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May 2017 Archives

Truck drivers may face greater testing for sleep apnea

Truckers in Pennsylvania may soon be subject to additional screenings for sleep apnea. In April, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving a man who said a trucking company violated his rights by making him test for the condition. The man, who had a note from his doctor saying the test wasn't necessary, claimed that Crete Carrier violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Study examines child fatality rates in car accidents

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Harvard, Pennsylvania is one of the states with the lowest percentages of child fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. The study looked at data on fatalities by state among children younger than 15 between 2010 and 2014. In that time, a total of 2,885 children died in traffic accidents. The region with the largest number of fatalities was the South with 1,550. The Northeast had the fewest with 189.

HHS delays approval of hair testing for drug use by truckers

It may not be possible for companies in Pennsylvania and throughout the country to use hair testing to detect drug use because the Department of Health and Human Services has failed to issue guidelines. In December 2015, a bill was passed that set a Dec. 4, 2016 deadline for the HHS to set guidelines, but the department failed to act. As a result, the Department of Transportation has not been able to make it a testing method that is federally approved.

What to know about central pain syndrome

Pennsylvania residents may be familiar with a condition called central pain syndrome. The condition is caused by damage or other defects within the central nervous system. It may be caused by a tumor, a stroke or either brain or spinal cord trauma. The severity and location of the pain may differ depending on what caused the condition to present itself in an individual.

Poultry processing jobs are very hazardous

Pennsylvania residents who work at poultry processing plants have one of the most dangerous jobs, according to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The report noted that the job ranks 12th among industries with the most employer severe injury reporting in the United States.

Mine safety agency lists best practices around power lines

Pennsylvania workers who are driving trucks or operating equipment near live power lines need to make sure that they allow for adequate clearance. After a truck caused damage when it touched a power line after it dumped gravel, the Mine Safety and Health Administration put out a "close call alert" along with a list of best practices for working near power lines. The truck in the incident failed to maintain 10 feet of clearance, and although there were no injuries, there could have been an electrocution.

Saliva test might predict seriousness of concussion

Pennsylvania researchers may have identified an important and easy-to-test marker of how long a child's concussion is likely to last. At a Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in California, researchers from Penn State reported that a test that measured the presence of a type of genetic material called microRNAs was 90 percent accurate in its identification of children whose symptoms would last a month or more. A commonly used concussion survey, by comparison, is correct less than 70 percent of the time.

Autonomous trucks will bring changes to the industry

Pennsylvania big rig drivers may see a number of changes in the industry if autonomous trucks are introduced, but at a public meeting of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, it became clear that some concerns and regulations must first be addressed. One that was raised was the need for tractor-trailers to have manned controls. A safety example put forth by a board member of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association was one in which an autonomous vehicle was faced with a choice between hitting a brick wall or a group of schoolchildren.

Protecting employees who work in remote locations

Employers in Pennsylvania and around the country are expected to do all that they reasonably can to keep their employees safe, and this duty extends to workers in remote locations. Even highly skilled and experienced employees must be properly trained and adequately supervised when they work on the road or at offsite locations, and employers may face OSHA sanctions when they fail to meet these standards.