The Libyan government released four detained New York Times journalists Monday, six days after they were captured while covering the conflict between government and rebel forces in the eastern city of Ajdabiya. They were released into the custody of Turkish diplomats.
The world has been watching with awe as rotating teams of Japanese workers brave radiation exposure to battle a potential nuclear disaster following the massive earthquake and tsunami that rocked the island nation March 11. It’s hard to imagine how anyone could willingly take on such dangerous work, but it happens every day when individuals choose to risky occupations, from firefighting to covering wars.
Hungry for some perspective on the nuclear situation? This mindblowing chart of relative radiation doses, made by XKCD’s Randall Munroe, is basically a Total Perspective Vortex. It’s got something for everyone.
Last week, I wrote about an unusual piece of legislation in Texas that would ban workplace discrimination against creationists. HB 2454 would make it a crime to “discriminate against or penalize in any manner” a professor or student based on his or her “conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design.” On Friday, the author of the bill, Republican state Rep. Bill Zedler of Arlington, called me to defend it.
During a meeting of Cal/OSHA’s (California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health) Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board in Van Nuys last Thursday, Deborah Gold, MPH, CIH, a Senior Safety Engineer for Cal/OSHA, announced publicly and for the first time that Cal/OSHA officials are drafting proposed new safety amendments to the state’s Bloodborne Pathogens Statute in order to clarify and strengthen workplace safety requirements for employers and adult film performers in the adult film industry.
Both Triangle and Upper Big Branch became calls to action. New York quickly implemented groundbreaking workplace safety laws and regulations, including fire exits. But nearly one year after Upper Big Branch, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, part of the Labor Department, still needs additional tools that only Congress can provide. And OSHA needs better tools, such as stricter penalties against employers who put their workers’ lives at risk, and stronger protections for whistle-blowers.
100 years later, have we forgotten the tragic lesson of the Triangle Fire? This year alone, 5,000 workers will loose their lives on the jobs. Many of these deaths are preventable, through better and more rigorous enforcement of current laws. Mine disasters, oil rig explosions and construction workers falling to their death are all too common. In postmortem investigations, we find that regulations were either inadequate or simply not enforced. We have slashed the budgets of regulatory agencies to the point that they can not function.
- Texas attorneys file lawsuit on behalf of worker’s family in Louisiana Valero Energy refinery fatality
The Family of Rodrigo Rodriguez announce that they have filed a lawsuit in state district Court in Bexar County, Texas, against Valero Energy Corporation and other defendants for the alleged grossly negligent death of Rodrigo Rodriguez, 30. The accident occurred on March 6, 2011, at the Valero Energy Corporation’s St. Charles refinery in Norco, La., near New Orleans where Mr. Rodriguez was working as a contract employee for Koch Industries while performing “shutdown” maintenance on a catalytic cracking unit.
Authorities say one person was burned when an oil rig exploded in northwestern Oklahoma. Investigators haven’t determined what caused the blast but preliminary reports indicate a gas pocket may have been hit, causing the rig to ignite.
Authorities have arrested a suspect in the Lululemon Athletica attack that claimed the life of 30-year-old Jayna Murray.