Study links on-the-job pollution exposure to heart abnormalities among Latinos

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First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New York — Exposure to pollutants such as vehicle exhaust, pesticides and wood smoke may be linked to structural and functional heart abnormalities that could lead to cardiovascular disease among Latino workers, results of a recent study published by the American Heart Association indicate.

Researchers studied 782 adult workers with Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American or South American backgrounds, gauging their exposure to pollutants at their current and longest-held job via questionnaires. Ultrasounds were taken of the participants’ hearts. Among the findings:

  • Workers exposed to vehicle exhaust, pesticides, burning wood and metals who have been at their jobs for an average of 18 years or more were more likely to “have features of abnormal heart function and structure.”
  • Exposure to burning wood or wood smoke was linked to a “decreased ability” (3.1% lower) of the heart’s left ventricle to pump blood.
  • Exposure to vehicle exhaust was linked to indicators of reduced pumping ability for the heart.
  • Workplace exposure to pesticides was associated with an abnormal ability to contract in the left ventricle.
  • Exposure to metals was linked to a risk factor for cardiovascular disease: increased muscle mass and abnormal ability to contract in the left ventricle.

“These findings support the notion that where people live and work affects cardiovascular health,” researcher Jean Claude Uwamungu, cardiology fellow in training at Montefiore Health System/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said in a press release from AHA. “Policies and interventions to protect the environment and safeguard workers’ health could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart failure, especially among low-income occupations that have higher exposure to these harmful pollutants. Health care professionals should routinely ask patients about exposure to pollutants at work to guide prevention, diagnosis and treatment of early stages of heart disease.”

The study was published online Aug. 26 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 and the Flu

First published by NSC.

With the risks of the flu and COVID-19, as well as potential confusion around symptoms, prevention is key to protecting yourself, your co-workers and your loved ones. To limit risk, you must understand the riskiest situations this flu season. According to the CDC, limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. You can also limit your risks by:

Talk to your supervisor about preventive steps you can take to limit the spread at work. Remember, a lack of symptoms does not mean you or those around you don’t have COVID-19. This virus can spread easily but the above measures can help. The CDC explains that for both COVID-19 and the flu, it’s possible to spread the virus for at least one day before you experience any symptoms. With COVID-19, the CDC says, you can remain contagious for at least 10 days after experiencing symptoms.

This is especially important if you spend time around people in high-risk groups, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions. According to the CDC, people in these groups can be at higher risk for developing a severe illness from COVID-19, and taking the above precautions are even more important to keep them safe.

The Vital Importance of Getting Your Flu Shot

It’s important to get a flu shot each year to reduce your risk of becoming sick and spreading the flu to others. This year, however, a flu shot is more important than ever and the best way to reduce the spread of the seasonal flu. While you might think catching the flu is no big deal – especially in comparison to COVID-19 – it’s not just yourself that you should be worried about. If you catch the flu, you could spread it to others who may be at higher risk for complications. Then there is the issue of overburdening the hospital system. If you become sick or unknowingly infect someone, it might require health care and medical resources that already are strained by the pandemic.

All of us can take simple precautions to limit the spread of these viruses and keep those around us safe. Check out this video for more tips on protecting your co-workers and community this flu season. This Vaccine Finder tool can locate local options for you and your loved ones to get a flu shot.

Additional Resources:

Use the above resources and these posters to keep yourself and those around you safe:


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Preparing for Flu Season and COVID-19

First published by NSC.

Flu season is here, along with the additional risks posed by COVID-19. These viruses each pose serious dangers, making it crucial to prepare for both and take preventive steps to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Preliminary estimates from the CDC report that about 34,000 Americans died from the flu last year, with a typical flu season ranging from around October to as late as May. COVID-19, meanwhile, has killed over 229,000 Americans since early 2020. As the normal flu season ramps up, the potential for spread, infection and confusion around these viruses will increase. While you might consider a flu shot and cough syrup an adequate response to the flu in a regular year, those steps are not enough this year. Each of us must take action to avoid infection, limit the spread of these viruses and keep each other safe.

Key Differences in Signs and Symptoms

To prevent the spread of viruses this flu season, you must be able to spot the signs and symptoms of a typical cold, the annual flu and COVID-19. According to the CDC, there are some similarities and differences between a cold and the flu, and between the flu and COVID-19.

