Things you should know

Work related injuries more common among new workers

While previous studies have found that recently hired workers face higher injury rates, this Toronto-based Institute for Work and Health research finds that the higher risk of work injury among new workers has persisted over the past ten years. This suggests workplaces need to do more to ensure new workers get the training and supervision they need to stay safe on the job. According to the study, employees working their first month on-the-job have three times the risk of a lost-time injury than those who have been on the job more than a year.

Commercial truck passengers must use seatbelt

While federal rules have long required all commercial truck drivers to use seat belts, their passengers will now have to wear them starting August 8 whenever the vehicles are operated on public roads in interstate commerce. The final rule is a revision of existing Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.

NIOSH launches ‘PPE info’ database

NIOSH has developed a database for searching “relevant standards, associated product types, target occupational groups, basic conformity assessment specifications and accredited lab information” related to personal protective equipment. It includes regulations and consensus standards and is intended for developers, manufacturers, purchasers and end users of PPE.

Nearly 90% of comp treatment denials upheld on review – California

According to a study from the California Workers’ Compensation Institute, nearly 90% of independent medical reviews for California workers’ compensation claims uphold utilization review medical decisions that deem a service for an injured worker as medically unnecessary. This consistently high uphold rate shows that the vast majority of the disputed modifications and denials made by utilization review physicians continue to be found to be in line with the evidence-based medicine guidelines.

Ergo for miners: NIOSH releases assessment app

NIOSH has developed a mobile app to help miners assess the ergonomics of three mining tasks: bagging, maintenance and repair, and haul truck operations.

ErgoMine asks users questions to determine ergonomics issues related to these tasks. Users can complete all or some of the modules for each audit. The app then makes recommendations for ergonomic improvements, which can be viewed on the device or emailed. The app is available for Android phone users.

FAA releases final rule on commercial drone operation

The risks posed by drones have spurred the Federal Aviation Administration to issue its first operational rule for routine commercial use of drones. Safety professionals are looking to drones to conduct industrial inspections that can help avoid exposing workers to danger in high-risk sectors. The FAA forecasts that by 2020, the commercial drone fleet will grow to 540,000, with industrial inspections being the largest market.

Some of the requirements in the final rule include:

  • Drones must weigh less than 55 pounds.
  • Pilots must be at least 16 years old, and must be certified or supervised by a certified individual.
  • Drones can be operated during daylight and twilight (30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset, respectively) only if the drone is equipped with appropriate anti-collision lights.
  • Operators must keep drones within line of sight.
  • Operators cannot fly drones over unprotected individuals on the ground who are not part of the operation, are under a covered structure, or are inside a covered stationary vehicle.
  • Maximum ground speed is 100 mph.
  • Maximum altitude is 400 feet above ground level; if flying higher, the drone must remain within 400 feet of a structure.

Some states making progress on curbing long-term opioid use

Longer-term use of opioids among injured workers decreased in several states, according to the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) in the study, “Longer-Term Use of Opioids, 2nd Edition.” The study examined trends across twenty-five states and found:

  • The frequency of claims that received opioids on a longer-term basis decreased more than 2 percentage points in Michigan over the study period, which translates to an approximately 31 percent reduction. The same measure decreased 1-2 percentage points in several other states (Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Texas).
  • Although longer-term opioid use increased in Wisconsin and Indiana, the frequency of longer-term use was lower compared with the other study states.
  • Longer-term opioid use was most prevalent in Louisiana – 1 in 6 injured workers with opioids was identified as having longer-term use of opioids. Compared with most study states, the number was also higher in California, New York, and Pennsylvania. Missouri and New Jersey had the lowest rate among the study states.
  • In most states, few injured workers with longer-term opioid use received psychological evaluations and psychological treatment. Even in Texas, the state with the highest use of these services, only 1 in 3 had a psychological evaluation and 1 in 8 received psychological treatment.


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