November 29, 2022 / Kay Bechtold

The Monthly Weekly: New Research and Initiatives for a Variety of Work Settings 

Editor’s note:The Monthly Weekly is an occasional feature that reviews the previous month’s news coverage from The Synergist Weekly newsletter.

New research, regulations, and enforcement initiatives highlight the range of workplaces with which industrial hygienists and occupational and environmental health and safety professionals must contend to protect the health and safety of all workers. Just as articles in The Synergist magazine address hazards and other concerns associated with a variety of work settings—strip clubs, wastewater treatment plants, and cannabis cultivation and extraction facilities, to name a few—The Synergist Weekly e-newsletter seeks to keep readers informed about developments across industries. The news summarized here provides recent updates related to several different industries.

Embalming laboratories. A new study published by IRSST, a nonprofit scientific research organization in Québec, Canada, examined embalmers’ exposure to bioaerosols to evaluate potential health risks to these workers. The IRSST study also sought to analyze the effects of certain factors on the behavior of biological particles in air. According to the authors, few studies have addressed exposure to bioaerosols in embalming, and the death care industry lacks specific recommendations for applying general ventilation to control bioaerosols during the process.

Public events venues. A bill signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sept. 29 is intended to help ensure the safety of workers involved in the setup, operation, and tear down of live events held at public events venues in the state. The text of AB 1775 acknowledges that there is a history of accidents, injuries, and fatalities among these workers and states that many of these accidents have to do with lack of training and experience in safety protocols and best practices within this sector.

Non-healthcare work settings. Approximately one in five workers from non-healthcare settings reported being exposed to COVID-19 at work, according to the findings of a new study conducted by NIOSH researchers. And more than 48 percent of workers employed in protective service occupations—police officers, firefighters, correctional officers, and security guards, for example—reported occupational exposure to COVID-19. The study, which appears in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, includes data from more than 1,100 workers.

Construction sites. Nearly half of all work-related electrocutions in 2019 occurred in the construction industry even though construction workers comprised only seven percent of all workers in the United States, according to a new publication from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. The publication characterizes fatal and nonfatal electrical injuries and related OSHA citations for the period 2011 through 2020.

Food production facilities. OSHA recently entered the second month of initial outreach as part of a local emphasis program intended to protect food processing workers in Illinois and Ohio who the agency found to have significantly high injury rates. According to OSHA, food manufacturing injury rates in these two states “were consistently elevated” during 2019–2020 compared to overall rates for manufacturers in the private sector.

Are there industries you would like to see more updates about? Please share feedback about our news coverage in the comments here or send an email to The Synergist.

Kay Bechtold

Kay Bechtold is managing editor of The Synergist.


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