Occupational Health News Roundup

The most prominent occupational health news this week is the tragic deaths of 29 workers from New Zealand’s Pike River coal mine. Celeste has already written about this, so I’ll just add my encourgement to visit the New Zealand Herald’s photos and short profiles of the 29 miners:

Conrad Adams, Malcolm Campbell, Glen Cruse, Allan Dixon, Zen Drew, Christopher Duggan, Joseph Dunbar, John Hale, Daniel Herk, David Hoggart, Richard Holling, Andrew Hurren, Koos Jonker, William Joynson, Riki Keane, Terry Kitchin, Francis Marden, Samuel Mackie, Michael Monk, Stuart Mudge, Kane Nieper, Peter O’Neill, Milton Osborne, Brendon Palmer, Ben Rockhouse, Peter Rodger, Blair Sims, Josh Ufer, Keith Valli.

The youngest miner, Joseph Ray Dunbar, was just 17 years old. The oldest, Keith Thomas Valli, was 62.

In other news:

New York Times: More than 10,000 of the workers who sued New York City over health problems they say are linked to their Ground Zero cleanup and response work have approved a settlement that will distribute payouts to workers based on their rank in four tiers of injury severity.

The Tampa Tribune: More than a dozen Floridians are among those suing the contractors that ran burn pits on US military bases in Iraq in Afghanistan. More than 300 plaintiffs say exposure to toxic chemicals from burn pits are linked to cancers and other serious health problems.

CPRBlog: An examination of the letters sent by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to approximately 15,000 employers with high-hazard worksites finds that more than 1,000 employers in the “nursing care facilities” and “home centers” industries were warned about their high rates of injuries and illnesses.

Reuters: Research combining results from studies of European and Canadian workers finds that those with the greatest occupational exposure to diesel exhaust (a list that includes miners and railway workers) have a 31% higher risk of lung cancer than those without occupational diesel-exhaust exposures.

The Guardian: Salt miners in Uganda face toxic exposures while working in salty water – and many of them can’t afford to buy protective gear.