Happy hump day to you,

Could be a worse hump day, you could be General McChrystal meeting with POTUS…

Or OSHA boss Dr. David Michaels up on Capitol Hill again at another hearing, scheduled for 10 am today to explain how the agency is enforcing safety and health regs for thousands of Gulf Coast cleanup workers.

BP SPOKESMAN: BP has 22,000 “hirees” and volunteers working on oil cleanup efforts. OSHA warns against snake encounters, drowning, exposures to toxic exposures, and heat.

COMP CLAIMS COMING: NIOSH reports cleanup workers are complaining of physical injuries from slips on oil, plus heat and fatigue. Bronchial issues or other inhalation problems from breathing benzene in the oil and other toxins will result in more claims. 1,800 cleanup workers filed workers’ comp claims following the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989, out of some 11,000 workers participating in the effort, according to NIOSH.


OSHA announced yesterday two additional stakeholder meetings on Dr. Michaels’ numero uno priority: a worker injury and illness prevention rule. One will be in DC (July 20), the other in Sacramento, Calif. (Aug. 3). CA is one of the state OSHA plans with an existing injury and illness prevention program rule.

Stakeholder meetings on what will be OSHA’s biggest rulemaking since the ill-fated ergo standard in 2000 have already been held in N.J. and Texas. June 29 DC meeting is sold out so to speak — reaching max capacity of registrants.

And a proposal is probably a year away…


UCB Mfg., a Rochester NY pharma plant, gets hit with $350K in fines after OSHA inspectors allegedly find no worker exposure controls for methylene chloride.

One PR release says OSHA is putting big pharma on notice that the industry is not exempt from the enforcement surge seen in manufacturing industries. Join the crowd…

Ford stamping plant near Buffalo NY fined $70K this week for alleged crane hazards.

State OSHA programs are amping up enforcement, too. This week Utah state OSHA slammed Silver Eagle Refining more than $1 million in fines following November 2009 fireball explosion. No one was injured.


The U.S. Chemical Safety Board this week told Congress it will investigate the root causes of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion April 20 that killed 11 contract workers. CSB says it is “one of the most significant chemical accidents of the current era.”

Investigation will include key investigators involved in the CSB’s 2005-2007 investigation of the March 23, 2005 explosion a the BP Texas City refinery. That project cost $2.5 million, according to CSB, which estimates this one will cost more due to higher level of complexity.


Industrial hygienist Eileen Senn, writing a Pump Handle blog, says many cleanup workers should be wearing respirators. Why? “Woefully incomplete” exposure sampling. Outdated exposure limits. No MSDSs on Gulf chemicals. “Heat stress… standard oil industry excuse” for minimizing PPE use. Workers are getting ill. No one knows short- or long-term health effects.

DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN: It’s reported a worker told higher-ups of safety problems on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which were ignored. How many times must we hear this?

BP’s own Texas City refinery explosion findings, from March 23, 2005: “Individuals felt disempowered from suggesting or initiating improvements…” “Poor vertical communication…” inadequate “early warning system of problems…” “People accepting levels of risk that are considerably higher than comparable installations.”


“The Runaway General” profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone magazine on newsstands this Friday. BP CEO Hayward not the only foot-in-mouth gaffer. Many of the damning comments in the Stone piece uttered by anonymous McChrystal aides. Lessons in leadership communication… crisis communications expert Peter Sandman, your country needs you now.