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January 2017 Archives

New OSHA rule seeks to prevent retaliation on the job

North Carolina workers who are concerned over possible employer retaliation in connection with the reporting of injuries suffered on the job may want to know more about provisions contained within a Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule that was designed in order to prevent this from happening. As of Dec. 1, 2016, not only did the enforcement of the rule's anti-retaliation provisions take full effect, but employers must now also inform workers of their right to be free of retaliation in the workplace.

How to manage hazardous energy risks

According to OSHA, failure to control hazardous energy contributes to 10 percent of serious accidents across multiple industries. For instance, a worker in North Carolina or elsewhere who is maintaining a machine could suffer from burns, cuts or lacerations if such energy is not controlled. On average, these injuries take 24 workdays to recover from. In some cases, workers are killed because of a lack of control of hazardous energy.

Construction workers and musculoskeletal injuries

Construction workers in North Carolina and throughout the country are more likely to suffer from joint, nerve, muscle and tendon injuries than people in other industries. A study that appeared in Occupational and Environmental Medicine reported that in 2014, work-related musculoskeletal disorders cost workers in private construction jobs $46 million in wages.

Did energy drinks cause serious harm to your teenager?

Consumer Affairs reported on a study out of Madrid, Spain that concludes "energy drinks are the cause of many sudden cardiac deaths in young, healthy individuals." In 2012, the FDA investigated five deaths in people who drank high-caffeine energy drinks. About one-third of all teenagers regularly consume energy drinks, but almost half of the caffeine overdoses in the United States occurred in teenagers. The U.S. Drug Abuse Warning Network is also concerned about the energy-drink usage of teens as the drinks have caused many teenagers to be admitted to the emergency room.

OSHA drastically reduces allowable beryllium exposure levels

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that its decision to lower the permissible levels of beryllium exposure at workplaces in North Carolina and around the country will save 94 lives each year and prevent 46 workers from developing diseases related to the lightweight metal. Beryllium is popular in industrial sectors including energy production and electronics manufacturing because it is lighter than aluminum and stronger than steel, but it is also highly toxic and exposure to even tiny quantities have been linked with serious lung damage.

Ways to stay alert when driving

Distracted driving is a serious problem throughout the entire country, and it's not just talking on cell phones or eating that take your focus off the road. Driving distracted implies anything that pulls your full attention from driving, and drowsiness can be a huge factor. Sleepy drivers have a difficult time staying alert and may have slower reaction times, making it difficult to drive defensively and stop accidents before they happen.

Preventing suspension injuries after a fall

North Carolina employees who routinely work at elevated heights may be interested to know that there are health risks associated with prolonged suspension while in a full-body harness after a fall event. They may also benefit from learning of the ways to avoid sustaining suspension injuries after a fall.

New NHTSA guidelines for driver mode on cell phones

In an effort to help curb the dangers of distracted driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently proposed the idea of a new "driver mode" cell phone setting. The setting would be manual since technology cannot currently differentiate between a driver's phone and a passenger's phone. In the future, however, technology may allow for such a switch to be automatic.

Intelligent phone apps may improve job safety

North Carolina manufacturing professionals may be interested in learning about an ongoing research program that is using cellphones and computer vision technology to improve job safety. Factory workers may be more prone to various musculoskeletal injuries as a result of their employment tasks, which commonly involve repetitive motion. To fight this problem, engineering and industrial systems professors embarked on a project to develop computer vision algorithms that can quantify hand activity. By switching to this method instead of sticking with current standards that involve subjective hazard assessments, the researchers hope to implement a more standardized system of risk measurement.

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