Author Archives: Rory

Don’t base policy on deadly lies

Wherever you go, business lobby groups are trotting out cookie-cutter reports claiming businesses are folding, jobs are being lost, and the economy is being devastated. And the cause? The burden of regulation, with health, safety and environmental rules always targeted as top irritants. The perpetual belly-aching about workplace regulations is packaged the same both sides […]
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Courts encourage businesses to harm more people

The more people harmed by a corporation’s negligence, the lower the court penalty for environmental and occupational health offences is likely to be, researchers have found. Loran Nordgren and Mary McDonnell, writing in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science discovered the phenomenon held up in both theoretical and real life cases. Their examination of […]
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BP safety talk is really about shareholders

The creation by BP of a new global safety unit with “sweeping powers” has the safety of shareholders’ money as its “ultimate goal”, the company’s top boss has admitted. In a 1 October news release from the oil giant’s London HQ announcing the “powerful new organisation”, BP chair Carl-Henric Svanberg said there were “difficult challenges […]
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Chemical giant denies brain cancer link

A high profile US legal case is to cast doubt on industry evidence claiming that vinyl chloride exposure is not linked to brain cancer. Joanne Branham says she believes environmental exposure to the chemical is the cause of the brain cancer that took the life of her husband, Franklin, six years ago. She blames the […]
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BP may emerge unscathed after 11 deaths

The share price of UK oil multinational BP soared this week after the company indicated the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico had been “killed”. The company has spent five months attempting to seal its Macondo well, after a 20 April explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and triggered an environmental […]
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Call to stop trade in toxic e-waste

The international system intended to stop illegal hazardous waste exports is not working, the head of a UK watchdog has warned. In a speech last week to INTERPOL, the UK Environment Agency chair Lord Smith called for a European alliance to tackle the toxic trade in electrical waste into Africa. He said better cooperation and […]
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Really, would you kill a friend?

An Australian construction firm has been fined after a teenage worker died working on a government-backed home insulation scheme. Arrow Property Maintenance Pty Ltd was fined $135,000 (£82,200) on charges relating to the death of 16-year-old insulation installer Reuben Barnes. Unions warned last year that the energy efficiency scheme, part of a government stimulus package […]
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Post workers get off their bikes

Are cycles a desirable, green alternative to the use of cars at work? Not when you are lugging large quantities of mail, says the UK postal workers’ union. Cycles are great for leisure pursuits, but are neither safe nor suitable when it comes to delivering large quantities of mail, the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) has […]
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ILO sounds the ‘death knell for asbestos’

A statement from a United Nations body confirming its desire to see the end of asbestos use worldwide is the ‘death knell’ for a substance which claims one life every five minutes around the clock, the global union confederation ITUC has said. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) this week warned in an official position statement […]
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Hey, they were only workers – have an award

Companies scream blue murder about the burden of health and safety regulation and the heavy-hand of regulators. But recent events reveal official workplace safety inspectors in the US and the UK are a rarely seen and seriously threatened breed, who lack the resources and sometimes the will to police rogue employers. Instead, companies give enforcement […]
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