The $4.5 Billion Criminal Fine for BP Oil Spill: Enough to Prevent Bad Corporate Behavior?

Two years after the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill killed 11 people and spewed millions of barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, BP has agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges, including manslaughter charges from the deaths. The company will pay $4.5 billion in damages, including $4 billion for the criminal charges and $525 million to securities regulators. BP will face additional civil fines of up to $20 billion as a result of its violations of the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.

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Vote Imminent on House Bill that Would Shut Down Safeguards

The House will vote later this week on the misleadingly titled "Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act." The bill is a brazen attempt to shut down the system of public safeguards that protects our air, water, food, consumer products, and economy and would do nothing to create jobs.

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Updated: House Majority Trying to Shut Down Safeguards – Again

The highlight of next week's legislative calendar in the House is likely to be a vote on H.R. 4078, the misleadingly named "Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act." With this vote, the House majority is set to launch yet another attack to shut down the safeguards that protect Americans against health, safety, and economic disasters.

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Coal Dust Is Still Killing Miners

A new report from the Center for Public Integrity finds that, after decades of decline, the incidence of black lung disease – a progressive, debilitating, scarring of the lungs that makes breathing difficult for its victims – is rising, particularly among young miners and those in central Appalachia.

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Diesel Exhaust Causes Lung Cancer

For more than a decade, the mining industry has been waging a war to cast doubt on scientific studies showing that diesel exhaust causes lung cancer. Industry lost that fight on June 12 when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) voted unanimously to designate diesel exhaust as a known cause of lung cancer. IARC’s conclusion comes more than a decade after the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) adopted a standard that reduced miners' exposure to diesel particulate matter – a prudent move on MSHA's part in the face of industry criticism.

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It Turns Out that Workplace Inspections Really Work

To those of us who believe that health and safety standards are essential to protecting workers and others from hazards, it should come as no surprise that a recent study by two business school professors shows that OSHA inspections are effective in reducing injuries and illnesses among workers and workers’ compensation costs. The study echoes similar findings by Washington State’s Safety & Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) program. Despite this empirical evidence, don’t expect Big Business or its allies to let up on their campaign to repeal those safeguards or weaken their enforcement.

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OMB Watch Stands Up for Strong Safety Standards, Comments on Troubling Food Safety Rule

Tuesday, OMB Watch submitted comments on a new rule being considered by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that would dramatically change the poultry inspection process in this country. Our comments detailed the rule's potential consequences to food and worker safety: more tainted chicken making it to our families' dinner tables and more injuries on the job.

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Workplace Safety and Randomized Controlled Trials: Another Weapon of Delay?

A fundamental principle of modern workplace safety laws holds that if scientific evidence suggests the health and safety of the public is at risk, the federal government should step in and take action, even if no conclusive proof has yet been generated. The principle is that the government should adopt public protections based on the “best available evidence” rather than wait indefinitely for “proof” of a hazard while workers suffer harm.

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Why Is the Small Business Administration Arguing that Formaldehyde Doesn’t Cause Cancer?

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is supposed to protect the interests of small businesses – businesses most Americans define as employing fewer than 100 workers. But a little-known office in the SBA, the Office of Advocacy, has recently weighed in with the National Toxicology Program (NTP), urging that it scrap a congressionally mandated Report on Carcinogens and challenging NTP’s designation of formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen. The NTP report is not a regulatory document. It does not directly affect small business costs. So what is the Office of Advocacy at the SBA doing objecting to a scientific report on carcinogens?

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Worker-Killing Regulatory Delays

April 28 marked Workers’ Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor and remember workers who have been killed on the job. The majority of these deaths are the result of inadequate health and safety standards on the job or inadequate enforcement of the worker safety standards that do exist. It’s time for our elected and appointed officials to recognize that delaying workplace health and safety protections can have deadly consequences.

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