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What Stores Are Doing to Prevent Black Friday Freakouts

Tickets, Segways, live bands aim to keep shoppers calm

(Newser) - Ever since a Walmart worker was trampled to death five years ago on Black Friday, the chain has increased its efforts to ensure safe shopping. Now, a range of top retailers are trying everything from live music to off-duty police hires to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy. Among their... More »

65K US Bridges 'Structurally Deficient'

And another 20K are 'fracture critical,' which is even worse

(Newser) - Think about this the next time you drive over a bridge: An AP analysis of 607,380 bridges in the most recent federal National Bridge Inventory showed that 65,605 were classified as "structurally deficient" and 20,808 as "fracture critical." A bridge is deemed fracture critical... More »

Task Forces Tackle Dangerous—and Disgusting—Hoarding

California team has been trained to fight gag reflex

(Newser) - How'd you like to spend your days walking on piles of newspapers soaked with rat urine, helping hoarders clear their houses of not just junk but often gross junk, from mildewed papers to bottles of urine? That's what the members of California's Orange County Task Force on... More »

High School to Fire Blanks During Shooting Drill

Starter pistol aims to familiarize kids with sound of gunfire

(Newser) - A Chicago-area high school has an unconventional safety drill slated for today: During its "code red drill," Cary-Grove High School is going so far as to have someone in the hallway shoot blanks from a starter pistol. The point? "To provide our teachers and students some familiarity... More »

Hidden Danger Aboard Planes: Lithium Batteries

Shipments suspected in 2 jet crashes

(Newser) - The new year brings new shipping standards for lithium batteries—and though they're designed to improve safety, the new rules may not be enough to protect us. The Wall Street Journal explains that the batteries can "spontaneously ignite" if they're damaged or overheated, which is exactly what... More »

Walmart in 2011: We Won't Pay for Factory Safety

Declined to pay more in order for Bangladesh factories to improve

(Newser) - Walmart could have helped make Bangladesh's garment factories safer, but it declined at a meeting in 2011, saying such a move would be too expensive. Details from the meeting are coming out now in the wake of the factory fire that killed 112 last month. More than a dozen... More »

Teen Wins $14.5M Settlement From Louisville Slugger

He was injured by ball hit off aluminum bat

(Newser) - A New Jersey boy's 2006 baseball injury resulted in a $14.5 million settlement this week. Steven Domalewski was pitching when a batter using an aluminum bat hit a line drive that struck him in the chest, stopped his heart, and caused serious brain damage, reports AP . The family... More »

Motorcycle Deaths Hold Steady

Even as overall road fatalities decrease

(Newser) - The number of motorcycle fatalities in 2011 did not budge compared to 2010, even though overall vehicle deaths dipped to the lowest level since 1949, says a new highway safety report. One theory: High gas prices might be encouraging more people to drive motorcycles instead of cars, reports the Los ... More »

New Plan: Fewer Safety Drills Near US Nuke Plants

Sleep soundly, America

(Newser) - Without fanfare, US nuclear power regulators have overhauled community emergency planning for the first time in more than three decades, requiring fewer drills for major accidents and recommending that fewer people be evacuated right away. The revamp, the first since the program began after 1979's Three Mile Island accident,... More »

Most Dangerous Part of Oil Jobs: Driving Home

Exemptions allow drivers to head home after 20-hour shifts

(Newser) - You know what's more dangerous than working on an oil rig? Driving home from one. More than 300 oil and gas workers have died in car crashes in the past decade, making it the top cause of death in a dangerous industry, the New York Times reports. The probable... More »

Easy Way to Reduce Tornado Injuries: Helmets

Grab a bike helmet if one is coming, say Alabama researchers

(Newser) - A cheap, practical, and easy way exists to reduce injuries during a tornado, say researchers at the University of Alabama: Wear a helmet. Strapping on a motorcycle, bicycle, or football helmet in a pinch could provide crucial protection, especially considering that head injuries are such a common cause of tornado... More »

Why Hotel Maids Need Our Help

And no, this story has nothing to do with Dominique Strauss-Kahn

(Newser) - When you think of dangerous jobs, housekeeper doesn’t usually spring to mind. But it’s becoming a pretty hazardous profession, thanks to the “amenities arms race” that has big hotels installing luxury mattresses that weigh more than 100 pounds each, writes activist Donald Cohen in the LA Times... More »

Toyota 'Arrogance' Prompts Safety Flaws: Report

Panel cites 'complacency' at automaker

(Newser) - Toyota has serious institutional flaws that pose a threat to the safety of its vehicles, finds an independent review out today. The problems stem from a “sense of pride at being number one” that can become “arrogance and foster complacency,” says the report, conducted by a panel... More »

Transocean: So Sorry for Calling 2010 'Best Year' Ever

Comment 'may have been insensitive' ... you think?

(Newser) - How to win a King-of-No-Tact award, in three easy steps! Step one: Dish out meaty bonuses to your company's top execs. Step two: Base said bonuses, in part, on the fact that 2010 was your "best year" ever in terms of safety—the pesky Gulf oil spill and 11... More »

Transocean Execs Land Fat Safety Bonuses

Company had 'best year in safety performance'

(Newser) - That minor explosion that killed 11 people and dumped 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico aside, it seems Transocean had a banner year in terms of safety. And to celebrate the "best year in safety performance in our company's history"—despite noting the "... More »

In Italy, 18 Die While Mushroom Hunting

People head to the woods unprepared, officials say

(Newser) - There may not be guns involved, but mushroom hunting can be deadly: Eighteen Italians have died while searching for mushrooms in a little more than a week. Eager to cash in on an abundant harvest, a growing number of people have been heading for the hills. Unfortunately, many lack proper... More »

BP Rig Registered With Tiny Pacific Nation to Skirt US Oversight

Classified a ship, Deepwater Horizon evaded stiffer US safety standards

(Newser) - Turns out it wasn’t America’s job to inspect or set safety standards for the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon rig. That responsibility fell to the Marshall Islands—a tiny, impoverished cluster of atolls in the Pacific Ocean. Why? Because oil rigs are classified as ships, the Los Angeles Times explains,... More »

Deadly Luge Track Design Driven by Tourism

High-traffic location meant Whistler run had to be steep and narrow

(Newser) - The harrowing speed and difficult turns of the sliding track at the Vancouver Olympics that claimed a luger’s life last week are the result more of the bottom line than any premeditated design decision. Seeking to keep revenues up after the Games, officials located the track at tourist-friendly Whistler... More »

UK Toasts Safer Beer Glass

Shatter-proof pint glass aims to cut binge-drink violence

(Newser) - The inventors of a new beer glass say they've found a way to cut the number of violent assaults by UK drinkers who've lifted too many pints—and used a broken one as a weapon. Taking their lead from shatterproof windshields, a team of designers added a resin coating to... More »

Ford Recalls Another 4.5M Vehicles Over Fire Hazard

Faulty switch linked to decade-long problems

(Newser) - Ford today made 4.5 million vehicles eligible for what is already its biggest recall ever. The move involves a faulty switch, an automatic cruise control deactivator made by Texas Instruments, that has been linked to at least 550 fires, mostly while the vehicles were turned off. Ford has now... More »

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