Almost 2 million lives lost annually to workplace exposures

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
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Photo: World Health Organization

Geneva, Switzerland — Work-related injuries and illnesses resulted in 1.9 million worker deaths worldwide in 2016, according to estimates recently released by the World Health Organization and International Labor Organization.

In a report issued Sept. 17, the organizations say the majority of the deaths were linked to cardiovascular or respiratory diseases. Workplace injuries accounted for 19% of the deaths, or around 360,000.

“It’s shocking to see so many people literally being killed by their jobs,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press release. “Our report is a wake-up call to countries and businesses to improve and protect the health and safety of workers by honoring their commitments to provide universal coverage of occupational health and safety services.”

WHO and ILO looked at 19 workplace risk factors, including long working hours and exposure to air pollution and noise, as well as ergonomic risk factors. Working long hours contributed to an estimated 750,000 deaths. Exposure to air pollution (i.e., particulate matter, fumes or gases) was linked to 450,000 deaths.

“These estimates provide important information on the work-related burden of disease,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said in the release, “and this information can help to shape policies and practices to create healthier and safer workplaces. Governments, employers and workers can all take actions to reduce exposure to risk factors at the workplace. Risk factors can also be reduced or eliminated through changes in work patterns and systems. As a last resort, personal protective equipment can also help to protect workers whose jobs mean they cannot avoid exposure.”


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.

OSHA issues updated guidance on COVID-19

First published by OSHA

U.S. Department of Labor issues updated guidance on protecting
unvaccinated and other at-risk workers from the coronavirus

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued updated guidance to help employers protect workers from the coronavirus. The updated guidance reflects developments in science and data, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated COVID-19 guidance issued July 27.

The updated guidance expands information on appropriate measures for protecting workers in higher-risk workplaces with mixed-vaccination status workers, particularly for industries such as manufacturing; meat, seafood and poultry processing; high volume retail and grocery; and agricultural processing, where there is often prolonged close contact with other workers and/or non-workers.

OSHA’s latest guidance:

  • Recommends that fully vaccinated workers in areas of substantial or high community transmission wear masks in order to protect unvaccinated workers;
  • Recommends that fully vaccinated workers who have close contacts with people with coronavirus wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have a negative coronavirus test at least 3-5 days after such contact;
  • Clarifies recommendations to protect unvaccinated workers and other at-risk workers in manufacturing, meat and poultry processing, seafood processing and agricultural processing; and
  • Links to the latest guidance on K-12 schools and CDC statements on public transit.

OSHA continues to emphasize that vaccination is the optimal step to protect workers and encourages employers to engage with workers and their representatives to implement multi-layered approaches to protect unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers from the coronavirus.

As part of the agency’s ongoing commitment to review the COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard every 30-days, OSHA also said that the safeguards set forth by the standard remain more important than ever. After reviewing the latest guidance, science and data, and consulting with the CDC and partners, OSHA has determined the requirements of the healthcare ETS remain necessary to address the grave danger of the coronavirus in healthcare. OSHA will continue to monitor and assess the need for changes in the healthcare ETS each month.

Our priority is the safety and health of workers, and we will continue to enforce the law to ensure workers are protected from the virus while they are on the job, including through OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on COVID.


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.

Mental illness an ‘unrecognized crisis’ among miners with black lung, study shows

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Charlottesville, VA — Coal miners with black lung disease commonly face various mental health issues, including thoughts of suicide, results of a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Virginia show.

The researchers examined data from more than 2,800 coal miners who were evaluated for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder through a voluntary survey at Stone Mountain Health Services, a black lung clinic in Jonesville, VA. The average age of the participants – an overwhelming majority of whom were white males – was 66.

More than 1 out of 3 participants reported symptoms consistent with a major depressive disorder (37.4%) or had clinically significant anxiety (38.9%). Additionally, 26.2% exhibited symptoms of PTSD and 11.4% had considered suicide in the past year. The percentage of suicidal thoughts among all men in Virginia is 2.9.

The researchers note that the percentage “of mental illness far exceeded those documented in coal mining populations internationally.” Miners who need supplemental oxygen to assist with breathing showed accelerated rates of suicidal thoughts (15.9%), anxiety (47.7%) and depression (48.5%).

