August 8, 2007 The Pump Handle 0Comment

Recent events remind us about the difficult and valuable work of rescue and recovery. Celeste Monforton has already taken a look at the mine rescue teams that respond to disasters like the collapse at the Crandall County mine in Utah. Meanwhile, divers are at work in the aftermath of last week’s bridge collapse. Dee DePass at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune follows the work of a Wisconsin dive crew as they face powerful currents, 82-degree water, and poor visibility that makes it hard to navigate around dangerous debris. In Time Magazine, Mitch Anderson describes the precautions divers have to take so they aren’t added to the disaster’s death toll.

Responding to disasters poses mental as well as physical challenges. Aimee Heckel at the Boulder Daily Camera looks at the psychological effects of humanitarian and relief work, citing a Pan American Health Organization estimate that two-thirds of relief workers exposed to trauma suffer moderate or severe distress that can cause symptoms for months or years if not treated.

In other news:

Reuters (via Planet Ark): City traffic cops in China have an average life expectancy of just 43 years, and pollution is largely to blame.

Lexington Herald-Leader: Coal miner Charles Howard has filed a federal discrimination complaint, saying his employers retaliated against him after he publicly presented a video showing dangerous mine conditions.

Star-Telegram: Former pro football player Chad Hennings has filed a motion to reconsider his case, which aims to get professional athletes the rights to workers’ compensation in Texas.

Baltimore Sun: Drug developers expect that in five to ten years, they’ll be able to offer a pill that people exposed to noise on the job could take to prevent hearing loss.

amNY: A New York law requiring bike messengers and deliverers to wear protective gear – which should be provided by employers – has taken effect.

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