The Pump Handle

Reset the Doomsday Clock?

Both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump have suggested their respective administration’s would have more aggressive nuclear weapons policies. Knowing that, I wonder if it’s time to consider moving the hands of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight.

The most recent annual Federal OSHA evaluation report of Cal/OSHA highlights progress made in some areas, but continuing failure to meet several minimum federal benchmarks as well as requirements of California law.  The underlying causes of these ongoing problems are chronic understaffing of field compliance officers and a lack of political will in the agency’s leadership. 

A closer look at the latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that injury and illness stats for California show the state has worse, not better, rates of worker injuries and illnesses than national levels or the performance of other major industrial states. The “but we have better stats” response from state officials cannot be used to justify the failure of the Department of Industrial Relations and Cal/OSHA to fill 38 vacant field compliance officer positions that have been fully funded since July 2015.

Three railroad workers were killed on June 29 when two BNSF locomotives crashed head-on into each other. “Positive train control” could have prevented the collision, but regulatory deadlines were delayed by industry lobbying.

President Obama is entering the last year of his final term in office, so now we’re all supposed to be panicking over a dreaded phenomenon known as “midnight regulations.” Scared? Well, you shouldn’t be.

To address health inequities more effectively, public health practitioners must not only address the determinants of health, but also the causes of inequities in the determinants including multiple forms of racism and the distribution of power.

The fatal work-related injuries that killed Gerald Lyle Thompson could have been prevented had his employer followed worker safety regulations.

Re-run from July 27, 2015:Dr. Donald Rasmussen, 87, spent more than 50 years in Appalachia treating coal miners with lung disease. He was at the forefront of efforts during the 1960’s to challenge the establishment’s views that exposure to coal mine dust damaged miners’ lungs.

Re-run from August 11, 2015: There are plenty of lawmakers who criticize OSHA regulations. Perhaps some of them might think differently if they realized the importance of workplace safety regulations for children’s health.

Re-run from March 16, 2015: Researchers analyze crash data following London’s 2003 implementation of a congestion-charge zone, while Seattle reduces transit fares for low-income riders.