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Things you should know

New chemical database

A partnership of labor and environmental groups, The BlueGreen Alliance, released the Chemical Hazard and Alternatives Toolbox to provide workers and employers with information on chemicals used in the workplace.

Also known as ChemHAT, the free resource was designed by "rank and file" union members who deal with a variety of chemical hazards daily, according to a news release. The alliance said it hopes ChemHAT will be able to provide users with safer alternatives to the chemicals they are currently using.

NOISH resource helps small businesses target best safety information

Small business owners confused about regulations, training materials, and recommendations on workplace safety can get some help from a new publication.

New tool shows side effects of medications

Drivers who regularly take medications now have a free tool to help them determine if their ability to drive safely has been impacted. Roadwise RX, developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, was designed so users can input their daily prescription and over-the-counter medications to determine how the medications may impact the user's driving abilities, such as attentiveness level, coordination and visual scanning abilities.

New reference card to help identify, prevent and address workplace violence

A new workplace violence prevention reference card from the Security Research Group offers a list of tips to assist in preventing and addressing workplace violence, from identifying behavioral indicators to outlining an action plan for responding to an active shooter.

The free Workplace Violence Prevention reference card includes four main categories: behavioral indicators, violent behavior triggers, preventative measures and active shooter response techniques.

NLRB: Costco policy violated NLRA

Overturning an administrative judge's ruling, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found COSTCO in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Costco's challenged policy language stated, "Employees should be aware that statements posted electronically (such as to online message boards or discussion groups) that damage the company, defame any individual or damage any person's reputation or violate the policies outlined in the Costco Employee Agreement, may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment." But the prohibition was too broad, the board concluded, and "clearly encompasses concerted communications."

Temporary or part-time workers have 50 percent higher injury rate than permanent workers

A recent report from Safe Work Australia found that temporary or part-time workers recorded a work-related injury rate 50 percent higher than permanent workers in 2009-10 with females reporting a significantly higher rate of injuries per hour worked than males.

The report, Australian work-related injury experience by sex and age (2009-2010), examines the work-related injury experience of male and female workers across different age groups. The report also provides data that can assist industry identify demographics where work health and safety can be improved.

Psychotropic medications can increase crash risk: study

Drivers who take psychotropic medications to treat depression, certain sleep disorders or anxiety may have a higher crash risk than drivers who do not take the drugs, according to a study published in the September issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Using Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database, researchers analyzed a group of drivers involved in crashes and a group with no record of a crash. Drivers taking antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and prescription sleeping aids had higher crash rates than drivers not taking the drugs, and risk of crash increased with dosage amount.