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The Top 10 LHSFNA Articles of 2019

In case you missed them, here are 10 of the LHSFNA’s most popular articles over the last year. We’ve seen the opioid crisis and discussions around mental health continue to evolve, especially in the construction industry, and many of this year’s featured articles touch on those issues. The Fund also covered many other topics relevant to both LIUNA members and signatory contractors, including work zone intrusions, respirator use, worker fatigue and the drug-free workplace. Check out the full list below to see what else you may have missed.

1. The Difference Between Dust Masks, N95s and Other Respirators

While paper dust masks (also known as “surgical masks”) look very similar to N95 respirators, they are not respirators and shouldn’t be used for that purpose. This article covers the different uses for various respirators and helps match the proper respirator with the potential exposure.

2. The Honest Truth About Suicide and Construction

Every year, construction has more deaths by suicide than any other industry. Within the industry, there’s a lot of misunderstanding around the nature of mental health. This article suggests that jobsite culture and overall industry culture play a role in hindering workers from getting help for the mental health issues they may be experiencing.

3. Understanding the Difference Between Flaggers and Spotters

While both flaggers and spotters are essential to the safety of workers inside highway work zones, their job responsibilities are very different. Understanding what differentiates these tasks and only assigning them to workers who have been trained helps ensure the safety of everyone in work zones.

4. Can CBD Products Cause a Failed Drug Test?

A quarter of Americans have already tried CBD, and that percentage is likely to rise as CBD is added to more products. Most drug-test panels test for THC – the psychoactive component of marijuana – not CBD. However, CBD products may contain trace levels of THC that could lead to a positive drug test.

5. Combating the Opioid Crisis Through Injury Prevention

It’s easy to say, “Let’s focus on prevention by stopping injuries in the first place,” but how can construction employers actually accomplish that? One solution is to put more emphasis on a program that’s often looked at with skepticism in construction – preventing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) through ergonomics. MSDs are the number one source of workplace injury and chronic injury in the workplace.

6. Good Samaritan Laws: What Exactly Do They Protect?

Good Samaritan laws encourage bystanders to get involved in emergency situations without fearing they will be sued. Seconds often count in an emergency and giving first aid can be the difference in saving a life. With laws differing across states, it’s important to understand these laws so you can stay on solid legal footing.

7. Identifying and Reducing Worker Fatigue in Construction

It’s estimated that fatigue is at least a contributing factor in a third of all occupational injuries. Seventy-five percent of workers say the demands of the job affect their level of fatigue. Workers admit they often felt fatigued “to the point that they had safety concerns” after working 10 hours a day for three to four days in a row.

8. Hundreds of Workers Sickened or Killed Following Coal Ash Cleanup

In 2008, the worst coal ash spill in U.S. history occurred at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant. A decade after the cleanup effort began, over 40 workers have died and 400 more have gotten sick. Now, more than 70 workers, including several LIUNA members, are seeking compensation and medical care.

9. The Many Health Risks of Processed Foods

Deciding what to eat can seem more complicated than ever, but one issue that health experts seem to agree on is that we should all be eating fewer processed foods. What exactly are processed foods, why are they so bad for our health and how can we replace them in our diet?

10. OSHA Reverses Course on PELs, Ignoring Opportunity to Protect Workers

OSHA previously tried to address outdated permissible exposure limits by expanding coverage of its general duty clause. Under intense pressure from industry, the agency rescinded this change. This reversal means that compliance with outdated OSHA PELs is once again a safe harbor for employers who don’t go above and beyond to protect workers.

[Nick Fox]

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