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Rail Safety Efforts Miss Leading Cause of Fatalities, CRS Insights (April 2, 2015)

April 21, 2015 Comments off

Rail Safety Efforts Miss Leading Cause of Fatalities, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

As it debates reauthorization of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA08; P.L. 110-432), Congress is focusing on steps to prevent train derailments and collisions. Such incidents often receive extensive publicity and cause harm to bystanders, such as the residents of Mount Carbon, WV, who were forced to evacuate after a train carrying crude oil derailed and burned on February 16, 2015.

Far less attention has been devoted to trespassing, although it is a much greater cause of rail-related fatalities than derailments and collisions combined. Since 2005, nearly three-fifths of deaths in rail incidents have been pedestrian trespassers (see Figure 1; note that the trespassing deaths in the figure do not include suicides).

EU — Radio Spectrum: A Key Resource For The Digital Single Market

April 20, 2015 Comments off

Radio Spectrum: A Key Resource For The Digital Single Market
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Radio spectrum refers to a specific range of frequencies of electromagnetic energy that is used to communicate information. Applications important for society such as radio and television broadcasting, civil aviation, satellites, defence and emergency services depend on specific allocations of radio frequency. Recently the demand for spectrum has increased dramatically, driven by growing quantities of data transmitted over the internet and rapidly increasing numbers of wireless devices, including smartphones and tablets, Wi-Fi networks and everyday objects connected to the internet.

Radio spectrum is a finite natural resource that needs to be managed to realise the maximum economic and social benefits. Countries have traditionally regulated radio spectrum within their territories. However despite the increasing involvement of the European Union (EU) in radio spectrum policy over the past 10 to 15 years, many observers feel that the management of radio spectrum in the EU is fragmented in ways which makes the internal market inefficient, restrains economic development, and hinders the achievement of certain goals of the Digital Agenda for Europe.

In 2013, the European Commission proposed legislation on electronic communications that among other measures, provided for greater coordination in spectrum management in the EU, but this has stalled in the face of opposition within the Council. In setting out his political priorities, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has indicated that ambitious telecommunication reforms, to break down national silos in the management of radio spectrum, are an important step in the creation of a Digital Single Market. The Commission plans to propose a Digital Single Market package in May 2015, which may again address this issue.

Emergency Department Visits for Drug Poisoning: United States, 2008–2011

April 14, 2015 Comments off

Emergency Department Visits for Drug Poisoning: United States, 2008–2011
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Key findings
Data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 2008–2011

  • During 2008–2011, an average of 1.1 million emergency department (ED) visits were made each year for drug poisoning, with a visit rate of 35.4 per 10,000 persons.
  • The ED visit rate for drug poisoning was highest among persons aged 20–34. The rate declined with age after 20–34, and rates for those aged 0–19 were similar to those aged 50 and over.
  • Drug-poisoning ED visit rates did not differ by sex and age, with the exception of persons aged 35–49, where females had a higher visit rate than males. The ED visit rate for unintentional drug poisoning was higher than self-inflicted drug poisoning overall and for males, but did not differ for females.
  • About one-quarter (24.5%) of drug-poisoning ED visits resulted in hospital admission.

Injuries and illness among state and local government bus drivers

April 12, 2015 Comments off

Injuries and illness among state and local government bus drivers
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

According to the American Public Transportation Association, people in the United States took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2013. Just over half those trips were on motor buses. An estimated 5,780 state and local government transit and intercity bus drivers suffered injuries on the job in 2013. These injuries required at least one day away from work.

Bus drivers spend almost all of their worktime on the road. Transportation incidents were the most common event that lead to a workplace injury or illness among state and local bus drivers in 2011 and 2013. These incidents accounted for 42 percent of injuries and illnesses in 2013 and 36 percent in 2011. In 2012, transportation incidents accounted for 26 percent of cases that caused bus drivers to miss work, the second most common event that year.

Fire and Emergency Services — National Safety Culture Change Initiative

April 10, 2015 Comments off

National Safety Culture Change Initiative (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The “National Safety Culture Change Initiative” report:

  • Provides a basic understanding of the fire and emergency service culture.
  • Identifies individual and organizational behaviors that positively and negatively impact health and safety.
  • Highlights focus areas for change by raising awareness about unsafe practices.

New Body Armor Website Provides Critical Safety Information to Law Enforcement

April 9, 2015 Comments off

New Body Armor Website Provides Critical Safety Information to Law Enforcement (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced the launch of a new resource for law enforcement and corrections officers when seeking information on high-quality, life-saving equipment. PoliceArmor.org, a product of OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and National Institute of Justice (NIJ) features news and information on body armor that meets the standards set forth by NIJ. It is a resource provided by the people who write the standards, test the products and promote officer safety. It is a one-stop resource for body armor information.

PoliceArmor.org is hosted by NIJ’s National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center and offers information on how to select, purchase, wear, and care for body armor. It also highlights NIJ’s Compliance Testing Program and the importance of wearing protective vests and includes accounts of officers’ surviving potentially deadly assaults.

Factsheet on EU security measures in civil airliners

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Factsheet on EU security measures in civil airliners
Source: European Commission

On 27 March 2015, EASA (the European Air Safety Agency) has issued a recommendation for airlines to observe the “four-eye-rule” in the cockpit; stipulating that in the case of the Captain or First Officer leaving the cockpit, a member of the crew should be present in the cockpit with the remaining pilot.

European safety regulations require that pilots shall remain at the aircraft controls unless absence is necessary for physiological or operational safety needs.

There is no European requirement that a member of the cabin crew must enter the cockpit in the event a pilot needs to take a short break for such needs. There is however a requirement that the cockpit door can be opened from the outside in case of emergency.

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