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February 2018 Archives

Coal miners face escalating black lung threat

For people who have worked in coal mines in Missouri and across the United States, black lung has always been a significant medical concern. However, at the end of the 20th century, it seemed that the respiratory disease caused by exposure to dust in coal mines was on its way to dying out. New cases had reached an all-time low, and experts reported only 31 cases of the most severe form of the illness. However, nearly two decades into the 21st century, the opposite has happened - new cases of black lung have spiked.

Nurse abuse comes from more than just patients

Construction and similar industries may get the most attention for being unsafe, but as you may well know, occupations in health care are just as hazardous. In fact, OSHA reports that employees in health care and social assistance sustain the most workplace injuries. Environmental dangers range from biological hazards to patient violence.

OOIDA proposes rule change

If the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has its requests granted, commercial drivers in Missouri and elsewhere may be operating under more-lenient rules. OOIDA has asked that drivers be able to pause their 14-hour daily clock for up to three hours. The trucker advocacy group has also asked that the required 30-minute rest break be eliminated in favor of the three-hour pause. However, the petition would still require drivers to rest for 10 consecutive hours between shifts.

OSHA increases fines for violating crystalline silica standard

Under the revised Occupational Safety and Health Administration fine schedule, construction companies in Missouri and around the country could owe up to $129,336 for exposing their workers to dangerous levels of crystalline silica. OSHA increased the penalties for violating crystalline silica in January. Construction companies will now be required to pay $12,934 for each violation of the silica standard and $12,934 per day until measures are implemented to reduce dust levels. The highest fines are reserved for companies that repeatedly violate the rules.

OOIDA makes five-year exemption request

In November 2017, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association asked for a five-year exemption to electronic logging rules for small transportation trucking companies. While this may provide relief for some Missouri truckers, it could essentially gut the rule entirely. That was the opinion expressed in a Feb. 1 press release written by the Alliance for Driver Safety and Security and the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

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