Archives for June, 2010

OSHA agrees to give advance notice of enforcement actions against BP?

I noticed today on OSHA’s website a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the US Coast Guard (USCG). Under the heading “Information Sharing: Enforcement,” OSHA says it: “will notify the Federal On Scene Coordinator (FOSC) when it intends to take any enforcement action against BP, BP’s contractors, or any other employer engaged in response activities.”…

Senator Chris Dodd held a hearing yesterday to discuss his Livable Communities Act, which would provide grant funding for communities to plan and implement strategies to improve livability. In his statement, he explains: This legislation will provide resources for comprehensive planning. The design of our communities is often seen as primarily a local issue, but…

MSHA says system is broken. MSHA has power to fix it.

As Coal Tattoo reports in “MSHA lost a major ‘pattern of violation’ case against Massey,” the federal mine safety agency was foiled in its effort to place Massey Energy’s Tiller No.1 mine on a pattern of violations. This particular underground coal mine is located in Tazewell, Virginia and had dozens of S&S citations for violating…

President Obama has nominated Dr. Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and he sounds like a great guy for the job. Julie Rovner reported for Morning Edition earlier today that Republicans are stalling his nomination, which isn’t out of the ordinary these days. But the part of her story that…

Melanie Trottman reported in the Wall Street Journal last week that US Representatives James Oberstar and Jerrold Nadler have demanded that Gulf response and recovery workers be provided with respirators (among other protective equipment), but OSHA doesn’t think respirators should be required: David Michaels, assistant secretary for the Department of Labor’s OSHA, said in an…

By Elizabeth Grossman Expressions of concern for oil spill response workers’ health and safety grew this past week as reports arrived by way of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network that BP was denying workers’ requests for respirators. On June 4th, the Wall Street Journal reported that Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and James Oberstar (D-Minn) had…

As a group, scientists generally grasp the importance of good data collection systems – but federal-agency budgets rarely let scientists collect as much data as they’d like. Trimming funds for monitoring or surveillance programs may seem like the least painful budget choice when money’s tight, but then sometimes it turns out that relatively small savings…

The Economist recently published a special report on water, which summarizes the difficulty of ensuring adequate clean water supplies for a growing global population. (It also touches on the related challenge of sanitation, which affects water quality.) Agriculture accounts for nearly 70% of the world’s water use, although that number varies by region. In the…

We’ve been following the story ( see here, here, and here) of the National Guard troops who were exposed to the carcinogen hexavalent chromium at the Qarmat Ali water plant in Iraq – which contracting giant KBR was tasked with rebuilding. National Guard soldiers from four states were stationed there; many of them suffered nosebleeds…

DemFromCT had a great post up at Daily Kos this past weekend about risk communication. He considers the somewhat unusual circumstances of the Gulf oil spill, noting, “unlike pandemics and hurricanes, this volatile mixture in the water has an equally volatile mix of politics, companies, government and media to sort out policy and communication.” The…