Archives for March, 2012

Unless they’ve deviated from their normal procedure, the Supreme Court justices have now decided on how they’ll rule on the Affordable Care Act – but, as the Washington Post’s Robert Barnes points out, we’ll have to wait until late June to hear their verdict. In the meantime, this is a good opportunity to recap the…

by Kim Krisberg A couple weeks ago on the southern-most tip of the continental United States in Key West, nearly 70 residents gathered at a town hall meeting to talk about mosquitoes. And not just any mosquito. A special, genetically modified mosquito designed to protect people’s health. While the modified mosquito has yet to make…

Federal OSHA Penalties 101: Stuck in a time warp

In 1991, Dan Quayle was US Vice President, General Norman Schwarzkopf led the 100-hour assault known as Operation Desert Storm, and Phil Collins had the record of the year. It was the last (and only) time that the US Congress amended the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) to update the monetary penalty amounts…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Earlier this month, the Mine Safety and Health Administration released results of an internal review into the agency’s actions leading up to the April 5, 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, which killed 29 miners in Raleigh County, West Virginia. The Executive Summary reports, “While the Internal Review team did not find evidence that the…

Federal OSHA Penalties 101: A look at high-dollar cases

In October 2009, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) made national headlines when it proposed a record-setting $87 million penalty against BP Products North America Inc. for the company’ failure to correct serious safety hazards at its Texas City, Texas refinery. Ten months later, OSHA announced that it reached a settlement with…

Top notch job by OSHA staff to globally harmonize labels and datasheets for chemicals

Earlier this week, Lizzie Grossman reported here at The Pump Handle on revisions to OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard which align the agency’s 30 year old rule with a globally harmonized system for classifying and labeling chemical hazards. In “Moving from Right-to-Know to Right-to-Understand,” we learn how the changes stem from a 2002 United Nations resolution…

Today is World Water Day, and this year’s theme is “Water and Food Security.” UN Water explains why we should care: Each of us needs to drink 2 to 4 litres of water every day. But it takes 2 000 to 5 000 litres of water to produce one person’s daily food. Today, there are…

by Elizabeth Grossman His job, the Metalworkers Alliance of the Philippines union leader told us, was assembling the electronics – the wire- or cable-harnesses – that go into cars. The work involved soldering, using flux, along with epoxies, and various degreasers or solvents. He and his co-workers didn’t know the actual names of the substances…

Friday will be the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, and there’s plenty of discussion about the law’s impacts and the upcoming Supreme Court oral arguments. While many of the law’s provisions won’t take effect until 2014, it’s already having an impact on some aspects of health insurance. I described several…

Keeping transportation dollars from worker-safety violators, such as Thomas Industrial Coatings

The $109 billion transportation bill passed last week in the Senate has a title that doesn’t even mention roads or highways. It’s called the ”Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21) The 74 Senators who voted in favor of the bill (S. 1813), including 22 Republicans, described their support in terms of…