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Disappointing summer for progress by OSHA on new worker safety regulations

Pump Handle - 4 hours 39 min ago

Just before Memorial Day—the kickoff of the summer season—the Obama Administration released its agenda for upcoming regulatory action. In the worker safety world of OSHA, “regulatory action” rarely means a new regulation. Rather, it refers to a step along the long, drawn-out process to (maybe) a new rule to protect workers from occupational injuries, illnesses or deaths.

The items identified by the Labor Department suggested that OSHA planned a productive summer of 2014. Here’s what OSHA outlined for its summer tasks.

In May 2014:

Accomplished? NO

In June 2014:

  • Publish a request for information from stakeholders to address the hazards faced by those who work on communication towers, in particular the risk of working at heights.

Accomplished? NO

In July 2014:

  • Publish a proposed rule to protect workers who are exposed to beryllium, which can cause lung cancer and chronic beryllium disease.  More than two years ago, in February 2012, the world’s largest producer and supplier of beryllium AND the United Steelworkers handed OSHA the regulatory text of a proposed rule on beryllium. It was a document that the two key stakeholders had thoughtfully negotiated. They expected their effort would expedite OSHA’s work on a rule.

Accomplished? NO

In August 2014:

  • Publish a final rule to address confined space hazards for construction workers. In 1993, OSHA issued a confined space standard but it did not cover construction workers. The agency proposed a regulation in 2007 that would apply to the construction industry and the public comment stage of the rulemaking concluded in October 2008.

Accomplished? NO

  • Convene a meeting of small business representatives to review a draft proposed regulation to address the hazard of workers being struck when construction vehicles and other equipment are operating in reverse (backing up.)  OSHA notes that in 2011, 75 workers were fatally injured in backing incidents.

Accomplished? NO

  • Publish a proposed regulation that would clarify employers’ obligation under an existing regulation to make and maintain accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses.

Accomplished? NO

  • Publish a request for information from stakeholders to better protect shipyard workers from fall hazards and make existing regulations consistent with industry consensus standards.

Accomplished? NO

It’s hard for me to believe that OSHA was unable to accomplish a single one of these seven tasks. I have to wonder whether something else is going on.  For all I know, the agency has completed its work on some of them and tied them up with a nice red bow, but higher ups in the Obama Administration have put the brakes on them. It wouldn’t be the first time the Administration has shown its aversion to new OSHA regulations. In 2010, OSHA proposed a change to the form on which just a fraction of employers are required to record work-related injuries and illnesses. The only modification was that employers would have been required to place a check mark—-a check mark—in a column on the form to distinguish musculoskeletal disorders from other injuries, such as burns or amputations.  After completing the public comment period and extra stakeholder meetings, OSHA submitted the final rule for review to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). It sat there for six months and then the Administration forced OSHA to ditch withdraw the rule. Then there was OSHA’s proposed rule on silica which was “under review” at OIRA for 2 1/2 years.

Whatever is going on—whether performance problems at OSHA or anti-regulatory obstruction higher up in the Obama Administration—OSHA set expectations of what it would accomplish over the summer months. Now Labor Day is upon us and it was a disappointing summer for progress by OSHA on new worker safety regulations.





Categories: Health

Woman wins $375000 on Sacramento-bought lottery Scratcher - Modesto Bee

Bottle Bills - 4 hours 40 min ago

Modesto Bee

Woman wins $375000 on Sacramento-bought lottery Scratcher
Modesto Bee
Rita Raymundo will get a lump sum payment of $375,000 thanks to a winning Scratcher ticket from the California lottery. Raymundo bought a “California Lucky Life” Scratcher ticket at Bank Bottle Shop, 2346 Fruitridge Road, that turned out to be a winner.

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Categories: News Feeds

3p Weekend: 6 Ways Eco-Labels Can Help Us Stay Sustainable

Triple Pundit - 5 hours 7 min ago
Eco-labels may not sound like the most exciting topic at first. But when you look a bit more closely, it's easy to see that labels and certifications are the backbone of any sustainability claim, whether it's a product or practice. Of course, navigating the wide world of eco-labels can be confusing at times. To clear things up, this week we rounded up six ways eco-labels can help consumers and businesses stay sustainable -- no matter what their interests are.

UPDATE: An Ominous Ebola Forecast from the World Health Organization

Operation USA - 5 hours 20 min ago

From the New York Times, August 28, 2014:

The World Health Organization warned on Thursday that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, already the largest outbreak ever recorded, is going to get much worse over the next six months, the shortest window in which it might conceivably be brought under control. By then, the organization said, the virus could infect more than 20,000 people, almost seven times the current number of reported cases.


It is a frightening prospect that requires an urgent infusion of aid from public and private donors around the world. The situation as described by the health agency is so dire and the resources needed so daunting that it is hard to see how they can be supplied anytime soon.

The agency issued a road map listing tasks that must be carried out by countries with Ebola cases, nearby countries, the international community and nongovernmental organizations if the epidemic is to be contained.

