OSHA Compliance

The World is still keeping a watch on BP and The Gulf of Mexico

The World is still keeping a watch on BP and The Gulf of Mexico
New updates have been released concerning BP's response environmentally and financially as the world watches the Gulf of Mexico and the effects of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 platform workers and left 17 others injured.

Since then, BP ordered 32 machines that separate oil and water to extract up to 2000 barrels per day. A Unified Command for the Deepwater BP Oil Spill recently stated that nearly 9.9 million gallons have been burned and 28 million gallons of oily water have been recovered. Hence, Oil capture over the past 24 hours has been more than 1 million gallons.

An astonishing report recently surfaced, which stated that, microbial organisms had the ability to eat and digest oil from the Deepwater Spill. Scientists too support this fact. Furthermore, it is a known concept that oyster mushrooms were used to absorb and remove oil from a spill in the San Francisco Bay several years ago.

BP recently announced that an estimated $60 million would be made in the form of advance payments in August to claimants across the Gulf Coast. Whereas, some travel experts stated that tourism losses could mount up to $23 billion over the next three years.

July 30th, 2010, and the world still keeps a watchful eye over the gulf of Mexico, BP and the United States Government.

Seafood Industry Devastated by BP's oil spill

Seafood Industry Devastated by BP's oil spill
On Wednesday, in a meeting, members of the governor’s Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force berated the BP officials for not getting Florida money to market itself. However, this anger mounted when a new crisis arose – consumers were no longer interested in buying the Gulf of Mexico seafood. This in turn has started to affect the local markets.

For instance, Task Force member, Mr. Nelson Mongiovi, stated that even Walmart has begun removing fresh seafood from some stores. Furthermore, he stated that the seafood wasn’t being removed because of possible contamination, but because the demand had fallen so dramatically.

Present below are some comments made by Mr. Nelson Mongiovi about the sorry plight of the seafood industry:

  • “The oil spill trajectory is going one way and the seafood industry is going the other.”
  • “There is a consumer out there worried about seafood and consumption is going down.”
  • “Misinformation” is simply killing the seafood market just as it has scared off tourists.
Hence, one task member even suggested that an “our seafood is safe” campaign be started.

Eventually, this very meeting was opened to the public. During this public session, it was brought to light that BP was not responding to the claims of desperation of fishermen and small business owners. For instance, an owner of a Tropical Smoothie franchise, said he has heard nothing since filing a claim six weeks ago.

BP gets a loud 'wake -up call'

BP gets a loud 'wake -up call'
On Tuesday, the newly named chief executive of BP stated that the oil spill in the Gulf has been a 'wake up call' for the entire industry and safety would be among one of his highest priorities. Mr. Bob Dudley will replace Mr. Hayward on October 1st.

Another startling fact is that BP has been slapped with $32 billion in charges related to the oil spill. In order to cover these charges, BP has announced that it plans to sell nearly $30 billion in assets over the next 18 months.

Furthermore, the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission along with the Department of Justice have launched several informal inquiries into various security related matters. Primarily there is an investigation into whether BP influenced the release of oil into the Gulf in anyway.

Moreover, nearly 5 million barrels of oil have been spilled into the Gulf. The spill had also caused a massive explosion that instantly killed 11 people. Hence, private lawsuits against BP have been piling up. Every attorney hired to fight these cases, has headed to Idaho, for a special judicial panel has been set up to decide how these cases would be handled.

Several Industrial executives have stated that it was a relatively good time to sell assets since the oil market is currently stable. Hence BP has agreed to a $7 billion sale of oil and gas fields to the Apache Corp. Indeed, $32 billion in oil spill charges has been one of the largest in the history of the oil industry.

Senators bring vice President Mr. Flynn in the line of fire

One of BP's top safety officials has strongly defended the company's string of federal safety violations before a group of very skeptical senators. Furthermore, he has vowed to bring about worker protection despite several ongoing disputes over fines at its Texas city refinery. BP's vice president of health and safety, Mr. Steve Flynn has vowed to “work constructively” with OSHA on the 700 plus citations issued last year.

Mr. Flynn's statements about safety failed to mollify members of the Education, Labor and Pensions Committee's employment panel. Instead, several senators asked Mr. Flynn to explain why BP received 760 egregious and willful OSHA violations over the past three years. Moreover, Senator Patty Murray stated that, “Either management isn't being truthful, or BP's culture of safety is nonexistent."

