Learning from oil spill disasters
Jul22

Learning from oil spill disasters

In last week’s issue of C&EN, I had  a story that looked  back at the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon oil spills, with an eye toward lessons learned for addressing future spills. I focused on the environmental clean-up, not on the process safety problems that led to the incidents, but there was one talk from the University of New Hampshire Oil Spill Response Forum held last fall that I wanted to flag here. The speaker was...

Read More
Unequal risk
Jul21

Unequal risk

I’m out of the office this week, so here’s some reading: The Center for Public Integrity’s multi-part series called “Unequal Risk,” focusing on worker chemical exposures. A few examples: Slow-motion tragedy for American workers The impenetrable world of Mark Flores, the disabled son of a woman who was exposed to lead and methanol when working at an electronics company pregnant A history of OSHA: After 44...

Read More
Will a new overtime threshold affect postdocs for the worse?
Jul15

Will a new overtime threshold affect postdocs for the worse?

From a discussion about whether the Department of Labor’s proposed expansion of overtime eligibility will raise postdoc pay, a rather worrying comment: At many Uni’s, postdocs are classified in some nebulous category somewhere between grad student and indentured servant. My university (top 5 in total NIH funding) does not pay payroll taxes or withhold federal taxes, thus furthering their claim that we are not employees,...

Read More
DuPont named severe violator by OSHA
Jul10

DuPont named severe violator by OSHA

The Department of Labor announced yesterday that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has placed DuPont in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, following a 2014 methyl mercaptan leak that killed four workers and injured a fifth at a DuPont plant in La Porte, Texas. In May, 2015, OSHA cited DuPont for 14 safety violations and proposed fines totaling $99,000. The citations were for: 29 CPR 191...

Read More
More Prudent Practices info available
Jul08

More Prudent Practices info available

From the National Academies Press, updated information on Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Prudent Practices in the Laboratory has been updated online to include a download of the files that were previously only available on a CD with the print edition. This zip file is available on the Resources tab and contains a corrected version of the Chemical Compatibility Storage Codes. The full contents of the zip file are as follows:...

Read More