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industry 16 articles

Panama City Beach parasailing crash triggers safety regulation debates

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. –Two Indiana teenage girls parasailing in Panama City Beach were critically injured Monday when the line that tethered them to the boat snapped, sending them crashing into the side of a high-rise condominium building. The incident, caught on video, has re-ignited a statewide debate on parasailing safety and whether the industry should remain self-regulated. Sidney Renea Good, 17, of Roanoake, Ind., and Alexis Fairchild, 17, of Huntington, Ind., were parasailing with Aquatic Adventures Monday when the towing line broke and high winds carried them overland. Video shows the girls slamming into one building before hurling into ... Read More

New website monitors how corporations, lobbyists are eroding our Constitutional rights

Alarmed by the corporate lobby’s aggressive efforts to undermine the U.S. civil justice system, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) has launched a new website and blog called Take Justice Back. The aim of the website is to keep U.S. citizens informed about how their rights and protections, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, are being eroded by powerful corporations and lobbying groups trying to escape accountability. Armed with hundreds of millions of dollars, these corporate interests have infiltrated Congress and are using their financial might “scheming up ways to avoid accountability when they hurt someone,” the AAJ says. The “Tort ... Read More

Injured Pfizer worker blows whistle on unpoliced biotech hazards

Becky McClain was a molecular biologist working for Pfizer Inc. when she was allegedly injured on the job after being exposed to a highly secretive virus in the company’s Groton, Connecticut, laboratories. McClain filed a number of complaints with Pfizer in an effort to address safety concerns that put both workers and the public at risk. But instead of fixing the problem, Pfizer turned its back on Ms. McClain’s complaints and fired her. Today, two years after winning a $1.27 million judgment against Pfizer and an additional $910,000 for attorney’s fees and punitive damages awarded by a judge last year, ... Read More

Graphic anti-smoking ad campaign seems to be working

More than twice the number of people called an anti-smoking hotline last week after a series of graphic ads depicting horrifying consequences of cigarette use hit billboards, newspapers, magazines, radios and televisions across the country. The ads are part of the first public service campaign the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ever undertaken to fight smoking. The new public service campaign will cost about $54 million in its first year – about what the tobacco industry pays in one day to promote its products. The ads show people who have suffered larynegectomies, limb loss, paralysis and cancer ... Read More

Florida Beach Walk images aim to swap beauty for BP in public’s mind

Florida residents have photographed nearly every mile of the state’s 825 miles of beaches, part of a campaign launched by Florida’s tourism officials to show the world that its beaches are as clean and beautiful as they were before BP’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The results of the “Beach Walk” campaign, heralded by Florida as the largest beach walk of its kind in the world, are now visible on the state’s tourism website VisitFlorida.com. The interactive 4,500-image gallery consists of a state map with clickable miles along the coast. Clicking on a mile reveals a small ... Read More

NOAA report offers glimpse of Gulf fishing losses after BP's oil spill

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s newly released fisheries report finds New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, Alaska, remaining at the top in 2009 for value and amount of fish landed, but the inclusion of several Gulf fisheries among last year’s top ten underscores just how much was lost in 2010 – for both the Gulf Coast and the national economy as a whole — in the wake of BP’s oil spill. The “Fisheries of the United States 2009” report shows New Bedford’s port brought in more than $249 million of fish that year, with an increase of 23.6 million ... Read More

Sugar company to pay $6 million in penalties after deadly plant blast

A Georgia sugar company will pay more than $6 million in penalties for the February 2008 explosion at its Port Wentworth, Georgia, plant and subsequent health and safety violations discovered at the company’s other facility in Gramercy, Louisiana. The explosion at Imperial Sugar Co. claimed the lives of 14 workers and seriously injured dozens of others. The company reached an agreement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after months of litigation following the accident. Imperial Sugar will pay $4,050,000 in penalties for 124 violations found at its Port Wentworth plant after the explosion, plus an additional $2 million for the ... Read More

OSHA investigates Ohio construction worker electrocution

A 26-year-old construction worker was electrocuted last week while working on a road project near Canton, Ohio. Kevin Meyer, a resident of Grove City, Ohio, was pulling old guardrail posts out of the ground when the accident occurred. Reports say that the boom of a drill / driver truck owned by Lake Erie Construction Company of Norwalk, Ohio, came close to an overhead electric service line crossing the road, allowing electricity to arc from the line to the truck. Meyer was working next to the truck at the time and was electrocuted when he came into contact with the truck. ... Read More

After 8 industrial worker deaths in 4 months, OSHA vows to do more

Deputy Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a warning to the petrochemical and energy industries today, prompted by the deaths of 58 workers in just the last four months. Eleven of those deaths occurred when the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20. Fifteen days prior to the BP oil rig disaster, 29 miners were killed in a West Virginia coal mine explosion. That mine is owned by Massey Energy, another company with a long and troubled history of federal safety violations. In testimony before a congressional panel on workplace ... Read More

Oil lobbyists determined federal policy of offshore drilling safety

The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service allowed the oil industry to write federal policy governing the implementation of safety systems and backups, according to a New York Times report. “Federal regulators warned offshore rig operators more than a decade ago that they needed to install backup systems to control the giant undersea valves known as blowout preventers (BOPs), used to cut off the flow of oil from a well in an emergency,” the report says. The MMS first sounded the warning in 2004 and then again last year, but it never took proper measures to codify the enhancements, ... Read More