Occupational Health News Roundup

Hearings, proposed legislation, and lawsuits have followed the the Chemical Safety Board’s release of its 2005 Texas City refinery blast report, which faulted BP’s broken safety culture and criticized OSHA for lax inspections and enforcement:

Houston Chronicle: At a House of Representatives hearing on the disaster, lawmakers blasted OSHA for its lax enforcement of safety rules.

AP: OSHA announced that it will nearly double the number of workers trained to perform the advanced inspections called for in the CSB report.

Houston Chronicle: On the anniversary of the blast, families of the 15 refinery workers who died gathered to remember their loved ones and to call for stronger safety legislation. The Remember the 15 campaign has details on the legislation and a page for emailing lawmakers.

AP: A timeline details major events from the blast to the CSB’s report.

Galveston County Daily News: An estimated 600 new legal claims have been filed in relation to the blast over the past two weeks.

LA Times: Refinery accidents are up nationwide, largely due to “the hard use of aging equipment, a shortage of trained workers, corporate cost cutting and ownership changes.”

 In other news:

Charleston Gazette: The Sago mine, where 12 miners died in a 2006 explosion, is being shut down.

AP: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomgerg asked Congress to reopen the government fund for 9/11 victims, since many workers and residents have become sick after the fund closed.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: MSHA has increased penalities for mine safety violations, but the increase may not have much effect if inspectors don’t feel free to cite mines for violations.

The Patriot-News: Faced with studies showing that truck drivers truck drivers have higher levels of obesity, sleep apnea, lower back pain, and chronic respiratory problems, some trucking companies are starting employee wellness programs.