Friday, September 4, 2015

Listen to Safety Lately 9/4/15

Safety Lately is a look at the past week in the world of OSH. This week’s show covers safety stand-downs, food trucks, and a new NIOSH survey.

You can download the podcast here.

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Always-On Lifestyle Puts Teens at Risk, Study Finds

Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) have released a study that measured teen driving attitudes and behaviors. The study found that most teens engage in dangerous driving behaviors as a result of maintaining an “always-on” lifestyle, fueled by a fear of missing out. This condition is so common that its acronym, FOMO, was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

The study found that nearly half (48%) of teens text more when they are alone in the car—often to update their parents. Worse, an alarming 56% of teens have fallen asleep or nearly fallen asleep at the wheel.

The survey revealed that parents may be the unwitting culprits. According to Liberty Mutual, teens feel that their parents, more than anyone else, expect immediate replies to their text messages, even while driving: 55% of teens report texting while driving in order to update parents.

Additional results point to the dangerous effect FOMO has on teens.
  • 37% of teens text to coordinate event details;
  • 34% take their eyes off the road when app notifications come in while driving;
  • 88% of teens who consider themselves safe drivers report using phone apps on the road.

To help parents and teens reduce these risks on the road, Liberty Mutual and SADD suggest that parents consider signing a parent-teen driving contract, both as a way to start a conversation about safety and to provide everyone with guidelines for practicing and supporting safer behavior behind the wheel.

Infographic Details Differences In Confined Space Standards has released an infographic detailing five crucial ways that OSHA's updated standard for confined spaces in construction (Subpart AA of 29 CFR 1926) differs from existing general industry standards.  


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Comments on Oil & Gas Extraction Worker Survey Proposal

NIOSH is proposing a 3-year study to conduct a survey questionnaire of 500 land-based oil and gas extraction workers in three U.S. states (Texas, North Dakota and a state in the Appalachian Basin) to examine safety and health issues and concerns of those workers. Those who drive as a part of their work duties will be asked to complete an additional set of questions about their driving environment and behaviors.

The researcher aim is to determine on-duty and off-duty factors that contribute to motor vehicle crashes, injuries and illness among this classification of workers and to identify their other safety and health needs and concerns. The results will guide development of evidence-based and priority interventions and future research in the oil and gas extraction industry.

Written comments on the proposal must be received by Sept. 8, 2015 (reference Docket No. CDC-2015-0051). This can be done through the federal eRulemaking portal at or by mail addressed to Leroy A. Richardson, Information Collection Review Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd. NE., MS-D74, Atlanta, GA 30329.

Hoarding Makes Firefighting More Difficult

As if firefighting isn’t difficult enough, the results of hoarding are making it even more difficult for firefighters to do their jobs effectively and efficiently as possible. In an article from The Atlantic, Olga Khazan writes that hoarding is not only making house fires much more dangerous, it is putting firefighters and residents at even more risk of being harmed. “Earlier this month, an Ohio firefighter was hurt in a fire where hoarding was so sever that firefighters couldn’t enter part of the house,” she reports.

Firefighters already have to deal with difficult conditions such as dense smoke, total darkness and limited air supply. Hoarding adds to the difficulty by creating “maze-like conditions” throughout the structure. Clutter blocks exits, safe passage ways and can trip up residents (and firefighters) when trying to escape. In addition, paper and other flammable objects act like kindling, which intensifies a fire.

According to the article, hoarding “is a psychological ailment that was once considered to be similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder, but is now a distinct diagnosis.” The article goes on to say that, “Among the condition’s many devastating mental and physical consequences is that it can make the sufferer more likely to die in a fire.”

In the author’s research, she found that the firefighters she interviewed said they see hoarding conditions in about 25% of the homes they enter. This could possibly be connected to the aging U.S. population, as hoarding is more common among the elderly. Or, another reason could simply be because people have more “stuff.”

To help the hoarding problem, some firefighters have joined hoarding task forces in local communities to help clean up hoarders’ homes, as well as training to fight fires in these conditions.