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Work Songs

Categories: Sports and Entertainment


The 2015 American Music Awards air this Sunday, November 22nd (8 pm EST in case you’re interested). Why is NIOSH blogging about this you may ask? Well, we’ve blogged about workplace safety and health themes in: movies twice (three times if you count the recent blog on James Bond’s occupational hazards), books, the theater, and figured it was time we looked at music to see if safety and health is represented in this medium. Turns out, we are not the only ones who have thought about this.  In honor of Labor Day,  Billboard released a list of 20 songs about Working for the Man, HitFix posted the 15 Greatest Songs About Working for a Living, the Tucson Sentinel collected Songs for Labor Day: Union tunes & working man blues, and NPR shared Labor Day Blues and Grooves. Song Facts’ list of Songs About Working  is pretty comprehensive, including the Banana Boat Song, Flamethrower, and Heigh-Ho (yes, by the Seven Dwarfs).  There is also Top 10 ’80s Songs About Work, Oldies For Workers, and Taste of Country’s 10 Best Work Songs. In 1999, the Smithsonian’s released Blues Routes: Heroes and Tricksters: Blues and Jazz Work Songs and Street Music and the Colonial Williamsburg website includes Slave Work Songs.

James Bond Exposed…To 50 Years of Occupational Hazards

Categories: Sports and Entertainment


Your heart may race while your eyes follow the iconic figure that is James Bond as he holds it together to do his job: driving at high speed down alleyways, under railway crossings, and often through explosive fire and other obstructions. You may wonder how he will survive driving a car that has just been catapulted up a runway and over a body of water. This British secret agent stops at nothing.

The opening sequence of the new film SPECTRE, in theatres worldwide November 6th, also promises to hold up well against 007’s famous openings over the years. James Bond meets Dia de los Muertos in an opening aerial stunt including a helicopter and thousands of extras recreating Mexico’s spectacular Day of the Dead festival.

Turn it Down: Reducing the Risk of Hearing Disorders Among Musicians

Categories: Hearing Loss, Sports and Entertainment


Have you ever gone to a concert or performance and found your ears ringing on the way home?  Imagine if that was your job and your ears were exposed regularly to such loud sound levels?  Orchestra players, music teachers, conductors, DJ’s, band members, singers, sound engineers, and many others may be exposed to dangerously high music levels as part of their work. Professional musicians work and practice in a variety of venues, ranging from large music halls, theatres, and arenas to smaller clubs or music rooms in schools and universities. Overexposure to sound, both in terms of intensity and duration, is common. Musicians value and need good hearing for their jobs, but many are not fully aware of the risks associated with exposure to potentially harmful sound levels or the options for reducing these exposures without compromising their performance abilities.

The Importance of Occupational Safety and Health: Making for a “Super” Workplace

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Mining, Oil and Gas, Personal Protective Equipment, Sports and Entertainment, Training

Graphic by Stephen R. Leonard

There’s just something about superhero movie summer releases that gets us here at NIOSH excited about safety. This summer the source of our inspiration came from the Man of Steel© movie. In the film, pre-Superman Clark Kent is working as a commercial fisherman (a hazardous job if you’re not a man of steel). He risks exposing his amazing abilities when he swoops in to save the workers on a nearby oil rig who are in great danger as the rig implodes around them.

The scene is reminiscent of Action Comics© issue #3, the original Superman comic book series dating all the way back to 1938. In Action Comics #3, “Superman Battles Death Underground“, (issued 75 years ago this month) Superman is in the right place at the right time to save a coal miner, as well as his rescue crew, from an unsafe mine filled with toxic gas. We see instances such as these riddled throughout comic books and superhero movies. There’s always a hero around to save the day.

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