Archives for March, 2007

By David Michaels It is starting to feel like a groundswell. Last week, a group of 22 experts on drug safety and regulation issued an open letter to lawmakers asking Congress not to reauthorize the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), the system that funds the Food and Drug Administration’s drug review process. In that…

By David Michaels It seems to happen almost by instinct. When a worker dies in a workplace accident, the employer responds by expressing sadness but making it clear it was the worker’s own damn fault (and the employer is faultless, of course). The management of BP initially blamed worker mistakes for the Texas City refinery…

World Water Day: Coping with Scarcity

Today is World Water Day, and this year’s theme is “Coping with Water Scarcity.”  In its WWD report (PDF), UN-Water (the official United Nations mechanism for follow-up of the Millennium Development Goals), warns that water scarcity will increase in the coming decades, driven by four main factors:

Occupational Health News Roundup

The death toll from the tragic mine disaster in Siberia has reached 107, the Associated Press reports today. About 200 mineworkers were underground when a methane gas explosion occurred nearly 900 feet below the surface. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared today a national day of mourning for the victims of this disaster and a…

By David Michaels The Chemical Safety Board isn’t pulling its punches. Its report on the March 2005 BP refinery explosion which killed 15 workers is scathing in its criticism of BP, concluding that “organizational and safety deficiencies at all levels of the BP Corporation” caused the explosion. More surprisingly, CSB also went after OSHA for…

By David Michaels The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is holding a public meeting tonight in Texas City, Texas, to release the final report of its investigation into the explosion at the BP refinery that killed 15 workers and injured 170 more in March, 2005. Thursday, the House Education and Labor Committee will be holding…

More than 14,000 workplaces received unwelcome letters in the mail last week from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  The agency used data from a survey of 80,000 workplaces to identify those sites with injury rates that were more than twice the national average, and notified them with a personal letter.  Recipients of the OSHA letter include: Lowe’s, Home…

New Weekly Toll Posted

In continuation of the tradition begun at Jordan Barab’s Confined Space blog, Tammy has posted another edition of the Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace at her Weekly Toll blog. It gives short writeups on 73 workplace deaths, including the following: Alejandro Gonzalez, 25, who was working on hurricane-damaged homes in New Orleans and was…

By David Michaels OMB Watch has just released its newest report on the recent changes President Bush has made to the federal regulatory process. The report A Failure to Govern: Bush’s Attack on the Regulatory Process explains in clear, compelling language how two arcane but pernicious documents, one amended the other new, threaten to significantly…

Boston Hotel Workers Rising!

Hotel workers in Boston voted 1,013 to 27  to authorize a boycott and strike at the Sheraton Boston, Boston Park Plaza, Westin Waterfront Hotel, and Westin Copley Place.  The housekeepers, bellmen and other hotel workers are members of UNITE HERE Local 26 and they’ve been in talks with Starwood Hotels since last November to negotiate a new contract.  Key issues in…