, Antonini JM. Comparison of stainless and mild steel welding fumes in generation of reactive oxygen species. Part Fibre Toxicol 7(1):32, 2010.
Wang LY, Mercer RR, Rojanasakul Y, Qiu AJ, Lu YJ, Scabilloni JF, Wu NQ, Castranova V. Direct fibrogenic effects of dispersed single-walled carbon nanotubes on human lung fibroblasts. J Toxicol Environ Health, A 73(5-6):410-422, 2010.

Human Studies

Hanley KW, Petersen MR, Cheever KL, Luo L. Bromide and N-acetyl-S-(n-propyl)-l-cysteine in urine from workers exposed to 1-bromopropane solvents from vapor degreasing or adhesive manufacturing. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 83(5):571-584, 2010.
Connor TH, DeBord DG, Pretty JR, Oliver MS, Roth TS, Lees PSJ, Krieg EF Jr., Rogers B, Escalante CP, Toennis CA, Clark JC, Johnson BC, McDiarmid MA. Evaluation of antineoplastic drug exposure of health care workers at three university-based US cancer centers. J Occup Environ Med 52(10):1019-1027, 2010.
The following three articles were submitted as one nomination:
  • Couch JR, Petersen MR, Rice CR, Schubauer-Berigan MK. Development of retrospective quantitative and qualitative job-exposure matrices for exposures at a beryllium processing facility. Occ Environ Med. Published online October 25, 2010. doi: 10.1136/oem.2010.056630.
  • Schubauer-Berigan MK, Couch JR, Petersen MR, Carreón T, Jin Y, Deddens JA. Cohort mortality study of workers at seven beryllium processing plants: update and associations with cumulative and maximum exposure. Occ Environ Med. Published online October 15, 2010.doi:10.1136/oem.2010.056481.
  • Schubauer-Berigan MK, Deddens JA, Couch JR, Petersen MR. Risk of lung cancer associated with quantitative beryllium exposure metrics within an occupational cohort. Occup Environ Med. Published online November 16, 2010. doi: 10.1136/oem.2010.056515.

Educational Materials

Slip, trip, and fall prevention for healthcare workers. By Bell J, Collins JW, Dalsey E, Sublet V. Morgantown, WV/Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-123, 2010.
Move it! Rig move safety for roughnecks. By: Cullen E, Hill R, Shannon J, Headding B. Spokane, WA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-108d, 2010.
Baron S, Stock L, Ayala L, Soohoo R, Gong F, Lloyd C, Haroon P, Teran S, Gonzalez P. Caring for yourself while caring for others: practical tips for homecare workers. In: Labor Occupational Health Program, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Service Employees International Union. Edited by United Long Term Care Workers. Oakland, CA: Public Authority for In-Home Supportive Services in Alameda County, 2010.

CDC Urges Employers to Prohibit Cell Phone Use While Driving

The US Centers of Disease Control (CDC) released its annual census of work related fatalities and identified cell phone use as a major cause of employee deaths. CDC urged employers to prohibit texting while driving.  A safety initiative by employers will go along way to reducing workers' compensation costs.

"What is already known on this topic?
Highway transportation crashes are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in the United States.

"What is added by this report?
Occupational highway transportation fatality rates declined 2.8% annually during 2003–2008, and groups at greatest risk for occupational highway transportation deaths (e.g., workers aged ≥55 years and truck occupants) differ from those identified for highway transportation deaths in the general motoring public.

"What are the implications for public health practice?
Employers need to know more about the fatality risks to workers from highway transportation crashes, and employer-based strategies (e.g., requiring the use of safety belts in fleet vehicles, restricting cellular telephone use while driving, and allowing for adequate travel time)

This is entirely consistent with findings reported by Jeffrey S. Hickman, Ph.D, of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.  A driver while texting has a 23.24 times chance of having a motor vehicle accident.

