Occupational Health & Safety

Category archives for Occupational Health & Safety

Mitt Romney’s idea of freedom: businesses free to do whatever they darn well please?

Mr. Mitt Romney spoke this weekend at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual convention and kicked off his remarks applauding the gun-lovers group’s defense of the 2nd amendment to the Constitution. “This fine organization is sometimes called a single-issue group,” Romney said. “That’s high praise when the single issue is freedom. I love my freedom…

Worker safety rule stuck in White House black hole, disease risk persists

More than 425 days—-that’s 14 months—-have passed since the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) a draft proposed regulation designed to protect workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica. The hazard is one of the oldest known causes of work-related…

By Elizabeth Grossman While the US Supreme Court was debating the Affordable Care Act, the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee held a hearing to examine the current federal oversight of cosmetics and personal care product safety. The hearing revealed that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency…

Chamber of Commerce mocks worker safety system, despite endorsement by major Chamber members and National Mining Association

The US Chamber of Commerce had a quaint little game on its website last month, complete with a YouTube video with fake sportscasters. The PR campaign called “Regulatory Madness” keyed off the annual NCAA’s basketball tournament we know as March Madness. The cutesy idea was for business people to use the Chamber’s pick of the…

At an American Public Health Association annual meeting session a couple of years ago, I learned from the panelists that green jobs aren’t always safe jobs — for instance, energy-efficient buildings and wind turbines can be designed without proper consideration for how workers constructing or servicing them will be protected from falls or assured adequate…

Two years ago today, 29 men died in a West Virginia coal mine

“When the world came to an end” is how Joshua Williams described being inside the Upper Big Branch coal mine at 3:02 pm on April 5, 2010. He knew several crews of coal miners were much deeper inside the dark tunnels than he. An ominous feeling. Coal dust explosions are powerful and deadly. Eight days…

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…