It is also important to note that OSHA records show that the Bush administration also issued per-instance citations in 2006 at BP's refinery in Oregon, Ohio.

Mr. Flynn has spoken a lot as well as defended his approach to safety. Below are a list of a few of his comments regarding safety:

  • He stated that they would attempt to change the safety procedures by changing "the tone at the top".
  • "At the end of the day, we want to achieve the same thing as OSHA”, Flynn said.
Eventually, Mr. Flynn was lost for words when Sen. Jeff Merkley said simply that BP's claims to prioritize safety first are "rather offensive" given its record.

Bye Bye Mr. Hayward-Chief executive of BP

Bye Bye Mr. Hayward-Chief executive of BP
BP's board is most likely to replace its current chief executive Mr. Tony Hayward with an American named Robert Dudley. However,this decision though sudden is a planned appointment. A person close to the BP's board confirmed that Robert Dudley would in fact run the London–based company. It is also interesting to know that the United States has become very vital to BP since nearly one third of the company's refineries, oil as well as gas wells interests are in the United States. Furthermore, 40 percent of BP's shareholders are Americans.

In 2007, when Mr. Hayward was appointed as chief executive, he pledged that he would focus “like a laser” on any safety issue. This is the very line that Hayward has come to regret in 2010. The oil spill brought out BP's ignorance towards the very issue that Hayward preached about and his tone-deaf performance made the situation even worse.

To bring to light Mr. Hayward's ignorance, here are a few of his comments on the day of the oil spill:
  • “I can't answer the question in that form. I can't recall the number.”
  • “I can't answer because I wasn't there.”
  • “I'm afraid I can't recall.”
  • “I can't recall that either.”
Mr. Robert Dudley has a very short track record in the gulf. However he has already earned the hearts of some people. For instance Mr. Dudley met with the Governor of Alabama a week ago. Later Todd Stacy, a spokesman of Mr. Riley informed the media that “the governor felt that Mr. Dudley was very responsive to Alabama’s concerns.”

Thus, the appointment of Mr. Robert Dudley simply highlights the fact that merit and competency are just more important than nationality.

Storm threat halts work at oil spill site

Storm threat halts work at oil spill site
The threat of a storm has halted any efforts to permanently seal BP's blown- up well in the Gulf of Mexico. The government stated that in case the storm moved in that well would have to be closed off and the ships would be left unattended.

On Thursday evening Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who leads the federal response effort stated that many ships were already set to retire since the tropical depression had developed into a tropical storm. Among the others preparing to evacuate was also the all important drill rig. The drill rig that is working on a relief well,was considered to be ultimate way to seal the well. The process of disconnecting the riser pipe from the rig had already begun, however this process is expected to take about 12 hours.

Admiral Allen said that the drill rig that is working on the relief well is most likely to be among the first to leave because it travels very slowly. The other ships that are better able to handle higher seas and travel faster would leave a little later.

But the decision has been made to leave the well capped. This decision was made at the recommendation of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and BP. This decision was taken since the well is undamaged and that there is little risk it would deteriorate if kept under pressure.

Mr. Wells also stated that the storm would delay operations by approximately 10 to 12 days, depending on its severity and how close it passed by the site. This in turn would push back completion to the middle of August.

According to the National Weather Service the tropical depression would be the third in what is expected to be a busy hurricane season. Finally a spokesman for the private weather service AccuWeather stated that the storm would probably reach the area of the well site late Saturday or early Sunday.

Is Rapid response the Answer to Future Oil Spills

Is Rapid response the Answer to Future Oil Spills
Oil spill workers have been playing a major role with regards to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. At any particular time, there are more than 42,500 personnel and more than 2,000 Federal employees who are directly involved in the cleanup operations across the four states.

OSHA has been working along side the U.S. Coast Guard and several other government agencies that deal with health and the environment. OSHA has constantly been evaluating BP's efforts such as making sure that BP puts in place all of the precautions needed to protect workers from any hazards that are associated with their cleanup. An update on OSHA activities to protect oil spill workers in the Gulf will be available every single day.

