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Health and Safety Headlines

Naloxone Kits Mandated for Ontario Construction Sites

The Ontario government passed legislation requiring workplaces at high risk for opioid overdose (including construction sites) to keep lifesaving naloxone kits onsite. Ontario saw around 2,500 opioid-related deaths from March 2020 to January 2021 and about 30 percent of those victims were construction workers. Officials hope that ensuring access to naloxone kits will reduce the stigma around opioid abuse, raise awareness about the risks of accidental overdose and potentially save hundreds of lives a year.

Department of Labor Reconsiders Approval of Arizona’s State OSHA Plan

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a proposal to reconsider or revoke Arizona’s state OSHA plan. State plans must be at least as effective as federal OSHA in protecting workers and preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. However, OSHA is concerned about the efficacy of Arizona’s state plan, citing its failure to adopt adequate maximum penalties, National Emphasis Programs and the COVID-19 healthcare emergency temporary standard. If implemented, the proposal would lead to federal OSHA taking over regulation of private employers in the state.

CDC Weighs New Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) proposed updated guidelines on how and when to prescribe opioids for pain. The previous guidelines were controversial, with many experts at least partially blaming them for the ongoing opioid crisis. The proposed changes would remove specific limits on dosage and duration of opioid prescriptions, as well as emphasize the importance of using an approach tailored to each patient. Some experts see this as a step in the right direction, while others say this new guidance still falls short of fixing the problems chronic pain patients face.

Study Shows Construction Workers’ Risk for Take-home Toxins

A study showed that construction workers’ homes had higher concentrations of arsenic, chromium, copper, manganese, lead, nickel and tin dust than the homes of other workers. It appears construction workers are tracking these materials from the jobsite into their homes and unintentionally exposing their families to toxins that can embed themselves into furniture and circulate through the air. This could be due to factors like not having a work locker, not having a place to launder clothes and not changing clothes after work. The researchers hope their findings lead to increased safety measures and policies on the job to protect workers from take-home toxins.

[Hannah Sabitoni]

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