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Federal regulators propose tougher rule governing offshore oil drilling safety

Federal safety regulators proposed a new rule last week that would update and strengthen offshore oil and gas drilling safety as energy giants reach into deeper and riskier waters for production. The proposed rule is one of several rule changes and other measures to improve worker and environmental safety adapted by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) since BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 workers and triggering the worst oil spill in U.S. history.The new rule would require stricter life cycles for critical safety and pollution-prevention equipment to ensure it will function as required ... Read More

New Jersey medical manufacturer ceases production after mold is found in its intravenous drugs

A U.S. District Judge has shuttered a New Jersey-based manufacturer of medical products for manufacturing and distributing contaminated drugs and other products and for failing to meet the minimum federal standards for safety and current good manufacturing practice requirements, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement. Med Prep Consulting Inc. of Tinton Falls, N.J., was ordered to halt production after a Connecticut hospital discovered intravenous drugs containing visible contaminants and reported the products to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA officials investigated and found the injectable drugs contained mold. Med Prep manufactures a range of drug products ... Read More

Keyless ignitions: How Toyota’s sudden-acceleration problem might standardize them

When Mark Saylor called 911 from behind the wheel of a Lexus ES350 in 2009, he frantically yelled that nothing he did would stop or even slow the vehicle from speeding out of control on the California freeway. Mr. Saylor and his family died during that phone call, but had Mr. Saylor known more about the vehicle’s keyless push-button ignition system, would the fiery crash have been averted? Of course nobody can say whether the ignition would have made a difference in the outcome of Mr. Saylor’s tragic sudden-unintended-acceleration incident or the accidents of others who were caught in a ... Read More

U.S. signs consumer product safety agreements with Australia and Hong Kong

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced this week the signing of “memorandums of understanding” (MOUs) between the U.S. agency and equivalent agencies in Australia and Hong Kong. The broad purpose of the agreements is to improve product safety between the U.S. and its trading partners. In an increasingly global economy, one of the biggest challenges the CPSC faces is ensuring that products made in other countries meet American standards for product safety. As we have seen so often in the past, cheaply made products like toys and jewelry made in countries such as China often contain unsafe levels of lead, ... Read More

Miami company willfully overexposed its workers to toxic levels of lead

Miami, Florida company E.N. Range Inc. has been slapped with more than $2 million in penalties for willfully exposing its employees to lead and for other violations that seriously threaten the health and safety of company workers. Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found that the company knowingly neglected to protect its employees, who clean gun ranges, from dangerous overexposure to lead. The company also dispensed non-FDA-approved treatments for lead exposure to the employees without the proper medical supervision. OSHA cited E.N. Range with more than 50 violations with penalties totaling $2,099,600. Lead is a dangerous neurotoxin that can impair ... Read More

DuPont receives multiple OSHA penalties after fatal gas leak

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited DuPont $43,000 for subjecting its employees to toxic chemicals after a fatal workplace incident in January at the company’s Belle, West Virginia, plant. OSHA launched its investigation in January after a plant worker was exposed to fatal levels of phosgene, a colorless gas that was used as a chemical weapon in World War I. OSHA’s investigation subsequently expanded to two additional chemical releases that occurred at the same plant involving oleum, a sulfuric acid solution, and hexazinone, a potent herbicide. Last year, OSHA launched its National Emphasis Program (“NEP”) for chemical ... Read More

Roadcheck 2010 results show record levels of compliance

Early results from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Roadcheck 2010 found that the commercial motor vehicle industry is close to the record low out-of-service rates set during 2009. Trucks are placed out of service when inspectors deem them to be in serious or repeat violation of federal safety standards. Low out-of-service rates mean that more trucks are complying with rules and regulations. Roadcheck 2010 found that the overall vehicle compliance rate at 80 percent, down slightly down from 80.4 percent last year. Last year’s rate was the highest overall compliance rate since 1996. The overall driver compliance rate stood at ... Read More

OSHA investigates construction company after CT bridge collapse

Officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Bridgeport, Conn., office are investigating the scene of a bridge collapse that seriously injured a 59-year-old construction employee. Anthony Mariano, a member of a construction crew employed by Brunali Construction Co. of Southington, was operating an excavation machine Tuesday morning beneath a bridge in the city of Naugatuck. Sensing the bridge had become unstable, Mariano cleared his coworkers from under the bridge and was about to remove the excavating machine when a 100-foot section dislodged and fell. Paramedics rushed Mariano to Waterbury Hospital and then airlifted him to Yale-New Haven Hospital, ... 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