For instance Big Oil has been trying to assure everyone that it is indeed prepared for the next Massive oil spill. ExxonMobil, Chevron Corp., Conoco Phillips and Shell Oil have even agreed to come together and form a company worth $1 billion. This company would in turn respond to any Offshore oil spills at up to 10,000 feet underwater. Further, their systems would deploy equipment that would reach the site of the oil spill within days. In other words, their answer to future oil spills is a faster response.

Several members of the Congress have openly criticized the oil industry for being terribly ill-prepared. Furthermore, the White House has imposed a moratorium on Deepwater drilling. This has also affected the oil company share prices.

BP's oil spill disaster has leaked nearly 180 million tons of oil into the Gulf. Although BP was informed about the joint venture they had nothing to say about the new response system.

This new response system would draw from the lessons learnt from BP's efforts.
This response system will also include an array of several underwater equipment that would be designed to withstand extreme pressure and depths. Further, this equipment would separate the oil from gas and bring it to the surface where the gas would be burnt off and the oil would be stored in large tankers.

Finally in accordance to their joint statement, the four companies would create a nonprofit organization called the Marine Well Containment Company that would operate as well as maintain the response system.

U.S. Government dismisses seepage at capped Deepwater Horizon well as 'inconsequential'

The US has diffused the concerns over the seeping oil from BP’s blown out well. Thad Allen, leading the response to the oil disaster, has called the leak 'inconsequential at this time'.

Engineers had found oil seepage and possible methane gas near the leaked well. However, the government has declare the development insignificant even though it seemed like a setback first and they are now forging along with BP’s plan to finally seal the hole in the seabed.

The engineers have been monitoring pressure and seismic readings since the cap was installed to stop the leak and see whether the well would hold or not. Late Sunday, they could see a small amount of gas and oil coming out from the well and less than two miles away, seepage from the seabed was detected but it has probably nothing to do with the well.

Mr Allen has concluded that BP could keep the cap closed over the well for at least another 24 hours, as long as the company remained alert for leaks.

Ever since the cap was installed on the leaking well on Thursday, beach goers have reported that there is less oil fouling the shore. However, the cap is a temporary solution until a permanent solution comes.

US pressurizing BP over oil seepage

US pressurizing BP over oil seepage
It seems that the government won’t let go of BP yet even after the oil cap was successfully installed. They are now pressurizing BP as the oil seepage on the seabed is being monitored.

Finally after three months of mishaps, BP had finally succeeded in shutting down the leaked well with a cap. And that has also underscored the distrust between the government officials and the BP executives overseeing the response.

On Sunday, BP persuaded the government that they are doing well and they ensured that the oil and gas leak from the seabed around the well will not make the matter worse.

This statement was made after retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is in charge of the response demanded instructions for opening the well cap after acoustic tests and seismic surveys detected the seeps. He had given BP 24 hours to keep the cap while monitoring any oil leakages and methane gas in the sea floor around the broken well head. He further stated that the seeps and the small leaks, which is detected in the experimental cap stopping the gusher and the ineffective blowout preventer, which is attached to the well head were not their major concern.

BP has given a re-commitment to the government to conduct a vigorous monitoring of the seeps and to react fast with all required resources.

Leak Detected a Distance from Oil Well

After much hype, speculation and expectation about BP finally containing the oil leak, the federal government’s oil response director has said that the testing revealed a "detected seep a distance from the well" and has ordered the oil giant to notify the government if there is any leak found.

Whenever there is a seep detected, it is directed to the marshal resources and it is quickly investigated and the finding is reported to the government within four days.

A BP spokesman, however said they have no information about the leak and there was no information where the leak is and where it was spotted in the letter sent by the government.

Retired Adm. Thad Allen has asked BP to provide their latest containment plan and event schedule that the Well Integrity Test is suspended within 24 hours and said they should be prepared to talk about its efforts to detect leaks during a regular conference call between government scientists and BP that was scheduled for 9 pm.

Allen said that the testing would decide whether to keep the well capped was the right solution. Pressure testing results in the well have been lower than expected meaning oil could be gushing out from below.

BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said on earlier Sunday that a range of tests showed that oil and gas were not leaking from the well. Again newly recapped well could remain closed until the relief well is properly drilled if the tests remained good. And if the tests show problems, BP officials said they will remove the containment cap and reassess.

Now, scientists and engineers have intensified monitoring of the well, providing images and data which is collected by sonar scans, robots, seismic and acoustic examinations. A government ship is in the area, which is fitted with equipment to detect methane gas, indicating a leak.

