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Palm Tree Worker Suffocated by Palm Fronds – Another Death in California

Categories: NIOSH-funded Research, Occupational Health Equity, Outdoor Work

 

Lucas palm hanger 008

Firefighters removing worker trapped in palm tree. Photo courtesy of the LA County Fire Department.

On August 13, 2015, another worker was suffocated by palm fronds in California (see news report). This is at least the fourth similar fatality since the California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program (CA/FACE) program issued a report and video on this hazard in February 2014. The drought in the Western U.S. may have intensified the problem as lack of water has led to palm trees heavy with fronds, creating the potential to crush workers who are trimming the trees from underneath the palm fronds.

When a tree trimmer cuts or pulls on dead fronds, adjacent fronds or an entire ring of fronds may collapse and encase the worker. The weight of the fronds causes pressure on the worker’s chest and can lead to suffocation. In the cases identified through CA/FACE, the workers climbed up the tree and trimmed the fronds from the bottom up, placing themselves directly beneath the fronds. Neither the workers nor the supervisors were certified tree workers. They did not follow proper safety procedures or use the correct equipment. The workers were pinned by thick layers of dead fronds and suffocated to death.

Improving the Safety and Health of Bison Handlers

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, NIOSH-funded Research

 

bisonRecent media reports of bison injuring visitors at Yellowstone National Park have raised public awareness of the hazards of interacting with bison. Those who work with these animals face unique risks. Bison are the largest land mammals in North America, weighing in at about 1,000-2,000 pounds.1 They can run 35 miles per hour and pivot quickly.1 They have not been bred for docility like livestock and are known to attack humans if provoked. These and other factors make working with bison hazardous.

Ergonomics Climate Assessment

Categories: Ergonomics, NIOSH-funded Research

 

Researchers from Colorado State University and the Colorado School of Public Health recently found workplaces that value employees’ safety and well-being as much as company productivity yield the greatest rewards.

The study, “Ergonomics Climate Assessment: A measure of operational performance and employee well-being,” was recently published in the Applied Ergonomics journal.  The study describes a new tool, the Ergonomics Climate Assessment, which measures employee perception of their workplace’s emphasis on the design and modification of work to maximize both employee performance and well-being.

The NIOSH eDoc: New way to get NIOSH information on the Move

Categories: Ergonomics, Technology

 

The new NIOSH eDoc provides a mobile-friendly format for short NIOSH publications. This new publication product presents workplace safety and health information in a way that is accessible and easy to use on any mobile device, desktop, or laptop computer. NIOSH eDocs are created using Responsive Web Design which enables web content to automatically format for best viewing on different-sized mobile device screens. By minimizing the need for resizing, panning, and scrolling, responsive design allows easy reading and movement through a document.

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