Archives for August, 2011

A few of the recent pieces I’ve liked (or, in the case of the first item, found horribly disturbing but important): Maryn McKenna at Superbug: Ringing the Warning Bell: Colistin-Resistant Klebsiella J. Malcolm Garcia in Guernica: Smoke Screen (“In Afghanistan, the U.S. military disposes of garbage–computers, motorbikes, TVs, shoes, even human feces–in open burn pits.…

Two weeks after grain auger disaster, vigil continues for two 17 year old workers

The two 17 year old workers who were entangled two weeks ago in a grain auger remain hospitalized in the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City. Family and friends of Bryce Gannon, 17 and Tyler Zander, 17 created a Facebook page, “Prayers for Bryce and Tyler,” that provides a glimpse of the long road of…

In a new New York Times Magazine piece, John Tierney pulls together the results of several studies that suggest willpower is finite and decisionmaking exhausting. While these findings are important in many ways (Tierney leads off with an example from the criminal justice system), I was especially interested in the implications for dieting. The whole…

Occupational Health News Roundup

I somehow missed this when it first happened, but the state of Connecticut made history last month when Governor Dan Malloy signed legislation requiring up to five paid sick days per year for service workers at businesses with 50 or more employees. Christopher Keating gave these details in the Hartford Courant after the state’s House…

Republican lawmakers interfere (again) in diesel cancer study

The Republican chairmen of the House Education and the Workforce Committee and its Subcommittee on Workforce Protections are invoking “sound science” and “transparency” in a request to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for data and draft publications of a cancer mortality study of underground miners exposed to diesel exhaust. Congressman John…

The US spends far more per capita on healthcare than any other developed country — $7,538 per person, compared to $3,129 in the UK, $4,079 in Canada, and $5,003 in Norway (the second-biggest spender), according to 2008 totals compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation. One contributor to our high healthcare costs is high administrative costs,…

Legs of two 17 year olds severed in grain auger, White House sits on young worker safety rule

[Update 8/15/2011 below] Tyler Zander, 17 and Bryce Gannon, 17 were working together on Thursday, August 4 at the Zaloudek Grain Co. in Kremlin, Oklahoma. They were operating a large floor grain aguer when something went terribly wrong. Oklahoma’s News9.com reports that Bryce Gannon’s legs became trapped in the auger, Tyler Zander went to his…

Who pays for meth lab cleanups?

Jim Salter of the Associated Press reports that many law enforcement agencies are reducing their attempts to shut down methamphetamine manufacturing because they can no longer afford to clean up the labs. Brian Freskos of North Carolina’s Star News reported back in May that Congress has generally appropriated $10 million for meth lab cleanup annually,…

Obama Labor Department taking steps to improve whistleblower protections, but progress is slow

Individuals who “blow the whistle” have the courage to tell authorities about corruption, fraud or safety hazards in their organization, even when doing so may result in being demoted or reassigned, fired or passed over for promotion, or discriminated against in another way. Whistleblowers are truck drivers who refuse to drive unsafe vehicles, railroad workers…

Last week, I was fortunate to be able to attend the opening of a Smithsonian Museum of Natural History exhibit dedicated to the rescue of 33 miners from the San José mine in Chile, and meet two of miners whose story captivated the world as they endured 69 days underground following a mine explosion. Carlos…