DRIVING THE CONVERSATION THIS WEEK: Increasing concern about Gulf gusher health risks. Washington Post reported Sunday nine cleanup workers were hospitalized last week complaining of dizziness, nausea and headaches.
Post quotes EPA official: "There's no way you can be working in that toxic soup without getting exposures.” Official compares hazards to risks encountered by 9/11 emergency responders at Ground Zero. “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
OSHA BOSS WEIGHS IN… Post reports in same article Dr. David Michaels, the head of OSHA, last week complained in a memo to national incident commander Thad Allen about "significant deficiencies" in BP's handling of the safety of oil spill workers, according to published reports.
McClatchey News Service quotes from Michaels memo:
"The organizational systems that BP currently has in place, particularly those related to worker safety and health training, protective equipment, and site monitoring, are not adequate for the current situation or the projected increase in cleanup operations. I want to stress that these are not isolated problems. They appear to be indicative of a general systemic failure on BP's part, to ensure the safety and health of those responding to this disaster."
Michaels added that BP "has also not been forthcoming with basic, but critical, safety and health information on injuries and exposures."
BP DEPLOYS 22,000 CLEAN UP WORKERS so far… BP spokesman says workers are receiving rigorous safety and health training. Most receive only minimum hazardous-material training required, which is four hours. That's because OSHA has chosen to apply training standards that date back to soon after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.
OSHA’s Michaels states his concerns in memo:
- Lack of sufficient control over work sites. As recently as May 20, he said, the agency found more than 800 workers at one of the Biloxi, Miss., sites without the required training.
- Difficulty in obtaining adequate and timely data from BP on injuries and illness, chemical sampling, monitoring data and training materials.
- Concerns that BP's manager of workplace safety "does not appear to operate with the full support of the company, nor does he seem to have the authority necessary for the job which he has been tasked."
We strongly suggest that BP place someone in this position who has the authority and the ability to make changes expediently in order to address the safety and health of cleanup workers."
- BP not addressing concerns about heat stroke. "There continue to be multiple heat-related incidents each day, some of which have been serious."
THE THREAT: Michaels said if BP didn't clean up its act, OSHA will “move into enforcement mode," which could include court action or fines.
LOOK FOR AGGRESSIVE FED CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF BP, reports Politico.com’s Playbook.
And how long before we see POTUS (President of The United States) in a boat in the Gulf in a photo opp?
EMPLOYMENT SCAM: Feds and BP report individuals falsely representing themselves as BP employees are offering applicants training and promising job placement for a fee.
"It is important that the public be aware that this is a scam,” said Neil Chapman, BP spokesperson. “BP does not charge to train and hire applicants."
BP says it is working closely with local authorities to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.
THE FORGOTTEN 11: The following workers were killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion:
- Jason Anderson, 35, Bay City, TX
- Aaron Dale Burkeen, 37, Philadelphia, MS
- Donald Clark, 49, Newellton, LA
- Stephen Curtis, 39, Georgetown, LA
- Roy Wyatt Kemp, 27, Jonesville, LA
- Karl Kleppinger, 38, Natchez, MS
- Gordon Jones, 28, Baton Rouge, LA
- Blair Manuel, 56, Eunice, LA
- Dewey Revette, 48, State Line, MS
- Shane Roshto, 22, Liberty, MS
- Adam Weise, 24, Yorktown, TX