“This study highlights the unrecognized crisis of mental illness in miners that warrants urgent attention, resources and expanded care,” Drew Harris, lead study author and pulmonary medicine expert at UVA Health, said in a press release, adding that the percentage of “mental illness identified in this large population of U.S. coal miners is shocking. Improved screening and treatment of mental illness in this population is an urgent, unmet need that warrants urgent action.”

Also known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, black lung is a deadly but preventable condition. Rates of black lung disease have more than doubled over the past 15 years, says NIOSH, which adds that symptoms may include coughing, excessive phlegm, shortness of breath, labored breathing and chest tightness.

The agency provides free, confidential health screenings through its Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program.

The study was published online May 25 in JAMA Network Open.


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.

Construction workers at higher risk of COPD, study shows

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Silver Spring, MD — Workers in construction trades are at “significantly” higher risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than non-construction workers, according to the results of a recent study.

A team of researchers from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, Duke University and the University of Maryland studied nearly 18,000 participants in the Building Trades Medical Screening Program, or BTMed, to determine the risk of COPD among different trades. The study involved a larger cohort than a 2010 study of construction workers at U.S. Department of Energy nuclear facilities who participated in the BTMed. Those workers were found to have increased COPD risk, according to CPWR.

Overall, 13.4% of the participants had COPD and more than two-thirds of the cases were classified as moderate to severe. Compared with non-construction workers, the participants had a 1.34 times greater risk of COPD and a 1.61 times higher risk of severe COPD.

The trades with the highest level of risk were cement masons/bricklayers (2.36 times) and roofers (2.22).

Based on the new findings, the researchers say additional preventive measures are needed to reduce workplace exposures to vapors, gases, dusts and fumes to reduce the risk of COPD. In addition, workers who smoke can benefit from cessation support and advice.

The study was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.


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.

57% of U.S. adults want masks required for all onsite workers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Alexandria, VA — About 6 out of 10 U.S. adults believe masks should be a requirement for workers at onsite locations, even if those workers are fully vaccinated, according to the results of a recent Harris Poll survey commissioned by the American Staffing Association.

The Workforce Monitor online survey of 2,066 adults 18 and older was conducted June 10-14. Participants were asked for their opinions on worker behaviors and concerns as COVID-19 cases decrease nationally.

As more employers bring employees back to physical locations, 57% of respondents said onsite workers should be required to wear a mask – even if they’re vaccinated. Nearly two-thirds said workers have a right to know if their colleagues have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, 60% said it’s no one’s business if they’ve received the vaccine.

Broken down by race/ethnicity, Black (70%) and Hispanic/Latino (64%) respondents were most likely to believe masks should be required, while 50% of Whites/Caucasians reported the same.

Regionally, 61% of respondents in the West and Northeast said workers should be required to wear masks. The lowest percentage was in the Midwest (52%). The survey results show that 74% of those in the Northeast said employees should have the right to know if colleagues are vaccinated.

“As brick-and-mortar workplaces reopen, workers are anxious about being around their colleagues once again,” ASA President and CEO Richard Wahlquist said in a June 24 press release. “Employers must clearly communicate what steps they are taking to make their workplaces safe for their employees as they reopen.”


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.

With farmers and ranchers under stress, safety group develops mental health network

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Peosta, IA — In response to a variety of stressors that continue to affect farmers and ranchers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit AgriSafe Network has developed a mental health initiative intended to distribute resources and training materials aimed at mitigating stress.

“Farmers and ranchers deal with a lot of uncertainty in a good year,” AgriSafe says. “Add to that current low commodity prices, trade wars, extreme weather and now a pandemic. Coping with the stress of everything happening around us is not easy.”

The Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace identifies multiple potential signs of work-related stress, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Workplace incidents
  • Workplace violence
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Alcohol or drug use

“Good health, including mental health, is a key factor that contributes to one’s ability to keep farming,” AgriSafe says.


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.

Caffeine may not be the cognitive kick-starter many people imagine: study

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Lansing, MI – If you rely on caffeine to provide a brain boost after a poor night of sleep, findings of a recent study from researchers at Michigan State University may give you a jolt.

Researchers from MSU’s Sleep and Learning Lab asked 276 people to complete separate tasks one evening. One task involved simply paying attention, while the other required completing steps in a specific order. Participants then were randomly assigned to either stay up all night at the sleep lab or return home to sleep.

