The fact that some people use substances such as alcohol or illicit drugs, or that some people misuse prescription drugs is not new. The awareness that the abuse of substances may affect the workplace just as the workplace may affect substance abuse is, however, increasing in acceptance.
Estimates place the cost of workplace drug use of both legal and illicit substances at $81 billion per year. Seventy percent of people using illegal substances are employed, and many carry over their illegal drug use into the workplace.
Maybe it’s something in the air. Maybe it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon alignment of the planets. Or maybe it’s just sheer happenstance. Whatever it is, it seems that an inordinately large percentage of recent EHS news has skewed toward the bizarre, the outlandish and the surreal.
From the stories that make you scratch your head to the ones that make you question your faith in humanity, we’re taking a look at some of the strangest EHS developments from the past year or so.
In Appalachia and the Illinois Basin, coal companies use a process called "wet washing" to reduce the amount of non-combustible material. There are other methods of separating coal and non-coal used in other places, primarily where mining occurs in arid areas with limited water supplies.
Many companies go to great lengths to keep their business strategies under wraps – except when it comes to safety. Organizations that otherwise might be reluctant to open their doors welcome EHS professionals into their facilities to share best practices and to learn new methods for making their operations safer. It’s a tradition steeped in the spirit of continuous improvement – and in the spirit of saving lives.
When Ralph Lee first called attention to the threat of arc-flash explosions in the early 1980s, he noted that an electric arc between metals is four times as hot as the surface of the sun. Perhaps because the concept of electric arcing seemed as fantastical as a supernova, it took over a decade for Lee’s concepts to gain mainstream acceptance.