News roundup: Drugs, teens, transportation, police fatalities, Iraq contractor fatalities

March 13th, 2007 by Julie Ferguson

Cool tools: Drug Digest – We’ll be adding Drug Digest to our sidebar’s Cool Tools. The site bills itself as “the most comprehensive source of noncommercial, evidence-based, consumer-oriented drug information on the Internet.” It’s designed as a consumer information tool to provide reference materials on drugs, vitamins, breakthrough medical research, and state-of-the-art disease management. It includes a variety of useful tools, including an drug interactions database for checking potentially harmful drug interactions, a tool for checking side effects, and a generic equivalence tool for finding out if a less expensive generic version of a drug is available. It’s worth a bookmark!
Survey: employers shirking teen safetyOccupational Hazards reports on a survey in the March 1 issue of Pediatrics on the dangers in teen jobs. The survey queried 928 teenage workers, finding that many are exposed to a variety of risks, and that many employers are in violation of child labor laws. Further, about one-third of the participating teens reported that they had not received any safety training. According to an abstract of survey results:

“Thirty-seven percent of those under age 16 reported working after 7 PM on a school night, indicating employer violation of federal law. Teens typically perform multiple kinds of tasks in a given job. Higher proportions of females than males are involved in cash handling (84% vs 61%), whereas males are more likely than females to be involved in physically challenging tasks, such as lifting heavy objects (57% vs 22%) or working at heights (35% vs 17%). Despite federal regulations prohibiting teens under 18 from using certain types of dangerous equipment (eg, slicers, dough mixers, box crushers, paper balers) or serving or selling alcohol in places where it is consumed, 52% of males and 43% of females reported having performed prohibited task.”

How safe are your favorite kids on their new jobs?
Employers: Ten Tips to Keep Teen Workers Safe
The moral mandate of protecting young workers
ASSE focuses on transportation safety – According to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), transportation incidents continue to be the number one cause of on-the-job deaths each year in the U.S. In 2004, 2,460 work fatalities were transportation-related, with 1,374 being roadway related. To highlight this important issue, ASSE has issued a special newsletter focusing on traffic safety with information compiled by ASSE’s Transportation Practice Specialty. Lost of good resources – here’s a sampling of the articles:
Effective Driver Training Programs: Your Ticket to Cost Savings & Effective Risk Management
Shop Safety Checklist for Vehicle Maintenance Facilities
Safe Vehicle Operations Programs
Police fatalities – In 2006, there were 151 federal, state and local law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.Traffic-related incidents were the leading cause of death (73), followed by shootings (54). California had the most fatalities with 17, followed by Virginia with 10, New York and Texas which both lost nine, and Florida and Illinois with eight each.
Contractor deaths in Iraq top 750 – In January, we wrote about workers compensation and independent contractors in Iraq. We’ve just found another article shedding further light on private contractor deaths and casualties. (L.A. Times – free registration is required). According to the article:

Nearly 125,000 contractors are now at work in Iraq supporting roughly 135,000 troops, according to the most recent military figures. The ratio is far higher than for any previous U.S. conflict, military analysts say.

More than 750 contractors have been killed in Iraq, according to Department of Labor statistics, and almost 8,000 injured. The figures include Americans, Iraqis and other nationalities employed under U.S. government contracts.

Lessening the risks of sedentary workHR Web Cafe offers an overview of trends in non-traditional seating arrangements as an antidote to sedentary jobs and to lessen the risks of deep-vein thrombosis – ranging from exercise ball “chairs,” standing desks, and treadmill desks.