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worker safety 146 articles

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

BP used Three Little Pigs story to explain employee housing options

The Daily Beast has located some internal BP documents that throws much light on the disaster that took place aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and a mile below it. The documents, which surfaced after a March 2005 explosion at a Texas oil refinery killed 15 workers and injured 170 plant employees and residents of nearby neighborhoods, concern a cost-savings analysis of employee housing. What’s particularly telling about these memos and the corporate culture of BP, one of the world’s biggest oil companies, is that they illustrate the value of employee lives with the story of the Three Little Pigs. ... 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

Massey Energy hires PR agency to revamp image after mining disaster

The board of Massey Energy, parent company and owner of Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia where 29 miners died in explosion earlier this month, is seeking a public relations boost from a Texas-based firm with political connections. Since the tragic explosion on April 5, Massey’s safety record has come to the public’s attention, revealing a systemic disregard for critical safety measures that could have prevented the disaster had they been followed. The incident has placed Massey Energy and its controversial CEO Don Blankenship under fire from all directions. On the outside, federal regulators, safety advocates, and victims’ families ... Read More

Poor safety record, bad leadership caused mining deaths

Massey Energy, owner of the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, where at least 25 miners were killed on Monday, has had a long record of serious safety violations, many of which portended Monday’s tragic explosion and subsequent collapse of the mining shaft. Massey is the nation’s fourth largest coal company and the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia, with bituminous coal mines in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia. Despite the size and scope of its operations, however, Massey invests very little in protecting its workers. Between 2005 and Monday, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) cited ... Read More

Plant safety worsens after passage of workers bill of rights

The “Packinghouse Workers Bill of Rights,” passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2007 as part of an effort to improve safety conditions for workers in the meatpacking industry, has failed to make any improvement, according to a report by Workday Minnesota. A recent survey conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Program found that working conditions at meatpacking plants throughout the state actually have grown worse since the bill was passed. Meatpacking is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. Workers typically perform repetitive tasks, which often create repetitive-motion injuries such as carpal tunnel and tendonitis. ... Read More