According to an American Road and Transportation Builders Association analysis, roadway construction workers are killed at a rate nearly three times higher than other construction workers. Tom Demeropolis at the Cincinnati Post reports that roadway construction workers safety is on officials’ minds right now in Kentucky, where highway speed limits have just increased. In the Wall Street Journal, Al Karr notes that a trend toward doing more roadwork at night has eased daytime traffic snarls but heightened concerns about construction workers’ safety. Improved lighting, additional police enforcement, and enhanced communication with drivers are among the strategies some states are using to reduce the risk of accidents.
In other news:
Guardian: Ten U.S. Capitol steamfitters have settled a whistleblower retaliation case against the Architect of the Capitol. After the workers complained publicly about dangerous asbestos levels under the Capitol, they reported that the architect’s office retaliated against them by describing them as troublemakers to members of Congress, threatening their jobs, and cutting off supplies they need to work in an environment where the temperature can exceed 130 degrees.
Chemical & Engineering News: Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey says he’s drafting legislation that would give the Chemical Safety Board more authority to investigate chemically related accidents.
New York Times: A new NIOSH estimate projects that the costs of treating Ground Zero workers suffering from health problems could increase from the current rate of approximately $6 million per month to $20 million per month.
The News & Observer: Over the past two summers in North Carolina, six farm workers have died of heatstroke or suspected heatstroke. The states of California and Washington adopted rules requiring drinking water and cool-off areas following heat-related deaths, but the response in North Carolina has lagged. (See OSHA recommendations for controlling heat stress for more information.)
Kent State Magazine: Musculoskeletal injuries are common among nurses who must lift and move patients. Researchers are testing new safe movement equipment, education, and policies to prevent such injuries.