It’s hard to believe that last month marked the third anniversary of the West Fertilizer Company explosion. In some ways, it seems just like yesterday that the disaster dominated headlines. But enough time has passed that we’ve seen the passage of multiple bills seeking to prevent another deadly accident of […]
The past few years have been filled with several highly publicized chemical safety mishaps. Between chemical spills into public water supplies and warehouse explosions that disrupt a port’s daily activities, the problems span industries and national borders. To make matters worse, it’s not so much that these disasters happen. Despite our best efforts, an accident is bound to happen sooner or later. What’s crucial in these worst-case scenarios, however, is how the involved parties handle the incident. Unfortunately, we haven’t been doing so well on that score. In many instances, the accidents reveal major hazard communication violations. What else do we call it when a company can’t tell authorities what chemicals were being stored in a particular facility? If a company can’t identify a hazardous material, how can anyone properly address the environmental and public health repercussions?
It may be hard to believe, but 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of when the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) was first passed. Meant to regulate both new and existing chemicals, it’s faced several criticisms over the years—namely that it doesn’t do enough. In fact, a 2014 chemical spill in […]
A new year means new beginnings, new goals, and new resolutions. It also means taking a look back at the previous year to take stock of your successes along with areas that could use some improvement. OSHA seems to share this sentiment because every year, they release a list of the top 10 violations for the past 12 months. In fact, you could say that the announcement of this list has become something of an annual tradition. The list tallies safety citations handed out by the agency across all industries. It includes things like fall protection and general electrical issues. The items may not necessarily be surprising for those in the workplace, but many companies can avoid the listed pitfalls more often than not.
We may be in the last days of summer, but the rampant wildfires that spread across much of the West Coast this past season will linger in our memories for years to come. In fact, experts are expecting things to get worse! When we think of putting out fires, the […]
Making sure your institution has a hazard communication standard in place is crucial for ensuring employee health and environmental safety. But it can serve a purpose for people outside of your workplace, too. While the general public may first spring to mind—and make no mistake, their safety is of the […]
Just when we thought the issues had finally been settled, laboratory safety in government facilities hits headlines once again. I’m not even talking about the mishaps that plagued the CDC last year. It turns out the conditions and attitudes that led to those incidents are pervasive in other facilities as […]
In a recent newspaper exposé about unsafe conditions within biosafety level 3 and 4 labs (the highest levels of containment against some of the most infectious agents), reporters comment, “Vials of bioterror bacteria have gone missing. Lab mice infected with deadly viruses have escaped, and wild rodents have been found making nests […]
Perhaps unsurprisingly, approximately 90 percent of total chemical production, including specialty chemicals, is based on crude oil and natural gas. Increasingly, however, corporations and businesses are considering how to use biomass (biological material derived from living organisms) to free themselves from limited fossil fuels, which are privy to both dynamic […]
When we receive medications from pharmacies or physicians, we expect that these substances will work toward restoring our health. Very few of us expect to be injured or killed by the medical interventions meant to save us. In October 2012, however, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) […]