Tagged Articles

worker health 8 articles

Study: Dispersants Dumped on BP Oil Spill Sickened Workers

Chemical oil dispersants dumped in the Gulf of Mexico during BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill sickened thousands of cleanup workers exposed to them, a new study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) confirms. For months and even years after BP tried to tame its massive oil spill with oil dispersants, many workers exposed to the chemicals complained of a multitude of symptoms, including cough, lung irritation, shortness of breath, burning eyes, memory loss, heart problems, bloody urine, liver damage, and a variety of skin disorders. But because the effects the oil dispersants BP used to break up the ... Read More

Resolution Repealing OSHA’s worker Injury Recordkeeping Requirements Passes House

A resolution that seeks to repeal an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule clarifying the responsibilities of large employers in the most dangerous industries to keep complete and accurate worker injury records has cleared the House and is now under review by the Senate. The OSHA clarifying rule under attack, writes Debbie Berkowitz, former chief of staff and senior OSHA adviser, “does not impose any new costs or obligations on employers, nor does it affect small businesses. The rule only covers larger employers in the most dangerous industries. This rule does not kill jobs, it prevents jobs from killing ... Read More

Unions Push OSHA for Lower Beryllium Exposure Limits Than Proposed Rule Permits

Unionized steelworkers are pushing the federal government to adopt stricter safety standards governing beryllium exposure, arguing that the even a drastic exposure reduction proposed by regulators last year is inadequate in protecting many workers from the highly toxic element. According to the Newport News Daily Press, union officials from the largest Newport News shipyard say even the drastic reduction in exposure limits proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) won’t protect thousands of workers, and advocate for even lower limits and different, safer blasting agents. OSHA has published a notice of proposed rulemaking, calling for public comments on ... Read More

Tests Link Coffee Roasting To Diacetyl And Other Extremely Toxic Gases

Federal safety researchers are warning workers who roast, grind, package, and serve coffee about the presence of diacetyl and other potentially deadly chemicals that occur in extremely high concentrations as a natural part of the coffee roasting and grinding processes. Prompted by an investigative report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel detailing how coffee industry workers could be in danger of developing potentially deadly lung disorders, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started testing the air inside a dozen coffee roasting facilities across the country. Its findings have put the coffee industry on high alert. The National Institute ... Read More

Poultry Industry Conditions Dangerous and Unfair, Oxfam Report Finds

Oxfam America has released a new report exposing the extreme hazards and hardships workers in America’s poultry industry continue to endure, despite claims by several industry leaders that employees are treated fairly and that conditions are improving. According to the Oxfam report, Lives on the Line, hazardous plant conditions lead to alarmingly high rates of illness and injury. At the same time, industry practices are designed to discourage workers from reporting violations that directly affect their health and well-being and the employees are prohibited from organizing to push for better conditions and protections. “He told us ‘you shouldn’t drink so ... Read More

Brother of slain Deepwater Horizon worker stands up for worker safety

Overcome with grief at times, Christopher Jones, the brother of a BP contractor who died in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, fought back tears as he spoke before a congressional panel, pleading with legislators to toughen worker safety laws and increase liability for companies that recklessly endanger the lives of their workers. Jones made his remarks before a House Natural Resources Committee meeting that was primarily exploring Republican criticism that the Obama administration was moving too slowly in its approval of new drilling permits after BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers and created the worst environmental disaster ... Read More

Alabama lumber company faces steep fines after worker death

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited MDLG, doing business as Phenix Lumber Co., for 53 safety and health violations following the death of one worker and the critical injury of a second at its facility in Phenix City, Alabama. Proposed penalties total $439,400. In March, OSHA inspectors opened a follow-up joint safety and health inspection to verify abatement from a previous visit that identified failure-to-abate violations. Before OSHA could conclude its review, one worker was killed when his head was crushed between a motor being hoisted with a forklift and other equipment. Another worker was seriously injured after ... Read More

BP received back-to-back record OSHA fines before Gulf oil spill

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration hit BP Products North America Inc. with nearly $90 million in penalties less than nine months ago for the company’s failure to correct an array of safety violations that threatened the lives and health of its workers. The fine, which OSHA announced on October 30 of last year, was the largest in the agency’s history. According to OSHA’s website, prior to the $87,430,000 fine, the largest penalty issued by the agency was $21 million. That fine, issued in 2005, was also levied against BP. OSHA issued the fine for safety violations found at BP’s ... Read More