With a cold:

  • Symptoms may be gradual
  • Most common symptoms include sneezing, a stuffy nose and a sore throat
  • It is rare to experience a fever or headache

With the flu:

  • Symptoms show up abruptly
  • Common symptoms include a fever, aches, fatigue, chest discomfort and a headache
  • It is less common to experience sneezing, a stuffy nose or a sore throat

With COVID-19:

  • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus
  • Common shared symptoms with the flu include a fever, aches, fatigue and a headache
  • Common symptoms different from the flu can include change in or loss of taste or smell

Some of these overlapping symptoms can be confusing, but it’s important to keep in mind that each person’s experience with a cold, the flu or COVID-19 may be different. Symptoms may be more severe or, in some COVID-19 cases, there may be no symptoms at all. That is why, whether working remotely or in a traditional workplace, spotting these signs in yourself or others – or learning you were in contact with someone with COVID-19 – should spur you to action.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, the CDC recommends quarantining at home and contacting your health care provider for additional guidance. The same goes if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19. Talk to your supervisor about working from home or taking time off to keep yourself and your co-workers safe. It can be difficult to decide whether you need to get tested for COVID-19, but the CDC has a tool to help. The Coronavirus Self-Checker allows you to enter your symptoms and other information to help determine whether you should get tested or access additional medical care.

If you get the flu, the CDC recommends:

  • Staying home and resting
  • Avoiding contact with people who are not sick, including those in your home
  • Drinking plenty of water to prevent dehydration

If you are caring for someone with the flu but you don’t have it, the CDC recommends:

  • Avoiding close contact with the sick individual as much as possible
  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Using an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water aren’t easily available

See more CDC recommendations, including a list of flu symptoms that may require immediate medical care and take a look at this article from the winter issue of Family Safety & Health® magazine for additional information on the differences between symptoms.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Communicating through a facemask

Communicating through a face mask, McCraren Compliance

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Wearing a facemask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 can present obstacles to communication, “an important and complex transaction that depends on visual and, often, auditory cues,” says Debara L. Tucci, director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

When facial coverings are worn, facial features are obscured, while speech perception and conveyed emotion are disrupted. Facial coverings also filter speech, making sounds less clear, Tucci said, adding, “When it is harder to understand speech – whether because of cloth face coverings, distance or other factors – research suggests that we have fewer cognitive resources to process information deeply. As a result, communication suffers, and feelings of stress and isolation may increase.”

NIDCD offers the following tips to improve communication when wearing a facial covering:
Be aware. Is the person you’re communicating with having trouble understanding you? Ask and adapt if needed.
Be patient. Facial coverings block visual cues and muffle sounds that help us understand speech, which can make interactions frustrating.
Be mindful. Consider how physical distancing might affect your communication. As distance increases, sound levels decrease and visual cues are more difficult to see.
Be loud and clear. Speak up, but don’t shout. Focus on speaking clearly. Consider wearing a clear facial covering, if possible. If you’re having trouble understanding, ask the person you’re talking with to speak louder. If you lip-read, ask those you interact with regularly to wear a clear facial covering.
Turn down the background volume. Background noise can make conversation especially hard. Move to a quieter spot or turn down the sound, when possible.
Communicate another way. Use a smartphone talk-to-text app or writing tools (e.g., paper/pen, whiteboard) to communicate.
Confirm your statement is clear. Ask if your message has been understood.
Bring a friend or be a friend. If it’s essential that you comprehend important spoken details – during a discussion with a health care provider, for example – consider bringing a friend or family member with you.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, October 24

First published by  Get Smart About Drugs. 

Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Do you have unused or expired prescription medication in your home? If so, there’s a chance they could get into the wrong hands.

Clean out your cabinets, and drop off your meds at a designated location near you this Saturday, October 24, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. during Take Back Day.

This event is a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs at locations in communities throughout the country.

The October 2019 Take Back Day brought in 882,919 pounds (almost 442 tons) of unused or expired prescription medication and vape devices.

This brings the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to nearly 12.7 million pounds​. Read more about the most recent Take Back Day totals here.

Check DEA’s official Take Back Day website for more information and to find year-round collection sites near you.

In the Meantime… What Should You Do With Your Unused Meds?

