Yesterday I went to GRITtv and spoke with host Laura Flanders and Louisiana author Jordan Flahrety about BP’s exploitation of working people in the Gulf Coast. We discussed just a few of the many problems facing fishermen, recovery workers, and residents of the Gulf that are all at the mercy of BP.
|By: Michael Whitney Friday July 9, 2010 10:34 am|
CTEH is the company contracted by BP to monitor air levels as they related to recovery worker safety in the Gulf of Mexico. The firm, which has a sordid history of covering up corporate environmental disasters, just released new data with BP yesterday that shows disturbing levels of toxic dispersants in 20% of offshore recovery workers and 15% of near-shore workers. But these just aren’t any toxic dispersants. It’s the same chemical blamed for chronic health problems in Exxon Valdez recovery workers that is now poisoning at least one-fifth of BP’s offshore recovery workers.
|By: Michael Whitney Thursday July 8, 2010 11:45 am|
Hundreds of workers in the Gulf Coast cleaning up BP’s oil disaster have reported symptoms of nausea, vomiting, nose bleeds, and headaches, but those “almost all have been heat related,” according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab.
Barab – a former worker health and safety blogger at Firedoglake and his blog, Confined Space – says that despite widespread assumptions that workers are sick from exposure to oil, “we haven’t really found that yet.”
|By: Michael Whitney Friday July 2, 2010 7:20 am|
The government command for the BP oil disaster announced last night its “interim guidance” for recovery worker health and safety, including the (limited) use of respirators. The report was actually released by OSHA and NIOSH, the CDC’s workplace safety group, almost one week ago.
These recommendations come after more than 28,000 people signed Firedoglake’s petition to BP & OSHA demanding workers have access to respirators.
|By: Michael Whitney Friday June 25, 2010 3:55 pm|
The rules that are supposed to protect the health and safety of oil rig workers were designed 15 years ago by the American Petroleum Institute – the industry and lobbying group for major oil and gas companies. The worst part? Even those regulations are considered “voluntary.”
|By: Michael Whitney Wednesday June 23, 2010 7:58 am|
Today, the House EdLabor Committee, chaired by Rep. George Miller, is hosting a hearing called “Worker Health and Safety from the Oil Rig to Shoreline.” The hearing will explore what protections are in place for oil rig workers, what went wrong on the Deepwater Horizon, and how to protect cleanup workers in the Gulf Coast for BP’s oil disaster.
|By: Michael Whitney Tuesday June 22, 2010 4:40 pm|
The Public Welfare Foundation released a poll this week on Americans’ attitudes on paid sick days and other workplace regulations. In the poll was something interesting as we consider the need to protect cleanup workers hired by BP to clean up the oil disaster in the Gulf. The poll showed that when asked which government workplace regulations were “very important,” a full 85% said that “workplace safety” was very important.
|By: Michael Whitney Tuesday June 22, 2010 12:10 pm|
Despite clear evidence of illness from exposure to oil and dispersants, BP refuses to provide respirators to people cleaning up its disaster. Why? Because BP is afraid of the PR impact from images of people wearing this critical safety equipment in pictures and on TV. BP even threatened to fire workers who choose to wear their own. Firedoglake is joining with workers’ rights advocacy group American Rights at Work to petition BP – and government agencies like OSHA and the Department of Labor – to make BP provide respirators to protect cleanup workers in the Gulf of Mexico.
|By: Michael Whitney Friday June 18, 2010 1:45 pm|
Some good news out of Congress about protecting workers involved in the BP oil disaster, as well as offshore oil workers. Rep. George Miller’s House Committee on Education and Labor will hold a hearing on oil worker safety on Wednesday.
|By: Michael Whitney Friday June 18, 2010 6:45 am|
According to BP’s records, only two workers in the oil disaster recovery effort have reported illnesses from chemical exposure while working with oil and dispersants. That’s great news! Except for Louisiana officials say that in reality, more than 70 workers have reported chemical exposure illnesses. So what’s the deal, BP?