January 3, 2008 The Pump Handle

A coal mine operator in Hazard, Kentucky received a $220,000 penalty from MSHA for flagrantly violating electrical lockout/tagout procedures (such as padlocking an on/off switch to ensure that a machine is not unexpectedly turned-on, plugged in or energized while it is being serviced.)  The hefty monetary penalty was authorized under the 2006 MINER Act for flagrant violations, defined as: “a reckless […]

December 21, 2007 The Pump Handle 3Comment

The families of the workers killed at the T2 Lab are now planning memorial services instead of holiday celebrations. “With Christmas next week, we’re not shopping for gifts–we’ve got to go look at caskets,” said a relative of Parrish Ashley, 36, one of the four men killed in the Wednesday explosion.  Mr. Ashley and his deceased co-worker, Karey Henry, […]

December 19, 2007 The Pump Handle

Updated 12/20: See below  Four workers were killed and at least 14 people were injured in a violent explosion at the T2 Labs in Jacksonville, Florida.  The firm manufacturers Ecotane®, the gasoline additive “methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl” (i.e.,  MMT® or MCMT), which increases the octane rating of gasoline.  The firm says that its Florida facility is state-of-the art, and uses a […]

December 6, 2007 The Pump Handle 6Comment

The New York Times’ headline read: 350 Men Entombed in Mine Explosion. Rescue Force at Work in the Debris of Two Shattered Mines at Monongah, West Va.  Poisonous Gas Pours Out. At about 10:00 am on Dec 6, 1907, a violent explosion of methane gas and coal dust killed hundreds of workers at two adjacent underground […]

December 6, 2007 The Pump Handle

A quick look at “Predictors of Psychostimulant Use by Long-Distance Truck Drivers” by Ann Williamson in the American Journal of Epidemiology. An Australian study finds that paying truck drivers by the job (instead of by the hour or week) leads to increased driver use of amphetamines and other stimulants, which is associated with increased risk […]

December 4, 2007 The Pump Handle 2Comment

It’s been nearly four months since nine men were killed at the Crandall Canyon mine in Emery County, Utah.  Congressman George Miller (D-CA) held a hearing in early October on the disaster, but a Senate hearing, scheduled for Dec 4, for which the mine operator Robert Murray had been subpeonaed, was cancelled.  The Salt Lake Tribune’s Mike […]

December 4, 2007 The Pump Handle 2Comment

Elizabeth Williamson of the Washington Post has written powerful article on the failure of the regulatory system to ensure that amusement park “thrill” rides don’t kill or injure customers, primarily teenagers and children. She provides grisly detail on a topic we’ve talked about here before: the inability and/or unwillingness of the Consumer Product Safety Commission […]

November 29, 2007 The Pump Handle 6Comment

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, a group created by asbestos victims and their families, bought products from national retailers and had them tested at independent labs. One of the most disturbing findings was high levels of asbestos in powder from a toy CSI fingerprint kit. The powder is intended to be sprinkled on surfaces and […]

November 20, 2007 The Pump Handle 2Comment

By Paul D. Blanc The interconnections among toxic butter flavoring, fatal coal mine “bumps,” and tainted Barbie accessories may not be immediately obvious – but they all reflect the failures of an increasingly compromised U. S. regulatory apparatus. In early September, news broke that the artificial butter flavoring chemical diacetyl had caused severe lung disease […]