AROUND THE NATION

  • Georgia
    Georgia Issues Combustible Dust Rules

    To improve safety and prevent combustible explosions such as the fatal Feb. 7 Imperial Sugar refinery blast, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John W. Oxendine issued new regulations for industries that produce inflammable dust.

    The new rules will require all industries in Georgia that produce combustible dust to draw up emergency plans, practice implementing the plans, train employees in evacuation techniques, designate a safety officer, fulfill monthly reporting requirements and comply with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.

  • Montana
    Vermiculite from Montana Continues to Cause Health Problems

    New research indicates that workers exposed to the mineral vermiculite tainted with asbestos-like fibers as many as 25 years ago show a prevalence of lung damage, including scarring and thickening of the chest wall membrane.

    The research followed 280 individuals who, in 1980, worked in a plant processing vermiculite that originated from a mine in Libby, Mont. While the material these workers handled would meet current legal levels of exposure, a recent follow-up study found that even though the plant has not used the asbestos-like material in 25 years, many of these workers were affected by lung damage.

  • Ohio
    Cintas Workers Launch Coalition to Expose Laundry Facility Dangers

    Cintas Corp. employees launched an historic effort to force the Ohio-based laundry service company to provide safe workplaces by uniting with local elected leaders and community allies to form the Coalition of Injured Cintas Workers.

    The March 2007 death of Cintas worker Eleazar Torres-Gomez, who was trapped in an industrial dryer, prompted a $2.8 million OSHA fine and charges that management “ignored safety and health rules that could have prevented the death.”

    Cintas, however, is fighting back against members of the coalition. The company filed a federal lawsuit against Unite Here and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, accusing the two unions of an “extortion scheme” and of violating federal and state racketeering laws in their 5-year “corporate campaign” to win exclusive bargaining rights for its employees.

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