In this issue of LIFELINES, we look into some topics of concern in the construction industry.

One is OSHA enforcement.  Some observers think voluntary approaches are all that is needed, and they would weaken OSHA’s capacities in this regard.  We look at a new study of OSHA inspections in New York and note the high prevalence of violations.  Then, we examine Congressional proposals to impose higher burdens on OSHA enforcement and review the recent misuse of OSHA as a cover for an immigration bust in North Carolina.

A related issue that sparks considerable debate is the best approach to enhancing safety and health as the construction workforce includes more and more non-English speakers.  As we announce the translation of our health alerts into Spanish, we look at some of these perspectives.

Another contentious issue is voluntary standards in construction.  We examine the roots of the unsuccessful battle to adopt an ergonomic standard, and we review the much more positive outcome that appears to be shaping up for a noise standard.

Less contentious are the other two articles in this issue.  Everyone agrees that something needs to be done to control the spiraling cost of health care in the U.S.  And, many of us are realizing that excessive weight is a serious health risk for Americans and Canadians, alike.  Our cover story opens the door on these health and wellness topics.

As usual, we welcome your comments and suggestions, and we urge you to go online at to sign up for the monthly online version of our magazine.