Occupational Health News Roundup

 
Researchers from the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego have reported that a significant number of U.S. veterans who were stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan begin abusing alcohol after returning. Difficulties in coping with traumatic memories of combat are one possible reason; younger servicemembers and call-ups from the National Guard and Reserves were among those most likely to increase their drinking and to develop problems related to alcohol. Reuters reports:

Reasons for the increased rates of alcohol abuse among Guard and Reserve members may be that they receive less training and support services than other arms of the military, they must transition from civilian life to a war zone, and their units are less cohesive, the report said.

The researchers surveyed 48,400 service members before (between 2001 and 2003) and after likely deployment (2004 to 2006) to identify heavy drinkers, binge drinkers, or those with alcohol-related problems.

In other news:

San Francisco Chronicle: A measure in the Environmental Quality Committee of California’s Senate would require the state’s Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board to set workplace safety standards for chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm.

Mother Jones: In Delhi, tens of thousands of waste pickers, many of them impoverished women and children, have been recycling trash for decades – but plans for a new waste incinerator puts their small incomes in jeopardy and raises the possibility that they’ll end up picking through toxic ash for metal instead.

Louisville Courier-Journal: At a Mine Safety and Health Administration Hearing, Paul Ledford, the only survivor of the 2006 Darby Mine explosion, testified in support of a federal requirement for mines to have refuge chambers.

Boston Globe: Hospitals are taking steps to address outbursts by surgeons, which can stem from high-stress situations and cause problems for co-workers.

Occupational Hazards: Communication is crucial for achieving a workplace culture of safety – and that means overcoming the perception that giving safety-related feedback creates interpersonal conflict.

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