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whistleblower 940 articles

Railway company fined and ordered to reinstate injured worker

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered Omaha, Nebraska-based Union Pacific Railroad Co. to immediately reinstate an employee in Idaho who was fired after reporting a work-related injury and to pay the employee more than $300,000 in back wages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys fees. The employee filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA, alleging suspension without pay and then termination after notifying the company of an on-the-job injury. OSHA’s investigation found the disciplinary charges and termination did not stem from the complainant breaking a work rule but merely on reporting an injury to the railroad. The ... Read More

osha accused of mismanaging whistleblower protection program

The federal whistleblower protection program that is supposed to serve 200 million U.S. workers is languishing under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s authority and should be removed, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The GAO report admonished OSHA leadership for its inattention to the whistleblower program and recommended that it be elevated to its own separate office. The GAO’s recommendation jibes with the calls of whistleblower support organizations, such as Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which has petitioned Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to turn the program into its own office within the Department of Labor. Entitled ... Read More

BP agrees to pay record OSHA fines for Texas City refinery explosions

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that BP Products North America Inc. will pay a  record $50.6 million penalty for violations that caused the 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery. The blast killed 15 workers and injured 170 others. The agreement resolves failure-to-abate citations OSHA levied for problems found in a follow-up investigation last year. In addition to paying the record fine, BP has agreed to take immediate steps to protect workers currently employed at the Texas City refinery, allocating a minimum of $500 million to that effort. “This agreement achieves our goal of protecting workers at ... Read More

OSHA establishes new website to support whistleblowers

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration unveiled a new website this week dedicated to providing would-be whistleblowers with encouragement and protection. According to OSHA, “workers who ‘blow the whistle’ on prohibited or unlawful practices in the workplace or report safety and health discrimination play an important role” in keeping employers in line with federal laws. The website – www.whistleblower.gov – is designed to provide workers, employers, and the public with easily accessible information about the 18 federal whistleblower protection statutes that OSHA currently administers. While the information is available on OSHA’s main website, the agency wanted to make it ... Read More

BP's official oil-spill response plan contains absurd information

Federal regulations require oil companies to prepare and submit detailed spill-response plans before they can begin drilling offshore in American waters — and rightfully so. That body of water we call the Gulf of Mexico is a rich and diverse natural resource that directly sustains a way of life for millions of residents, whether they’re employed by the multi-billion-dollar seafood and tourism industries or any business in between. Simply put, a threat to the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystems is a threat to our economy and national security. Considering that, behold the colossal failure of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) to take ... Read More

Level of oil dispersant chemicals used in Gulf raises concerns

The Environmental Protection Agency gave BP on Wednesday 24 hours to find an oil dispersant less toxic than the ones it has been spraying in massive quantities above the Gulf of Mexico and under the surface. The EPA requested that BP provide it with a list of available dispersants and begin using the new dispersants within 72 hours. The request indicates that federal regulators are concerned that the chemical dispersants being used in unprecedented quantities could pose a threat of their own to the Gulf’s marine life and coastal ecosystems. BP has been using two Nalco-brand dispersants, Corexit 9500A and ... Read More

Failure to perform critical safety test, serious design = oil rig disaster

A leading oilfield services provider says that BP hired it to test the cement linings on the Deepwater Horizon’s drill column, but quit the testing and sent the crew home before its work was completed. Eleven hours later, natural gas blasted up the well and set off a series of giant explosions that sank what was supposed to be one of the most technologically advanced offshore rigs in the Gulf. Schlumberger Ltd., the testing firm, says that its crew and equipment were on standby to perform tests from April 18 to April 20. Some tests were successfully completed, yet BP ... Read More

Feds assess BP's record, company could lose its U.S. contracts

Environmental Protection Agency officials are reviewing BP’s troubled record of drilling for oil on U.S. soil and federal waters to determine whether the company should be barred from receiving government contracts. Such a move, if it comes to pass, could cost the company billions of dollars in revenue. Throughout the last decade, BP has paid several million dollars in fines to U.S. regulatory agencies and has been implicated in four instances of criminal misconduct. However, the oil industry’s “cozy relationship,” with the Minerals Management Service, as President Obama put it, may have shielded BP from actions harsher than token fines. ... Read More

Senators seek criminal investigation of BP, insiders come forward

BP and Transocean have begun the legal maneuvering that they hope will minimize their exposure to mounting lawsuits and limit their liability for the uncapped oil leak that continues to release thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day. But there are some promising signs that those who created the spill are finding few rocks to hind under. Yesterday, eight Senate Democrats asked the Obama administration to launch a criminal investigation into BP for allegedly making false and misleading statements to federal regulators about its ability to stop potentially devastating oil spills in the Gulf of ... Read More

Whistleblower: BP risks more massive catastrophes in Gulf

A former contractor who worked for British Petroleum (BP) claims the oil conglomerate broke federal laws and violated its own internal procedures by failing to maintain crucial safety and engineering documents related to one of the firms other deepwater production projects in the Gulf of Mexico, according to internal emails and other documents obtained by Truthout. The whistleblower, whose name has been withheld at the person’s request because the whistleblower still works in the oil industry and fears retaliation, first raised concerns about safety issues related to BP Atlantis, the world’s largest and deepest semi-submersible oil and natural gas platform, ... Read More