Welcome to MSDSonline’s news roundup, featuring EHS stories from the past week that you might have missed.
Last week we saw the interest in the New York Times’ exposé on the chemical hazards faced by nail salon works — that originally ran back in May — continue to grow. In addition to the special task force created by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio in response to the article, Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced a bipartisan bill in congress to expand government oversight of cosmetics with potential chemical hazards. OSHA said it had identified at least twelve chemicals that can cause serious health problems for salon workers, including cancers, lung and kidney failure, birth defects, and miscarriages.
Other significant stories included several large OSHA fines related to chemical hazard violations, a water restriction in Pennsylvania after a fertilizer plant fire, chemical hazards posed during Texas flood cleanup, a HazMat scare in Arizona, and an investigative journalism piece from Idaho related to the transportation of hazardous chemicals by rail.
- Numerous news outlets continued to report the growing concern around hazardous chemical use in nail salons.
- OSHA recommended a $46,900 fine for the GBW Railcar Services plant near Atchison after it found serious chemical hazard safety violations while investigating a December explosion caused by flammable gas vapors.
- OSHA reminded workers to use caution while cleaning up from the Texas floods to avoid any contact with hazardous chemicals that might be present in workplaces.
- OSHA proposed a $63,000 penalty against Venture Chemicals for severe violations involving build-up of combustible dust, failing to implement a respiratory program and employees not using required protective equipment.
- A fertilizer plant in York County, PA was destroyed in a fire, leading to a mandatory water restriction issued by the state over concerns that runoff from the blaze may have contaminated local waterways with hazardous chemicals.
- In Arizona, a hazardous materials “scare” on Interstate 40 resulted when a semi-trailer carrying 46,000 pounds of ethyl lactate began to emit smoke and flames near a rear discharge valve. A response team was able to control the incident.
- A newspaper in Idaho published an investigation of the threats faced by towns with transportation junctions when trains passing through carry large amounts of hazardous chemicals.