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Archive for November, 2010

Health complaints from the BP spill waned this fall but itchy rashes and headaches haven’t completely disappeared.

The Supreme Court of Texas cleared the way for Dr. Neal Fisher, a Dallas physician, to collect his 9.8 million dollar verdict against an anesthesia group of which he was a shareholder and founding member. Fisher sued the group for defamation and breach of contract when it falsely accused him of alcohol and drug abuse after he raised concerns about an increasing volume of patient complaints and questionable billing practices.

Pilots strongly object to United Airlines and Continental expanding their fleet of smaller aircraft, commonly referred as regional jets. These jets are generally flown by lower-paid and less-experienced pilots.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking fines of $206,500 against Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., accusing the company of willful and serious violations following an incident in which a worker suffered serious burns at its Cooper’s Findlay, Ohio, plant.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. Postal Service Processing and Distribution Center in Des Moines, Iowa, for two alleged serious and one alleged repeat violation of federal workplace safety standards for failing to properly train workers on powered industrial truck hazards.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Mikesell Excavating Inc., an excavating contractor located in New Paris, with one alleged willful and two serious safety violations for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations at a jobsite located in Hamilton, Ohio.

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A group of 60 scientists and independent offshore drilling experts has challenged a major conclusion by the national Oil Spill Commission, saying that BP did indeed compromise safety in the name of profits when it made certain decisions that precipitated the disastrous BP oil well blowout in April.

Despite its claims that its safety record was “average,” no U.S. coal company had a worse fatality record than Massey Energy Co., even before an explosion at its Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 on April 5, according to an analysis by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University.

The U.S. Postal Service’s South Bay mail processing facility is facing $220,000 in federal fines for 16 alleged violations that showed a “blatant disregard,” for worker safety, federal officials said last week.

As we huddle around our Thanksgiving dinner tables, reflecting on the bounty of our nation, recently elected US Sen. Joe Manchin will have the choice to either break bread with West Virginia coal miners or dine at the table of the faltering and violation-ridden Richmond-based Massey Energy company.

Inhaling coal mine dust causes black lung, and now the public is invited to hearings about new standards meant to reduce miner’s exposure to coal dust. The MSHA will hold six public hearings from December through January. Members of the public may speak at the hearings. Members of the public do not have to register to speak, and may submit comments in other ways.

The Bull Mountain Mine near Roundup will respond to a recent safety warning from federal regulators with a plan to address issues raised, a mine official said last week.

With the emergence of social media, workplace conversations that used to take place near the water cooler have shifted to the Internet. More people are using platforms like Twitter and Facebook to vent frustrations about their jobs, and several labor cases have emerged recently where individuals have been punished for comments posted online.

Laboratory tests revealed the straightening solution in Brazilian Blowout contained dangerously high levels of the chemical formaldehyde, which can cause respiratory problems, skin reactions, headaches and more. Here’s a closer look at the risks to salon workers and their clients if hair-straightening products do indeed contain formaldehyde.

An Oregon State Hospital security employee sustained facial fractures and a broken ankle when he was attacked by a jail inmate undergoing a mental evaluation at the new hospital in Salem.

More than three months after a worker was crushed and killed by a lawn mower, the city is conducting its second investigation — this time by the Lincoln Police Department.

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The TSA agreed on Friday to exempt pilots from invasive security pat-downs. Last week, two major pilots’ unions demanded that their members be exempted from new rules that require passengers to submit to an invasive body search if they refuse to pass through the new backscatter x-ray machines.

Americans’ spending hits a fever pitch during the holidays and two days in particular – “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” – leave retailers and consumers vulnerable to different exposures.

The day after Thanksgiving, commonly known as ‘Black Friday’, is one of the busiest shopping days of the holiday season. Crowds of bargain hunters can grow dangerously large and unruly. The Nevada Occupational Health & Safety Section (OSHA) of the Division of Industrial Relations urges retailers to follow federal OSHA’s crowd control guidance to prevent injuries or worse.

The helmet worn by American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan does little to protect against brain injuries.

Nursing assistants are a critical part of the dedicated staff who work day and night in nursing homes to keep residents safe, secure, cared-for, and comfortable. Yet the very workers ensuring the safety of our seniors are themselves at risk for workplace violence and assaults.

All those who worked at Ground Zero rendered a crucial service in our darkest hour. So we are glad to see some relief, in the form of a settlement worth at least $625 million to be paid by New York City.

The American Fireworks Manufacturing Co. employee killed Saturday during the annual Christmas on Main Street looked down the tube of a firework at the same time the shell shot out, Utica Public Safety Commissioner Daniel LaBella said Monday.

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In just five short months, on April 20, 2011, we will commemorate the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and we will honor the 11 individuals who lost their lives that day. These 11 brothers, fathers, sons, and husbands died because BP’s culture of recklessness, a corporate approach willingly accepts significant risk to BP’s employees, the environment, and countless innocent individuals whose livelihoods could be lost by the company’s actions.

An unlikely ad has been getting screen time in Manhattan movie theaters that cater to a Wall Street crowd. Alluding to “the new Dodd/Frank banking reform law,” it informs viewers that by exposing financial fraud they can earn substantial rewards – 10 to 30 percent of the money recovered by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

For nurses in New York state, Nov. 1 represented a victory for on-the-job safety. It was the day that the Violence Against Nurses law took effect, making it a felony to assault an on-duty RN or LPN.

Federal agents responsible for driving nuclear weapons and other sensitive materials sometimes got drunk and were detained by police while on the job, according to a new watchdog report.

