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EPA releases 'dashboard' for chemical-screening data

Screening data for nearly 2,000 chemicals is available through the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new Interactive Chemical Safety for Sustainability Dashboard.

Also known as iCSS, the dashboard provides users with access to data from screening techniques for the risks of chemicals found in industrial and consumer products.



EPA fines manufacturer of chromium chemicals $2.5 million

One of the largest manufacturers of chromium chemicals in the world has been ordered to pay a $2,571,800 fine for failing to disclose information about the health risks of hexavalent chromium exposure to its workers. The administration decision issued against Elementis Chromium, Inc. was based on a requirement of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen.



Donning and doffing claims possible despite absence of OSHA mandate

More than 400 foundry workers sued Waupaca, which manufactures iron castings used in the automotive industry, for overtime compensation, claiming the time they spent showering and changing clothes at the foundry was compensable under the FLSA. The 7th Circuit overturned a lower court ruling that denied compensation based on a lack of OSHA standards and sent the case back to the district court for a trial. According to the 7th Circuit, courts are prohibited from drawing a negative inference from the absence of an applicable OSHA standard.



Commercial driver medical exam rules changing in 2014

Occupational health providers, employers with commercial-vehicle operations, and bus and truck drivers are affected by the new commercial driver medical exam rules that go into effect in May 2014. Drivers can no longer obtain their medical certifications from their family physician. By May 21, 2014, all certified medical examiners must be listed in the National Registry database, and drivers must obtain a medical examination from a certified examiner.

Medical examiners who fail to maintain federal standards will be removed from the registry. Drivers seeking to renew their license must have their exam done by a registered practitioner or their license will be invalid. Medical certificates issued before this date are valid until the expiration date. This regulation applies to interstate drivers only. Intrastate drivers must follow state medical-certification requirements.



Ladder safety subject of new pocket guide

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has released a new pocket guide on ladder safety.

The one-page document provides tips for inspecting, positioning and using a ladder.



Majority of high blood-lead levels are work-related: report

Lead exposure remains an issue for workers, with elevated levels most common in manufacturing, construction, services and mining, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers examined cases from CDC's Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance Program during 2002-2011. A total of 11,536 adults were found to have "very high" blood-lead levels, defined as greater than or equal to 40 g/dL. Among those, 7,076 cases were tied to occupational exposures, almost half of which occurred in the subsectors of battery manufacturing, non-ferrous metal production and processing, and painting and wall covering.



New toolbox talks available from CPWR

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has published 52 free toolbox talks on construction topics.

The documents are to be printed on both sides. One side features an incident scenario and related questions, prevention tips, and space to write down specific steps workers can take to prevent injuries related to the hazard. The other side has an illustration that can be displayed in the workplace as a poster.



NIOSH ladder safety app now available in Spanish

NIOSH has released a Spanish-language version of its ladder safety application for mobile devices. Originally launched in June, the app features a guide for proper ladder selection, inspection, positioning and safe use. When a user's phone is set to Spanish language, the Spanish version of the app will install when downloaded. The free app can be downloaded on both iPhone and Android devices.



NSC releases infographics on distracted driving, prescription drug abuse

The National Safety Council (NSC) has prepared two infographics to help address workplace issues.

Driving Down Distraction explains the scope of distracted driving and how employers can put strong prevention policies in place.

The second infographic, Prescription Nation, explains how prescription painkiller abuse has become an epidemic and what can be done to curb it.



Workers' Compensation insurance pricing still rising in California

Pricing for Workers' Compensation insurance continued to harden in California during the first half of 2013, according to a report published by SNL Financial L.C.

During the first half of the year, California's ten largest Workers' Compensation insurers increased their rates an average of 4.3%. Excluding a 7% decrease filed in March by the State Compensation Insurance Fund, which is the state's largest Workers' Comp insurer, the average rate increase among California's market leaders through July 1 was 5.9%.