Occupational Health News Roundup

Last week James Delayo, New York City’s chief crane inspector, was arrested on the charge of taking bribes to let cranes pass inspection. According to officials, these accusations aren’t directly related to the two deadly crane accidents that killed a total of nine people during the last three months. William K Rashbaum provides details in the New York Times:

The charges against Mr. Delayo include third-degree bribe-receiving and first-degree tampering with public records, both felonies for which he could face up to seven years in prison. Among the charges was the accusation that he had provided a copy of the crane operator’s exam to a crane company, for which an official involved in the case said Mr. Delayo was paid about $3,000. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing, said Mr. Delayo also provided the answers.

As the chief inspector, Mr. Delayo had responsibility for overseeing the inspection of all cranes, including tower cranes, the type that collapsed in the two recent fatal accidents. The allegations against Mr. Delayo made it easy on Friday for him to be seen as a symbol for the failures that have plagued the Buildings Department for years. In fact, as he made his way to a cab after court, he was accosted by a street sweeper who dropped his broom and demanded to know if he felt responsible for the crane collapse. He did not answer.

In other news:

Associated Press: Seventeen-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez died pruning grape vines in 100-degree heat in California last month; authorities suspect that the contractor employing her failed to comply with the states’ rules on providing shade and water, and have revoked the company’s license. Five hundred farmworkers and their advocates marched for four days to the state’s capitol to demand safer conditions for farm laborers.

MedPage Today: A study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and published in American Journal of Epidemiology reports that use of certain insecticides and herbicides for more than 100 days in a lifetime is associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes.

Time: A recent anonymous Army survey found that 12% of troops serving in Iraq and 7% of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills.

New York Times: For a haunted group of fathers, pride at having their sons follow them into a construction career turned to grief when their sons were killed on the job.

Kaisernetwork.org: The Senate has passed a bill to expand research and health care for veterans with PTSD, substance abuse problems, and chronic pain.