The new initiative by US OSHA to focus on both education and enforcement is a consistent and rational approach to lowering transportation fatalities. OSHA recently announced its intent to fine employers who permit and encourage texting while driving.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Presidential Proclamation -- Workers Memorial Day

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...Image via Wikipedia


This year marks the 40th anniversary of both the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, which promise American workers the right to a safe workplace and require employers to provide safe conditions. Yet, today, we remain too far from fulfilling that promise. On Workers Memorial Day, we remember all those who have died, been injured, or become sick on the job, and we renew our commitment to ensure the safety of American workers.
The families of the 29 coal miners who lost their lives on April 5 in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia are in our thoughts and prayers. We also mourn the loss of 7 workers who died in a refinery explosion in Washington State just days earlier, the 4 workers who died at a power plant in Connecticut earlier this year, and the 11 workers lost in the oil platform explosion off the coast of Louisiana just last week.
Although these large-scale tragedies are appalling, most workplace deaths result from tragedies that claim one life at a time through preventable incidents or disabling disease. Every day, 14 workers are killed in on-the-job incidents, while thousands die each year of work-related disease, and millions are injured or contract an illness. Most die far from the spotlight, unrecognized and unnoticed by all but their families, friends, and co-workers -- but they are not forgotten.
The legal right to a safe workplace was won only after countless lives had been lost over decades in workplaces across America, and after a long and bitter fight waged by workers, unions, and public health advocates. Much remains to be done, and my Administration is dedicated to renewing our Nation's commitment to achieve safe working conditions for all American workers.
Providing safer work environments will take the concerted action of government, businesses, employer associations, unions, community organizations, the scientific and public health communities, and individuals. Today, as we mourn those lost mere weeks ago in the Upper Big Branch Mine and other recent disasters, so do we honor all the men and women who have died on the job. In their memory, we rededicate ourselves to preventing such tragedies, and to securing a safer workplace for every American.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 28, 2010, as Workers Memorial Day. I call upon all Americans to participate in ceremonies and activities in memory of those who have been killed due to unsafe working conditions.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

Video of The History of US OSHA

The United States Occupational and Safety [OSHA] administration has released a video of its important accomplishments during it first 40 years of service.

"With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance."

Click here to view the video:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Distinguished Author About Asbestos Dangers Seeks to Save His Archives

Paul Brodeur, author of many articles concerning the dangers of environmental hazards including asbestos, and the award winning book, Outrageous Misconduct-The Asbestos Industry on Trial, is fighting with the New York City Public Library to save his research. A recent article in  The New York Times describes that the library will not return all of Brodeur's materials.

Brodeur, the former investigative reporter for The New Yorker magazine, donated his research to the library 18 years ago. The library recently reviewed the material, and only wishes to keep some, and not all, of the boxes of materials that Brodeur donated. When Brodeur requested that the entire collection be kept intact, but the NY library offered to return only what it declined to accept, and if not taken back will destroy the remaining items. 

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered asbestos exposures.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Independent and Impartial Judiciary Is A Duty Owed The People

"...judicial independence is not for the judges, and it’s not for the lawyers; it’s for the people who come to court..." 
Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The US Judicial system is based on the cornerstone of the fairness, impartiality and absence of bias. Hearing official are charged with that obligation when they take their oath of office

The recent filing of a class action complaint in NY charging that a group of local Administrative Law Judges did not meet that responsibility is indeed shocking. 

See the complete NY Times report

Workers Memorial Day - April 28th

Decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant improvements in working conditions. But the toll of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths remains enormous. Each year, thousands of workers are killed and millions more are injured or diseased because of their jobs. The unions of the AFL-CIO remember these workers on April 28, Workers Memorial Day.
The first Workers Memorial Day was observed in 1989. April 28 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the day of a similar remembrance in Canada. Every year, people in hundreds of communities and at worksites recognize workers who have been killed or injured on the job. Trade unionists around the world now mark April 28 as an International Day of Mourning.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

NIOSH Correction: Asbestos is A Know Carcinogen

NIOSH has corrected it originally released report last month and has now inserted the text:

"NIOSH has determined that exposure to asbestos fibers causes cancer and asbestosis in humans and recommends that exposures be reduced to the lowest feasible concentration."

For more about this correction see The Pump Handle article.