Most people who misuse prescription drugs get them from family, friends, and acquaintances.

You can make a difference by keeping track of the medicine you have, by rethinking where and how you keep your medications in your home, and by safely disposing of any unused medications.

Don’t Share

Keep track of your legally prescribed controlled substances – that is, count your pills so you always know how much you should have and so you know when to take action if any go missing.  With controlled substances, sharing is NOT caring. You could be putting your loved ones at risk, and unintentionally contribute to drug misuse, drug addiction, or a fatal drug overdose. Read more about ways to secure your meds and safely dispose of them at home.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

New method of detecting combustible dust uses real-time imaging

Detecting combustible dust
Purdue innovators have created technology to help prevent dust explosions. Photo: Kingsly Ambrose, Purdue University

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

West Lafayette, IN — Using newly developed algorithms, researchers from Purdue University have designed an image- and video-based application to detect combustible dust concentrations suspended in the air.

The application, which the researchers say can be used in agricultural, powder-handling or manufacturing settings, involves capturing images of a suspended dust cloud and then analyzing the light extinction coefficient. In testing, the algorithm was able to recognize 95% of sawdust and 93% of cornstarch particulates in the air, a university press release states, adding that the application was able to distinguish suspended dust from “normal background noise.”

Current technology for detecting dust levels can be expensive and difficult to install in workspaces, and separates dust matter into multiple filters that must be weighed and undergo additional analysis, according to the researchers. In contrast, the new application doesn’t require extended training, is location independent and doesn’t need to be permanently installed.

According to data from the Chemical Safety Board, between 2006 and 2017, 111 combustible dust incidents resulted in 66 worker deaths and 337 injuries in the United States.

“Determining suspended dust concentration allows employers to take appropriate safety measures before any location within the industry forms into an explosive atmosphere,” Kingsly Ambrose, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, said in the release.

The research team, which has worked with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the technology, said the application can be used effectively in open and confined spaces.

The study was published online July 21 in the Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Are remote workers ready to return to the workplace? Survey explores

ready to return to workplaceFirst published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New York — Fewer than 3 out of 10 employees who are working remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic say they expect to return to their physical workplace by the end of the year, and some groups feel more pressure than others to do so, results of a recent survey suggest.

From Sept. 16 to 25, nonprofit think tank The Conference Board conducted an online survey of more than 1,100 U.S. workers across numerous industries to gain an understanding of employee readiness to return to the workplace during the pandemic. More than a quarter (28%) of the respondents indicated they expect to return to their workplace by Jan. 1, while 38% expect to do so in the new year or beyond. Only 7% expect to return after a vaccine is made widely available.

Most of the workers feel “moderately comfortable” (39%) or “very comfortable” (17%) about returning to the workplace, while 31% aren’t comfortable with the prospect of returning.

When it comes to feeling pressure to return to the workplace, more women (17%) responded affirmatively than men (10%). Women were also more likely to express concern over contracting COVID-19 (67% vs. 61%). Meanwhile, 20% of “individual contributors” and 21% of frontline managers feel pressure to return – much higher percentages than C-suite executives (4%).

Other findings:

  • 29% of respondents have “little faith” in their co-workers to follow proper health and safety protocols when returning to work.
  • The top three concerns about returning to the workplace: risk of contracting COVID-19 (51%); risk of exposing family members (49%); and lack of a safe, effective, available vaccine (40%).
  • 37% said they don’t know if their organization has a plan for safely returning employees to the workplace.

“These survey results reinforce the need for employers to hear concerns about the pressure that individual contributors and frontline managers, especially, feel to return to the workplace to keep their jobs,” Rebecca Ray, executive vice president of human capital at The Conference Board, said in an Oct. 8 press release. “These cohorts are less likely to be involved with planning the return. Without a continuous dialogue, and in many cases, the lack of a detailed plan about returning to the workplace, it comes as no surprise that these workers are more apprehensive.”


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

October Distracted Driving Awareness Month

First published by The National Safety Council.

The National Safety Council (NSC) is hosting the 10th annual Distracted Driving Awareness month.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Safety Council postponed the observance of Distracted Driving Awareness Month from April to October 2020.

This year’s Distracted Driving Awareness month began with the release of a report that covers the science that is behind distractions that occur while driving and make roadways safer.

