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A Great Take on President Obama Trading Away American Worker Protections to Cozy Up to Business Interests

Celeste Monforton, a Lecturer at the George Washington University School of Public Health's Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, spent a decade working for the US Department of Labor and is currently on the team investigating the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster. In her blog, she makes a compelling case that OSHA has become a primary target for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and that President Obama is all too willing to trade away worker protections if it helps him score political points with the Republicans.
 

The Kleen Energy Blast: One Year Later

The Hartford Courant featured an excellent package yesterday on the notorious Kleen Energy plant explosion that killed six workers and injured 50 others one year ago today. The new, rebuilt plant is set to open in two months. Are workers any safer today than they were one year ago?
 

Press Release: Obama Administration Courts Business Interests at Workers’ Expense

 
National Council for
Occupational Safety and Health
Leading the fight for safe and healthy workplaces
 
 
For Immediate Release: January 28, 2011
 
For more information, contact:
Frank Gallagher
Tel: (207) 671-1768

OSHA Decision on Noise Will Hurt Workers

This decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to withdraw its proposed interpretation of the federal noise standard, which would have specified that employers need to protect workers from excess noise exposure using engineering and administrative controls, when feasible, is bad for workers. Without a doubt, some workers will suffer hearing loss because of it.

CSB Shut out of CT Power Plant Explosion Site

Several news outlets today report that the mayor of Middletown, CT is blocking US Chemical Safety Board investigators from the site of the power plant explosion there that killed five workers on Sunday. The CSB's mission is to investigate such disasters so that we can learn lessons to avoid such tragedies in the future. It is critical to their success that they be allowed prompt access to the site.
 

Gas Purging Causes Another Multi-Fatality Explosion

Less than 48 hours after the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) approved "Urgent Recommendations" about the need for precautions when purging gas lines, a huge explosion rocked a power plant in Middletown Connecticut. The CSB's recommendations came on the heels of the tragic explosion at the Con-Agra plant in Garner, NC, which resulted in four worker deaths and many injuries. The intent of the recommendations was to alert industry personnel around the country in order to prevent further tragedies and worker deaths.
 
It seems that the word didn't reach Connecticut.
 

Jury Orders BP to pay $100 Million in Toxic Exposure Case

When BP was hit with a record-breaking OSHA fine of $87 million in October for failure to comply with the settlement agreement signed following the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion, little did they know that their troubles were just beginning. A jury has just awarded ten contract workers for BP $10 million each in punitive damages for exposure to toxic substances at the refinery. Attorneys for the workers successfully argued that the workers were made ill not from the catastrophic explosion, but from a series of leaks that occurred at the refinery. 

David Michaels on Green Jobs-Safe Jobs

Attendees at this week's NIOSH conference on Green Jobs reported that new OSHA chief David Michaels gave an excellent speech on worker safety and health in "Green Jobs."  I found this statement particularly compelling:
 

Black lung on the rise

Remember Black Lung disease? That was that nasty illness that coal miners used to get back in the bad old days when the mines were shrouded in dangerous dust, before the Mine Safety and Health Administration came along to clean things up. Or so most of us thought--but it turns out that not only has Black Lung not been eliminated, it actually appears to be increasing. NIOSH has found that the rate of Black Lung for miners with 20 years or more in the mines doubled between the late 1990s and 2005-06.  New MSHA Director Joe Main is on a mission to reverse this trend.

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