NEWS BRIEFS

Jan. 1, 2008
Refinery Blast Dangers Industry Wide A survey conducted by the United Steelworkers union (USW) has found that the problems that contributed to the March

Refinery Blast Dangers Industry Wide

A survey conducted by the United Steelworkers union (USW) has found that the problems that contributed to the March 2005 blast at BP's Texas City refinery aren't only limited to that site, but also exist in refineries across the nation.

According to the survey, 90 percent of survey participants said their facilities had at least one of the conditions that led to the fatal Texas City blast such as use of atmospheric vents and failed management of instrumentation and alarm systems.

Chemical Exposure Is Nursing Risk

A national survey of nurses' exposures to chemicals, pharmaceuticals and radiation at work suggests there are links between serious health problems such as cancer, asthma, miscarriages and children's birth defects and the duration and intensity of these exposures.

The survey, released by the Environmental Working Group and several other academic, advocacy and nursing organizations, found nurses confront daily, low-level but repeated exposures to mixtures of hazardous materials that include residues of medications, anesthetic gases, chemicals and radiation.

Report Cites Mine Check Failures

According to a report released by the Labor Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG), MSHA failed to conduct required inspections at 107 of the nation's 731 underground coal mines in 2006.

As per the Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, MSHA is required to inspect underground coal mines in their entirety at least four times per year to safeguard miners. However, a lack of resources during a period of increasing mining activity, as well as agency officials not placing “adequate resources on ensuring the inspections completed,” contributed to the agency's failure to complete the required inspections.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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