A top official said the road map would require at least 750 international and 12,000 local health workers on the front lines delivering care. How can impoverished countries whose health workers are falling ill and dying or fleeing in fear possibly supply that many caregivers? If they cannot muster those workers, it seems inevitable that wealthier nations will need to step in with more personnel, but they, too, may have difficulty recruiting people.

The World Health Organization is belatedly catching up to a warning issued in June by Doctors Without Borders, a group that has been delivering care in some of the hardest hit areas, that said the epidemic was out of control. On Thursday, the health agency said that the reported death toll had risen to 1,552, from 3,069 cases of infection in four West African countries — Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria — and that the actual toll could be up to four times higher because many cases go undetected or unreported. That suggests there could already be up to 12,000 cases.

A top American official on the scene in West Africa said the situation is far worse than anticipated and raised concerns that, with each passing day, the virus might spread to additional countries. More than 40 percent of the total number of reported cases have occurred in the past three weeks. Most of those cases are concentrated in a few localities, offering hope that the outbreaks can be contained if more resources are sent to those places.

The road map could cost almost half-a-billion dollars over the next six months, not including broader support to provide food, sanitation and other necessities or to strengthen systems in afflicted countries that are so overwhelmed with Ebola cases that they can’t provide basic health services. Some local workers have shown immense courage in tending to the sick, but they need more protective gear, disinfectants, tents and body bags to prevent infection, which the health agency intends to deliver.

In a detailed timeline, the organization says its goal is to reverse the trend in new Ebola cases within three months and stop all residual transmission in six to nine months. It also hopes to stop any new transmissions in a country within eight weeks of a first case being identified. That seems achievable with a vigorous effort to trace and isolate anyone who has come into contact with an infected person although some contacts in a large country or city will probably be missed.

The World Health Organization emphasized the importance of preventing the spread of the virus to other nations by screening travelers at international airports, seaports and major land crossings to bar travel by people with illnesses that could be Ebola. Some airlines have canceled flights to the afflicted countries. But that is an overreaction, if good screening programs are established. It will be critical to keep air and shipping links operating to deliver medical supplies and other essential goods.

Read the article at NyTimes.com here.


Categories: Environment

How Information Technology Can Help Bridge Gaps in Education

Triple Pundit - 6 hours 4 min ago
Fernando Botelho and his organization, F123 have developed low-cost open-source assistive technology for the blind. His initiative is one example of how information and communication technology can help bridge gaps in education.

Tony Stewart: Crash Will 'Affect My Life Forever' - Boston.com (blog)

Bottle Bills - 6 hours 9 min ago

Tony Stewart: Crash Will 'Affect My Life Forever'
Boston.com (blog)
Stewart left without answering any questions, leaving behind a table that featured a Coke bottle with his the name "Tony" on the side. Coke is one of his primary sponsors. The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion, whose speech was solemn and halted at ...

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Categories: News Feeds

Couple eats $300 breakfast at NYC Denny's - New York Post

Bottle Bills - 6 hours 22 min ago

New York Post

Couple eats $300 breakfast at NYC Denny's
New York Post
The Nassau St. diner is lined with exposed brick and leather booths, hoping to fool Wall Street's finest into thinking thinking they're dining at one of Manhattan's finest. Denny's barback, Amy Gilbert, enticed the Becton's with a “cold bottle” ready ...

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Categories: News Feeds

Friday Must Reads: Assembly Okays Plastic Bag Ban; EPA Says Brown's Water ... - East Bay Express

Plastic Bag Bans - 6 hours 51 min ago

East Bay Express

Friday Must Reads: Assembly Okays Plastic Bag Ban; EPA Says Brown's Water ...
East Bay Express
1. In a surprise development, the state Assembly approved legislation that would ban single-use plastic bags in California and the bill is expected to be approved by the state Senate and by Governor Jerry Brown, the Mercury News$ reports. The plastic ...

Categories: News Feeds

America's real ice bucket challenge - Washington Post

Bottle Bills - 6 hours 51 min ago

America's real ice bucket challenge
Washington Post
George W. Bush was doused by his wife, Laura, and then nominated Bill Clinton to take the ice-bucket challenge for charity. Mitt Romney ... And so I pursued my own ice-bucket challenge, which involved a bottle of wine and a view of the sea. But on my ...

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Categories: News Feeds

New Database Tracks Ecologic Health Impacts of Dams on World's Rivers

Yale Environment 360 - 6 hours 59 min ago
A newly launched online database illustrates the impacts of nearly 6,000 dams on the world's 50 major

Click to Enlarge

Dams in the Yangtze basin river basins, ranking their ecological health according to indicators of river fragmentation, water quality, and biodiversity. The "State of the World's Rivers" project was developed by the advocacy organization International Rivers and created using Google Earth. Users can compare the health of individual river basins, see the locations of existing and planned dams, and explore 10 of the most significant river basins in more depth. The 6,000 dams represented in the database are a small percentage of the more than 50,000 large dams that impact the world's rivers, the organization notes.
Categories: Environment, Health

Will legislature act on health bills? - Allentown Morning Call

Bottle Bills - 7 hours 20 min ago

Will legislature act on health bills?
Allentown Morning Call
Pharmacist Frank DeGroot holds a bottle of OxyContin at the Belvidere Pharmacy in Belvidere, N.J. OxyContin is one of the prescription drugs Pennsylvania physicians would like to moniitor through a prescription drug database. (Morning Call file photo).

