Archives for May, 2007

New Study Strengthens Chromium-Cancer Link

By David Michaels Many people first heard about hexavalent chromium, or chromium 6, from the movie Erin Brockovich, which is based on the true story of a lawsuit over chromium-contaminated groundwater in the town of Hinkley, California. Less well-known is the campaign waged by companies that manufacture or use chromium 6 to convince regulatory agencies…

By David Michaels Product Defense is a lucrative business. The scientists who own and operate these firms make sizable profits helping polluters and manufacturers of dangerous products stymie public health and environmental regulators. The companies, and the scientists, sell not just their scientific expertise, but their knowledge of and access to regulatory agencies. Hire me,…

YouTube Demo of Mine Refuge Chamber

Watch a 2-minute video (here) showing one variety of portable chamber designed to provide a safe refuge for underground miners during an emergency.  The equipment was displayed on Capitol Hill on May 16, 2007 as part of the House Committee on Education and Labor’s oversight of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). 

Occupational Health News Roundup

Remember the Capitol tunnel workers who’ve been fighting for safer working conditions after years of being exposed to asbestos on the job? (They’ve been featured in previous roundups here, here, and here.) They stirred up Congressional interest in the safety hazards in the Capitol tunnels, and Congress put pressure on the Architect of the Capitol,…

A Way Forward for OSHA

By Adam M. Finkel Two weeks ago, Congress officially asked a question that would have been unutterable during the first six years of the Bush Administration: “Have OSHA Standards Kept up with Workplace Hazards?” I was not surprised to read Assistant Secretary Ed Foulke’s testimony, in which he tried mightily to make the molehill of…

Media Coverage of Workplace Fatalities

On the Arizona Star‘s Clocking-In Blog, reporter Becky Pallack published a letter addressed to her on The Weekly Toll. The letter, written by Javier Morales (whose nephew and Godson, Ian Michael Beal, was killed in a construction accident in late 2003), discussed the unwillingness of the press to report on Workers Memorial Day.

OSHA Debated on the Kojo Nnamdi Show Today

By David Michaels The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created more than thirty years ago to make the American workplace more safe. And officials there say that deaths and injuries on the job have declined on their watch. But critics say OSHA has dropped the ball when it comes to safety regulations for…

In March 2006, a coalition of industry trade groups, led by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), filed suit in federal court challenging OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard.  This rule, issued by OSHA in 1983, (48 Federal Register 53280) provides fundamental right-to-know protections to most U.S. workers.  Among other things, the HazCom rule requires employers to give workers access…

New Weekly Toll Posted

Tammy has posted another edition of the Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace at her Weekly Toll blog. It gives short writeups on 41 workplace deaths, including the following: * Wendall Anderson, 58, of Indianapolis was shot outside the Kroger grocery store where he had worked for 30 years. * Duane Tirrell, a 53-year-old farmer…

OSHA Blames Inaction on Uncertainty

By David Michaels OSHA has been taking a beating in the press recently and now they’ve started a small campaign to respond. It began with a blistering article (based in part on SKAPP’s work) by Steven Labaton in the New York Times, an article that was then reprinted in several newspapers around the country. Now,…