Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Short Takes

There’s just too much news for me to comment on. Read all about it yourself.

  • Oops. Looks like an OSHA expert witness who testified about the benefits of paper masks had -– until just weeks before the OSHA respirator hearings -- been a paid adviser for lawyers defending 3M against hundreds of thousands of lawsuits alleging that defects in the firm's first government-approved mask caused workers to get lung diseases.

    Approval of the paper masks by OSHA would enable employers to rely more extensively on the cheaper masks. The $1 and $2 masks are the biggest seller in 3M's respirator line.

  • New York City received over 250 workplace safety violations in just 5 months.(But that’s the good news. Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Washington D.C., Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami didn't get a single citation -– because public employees in their states aren’t covered by OSHA.)

  • Remember the Quecreek Mine near-disaster and the miraculous rescue of nine miners trapped 240 feet underground when the mine flooded? Well, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) just fined the three companies involved a whopping $14,000, despite evidence that the mine owners and operators should have known they were drilling too close to a flooded mine. Read Charles McCollester’s story for a good accounting on the underlying causes of the incident. (Hint: It wasn't God's will.)

  • Over the last month, President Bush has repeatedly recounted how he was inspired by "the courage of the firefighters and the police" in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. He recounted how, when standing atop a pile of rubble at Ground Zero, he was told by a firefighter, "Don't let me down." But more than two years later, he continues to ignore the needs of firefighters and police officers who are now suffering adverse health effects from their rescue efforts at Ground Zero. The situation has reached a head: yesterday, 1,700 cops and firefighters were forced to sue in court for the medical help they desperately need

  • Bush "clean air" policies sentence more than 14,000 people to death by pollution who can be saved with a more protective program sponsored by Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT).

  • Good article in The Nation about labor’s ideas for organizing Wal-Mart.

  • Right wing Bush Republicans are so impressed with the quality and persuasiveness of Michael Moore’s new film, Fahrenheit 911, have hired a public relations firm to kill it.

  • OSHA has published ergonomics guidelines for retail grocery stores as part of its COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO ERGONOMICS .This is the second set of ergonomics guidelines that OSHA has published in the three and a half years since repealing the ergonomics standard. Anyone out there in the blogosphere want to review them for Confined Space?