Friday, March 30, 2012

Library of Congress Releases Color Photos From the 1930s-40s

The U.S. Library of Congress is sharing a series of rare color photographs from the Great Depression and World War II, an era typically seen only in black-and-white. The images depict what life was like for Americans, particularly farm labor and aspects of WWII mobilization: factories, railroads, aviation training and women in the workplace. The images were captured by photographers working for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and Office of War Information (OWI). Take a walk through labor history on the FSA/OWI Flickr site or the Library of Congress page, where you can also find a link to more than 170,000 black and white images.

Advance Notification Still a Problem, MSHA Says

MSHA reports that despite increased enforcement efforts, some mine operators still give their employees advance notice of when federal inspectors are coming for an inspection. This is in violation of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. Although the agency has been able to detect some instances of this advance notice, MSHA still sees it as a serious problem within the industry.

"Providing advance notice of an inspection is illegal," says MSHA's Joseph Main. "It can obscure actual mining conditions by giving mine employees the opportunity to alter working conditions, thereby inhibiting the effectiveness of MSHA inspections. Furthermore, it appears that current penalties are not sufficient to deter this type of conduct."

MSHA reports this illegal advanced notice played a part in the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, and although the illegal actions were highlighted in the investigation, the advance notice practice still occurs too often. "Upper Big Branch is a tragic reminder that operators and miners alike need to understand advance notice can prevent inspectors from finding hazards that can claim miners' lives," says Main.

OSHA Seeks Comments on Safety in Construction Sector

More than 30 workers in the construction industry died between 2000 and 2009 while using reinforcement methods to strengthen concrete, OSHA states. These workers face life-threatening hazards like impalement, collapsed walls, slips, trips and falls. Construction workers also face fatal injuries when struck by vehicles reversing or when caught between backing vehicles and an object, such as a loading dock. The agency found that about 360 workers died from these incidents from 2005 to 2010. In the latest Request for Information (RFI), OSHA is seeking comments on how to prevent injuries and deaths caused by these actions, and will use the remarks to learn more about what solutions exist to prevent loss and injury. Comments on this RFI must be submitted by June 27, 2012. Interested parties may submit comments at the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments may also be submitted by mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

CSB Seeks Comments on Its Strategic Plan

CSB is seeking comments on its draft 2012-2016 Strategic Plan. The draft plan updates the 2007-2012 Strategic Plan and also includes the agency's goals, objectives, and measures for management and evaluation operations. According to CSB, the plan stems from the agency's legislative mandate, which includes three goals:
  1. Conduct incident investigations and safety studies that involve accidental releases or potential releases of hazardous chemical substances. 
  2. Improve safety and environmental protection by securing implementation of CSB recommendations and broadly disseminating CSB findings. 
  3. Preserve the public trust by maintaining and improving organizational excellence.
 The public can submit comments until April 12, 2012. Visit the CSB website for additional information and to comment on the draft plan.

Safety 2012 Early Registration Discount Ends Tomorrow

The early registration discount for Safety 2012 ends tomorrow. To receive the discounted rate, be sure to call ASSE Customer Service at +1-847-699-2929, register online, download the registration form and fax to +1-847-768-3434 or have your registration application postmarked by March 30.

Safety 2012, scheduled for June 3-6, in Denver, CO, will host more than 200 sessions, various networking opportunities, keynote presentations from industry experts and an exhibition showcasing the latest products and services.

DOL Assists Workers Affected by Layoffs at Idaho National Laboratory

DOL has awarded a National Emergency Grant for over $1 million to aid approximately 175 workers laid off while working for the Idaho National Laboratory. “These workers have specialized skills that don’t easily translate to new employers,” says Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. Through intensive employment and support services, the federal grant will help these workers more effectively market their current expertise and gain new skills needed by growing industries, Solis adds. It will help these dislocated workers re-enter the workforce in sectors like the hospital industry, education, healthcare, retail, transportation and warehousing, as well as professional, scientific and technical services. These grants are part of Solis’ discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state’s ability to meet specific guidelines. For more information, visit

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ICC Publishes Green Building Code

The 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) has been published by International Code Council (ICC). The model code provides direction and oversight of green design, construction and remodeling of residential and commercial structures. It is expected to make buildings more energy efficient, reduce waste and have a positive effect on health, safety and community welfare. According to ICC, this is the first model code to include sustainability measures for an entire construction project and its site—from design through construction, occupancy and beyond.

With input from experts in code development and enforcement, architecture, engineering, building science, environmental advocacy, government, business, academia and the public, the 2012 IgCC was developed with the support of several cooperating sponsors: American Institute of Architects, ASTM International, ASHRAE, U.S. Green Building Council and Illuminating Engineering Society.

