November 7, 2007 The Pump Handle 0Comment

The House Education & Labor Committee has approved a bill (the Supplementary MINER Act) that would speed up deadlines for several mine rescue requirements passed by Congress last year, and require more oversight by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Ken Ward Jr. has the details about the bill’s provisions – and MSHA head Richard Stickler’s criticisms of it – in the Charleston Gazette. In West Virginia, where tougher requirements were adopted after the Sago and Aracoma mine disasters in that state, approvals for wireless communications and tracking systems are already being sent to mine operators, and the first airtight emergency shelter chamber has been shipped to an underground coal mine.

REMINDER: Some of our colleagues missed the Salt Lake Tribune’s excellent series on occupational illnesses and injuries in Chinese workers (the series is by Loretta Tofani, and we blogged about it when it was published in late October). If you haven’t already, you should read it, bookmark it, and share it with your friends.

In other news: 

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Some of the public health officials, government regulators, and advocates for asbestos victims who supported legislation to ban asbestos are saying that the bill that passed the Senate was too watered-down.

Food Navigator: The European Food Safety Authority is holding off action for diacetyl until its scientific panel on food additives and flavoring finishes evaluating that chemical and others as part of a large study already underway.

Louisville Courier-Journal: Researchers have launched a study to track firefighters’ stress burden, and perhaps learn something about why so many of the nation’s firefighters die from heart attacks each year.

Reuters: In a survey of 51 refineries conducted by the United Steelworkers union, 90% had at least one of the conditions that led to the deadly March 23, 2005, BP Texas City refinery explosion.

Decatur Daily: After an employee was diagnosed with active tuberculosis, a poultry processing facility began testing its workers for the disease; so far, 28 percent have tested positive, and will be X-rayed to see if they have active TB.

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