line of defense against a blowout. The
regulation also strengthens oversight of
mechanisms designed to shut off the
flow of oil and gas.
The second regulation, known as the
Workplace Safety Rule, requires offshore
operators to have clear programs in place
to identify potential hazards when they
drill, clear protocol for addressing those
hazards, and strong procedures and risk-reduction strategies for all phases of activity, from well design and construction to
operation, maintenance, and decommissioning. The Workplace Safety Rule also
requires operators to have a Safety and
Environmental Management System
(SEMS) designed to reduce human and organizational errors and mandates that operators identify, address and manage safety
hazards and environmental impacts.
Fact sheets on the Drilling Safety Rule
and Workplace Safety Rule are available at
4579 and www.doi.gov/news/press
about recent offshore oil and gas reforms
can be found at www.doi.gov/news/
Study: Chemical Exposures Can Af-
fect Workers’ Risk of Hearing Loss
Workers exposed to noise in the presence
of welding fumes exhibit more rapid
hearing degeneration than those exposed
to noise in the presence of metalworking
fluids, according to a recent study by
The study of 558 metalworkers examined the interactions of various physical
and chemical contaminants and their
implications for risk of hearing loss.
Lead researcher Juan Carlos Conte of the
University of Zaragoza told the
Environment News Service that the hearing protection given to workers is often
adequate to protect them from noise exposures alone but fails to account for the
amplification of those exposures by
NEWSWATCH | DEPARTMENT
chemical contaminants from welding
fumes. Those who work in the presence
of metalworking fluids wear respirators,
which mitigates the effects of the chemical contaminants on noise exposures.
The study was published in the journal Anales del Sistema Sanitario de
Navarra. The Environment News Service
article is available at www.ens-newswire.
NIH, FDA Fund Nanoparticle
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will fund research on
nanoparticles as part of their joint efforts
to support projects in regulatory science,
the agencies announced in September.
NIH will award $9.4 million over
three years to support four research projects conducted in partnership with FDA,
which will contribute approximately
$950,000. These projects are intended to
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