Occupational Health News Roundup

The state of Kentucky has been in the spotlight lately as legislation to protect social workers and mineworkers has failed to live up expectations. The state’s House of Representatives stripped funding from the Boni Bill, named after social worker Boni Frederick, who was killed when she took a child to a final home visit with his mother. The bill’s sponsors hope funding will be restored in conference committee. In the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee, Representative Jim Gooch has refused to bring a mine safety bill up for a vote; a Louisville Courier-Journal editorial notes that “Mr. Gooch is in the coal business, building heavy mining equipment.”

The explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery, which killed 15 workers and injured nearly 200 more, is back in the news. (Check Jordan Barab’s Confined Space for more on the disaster.) A Texas appellate court has now ruled that BP chief executive John Browne must testify in a case brought by workers injured in the explosion. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that BP’s internal review into the deadly blast calls for four executives to be fired.

In other recent occupational health news:

Safety Online: OSHA has issued a final rule on electrical installation.

Occupational Hazards: Conservation groups and the United Farmworkers of America are suing EPA to expedite the phase-out of the pesticide azinphos-methyl (AZM).

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Representative George Miller is urging Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao to issue an emergency temporary standard on mine seals after new research shows the potential for extraordinarily high blast forces in coal mines.

Associated Press: Workplace injuries prompt workers at Tyson Food Inc’s Holcomb, Kansas meatpacking plant to push for unionization.

Charleston Gazette: West Virginia lawmakers have altered a mine safety bill to severely limit the types of repeat violations that can prompt temporary closures of the state’s coal mines.

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