Fire Service Video Contest Accepting Entries

NFPA, International Association of Fire Chiefs and National Volunteer Fire Council are cosponsoring the first Fire Service Video contest. Firefighters, fire department employees and fire service members are encouraged to submit a video that highlights their fire company and how it demonstrates firefighter safety and health. Complete rules and information can be found on the contest website.

Representatives from the organizations will select finalists based on the best safety and health content, creativity and enthusiasm. The video submission deadline is May 11, 2012. Four finalists will be chosen by agency members and final voting will be open to the public. The winner will be announced on June 12, 2012.

FAA Safety Team Holds Annual Safety Standdown

The March/April 2012 issue of FAA Safety Briefing features an article on the FAA Safety Team’s (FAASTeam’s) 3rd Annual Safety Standdown. FAASTeam members around the country will host nearly 90 local standdown events, with the main event held March 31 in Lakeland, FL. In 2010, the FAASTeam launched the safety standdown outreach effort to general aviation pilots and mechanics. A common practice in the military, a standdown focuses on education on a specific safety issue. The three central themes of the 2012 standdown are: loss of control, aeronautical decision making and advanced preflight.

Grow with the ASSE Foundation

The Foundation at ASSE has revamped its website! The new layout divides our programs and events into three categories: How You Can Give, How You Can Grow and How You Can Participate. We have added more pictures and graphics, and we have changed the entire structure of the site to increase user-friendliness and make it easy for you to explore our many programs, funds and events. The home page features rotating banners that will change regularly as we promote our programs and events throughout the year. To start off, we are featuring our Legacy Trust program and registration information for our Golf Outing at Safety 2012. Check back in a week when we will announce the winners of our 2012 scholarship and grant program. To learn more about the Foundation’s mission, history and initiatives, click here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Study Shows Window Replacements Reduce Lead Dust Levels

NCHH released a new study that showed significantly lower amounts of lead dust in homes that had window replacements. The study evaluated homes that either replaced or repaired windows 12 years ago to determine which strategy resulted in lower lead dust levels on floors and window sills. The results showed that dust levels were 41% lower on floors and 51% lower on window sills in homes with replaced windows than in homes with repaired ones. When considering both energy efficiency and home improvement, homeowners can save almost $2,000 on window replacements, the study shows. Although lead-safe window replacement is an important element of lead hazard control, weatherization, renovation and housing investment strategies, window replacement alone cannot render a home lead-safe. In fact, NCHH encourages homeowners to check all lead sources, including deteriorated lead paint on the exterior of homes, lead dust on floors and lead in soil. For more information, visit

ANSI to Host Exploratory Meeting on Energy Standards

ANSI will host an exploratory meeting on April 25, 2012, in the Washington, DC, area for industry stakeholders to analyze the need for an energy efficiency standards panel, which would develop a "standardization road map for energy efficiency initiatives in the U.S."

The agency says, "Over the next 10 years, energy efficiency efforts are expected to grow dramatically, with a significant number of diverse initiatives already underway in the public and private sectors." The meeting aims to define the areas for possible standards, codes and conformance programs to "advance the nation's energy efficiency agenda. For more information or to register for the meeting, visit the ANSI website.

Distracted Driving Remains a Problem for Teens

AAA’s new study shows that teen girls are twice as likely as teen boys to use electronic devices while driving. On the other hand, teen boys are almost twice as likely to turn around in their seats while driving, and are more likely to communicate with people outside of the vehicle. The in-car video study also shows that the most commonly observed distracted driving activity for new teen drivers is use of electronic devices, while other common distractions include personal grooming, adjusting controls and reaching for objects. In addition, many of the distracting behaviors appear more prevalent among the older teens, suggesting a shift in attitude as drivers get more comfortable behind the wheel. Passengers also negatively influenced driver behavior, and the study shows teen drivers are six times as likely to have a serious incident when loud conversation occurs in the vehicle. These behaviors are linked with instances of teens looking away from the roadway. According to the findings, teen drivers using electronic devices take their eyes off the road for a full second longer than drivers not using such a device. "A second may not seem like much, but at 65 mph a car travels the length of a basketball court in a single second," AAA CEO Peter Kissinger says. "That extra second can mean the difference between managed risk and tragedy for any driver." For more information and science-based tools for teen drivers and their families, visit

Monday, March 26, 2012

NTSB Hosts Attentive Driving Forum Tomorrow

Announced last month, NTSB’s Attentive Driving: Countermeasures for Distraction forum will take place tomorrow. The complete agenda for the event is available on the agency’s website, along with a list of speakers. The forum will examine distractions that compete for drivers’ attention, and discuss the various laws and the differences in how states have adopted restrictions. Panelists include representatives from safety advocacy groups, vehicle manufacturers, law enforcement, government and the research community. The event will be streamed live via webcast.