Related articles

Saturday, April 23, 2011

NIOSH Proposes Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia As Compensable

NIOSH logoImage via Wikipedia

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing to treat Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) as a radiogenic cancer under EEOICPA. Under the current final rule on Guidelines for Determining the Probability of Causation Under EEOICPA (42 CFR Part 81) published in 2002, all types of cancers, except for CLL, are treated as being potentially caused by radiation and therefore, as potentially compensable under EEOICPA. HHS proposes to reverse its decision to exclude CLL from such treatment.

(March 21, 2011)

this document in PDF PDF 270 KB (8 pages)

HHS invites written comments on this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from interested parties. Comments must be received by June 20, 2011.

Persons or organizations interested in participating in this rulemaking by submitting written views, arguments, recommendations, and data can submit comments by e-mail or mail. Comments should be addressed to the NIOSH Docket Officer, titled "NIOSH Docket #209," and should identify the author(s), return address, and a phone number, in case clarification is needed. 

  • E-mail: NIOSH Docket Officer, Include "NIOSH Docket #209" and "42 CFR 81.30" in the subject line of the message.

  • Mail: NIOSH Docket Office,
    Robert Taft Laboratories, MS-C34
    4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226

All communications received on or before the closing date for comments will be fully considered by HHS.

All comments submitted will be available for examination in the rule docket (a publicly available storage of the documents associated with the rulemaking) both before and after the closing date for comments.

A complete electronic docket containing all comments submitted will be available at or comments will be available in hard-copy by request.

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered work related accidents and injuries.

Occupational Secondhand Smoke Exposures Continue in Some States

A recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that despite potential disease smoking is not prohibited yet in some workplaces.

"Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure causes lung cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases in nonsmoking adults and children, resulting in an estimated 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmoking adults each year. Smoke-free laws that prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of a venue fully protect nonsmokers from involuntary exposure to SHS indoors. A Healthy People 2010 objective  called for enacting laws eliminating smoking in public places and worksites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC); because this objective was not met by 2010, it was retained for Healthy People 2020 (renumbered as TU-13). To assess progress toward meeting this objective, CDC reviewed state laws restricting smoking in effect as of December 31, 2010. This report summarizes the changes in state smoking restrictions for private-sector worksites, restaurants, and bars that occurred from December 31, 2000 to December 31, 2010. The number of states (including DC) with laws that prohibit smoking in indoor areas of worksites, restaurants, and bars increased from zero in 2000 to 26 in 2010. However, regional disparities remain in policy adoption, with no southern state having adopted a smoke-free law that prohibits smoking in all three venues. The Healthy People 2020 target on this topic is achievable if current activity in smoke-free policy adoption is sustained nationally and intensified in certain regions, particularly the South.

"As of December 31, 2010, in addition to the 26 states with comprehensive smoke-free laws, 10 states had enacted laws that prohibit smoking in one or two, but not all three, of the venues included in this study. Additionally, eight states had passed less restrictive laws (e.g., laws allowing smoking in designated areas or areas with separate ventilation). Finally, seven states have no statewide smoking restrictions in place for private worksites, restaurants, or bars. Of note, only three southern states (Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina) have laws that prohibit smoking in any two of the three venues examined in this report, and no southern state has a comprehensive state smoke-free law in effect.

Secondhand smoking is a recognized compensable condition for workers' compensation benefits. Recently a casino worker exposed to secondhand smoke was permitted by a court to obtain benefits for the lung cancer that he suffered.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

OSHA Anniversary April 21, 2011 10:00am C-Span Event

A picture of David Michaels, Assistant Secreta...Image via Wikipedia
Featured speaker: David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Introduction by:: John Podesta, President and CEO, Center for American Progress Featured panelists: Cathy Stoddart, Staff Nurse, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, SEIU Mike Weibel, United Steelworkers/Goodyear Safety and Health Coordinator, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Topeka, Kansas Peg Seminario, Director of Safety and Health, AFL-CIO Joseph Van Houten, Senior Director of Worldwide Environment, Health, and Safety, Johnson & Johnson David Weil, Professor of Economics, Boston University School of Management Moderated by: Reece Rushing, Director of Government Reform, Center for American Progress.

Source C-Span

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dangerous Formaldehyde Based Hair Straighteners Reportedly in Widespread Use

A recent report published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports, that formaldehyde based hair straighteners, used in many hair salons, are health hazards.  The products are allegedly being used without disclosure of the potential health dangers of human exposure. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, a cancer causing agent, as well as an allergen.

