OSHA Streamlines Provision on State Plans

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a direct final rule that updates State Plan regulations. The rule takes effect October 19, 2015.

Changes include:

  • The removal of “detailed descriptions of State Plan coverage, purely historical data, and other unnecessarily codified information.”
  • A transfer of “most of the general provisions of subpart A of part 1952 into part 1902,” which contains “general regulations on State criteria.”

These and other updates aim to save the time and funds needed to publicize State plan revisions. The change also does away with the need to keep paper copies of approved State plans and plan supplements in an office. There is also no longer any need to give OSHA “multiple copies of proposed State plan documents.”

OSHA stresses that the changes do not alter areas of coverage or any other substantive components of any State plan.

For more details on deletions and changes, read the final rule at the Federal Register.

Database: Over 1,000 Workplace Fatalities Between January and July 2015

According to information from the U.S. Worker Fatality Database, there were 1,073 fatalities in U.S. workplaces from January 2015 to July 2015.

The data includes a geographic distribution of the fatalities; a timeline; deaths per state and industry; brief descriptions of how the incident happened; age and gender of the worker(s); exact date of the fatality; full name of the employees; and their respective employers.

Highlights of the data include:

  • The construction industry had the highest number of fatalities so far with 397; the lowest number (excluding the miscellaneous category) was in education, healthcare, and research with 27
  • Texas had the largest number of deaths with 124

The database was developed by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. One of the creators offers a caveat, noting that “the project captures only a portion” of total fatalities. Even so, it gives more details about worker deaths than any existing government source.

The Worker Fatality Database is a volunteer effort to document and map worker deaths in the US.

Read the press release and view the data.

Americans On the Way to Deadliest Driving Year Since 2007

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that the United States is on track to have its deadliest driving year since 2007.

Comparing the first six months of 2015 with those of 2014, the NSC reveals that in 2015:

  • Traffic fatalities are up by 14 percent with close to 19,000
  • Serious injuries are up by 30 percent with over 2.2 million
  • Costs associated with traffic deaths, injuries and property damage are up 24 percent.

“Follow the numbers: the trend we are seeing on our roadways is like a flashing red light — danger lies ahead,” notes Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the NSC.

The NSC attributes the increases to an improving economy with lower gas prices and unemployment rates, both of which contribute to more traffic and more long distance traveling.

Read the NSC press release.

Occupations with Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

The Breast Cancer Fund published a review of scientific literature that indicates that certain jobs are linked to a considerably increased risk of breast cancer in women.

Some of the occupations and the increased risk involved compared to the general population include:

  • First responders: up to 2.5 times higher
  • Food and beverage production: up to 5 times higher
  • Hairdressers and cosmetologists: up to 5 times higher
  • Manufacturing and machinery: up to 3 times higher
  • Doctors, physicians, and other medical workers excluding nurses: up to 3.5 times higher

The document, Working Women and Breast Cancer: State of the Evidence, was praised by scientists, medical professionals, and worker representatives. It also offers recommendations for research and policies to help protect workers from cancer.

Read the press release or download the report.

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