OEHS NEWS ; GOVERNMENT NEWS ; INDUSTRY NEWS
Authorities Consider Criminal Investigation in Fatal
Energy Plant Explosion
Five workers were killed and more than 20 injured by a Feb. 7
explosion at a Kleen Energy plant in Middletown, Conn. Workers were purging gas lines when the blast occurred, but as of
late February no official cause of the explosion had been determined.
A sixth worker later died from injuries sustained in the blast.
The Feb. 18 edition of BNA reported that local authorities are
considering opening a criminal investigation into the incident.
OSHA and the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation
Board were conducting separate investigations.
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education
and Labor announced plans to hold a hearing on the power
plant explosion. No date for the hearing had been set.
Incident at Canadian Nuclear Plant Reveals Safety Flaw
Investigators have determined that nearly 200 workers at a
nuclear power plant near Owen Sound, Ontario, were exposed to low levels of radiation, in part, because plant officials did not test for the presence
of alpha radiation. The November
2009 incident occurred while workers were grinding pipes that carry
coolant to the plant’s Unit 1 reactor, which had been shut down for
At a February 2010 hearing of
the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), plant officials said
that they tested only for the presence of beta radiation, which usually exists in much greater
quantities than the more harmful alpha radiation. The officials described the testing for beta radiation as an industry-wide practice.
Plant officials later determined that the ratio of beta to alpha
radiation in the building where workers were present was only
seven to one. Preliminary tests found that 14 workers had been
exposed to less than half the safe limit prescribed by CNSC. The
plant has identified 195 workers who need further testing.
The CNSC confirmed that the incident posed no danger to
The Canadian Press article “Bruce Nuclear Radiation Incident
Shows Safety Gap” appears on the CTV website at http://toronto.
Nevada Workers Exposed to Nuclear Blasts Clear Hurdle
The U.S. Senate Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker
Health voted unanimously to grant special status to people who
worked on nuclear tests at the
Nevada Test Site from 1963
through 1992, the Las Vegas
Sun reported in February. The
board’s action clears the way
for workers to receive government compensation for cancer
contracted from the tests.
Between 1951 and 1992,
more than 800 underground
and 100 aboveground nuclear tests were carried out at the site
approximately 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. A compensation program already exists for workers employed at the site
from 1951 through 1962.
For more information, read the Sun article at www.lasvegas
NIOSH Posts Revised Research Roadmap
A revised draft of the NIOSH plan for research on asbestos-related
occupational exposure and toxicity issues is available on the
agency website at www.cdc.gov/niosh/review/ public/099-C/
default.html. The plan calls for development of research to
increase knowledge about the determinants of toxicity for asbestos fibers, the health
effects of occupational exposures, and improved methods
for sampling and analyzing asbestos fibers. The deadline to
submit comments on the plan to NIOSH is April 16.
Chinese Drywall Trial Opens
The first national trial concerning the use of defective Chinese
drywall in homes opened in New Orleans in mid-February.
The trial was expected to establish minimum guidelines for
remediation of affected homes.
The case concerns the use of Chinese-manufactured drywall
that contains concentrations of sulfur that can produce corrosive gases and odor. The South Florida Business Journal reports
that 500 million pounds of the defective drywall was imported
between 2004 and 2006, when a housing boom and the effects