EWR reports:

"For the past four years, some celebrities and fashionistas with $250 to $600 to drop at a hair salon have raved about “Brazilian-style keratin” hair straighteners purported to transform frizzy, unmanageable hair into flat, silky-smooth locks.

"In fact, those chemical concoctions are loaded with formaldehyde, which numerous prestigious health bodies, most recently, a National Academy of Sciences panel, have labeled a human carcinogen. Formaldehyde is also a potent allergen. It is especially hazardous when it reverts to its natural state, a gas, and is inhaled. Formaldehyde-based hair straighteners present a particular danger to salon workers who apply blow driers and 450-degree flatirons to chemical-coated hair.

"Some salon clients and personnel have suffered severe allergic reactions, massive hair loss, neck and face rashes, blistered scalps and other serious health problems, according to an Environmental Working Group review of 47 previously unpublished “adverse event” reports filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

"EWG’s comprehensive survey of 45 manufacturers of hair-straightening products has found that: 
15 of 16 companies claim little to no formaldehyde but tests show their products contain substantial amounts – These include Brazilian Blowout, Cadiveu and other top brands. The hair straightener company Goleshlee admits on its website that its product contains formaldehyde but omits the toxic chemical from its online ingredient list.
Fumes in salon air – Tests of salon air conducted in 2010 found powerful formaldehyde fumes. Other tests have found that hair straighteners contain up to 11.8 percent formaldehyde. When vapors reach significant levels, and when products contain a formaldehyde solution of more than 1 percent, federal law requires salons to provide medical monitoring for workers with symptoms, quick-drench showers for immediate use if solution touches skin and emergency eyewash stations. 
Most top salons deny risks – Only three of Elle magazine’s 41 top-rated salons surveyed by EWG do not offer hair-straightening services because of health dangers. Nine salons claimed they used products free or nearly free of toxic chemicals. Yet test results compiled by EWG show the products are laden with formaldehyde. The salons’ claims usually echoed the manufacturers’ own misstatements about the chemistry and safety of the products. Among salons offering formaldehyde hair straighteners are the Andy Lecompte salon in Los Angeles, Whittenmore House Salon in New York and Metodo Rossano Ferretti Hair and Spa in Miami."

Recently the US Occupational and Health Administration issued a "Hazard Alert" to salon workers and owners over the dangers of the us of hair straighteners. The EWG has petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to also take action citing allegedly hazardous products. The exhibit accompanying the petition reviews multiple products including:

The EWR reports on the following products:
  • R and L Soft-Liss Professional Line 
  • KeraGreen Keratin and Protein Hair System by LBD 
  • Tahe Thermo Keratin Hair Treatment
  • Silkening Technologies Pro Collagen Rx Keratin Treatment
  • Brazilian Gloss Brazilian Keratin Treatment
  • Keratin Express Formula
  • Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin Treatment
  • IBS i-Straight System
  • Coppola Keratin Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy
  • Brazilian Blowout Açai Professional Smoothing (“Original”) Solution
  • Cadiveu Brazilian Keratin Smoothing Formula
  • Global Keratin (“GKHair”) Products
  • QOD

Since the FDA does not have the authority to issue a recall, EWR recommends, among other safety issues that need to addressed, that companies voluntarily recall their hair straightening products.

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered work related accidents and injuries.
Related articles

Monday, April 18, 2011

OSHA To Fine Employers for Distracted Driving Accidents

OSHA has announced an aggressive program to combat "The Number 1 Killer of Workers," Distracted Driving. The announcement was made today by Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA).

The enforcement program was described by Michaels  at a symposium on the prevention of Occupationally-Related Distracted Driving conference hosted by Johns Hopkins University. Following the policy announced by President Obama in his Executive Order banning texting while driving, OSHA is calling upon all employers to ban texting while driving.

It is the intention of OSHA to provide education and enforcement on the issue of distracted driving. OSHA will investigate motor vehicle accidents, including cell phone records, and will issue citations and fine employers where an accident involved texting while driving. While OSHA has juridiction over employers, and not employees,  it hopes to encourage all employers to declare motor vehicles a "text free zone."