In 2009, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requested that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) assess the certification methods needed to ensure the effectiveness of non-respirator personal protective technologies (PPT). The report released Nov. 11, 2010 identified gaps and inconsistencies in the certification and other conformity assessment processes for non-respirator PPT and urged that this issue be explored further.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Occupational Safety and Health Compliance (KyOSH) office has issued citations and fines to Lost Lodge Properties LLC, dba Bluegrass Indoor Range in Louisville. The Louisville, Ky., range was issued four failure-to-abate, three repeat serious, three serious, and one non-serious violations for lead, electrical, hazard communication and respirator hazards. The fines associated with the citations total $372,000.

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An expert panel investigating the BP oil spill has concluded that managers on the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig made a series of terrible decisions leading up to the disaster. But in a departure from previous findings, the interim report by a committee of the National Research Council concludes that cost considerations by BP may have played a significant role.

The annual Black Friday shopping extravaganza means bargains for shoppers. But it’s also a potential disaster for retailers when hundreds of shoppers push and shove in the pre-dawn hours the day after Thanksgiving so they can be first to grab deeply discounted televisions, video gaming systems or must-have toys. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put retailers on notice: They risk financial penalties if they don’t put good crowd control procedures in place.

The nation’s largest pilot’s union, the Allied Pilots’ Association, urged its 11,500 members to boycott the TSA’s whole body scanners, which use x-rays to render a very lifelike nude portrait of the subject. Dave Bates, president of the Allied Pilots Association, told ABC News that pilots are already exposed to high levels of radiation simply from flying.

Theater is physical and often involves myriad hazards: trapdoors, moving sets, smoke machines, raked stages, simulated violence, even flying. So the risk of injury to actors, from Off-Off-Broadway to the latest megaproduction on the Main Stem, is always real. But as shows push the envelope, whether through physical action or special effects, are actors more at risk?

The American Hospital Association has sent a letter to OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels asking that OSHA deny a recent petition requesting that it set and enforce duty hours for resident physicians.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has recently taken more action to impose fines and enforce regulations concerning combustible dust and lint in laundry facilities. This extra attention has translated into a regulatory push for higher standards and the potential for significant fines for lack of compliance.

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Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Senator Michael B. Enzi (R-WY) called on Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, in a letter, to commit to a collaborative approach in enforcing the goals of achieving worker safety without inhibiting small business job creation.

After decades of dysfunction, OSHA is poised to do something about their badly outdated rules for occupational exposures to chemical hazards. Millions of U.S. workers are exposed to chemicals every day at work… yet most standards for chemicals on OSHA’s books date back more than 40 years.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration just announced it has fined the Postal Service $287,000 for alleged safety violations at a mail processing facility in Bluefield, W.Va.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Precision Production Inc., a manufacturer of fabricated components in Cleveland, with 15 alleged safety violations. The company faces penalties totaling $149,250.

Washington state has fined Harborview Medical Center more than $13,000 for serious worker safety violations, saying the hospital has left its security guards ill-equipped to deal with dangers ranging from violent citizens to explosives.

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a court complaint against a local man in connection with multiple alleged workplace safety violations at a granite quarry he owns and operates on Track Road in Sullivan, Maine.

A tree trimmer was killed in a freak accident in Concord, Calif., when a rope to which he was attached became entangled in a wood chipper, authorities said Tuesday.

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After spending a record amount this election season to change the balance of power in Washington, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week plans to announce a pro-business agenda that will include attacking federal regulations in four areas: labor, energy, healthcare and financial services.

On January 29, OSHA proposed a simple revision to a paper form—called the OSHA 300 log—on which some U.S. employers are required to record work-related injuries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects a sample of these forms annually to estimate national rates of work-related injuries. The change proposed by OSHA involves adding a column to the form so that work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) would be distinguished from other conditions like amputations, burns, fractures, etc.

The New York Times reported Monday on a striking phenomenon that is both highly disturbing and a potential boon for lawsuits regarding workplace health and safety. The Times describes the recent rise of financial institutions financing lawsuits as a form of investment, putting up money for lawyers, experts and legal costs and collecting interest on these loans, interest that continues to accrue as legal proceedings drag on or settlements are slow in coming.

Do you feel physically safe at work? A new report from the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety shows that while about half of state agencies and public authorities haven’t provided employees with workplace violence prevention training as required by the Workplace Violence Prevention Law.

Like two-bit Willie Suttons, the burglars go where the money is: gas stations and convenience stores. Convenience store workers, especially those who work at night, are among the occupational groups most at risk for workplace injury or homicide, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment will launch a new killer-whale show next spring in its three U.S. marine parks, as it attempts to move beyond the February death of a trainer that has shadowed the company for nearly a year.

Noted labor historian Joe Burns has called the lockout of 230 workers at the Honeywell uranium processing facility in Metropolis, Ill., the highest profile ongoing labor dispute in the country right now. Despite this, not a single major news outlet outside of the Huffington Post has covered the story.

A former Metro Nashville employee said a city agency fired him for blowing the whistle on worker safety. The firing comes a month after the 16-year veteran of the Metro Transit Authority spoke to the Channel 4 I-Team for a story about how workers said they were trapped during the May flood. A current member of the city’s transportation committee said he believes Aaron Rahman is being retaliated against by MTA.

California workplace safety officials are reviewing a long list of allegations of unsafe working conditions and practices that may endanger visitors, leveled at Wildhaven Ranch last month by former employees and volunteers.

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