The report recommends that drivers only use their cell phones if they are parked and that they program apps for navigation and music before they start driving. There is also a signal to legislators to pass laws that prohibit the use of devices while driving.

Just Drive

On a typical day, more than 700 people are injured in distracted driving crashes. Talking on a cell phone – even hands-free – or texting or programming an in-vehicle infotainment system diverts your attention away from driving. Keep yourself and others around you safe and #justdrive.

Join NSC and lead sponsor TRUCE Software – a company dedicated to decreasing workplace distraction and improving worker safety – during Distracted Driving Awareness Month to help make our roadways and our people safer. Create a distracted driving program for your organization, or educate your community by sharing these materials.

To prevent tragedies due to distracted driving, motorists are urged to:

  • Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
  • Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
  • Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against unsafe drivers.

All pedestrians and bicyclists should focus on their surroundings and not on their electronic devices.  Learn more here.

Five Seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting.

For more information on the Distracted Driving Awareness month, visit nsc.org.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

‘Soaring rate of deaths’: Motor vehicle fatality rate surges in first half of 2020

Police: Impaired driver causes 5-vehicle crash on Highway 69 | The Daily  Courier | Prescott, AZ

Itasca, IL — The rate of motor vehicle-related deaths jumped 20% in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2019, according to preliminary estimates released by the National Safety Council.

The spike in the rate – an indicator of how safe the nation’s roads are – comes despite a 17% drop in the number of miles driven over the course of the six months, NSC states in a Sept. 15 press release. The estimated total number of deaths, meanwhile, was up 1% from the first-half total of last year.

The 20% increase is the largest jump the council has calculated for a six-month period since 1999.

“Because of COVID-19 and states’ shelter-in-place orders earlier this year, the country should have reaped a safety benefit from less traffic,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said in the release. “Instead, our soaring rate of deaths speaks to our need to improve safety on our roads. Clearly, we must work harder as a society to reverse this trend, especially since the pandemic is not nearly over.”

To help ensure roadway safety, the council is urging drivers to:

  • Obey speed limits, even if roads are clear and traffic is light.
  • Practice defensive driving. Buckle up; designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation; get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue; and drive attentively, avoiding distractions.
  • If you have a teen driver, stay engaged and practice with him or her often – tips are available at DriveitHOME.org.
  • Follow state and local directives, and stay off the roads if officials have directed you do to so.
  • Be aware of increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic, particularly in urban areas. Conversely, pedestrians and bicyclists should remember that streets are getting congested again, and vulnerable roadway users need to be careful.
  • Encourage your employer to join the Road to Zero Coalition, a 1,500-member group committed to eliminating roadway deaths by 2050.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

As pandemic continues, don’t lose sight of common worker safety hazards, experts caution

danger-sign.jpg

Photo: Terraxplorer/iStockphoto

Silver Spring, MD — As the United States approaches six months of adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers and employees mustn’t overlook longtime safety hazards such as falls and electricity.

That was the message from Rodd Weber, a Las Vegas-based corporate safety director at The PENTA Building Group, during an Aug. 13 roundtable webinar hosted by CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

“I’m not saying to back off of that [attention to COVID-19],” Weber said, “but I would just caution everyone to don’t become so focused on COVID that you lose sight of the fact that we have plenty of other hazards that could literally kill somebody at any given time on a jobsite … much quicker than COVID ever will. And probably, we need to be paying attention a lot more to some of those things. And there certainly has been a distraction this year on some of those issues.

“So, I would just encourage everyone not to take it easy on the COVID stuff, but don’t lose focus of our … hazards that are out there with regard to safety.”

In a July 16 CPWR webinar on contact tracing basics and applications in construction, Travis Parsons, associate director of occupational safety and health for the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America, also spoke about how the complexities of the pandemic have helped create distraction.

“Us in the construction industry all know that there’s a lot of uncertainty going on right now,” Parsons said. “We have a lot of workers that never stopped working – essential workforce. We have a lot of workers now that are returning to work. We have differences depending on your geography, what state you’re in and what the protocols are, so there’s a lot of uncertainty.”


McCraren Compliance sees the solution in our people. We are developing each person into a safety leader by recognizing and valuing them as humans and teaching them to do the same with their co-workers. We are creating workplaces where we all watch out for each other.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.