Occupational Health News Roundup

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that as many as 300,000 combat veterans have suffered at least one concussion, according to Pentagon estimates. Victims of these injuries can suffer a range of symptoms, from dizziness and persistent headaches to hearing problems and memory loss. Lizette Alvarez write:

These symptoms, which may be subtle and may not surface for weeks or months after their return, are often debilitating enough to hobble lives and livelihoods.

To this day, some veterans — it is impossible to know how many — remain unscreened, their symptoms undiagnosed. Mild brain injury was widely overlooked by the military and the veterans health system until recently.

In addition to missing out on needed care, many veterans suffering from concussions have a hard time getting compensation that reflects their level of disability.

In other news:

New York Times: A report on the deadly fire at the Deutsche Bank building in Lower Manhattan, which killed two firefighters last August, faults multiple aspects of the building’s demolition process and the response to the fire.

Mail Tribune (Oregon): The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division is concerned about 14,500 nail technicians who are often exposed for more than 8 hours a day to formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate and methyl ethyl ketone; it has formed a collaborative with other agencies to educate salons about these chemicals’ potential risks and ways they can be minimized.

Washington Post: Flexible work schedules (such as 4 10-hour days replacing the standard 5 8-hour days in a work week) can both save energy and attract new employees.

Occupational Hazards: A study suggests offices engineered for more activity can help workers lose weight while maintaining (or even boosting) productivity.

News Leader (Virginia): A hospital’s new Safe Patient Handling Program provides tools and equipment to ease the process of moving patients with the goal of decreasing injury risks to patients and caregivers.

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