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December 2015 Archives

OSHA may regulate silica dust exposure more closely

Workers in Pennsylvania who encounter silica or sand during the course of their occupation may soon enjoy new workplace protections thanks to a prospective change in the safety regulations proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is estimated that nearly 2 million Americans are exposed to silica or sand in toxic manners while at work.

Protecting health care workers from chemical exposure

Health care workers in Pennsylvania face many different potential hazards while working. Most health care employers take many steps to protect their employees from bloodborne pathogens. Workers may also risk exposure from the many different types of chemicals that are used to clean, disinfect and sterilize the facilities in which they work as well.

Design flaws leading to more accidents with self-driving cars

Pennsylvania drivers may be encountering more and more self-driving cars on the roads in the months to come. This new technology, where a robot drives a passenger automobile without any direct input or interference from a human, has proven to be very safe during test drives on highways and surface streets across America. In fact, the greatest danger to self-driving cars appears to originate with the other vehicles on the road that are controlled by humans.

Electronic trucking logs to be required

A new rule announced in December 2015 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is slated to take effect in the following February. The rule requires that commercial truck and bus drivers in Pennsylvania and throughout the country log their driving hours electronically. This will replace the paper-driven system that has been in place since 1938 and is expected to save at least $1 billion in reduced paperwork as well. Although there have been prior efforts to implement electronic tracking methods, court challenges have prevented implementation until this point.

Study finds CTE in brains of college athletes

Pennsylvania residents have likely heard about reports linking contact sports like rugby and football with the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It was originally believed that CTE was mainly confined to professional athletes who have suffered multiple head injuries and concussions over careers that sometimes last for a decade or more, but a recent study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic indicates that the problem may be far more widespread than experts had believed. The researchers published their findings in the December 2015 issue of the journal Acta Neuropathologica.

Spinal cord trauma and its ramifications

Many Pennsylvania residents have been in accidents that have caused injuries to their spinal cord. A February 2015 report estimated that the annual incidence of these injuries, excluding those that immediately proved fatal, is approximately 40 per 1 million U.S. residents. Those who have received such an injury, as well as their family members, may be interested in learning more about some statistics relating to such traumas.

Aging drivers in Pennsylvania

There are more licensed drivers over the age of retirement on the highways and roads of Pennsylvania every year. Reports and studies on the phenomenon of aging drivers indicates that they tend to be safer in their driving habits and practices, but they still suffer fatal injuries at a disproportionate rate.

The risks of brain injuries to the elderly

Accidental falls and the accompanying brain trauma from head injuries are some of the most serious dangers posed to geriatric individuals in Pennsylvania. One of the largest subcategories of traumatic brain injuries, the acute subdural hematoma, is usually treated by surgical intervention. However, as elderly patients who have received these injuries have usually been considered poor candidates for surgical treatment, this intervention is often withheld. Recently a study was conducted in Finland that gives hope of recovery among certain categories of patients aged 75 or older, which indicates that surgery may be worth while for them.

Report shows OSHA fines and citations effective

Pennsylvania employers are required by state and federal law to keep their workplaces safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the primary federal agency that is tasked with this oversight. Now a study by the Institute for Work and Health has confirmed that OSHA's efforts have been effective and efficient.