Occupational Health News Roundup

In Brooklyn, a bus driver refused to give a transfer to a man who hadn’t paid – and the man responded by stabbing the bus driver to death. Edwin Thomas, 46, had an 18-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter. He was driving the B46 route when he was killed. In the New York Times, Robert D. McFadden says this about violence against New York bus drivers:

Howard H. Roberts Jr., the president of New York City Transit, said it was the first killing of a city bus driver since Oct. 10, 1981, when Harvey Shild, 28, operating a B44 bus in Brooklyn, was shot to death under remarkably similar circumstances, slain by a passenger angered by the driver’s refusal to give him a transfer.

Transit officials said that 74 city bus drivers had been assaulted through September this year. Bus crimes dropped sharply in 1969 when the city installed exact-change boxes, and the use of MetroCards in recent years, which further limited on-board money, kept crime low.

DC’s transit system will eliminate paper transfers altogether in January. That won’t address the fact that there are people who are so unhinged as to kill someone over something worth $2, but it might help keep bus drivers safer.

In other news:

SF Chronicle: Trucking company workers with exposure to diesel exhaust have an elevated risk of lung cancer; California’s Air Resources Board will take this finding into account as they consider regulation to retrofit or replace diesel trucks in the state.

Washington Post: The Institute of Medicine recommends that medical residents work no more than 16 hours without taking a five-hour sleep break.

National Academies: Returning veterans with traumatic brain injuries are at risk for long-term health problems like memory loss, depression, dementia, and Parkinson-type symptoms.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: The solvent 1-Bromopropane (1-BP) is increasingly being used as a substitute for ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons and as a dry-cleaning solvent in states that restrict the use of the possible human carcinogen perchloroethylene. The cases of two 1-BP expossed workers diagnosed with clinical manifestations of neurotoxicity, coupled with previously published studies of health risks associated with 1-BP exposure, illustrate potential health risks related to this substance.

EHS Today: The Australian Safety and Compensation Council has released the results of its first national survey on exposure to occupational disease hazards.

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