The next morning, all of the participants reconvened at the sleep lab and were given either a 200-milligram caffeine capsule or a placebo. Each was asked to complete both tasks again.

Lead study author Kimberly Fenn, an associate professor of cognition and cognitive neuroscience at MSU, said in a press release that although caffeine assisted the participants with completing the attention-based task, “it had little effect on performance on the place keeping task for most participants.”

Fenn added that consuming caffeine after sleep deprivation “doesn’t do much to prevent the sort of procedural errors” that can trigger medical mistakes and vehicle crashes.

“Caffeine increases energy, reduces sleepiness and can even improve mood, but it absolutely does not replace a full night of sleep,” Fenn said. “Although people may feel as if they can combat sleep deprivation with caffeine, their performance on higher-level tasks will likely still be impaired. This is one of the reasons that sleep deprivation can be so dangerous.”

The study was published online May 20 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.


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.

Is stress making your workers’ minds wander?

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.
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Photo: Potential Project

New York — Employees who feel stressed say their minds can wander for up to nearly 60% of the workday by the time Friday rolls around, according to the results of a recent study conducted by a global research, leadership development and consulting firm.

Researchers collaborating with the Potential Project gathered 225,000 data observations on employee focus, resilience and engagement for workers in 44 countries and 15 different industries. Overall, participants reported that their minds wander 37% of the time while on the job. The researchers also found that stress makes workers’ mind wander even more, causing two to three times more inattentiveness.

On average, the participants who were experiencing stress had minds that wandered 59% of the time on Fridays, 55% on Thursdays and 51% on Mondays. By contrast, employees who reported feeling calm at work had minds that wandered 35% of the time on Mondays, and that percentage decreased over the course of workweek to a low of 25 on Fridays.

The researchers identified three key ways workers can limit their minds from wandering:
Daily mind-training practice. Workers who train their mind can direct it to feel more grounded, resilient and present. Results show that those who practiced mindfulness had minds that wandered only 28% of the time, as opposed to 52% for workers who didn’t.
Connecting with others socially. Doing so helped workers limit their wandering minds to 30% of the time, creating more balance and focus. Among workers who chose to be alone, their minds wandered 48% of the time.
A good night’s rest. Seven or more hours of sleep a night can benefit mental and physical health. Quality sleep helped to reduce mind wandering to 35% of the workday, compared with 41% for workers who slept less than six hours.


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.

Virtual happy hour: Survey examines remote working and drinking

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New York — Nearly half of remote employees have signed off early to have an alcoholic drink or have had a drink during the workday amid the COVID-19 pandemic, results of a recent survey indicate.

On behalf of sparkling water manufacturing company HOP WTR, researchers from marketing research company OnePoll surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults to examine their at-home habits during the pandemic. Of the respondents, around 800 were at least 21 years old and working from home. The researchers found that 46% of respondents said they’ve logged off early to have a drink, while 45% have had an alcoholic beverage while on the clock.

Overall, 53% said they’ve been drinking more frequently during the pandemic, at an average of four alcoholic drinks a week.

Other findings:

  • More than 60% of the respondents working remotely said virtual happy hours with co-workers have contributed to their increased alcohol intake.
  • 52% of all respondents said they’ve felt the need to drink while watching the news.
  • About 60% said they’ll try to drink less in the future.

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.

Sedentary lifestyles proving a pain during the pandemic, survey finds

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

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New York — The average U.S. adult now spends six hours a day sitting – four hours longer than before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – and they’re feeling more aches and pains because of it, results of a recent survey show.

Commissioned by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, researchers from marketing research company OnePoll surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults about changes in their at-home habits during the pandemic and health effects linked to those changes.

More than 3 out of 5 respondents said they have a more sedentary lifestyle now as a result of working from home and spending more time on social media and watching entertainment. About 60% of the respondents said they have developed more aches and pains thanks to the additional time sitting, while 75% of those working from home said their workstations are causing them pain and discomfort. In particular, 22% found themselves having backside pain or discomfort.

Additional sitting and inactivity also have led to changes in eating habits and added stress. When it comes to eating, 34% of the respondents said they’ve chosen fattier and unhealthy foods since the pandemic began.

The World Health Organization, which in November updated its physical activity guidelines, recommends adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity, each week.


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.