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 things you should know

FMCSA updates CSA 2010 data preview website

Commercial motor vehicle carriers may now view their individual safety assessments on the Data Preview Website. This updated Website provides motor carriers with information on where they stand in each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) based on roadside data and investigation findings. The motor carrier’s BASIC assessments are visible only to them (and to enforcement staff) until December of 2010. In December, assessments will be made available to the public.

FMCSA officials said the information was made available to give motor carriers the earliest possible opportunity to improve compliance by addressing safety.

Bricklayers at risk for back injury

The decentralized nature of the masonry industry and the prevalence of small contractors prevent masonry workers from using products, equipment and work practices geared toward reducing the rate of musculoskeletal injuries, according to a recent survey from the Center for Construction Research and Training in Silver Spring, MD. Researchers conducted a telephone survey of 183 masonry contractors in 16 states and found safety usually ranked third among reasons for using an intervention, behind time savings and increased productivity.

Bricklayers commonly handle 200 concrete masonry units weighing at least 38 pounds each day, according to a CCRT press release. They have the highest rate of back injuries in the construction industry. Mason tenders have the highest rate of overexertion injuries in the industry.

The findings were published in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

Study: Painters have higher risk of bladder cancer

Professional painters may face a significantly higher risk of bladder cancer, suggests a new study from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. Researchers analyzed more than 2,900 cases of bladder cancer in painters from 41 previous studies. Painters are exposed to some of the same chemicals that are found in cigarette smoke, including aromatic amines.

The authors included studies that assessed whether participants were smokers, in a bid to separate the impact of painters' occupational exposures on bladder cancer risk. They found that after taking smoking into account, painters were still 30% more likely to develop bladder cancer than the general population. The researchers say their results are strengthened by the finding that length of employment as a painter had a significant impact on bladder cancer risk.

Those who had worked in this capacity for more than 10 years were more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who had been in this kind of employment for less than 10 years. The analysis appeared online July 20 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published by BMJ Journals.

Guidelines for integration of occupational safety and health with workplace health promotion programs

The Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) and the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) at the University of California (UC), Berkeley have produced Whole Worker: Guidelines for Integrating Occupational Health and Safety Programs with Workplace Wellness Programs.

The booklet was developed in response to the need for educational materials with guidelines for the integration of occupational safety and health with workplace health promotion programs.  Evidence suggests that wellness programs may have a greater chance of success if integration with occupational health and safety efforts is a priority.

CHSWC is charged with examining the health and safety and Workers’ Compensation systems in California and recommending administrative or legislative modifications to improve their operation.

29.6% Workers’ Comp rate increase proposed for California

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California has recommended a 29.6% rate hike reflecting higher claims and medical costs. The recommendation is strictly advisory but reflects the concern that the underlying cost of Workers’ Comp is rising steadily.

Last year, the Department of Insurance rejected the Bureau’s call for a workers’ comp insurance rate increase of nearly 24%.