Categories: News Feeds

Nestle’s New Animal Welfare Commitments

Triple Pundit - 7 hours 40 min ago
Nestle, the global food giant known for its Nestle Crunch Bars, announced its animal welfare program that will eliminate some common but cruel practices from its global food supply chain.Those cruel practices include confining sows in gestation crates, calves in veal crates and egg-laying chickens in cages.

Founder of Lonely Planet on Heritage Preservation

Triple Pundit - 7 hours 46 min ago
Heritage conservation not only preserves historical record, it can open up a previously difficult-to-visit location to travelers and give them a whole new view of the region and its culture, while spurring tourism and economic enrichment in nearby communities.

The creepy rise of artificial intelligence - New York Post

Bottle Bills - 8 hours 34 min ago

The creepy rise of artificial intelligence
New York Post
That day, I'd already booked airplane tickets online, deposited a check into my bank account with my smartphone, paid the electric bill on my home computer and took out cash from an automatic teller machine, thus eliminating the need to interact with ...

Categories: News Feeds

Do You Build Invoices Or Relationships? - Above the Law

Bottle Bills - 9 hours 16 min ago

Do You Build Invoices Or Relationships?
Above the Law
A few weeks later when she got her bill, it included every single bit of work that could possibly be charged to her — every email, quick telephone calls that lasted three minutes — AND a charge for two bottles of water. She was beyond furious ...

Categories: News Feeds

RATINGS: 'Y&R' Posts Largest Women 18-49 Rating Since April - Soap Opera Network

Bottle Bills - 10 hours 28 min ago

Soap Opera Network

RATINGS: 'Y&R' Posts Largest Women 18-49 Rating Since April
Soap Opera Network
Posting its best Women 18-49 rating since April, CBS' “The Young and the Restless” leads the week amongst all broadcast daytime drama series in Women 18-49 and Women 25-54, while averaging 4.47 million viewers for the week of August 18-22, per ...

Categories: News Feeds

NJ's best diners: Five compete for ultimate bragging rights in stainless-steel ... - The Star-Ledger

Bottle Bills - 10 hours 57 min ago

NJ's best diners: Five compete for ultimate bragging rights in stainless-steel ...
The Star-Ledger
The cinnamon on the cinnamon French toast "must have been left in the spice bottle because it wasn't on the toast,'' she said. Kevin Flynn's .... But this came down to a two-diner race between Mustache Bill's and Tops, and it was sooo close. In the end ...

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Categories: News Feeds

Crazy invasive jewelry harvests energy from the human body

Green Prophet - 11 hours 16 min ago

Namomi Kizhner has designed a collection of jewelry that harvests energy from the human body. A thought experiment more than anything, these jewels provoke a fascinating discussion about the ends to which humans will go in order to get the next hit of energy.

Appropriately called Energy Addicts, the project explores the numerous sources of energy the human body produces and then seeks to exploit them. Made of gold and a 3D-printed biopolymer, each jewel taps a particular involuntary physiological response.

“It interested me to imagine what would the world be like once it has experienced a steep decline in energy resources and how we will feed our energy addiction,” Kizhner told Dezeen.

“There are lots of developments of renewable energy resources, but the human body is a natural resource for energy that is constantly renewed, as long as we are alive.”

Related: Ecco Ukka Weaves Love, Magic and Recycled Materials into Fabric Jewelry

For example, stems on either end of the Blood Bridge are inserted into veins on the lower arm, and blood spins the wheels to produce energy – much like hydroelectricity.

The E-pulse Conductor is slightly less invasive – it harvests electrical pulses produced by the neurological system in the wearer’s spine. But the Blinker is kind of creepy. This piece of jewelry is mounted to the wearer’s nose and eyelids to harvest kinetic energy every time the eyes blink.

Kizhner designed this series as part of her graduation project in industrial design for Hadassah College in Jerusalem. Judging by her early project, this talented young designer is going places!

:: Dezeen

Categories: Lifestyle

AM Alert: Plastic bag ban, groundwater regulation remain as legislative ... - Sacramento Bee

Plastic Bag Bans - 12 hours 8 min ago

AM Alert: Plastic bag ban, groundwater regulation remain as legislative ...
Sacramento Bee
Friends, it seems as though we were just laughing about Coolio's appearance at the back-to-session bash, and now it's already the end of August. After laudatory sendoffs for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and former Assembly Speaker John A.

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Categories: News Feeds

The Future MBA, week 8: Don't get tied to the business suit

Greenbiz - 13 hours 8 min ago

What would the Future MBA look like? Explore the potential in week 8 of this new 100-day series.

Categories: Business
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