September 30, 2013 • Volume 12, Issue 19
Study links silica exposure with significant increase in lung cancer risk
A newly published study of a large population of Chinese tin and pottery workers has found that exposure to airborne silica dust is associated with a significant increase in the risk of developing lung cancer. The study, printed in the American Journal of Epidemiology, measured cumulative silica exposure in a group of more than 30,000 workers over a 44-year period. These findings, which confirm that silica is a human carcinogen, are consistent with the preliminary risk assessment in OSHA's new proposed rule to protect workers from occupational exposure to crystalline silica, and have important implications for public health. Read more about the AJOE study here.
OSHA invites and strongly encourages the public to participate in the process of developing a final silica rule through written comments and participation in public hearings. To read the notice of proposed rulemaking, visit https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-20997. Additional information on the proposed rule, including five fact sheets, and procedures for submitting written comments and participating in public hearings is available at www.osha.gov/silica.
OSHA cites Nebraska Cold Storage for ammonia exposure, other serious safety violations
Nebraska Cold Storage Inc. has been cited by OSHA for 14 safety violations and fined $132,800 for exposing workers to anhydrous ammonia at its Hastings facility. The storage and shipping services company has also been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. OSHA conducted an inspection in March under the agency?s high-hazard local emphasis program and was expanded to include all items within the agency's national emphasis program for process safety management for covered chemical facilities. Violations included failing to develop and implement written, safe operating and mechanical integrity procedures and measures to take for physical contact or airborne exposure to anhydrous ammonia, correct deficiencies in equipment and document responses to 2010 compliance audit findings. Read the news release for a complete list of citations.
OSHA signs new alliances to protect vulnerable workers in high-hazard industries
OSHA has established two new alliances to protect oil and gas workers ? with the Buckeye Service, Transmission, Exploration and Production Safety Network in Ohio and with the Association of Energy Service Companies in Dallas. The alliances will work to provide local employers and workers with guidance and training resources to address hazards associated with oil and gas operations.
OSHA also has renewed two alliances, with T&T Staff Management Inc. of El Paso, Texas, and with the National Council of La Raza to reach out to temporary, low-wage, limited English proficiency and other vulnerable workers in construction and general industries. Through the Alliance Program, OSHA works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.
Connecticut and Oregon aim to protect young workers from jobsite hazards
Workers under the age of 25 are twice as likely to be injured on the job as older workers and are often unaware of their workplace rights.
In Connecticut, federal and state-run OSHA joined a coalition that has launched a new website on the safety and health of young workers, which consolidates specific resources related to laws and regulations, training programs, educational materials, statistical data and local news and events associated with hiring young workers. Federal OSHA also has a Young Workers Web page with resources for young workers, employers, parents and educators.
In addition, Oregon OSHA's new video series uses humor and song to educate young workers about workplace hazards. The videos, available on YouTube, cover general awareness for teens about speaking up on the job, safe lifting, and ladder and restaurant safety. See the news release for more information.
Additional OSHA resources recently made available include new Web pages on a chemical industry advisory on the Safe Storage, Handling, and Management of Ammonium Nitrate (PDF*), a Fatal Facts: Cotton Press fact sheet (PDF*), a handy QuickCard on Precautions for Firefighters to Prevent Dust Explosions (PDF*), and a brief for physicians on Medical Evaluation of Renal Effects of Cadmium Exposure (PDF*).
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