Archives for February, 2011

BIG company, but small OSHA penalties for workplace fatalities

Roxanne Moyer wondered why managers at her husband’s worksite would allow an obvious dangerous condition to exist. Workers could be so “close to molten steel [that it] just poured over on them.” Her husband, Samuel Moyer, 32 died earlier this month at Arcelor Mittal’s LaPlace, Lousiania steel mill in exactly that way. He was fatally…

Occupational Health News Roundup

For its 40th anniversary, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has compiled a timeline of key milestones during its history. The big picture is a positive one: Although accurate statistics were not kept at the time, it is estimated that in 1970 around 14,000 workers were killed on the job. That number fell to approximately…

We’re hearing a lot of rhetoric about the need to slash government spending, so it’s a good time to remind everyone that there’s no such thing as a free lunch – and if you think you’re getting a free lunch, it might be loaded with pathogens. Maryn McKenna, writing at Superbug about a New England…

New Look at an Old Problem

By Dick Clapp An ambitious paper was released in Boston last week, with subsequent media coverage in local, national and international outlets (see, for example the New York Times’ Green Blog and Reuters). The first author, Paul Epstein, was interviewed on the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise, which was anchored in the Boston Harbor as…

By Elizabeth Grossman As I’ve watched the hearings House Republicans have been holding over the past couple of weeks on the economic impact of environmental and occupational health and safety regulations, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned about and seen of the working and environmental conditions in places that are now the hub of…

Congressman blames US coal miners for having black lung disease

Freshman Congressman Larry D. Bucshon (R) of Evansville, Indiana is a cardiothoracic surgeon. His father was an underground coal miner and a member of the United Mine Workers Union for 37 years. Both his grandparents were coal miners. But, Republican-controlled Capitol Hill is now the Twilight Zone when I heard him say the following last…

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is holding its annual meeting in DC this week, and the organization is presenting awards to “professional journalists for distinguished reporting for a general audience.” An endowment from the Kavli Foundation funds the awards program, which gives $3,000 and a plaque to each winner. I wasn’t surprised…

NIOSH programs targeted in President’s 2012 spending proposal

Budget proposals are flying up and down Washington DC’s Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Capitol Hill, as lawmakers and the President wrestle with funding plans for the current and next fiscal years. The House began debate this week on HR 1 (359 pages), a bill to appropriate funds to federal agencies for the…

Cross-posted from the American Geophysical Union’s GeoSpace blog. Even though the deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti is now spreading more slowly, health officials are still working to prevent as many new cases as possible. Detailed models of the disease’s spread help those in charge of making public health decisions understand the effectiveness of control measures,…

By Elizabeth Grossman Since release of its Final Report to the President on January 11th, the National Oil Spill Commission has released five additional papers (called “working papers”) reviewing aspects of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil disaster – three on February 3rd and two on February 8th. On February 11th, National Oil Spill Commissioners Don Boesch…