Things you should know

Roofers’ risk of fatal falls more than 60x greater than all other jobs combined

According to a post on Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, between 2003 and 2013 3,850 construction workers died as a result of falls – an average of about one death per day. The rate of fatal falls among roofers was over 60 times higher than for all occupations combined. Fall injuries were also more likely to occur among older workers, Hispanic workers, and workers employed in small establishments. Findings from the NIOSH FACE reports (1982 to present) show that among 324 identified construction fall fatalities, only 5.6% of the decedents were using fall protection.

Five states enact laws: Franchisors are not ‘Joint Employers’

Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee have amended Franchise Investment Laws to clarify that – unless the franchise agreement specifically states otherwise – a franchisee is considered the sole employer of workers to whom it pays wages or provides a benefit plan.

The laws arose from the 2015 ruling of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in NLRB v. Browning-Ferris Industries, which examined when a franchisor could be found to be a joint employer of its franchisee’s employees. The decision expanded the exposure of franchisors by noting two entities are considered to be “joint employers” of a single workforce if they share or co-determine matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment.

Mining and manufacturing have highest prevalence of worker hearing loss – study

More than one out of eight workers exposed to on-the-job noise suffer from some form of hearing impairment, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Suitable seating mandated in California

Courts in California have been so busy with lawsuits about an employer’s obligations to provide cashiers, bank tellers and other types of workers with “suitable seats” under a California labor law that the federal appeals court asked the state high court to clarify the law’s requirements. On April 4, 2016, the high court issued a decision in Kirby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc. that has significant implications for employers.

Epstein Becker Green, a national labor relations law firm, suggests in their blog many employers will need to reassess their practices and determine whether it is reasonable to provide seats to employees. Also, employers can expect that their practices will be challenged, and those challenges will often come in the context of class action lawsuits.

Meditation may help reduce back pain, study says

A recent study suggests that a mind-and-body approach may be more effective than standard care for alleviating chronic lower-back pain. The study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

BLS: Musculoskeletal disorders account for high number of DART injuries

Musculoskeletal disorders account for between one-third and one-half of all injuries resulting in days away from work, job restriction or transfer in six major industries, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report

In addition to the high prevalence of MSDs, researchers found:

  • Sprains, strains and tears had, by far, the largest incidence rate for job transfer or restriction across all six industries.
  • Repetitive motion involving micro-tasks resulted in the largest number of median days of job transfer or restriction for all industries except waste management and remediation services.
  • Workers 65 and older in the beverage and tobacco product manufacturing and courier and messenger industries had the largest median days of job transfer or restriction despite having the fewest number of cases.


Farm workers, hairdressers among professions linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma

New research has identified certain occupations and industries linked to the risk of workers developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a group of related cancers affecting part of the body’s immune system. A recent study, conducted by more than 30 researchers from 13 countries, included an analysis of 10 international non-Hodgkin lymphoma studies consisting of about 10,000 cases and 12,000 controls. The data confirmed associations between development of the cancer and employment as certain types of farm workers, hairdressers, cleaners, spray-painters, electrical wiremen and carpenters. The study was published in the April issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Increased protection for coal miners with black lung disease

The DOL’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has issued a final rule revising regulations related to the Black Lung Benefits Act and is intended to increase protections – including full access to medical information – for coal miners who have black lung disease.

Hearing impairment linked to Type 2 Diabetes

A review of studies of possible linkages between type 2 diabetes and hearing impairment concludes there is compelling evidence that diabetes can damage the auditory system, and that clinicians should include hearing testing in managing type 2 diabetes. The survey results were published in an article titled, “Type 2 Diabetes and Hearing Impairment” in the journal Current Diabetes Reports.


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