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September 25, 2009
Ordinarily, when a worker is abused by an employer, the employer can be prosecuted, found guilty, and penalized. That hasnât been the case with diplomats accused of abusing domestic workers; their diplomatic immunity has allowed them to duck charges of beating domestic workers or keeping them in…
September 25, 2009
by Ken Ward, Jr.,  cross-posted from Sustained Outrage: a Gazette Watchdog Blog During a public hearing last night in Georgia, the federal Chemical Safety Board tried to answer critics who complained the board had backed off its strong recommendation that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health…
September 24, 2009
WTOC in Savannah, GA is reporting that Georgia's Senators, Republicans Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, are calling on OSHA to issue a regulation to protect workers from the dangers related to combustible dust.  WTOC says that the Senators were brief today by officials of the Chemical…
September 24, 2009
by Ken Ward, Jr.,  cross-posted from Sustained Outrage: a Gazette Watchdog Blog The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is scheduled to release the findings of its investigation into the terrible explosion that killed 14 workers at a Georgia sugar refinery in February 2008. Itâs another big test for the…
September 23, 2009
We long been hearing moans and groans from many in the business community about how OSHA rules stiffle the economy, or worse, from employers who insist that following OSHA rules will cost them jobs.   The sad truth is the exact opposite: failing to meet basic health and safety standards can…
September 23, 2009
Bans on smoking in restaurants and other public places don't just make nonsmokers' working and dining experiences more enjoyable, they also protect our health. Reducing exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke reduces the risk of heart attacks - and the places that have enacted bans are finding that…
September 22, 2009
Today is Car-Free Day, and how easy it is for us to get along without a personal vehicle depends largely on where we live. Using Census Bureau data, Forbes has created a ranking of the cleanest-commuting metro areas. Areas earn points for having large percentages of workers who use public transit…
September 21, 2009
Members of Congress George Miller (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Corrine Brown (D-FL)  sent a letter to acting OSHA chief Jordan Barab urging the agency to expand its process safety management standard (PSM) to address reactive chemicals.  Reactives are highly unstable that can violently …
September 18, 2009
How well prepared are US workplaces for a severe outbreak of swine flu (or a similar disease)? Not very well, a survey from the Harvard School of Public Health finds: In a national survey of businesses that looks at their preparations for a possible widespread H1N1 outbreak, Harvard School of…
September 17, 2009
Today, Andrew Schneider at Cold Truth tells us  that way back in April, acting Surgeon General Steven Galson issued a long-awaited statement about the dangers of asbestos, a statement urged for years by asbestos-disease victims, their families and public health advocates.   Galson's action…
September 17, 2009
The environmental and occupational health impacts of end-of-life management of stuff (not people!) are often downplayed.  Unless the landfill or incinerator is in your backyard, the management of stuff as waste is generally ignored.  Throwing away stuff is a subconscious activity for most people…
September 17, 2009
by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure I just got my seasonal flu shot. It was free and my medical center is encouraging everyone to get one. I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said I didn't feel it at all, but in all honesty, I hardly felt it. They must be using smaller needles these days…
September 16, 2009
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its report and recommendations yesterday on the December 19, 2007 explosion at the T2 laboratory in Jacksonville, Florida.  The violent explosion took the lives of four individuals: Charles Budds Bolchoz, 48, Karey Renard Henry, 35, Parish Lamar…
September 16, 2009
A country's gross domestic product, or GDP, is often used as shorthand for its success - but, as Robert F. Kennedy pointed out four decades ago, it doesn't capture the toll of our damaging practices or the benefits of hard-to-measure qualities like the ability of the public to have high-quality…
September 15, 2009
The Associated Press is reporting that urgent recommendations proposed by the Chemical Safety Board's (CSB) hands-on investigators of the ConAgra Slim Jim factory explosion, which killed three workers in June 2009, were rejected by the CSB's Board.  The AP story reads: "Documents obtained by The…
September 14, 2009
 Earlier this month, the Appalachian Citizens' Law Center (ACLC)  sent a petition to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) urging the agency to revise its regulations on respirable coal mine dust to better protect mine workers from pneumoconiosis and other disabling respiratory…
September 11, 2009
The American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI) has teamed with stakeholders from industry, non-governmental organizations, and Federal and State agencies to develop a Sustainable Chemical and Process Technology Standard for the chemical industry.  As stated in the January 2009…
September 10, 2009
by Rena Steinzor, cross-posted from CPR Blog After weeks of sustained attack from the right-wing on issues that are marginal to the job the President asked him to do, Cass Sunstein has emerged from the nomination process bloody but apparently unbowed (here's this afternoon's roll call). He is now…
September 10, 2009
President Obama's address to Congress last night on health care had its high points and low points.  You can tune into your favorite spin-masters to hear those recaps.  My favorite part of the President's speech was when he spoke of our "large-heartedness" and our ability to put ourselves in…
September 10, 2009
The Mountain Eagle ( Whitesburg, KY) reports that coal miner Scott Howard was retaliated against by management at Arch Coal's Cumberland River Coal Co. mine for his safety complaints and other protected activity.  In "Judge Agrees with finding that miner was being punished," the paper notes…
September 9, 2009
A Washington Post editorial entitled "Down and Out" (9/8/09) alerted me to a new report by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) on working conditions experienced by low-wage workers in the U.S.  The 72-page report "Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers:  Violations of Employment and Labor Laws…
September 9, 2009
by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure One of the most feared outcomes of infection with influenza is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS; in less severe form it mahy be called Acute Lung Injury, ALI). For reasons we still do not understand, cells deep in the lung that are involved in…
September 9, 2009
Wyoming has had the highest rate of workplace deaths in recent years â 15.6 fatalities per 100,000 workers from 2005-2007. Oil field workers, or roughnecks, are at particular risk, and some of them are pushing the state to make it easier for injured workers and dead workersâ survivors to sue oil…
September 8, 2009
The New York Times editorial page draws attention to a new report that provides details about just how badly our system of workplace protections is failing workers in low-wage industries. Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in Americaâs Cities provides the…
September 4, 2009
As I get ready to take in the 3-day Labor Day weekend, I have to remind myself that this national holiday has deep roots in the trade union movement and struggles (sometimes violent) for workers to secure basic human rights.   In 1948, some of the fundamental protections sought by our…
September 4, 2009
by Ruth Long Yesterday, a friend and neighbor told me that she was chastised for nursing her daughter in a DC public library.  She had placed herself in a discreet corner and covered herself and her child who was nursing, while she read a book to her older child.  The librarian then confronted…
September 3, 2009
We've just learned that Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be announcing later this afternoon that John Howard, MD has been selected to lead the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Dr. Howard headed NIOSH for six years during George W. Bush's…
September 3, 2009
A lot of the media coverage of the healthcare debate lately has focused on the politics, probably because journalists feel like they've already spent several months explaining the various aspects of proposed reform. But there are a few things that bear repeating, because not everyone seems to…
September 2, 2009
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (a partnership between the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Pew Charitable Trusts) compiles an inventory of nanotech-enabled consumer products, and they recently announced that they've identified 1,000 nano products. Given the many…
September 1, 2009
CNNâs Elizabeth Landau reported yesterday on new research suggesting that online psychotherapy is an effective way to treat depression. The original study, published August 22 in the Lancet by Dr. David Kessler and colleagues in the UK, examined the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (…