Posts Tagged ‘occupational health & safety’

OSHA inspectors suffer effects of beryllium exposure

Thursday, January 20th, 2005

Chronic beryllium disease (CBD) is an irreversible, debilitating and potentially fatal lung disease that occurs from exposure to beryllium. In 2004, after much foot-dragging, OSHA began monitoring inspectors for exposure to the substance. First results show that at least three workers, or 1.5 percent of the 200 inspectors examined so far, have become sensitized to beryllium.
Occupational Hazards reports on this story and the history of the OSHA beryllium issue, along with comments by Adam Finkel, a former OSHA regional administrator and whistleblower whose actions sparked the eventual testing of workers.
“Finkel filed a whistleblower complaint on the beryllium issue in 2003, charging that he was transferred because he was pushing for beryllium testing that neither the OSHA Administrator at the time, John Henshaw, nor his deputy, Davis Layne, wanted. The agency denied the retaliation claim, and according to the settlement agreement Finkel no longer works in an OSHA program: He now teaches at Princeton University.
Both Layne and Henshaw resigned from OSHA in December. Soon after Layne was charged with overseeing the beryllium program earlier last year, he declared that even though he had been exposed to the hazard he would not be tested for exposure. “I just don’t think it’s anything that I’m concerned about,” he explained at the time.”

It’s boggling to think that OSHA officials would brush this aside, especially in that beryllium figured so prominently in the Department of Energy’s settlement with energy workers which we discussed in September and again in November. Go figure. Not very encouraging from an agency that is supposed to be advocating for the health and safety of the nation’s workers. This is a story that bears watching.
More beryllium information:
Beryllium Fact Sheet from ATSDR
OSHA on beryllium
Beryllium: A ‘Deadly Alliance’
Chronic Beryllium Disease Sufferers Get Recognition

Three construction workers die every day in the U.S.

Thursday, December 9th, 2004

The News Tribune of Tacoma, Washington recently featured an excellent – albeit unsettling – article entitled Construction workers

DuPont safety resources and preventable injuries

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

For years, DuPont has been a leader in workplace safety. They were the original “zero injury” culture, holding to a philosophy that all injuries are preventable.
The first and most basic safety principle at DuPont is that all injuries are preventable. This may seem a startling idea in the context of a lot of plant operations, but we have lived and worked with this core belief for more than 150 years. In fact, our performance demonstrates that this principle is workable. We have plants with more than 2,000 employees who have worked for more than 10 years without a lost time injury. That’s injury prevention! We are able to prevent injuries because of the fundamental belief that injuries are, by their nature, preventable.
We agree with the concept of all injuries being preventable, and encourage organizations to build a zero-injury culture. Many companies promote a zero defect culture when it comes to product parts or processes – we think employee well being deserves the same quality commitment.
Why not take some lessons from the masters? DuPont Safety Resources is a site that offers a variety of articles and resources, as well as a free newsletter. And those of you who frequent Workers Comp Insider know that we have a soft spot for calculators and interactive tools. Try the Dupont Safety Calculator to estimate your organizations annual direct and indirect injury costs. There’s also a Contractor Safety Assessment Form to help you assess how your organization is managing the increased risk associated with the use of contractors.