BP finally re-caps leak well, oil stops leaking into Gulf

BP finally re-caps leak well, oil stops leaking into Gulf
Finally, BP has shut the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico this Thursday after 85 days, 16 hours and 25 minutes after the first explosion on April 20. This is a big sign of relief for the millions of people along the Gulf coast. After successfully capping the leaking well, the big surge of brown cloud at the bottom of the sea disappeared as BP closed the last of the three openings earlier this week with the help of the 75 ton cap.

This feat came after a string of failed attempts to control the leak that included a giant concrete-and-steel box clogged with ice like crystals, siphon tube and colossal stopper trapping very little oil and pumping mud and shredded rubber to jam the well.

At around 2:25 pm CDT, the oil stopped flowing into the water after the engineers dialed back the crude escaping through the last vent in the cap. The cap, which is an 18 ft high metal stack of valves and pipes is designed to stop the oil from flowing into the sea either by capturing and piping the oil to the ships on the surface or by bottling it up inside the well.

Even if this works, it is not a permanent fixture and not the end of this catastrophe. BP is drilling two relief wells to pump mud and cement into the leaking well in hopes of stopping the leak permanently by mid August. However, the Gulf Coast will face a huge clean up and restoration work that could take years to complete.

It has been estimated that around 94 million to 184 million gallons of oil were spilled triggering a massive operation to control and clean up the spilled oil along the US shores.

BP begins steps on testing oil well with new cap

testing oil wellNow, with a new tight cap installed on the leaking well, BP has begun to proceed with the critical test to stop the oil from gushing out. This test would show whether it will finally end the gruesome disaster the world has been witnessing.

Earlier, BP had got the approval from the U.S. Government to proceed with the "integrity" test on the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico. The process of shutting off the valves on its new cap stack has already begun. Hopes are high to see the tests to show whether the well can be controlled which either can be done by closing the 30 ft, 75 ton cap stack or by siphoning off the oil to the surface.

This is perhaps the start to stopping the catastrophe which the world is eager to see end. Although, even if the well would be contained, the clean up operation would take years.

Shutting the well would be a great risk to take that might damage the well but this test is a stop-and-go process.

It involves closing 3 valves on the new cap while testing for pressure. High pressure reading means the leak is being stopped while low pressure would mean oil is leaking in other parts of the well.

In case the well is not shut off completely, an alternative way would be diverting the oil through the riser pipes to the ships on the surface. Currently the Helix Producer and Q4000 are the only vessels on the surface and it would take several weeks before more ships control all the flow. The test is going slowly but it hasn’t stopped.

It will be early to say anything about the success or failure of this integrity test. Hopefully, this will be the last step taken to control the well leak.

Lack of Protective Gear In Explosion

Lack of Protective Gear In Explosion
Four fire fighters belonging to the Sacramento Fire Department got injured in a gas explosion at a Sacramento home due to lack of crucial protective gear. These fire fighters were not wearing protective gloves and department issued protective masks when they approached the site. When they were attempting to enter the building, an explosion ripped through and burned the fire personnel on their faces and hands.

Though the Sacramento Fire Department stated that since there were no fires involved and only a gas leak, it didn’t seem appropriate at the time for the firefighters to be wearing gloves.

Ironically, the Sacramento Fire Department was fined by Cal/OSHA with $8,100 just 5 days before the explosion for safety violations concerning a garage fire, where a firefighter suffered a second degree burn on his hands. They are appealing for the fine.

Dean Fryer, spokesman of Cal/OSHA, said that the fire department was responsible for providing proper equipment for their fire crews.

However the fire department said that their responding fire crews followed a protocol while responding to the gas leak. The did shut off gas, electricity and request the PG&E crews to assist. They even attached a hose to a fire hydrant to be safe. The fire crews had taken whatever precaution they could.

Regarding the four firefighters, they have now been released and are expected to recover soon..

Petition Urging to Protect Gulf Spill Clean-up Workers

Petition Urging to Protect Gulf Spill Clean-up Workers
The Obama administration has been urged by a liberal group's online petition to take a stronger hand on providing protection for the Gulf of Mexico oil leak responders. This petition has won the support of 31 congressional candidates and 11 Houase Democrats and thousands more since its launch.

The new worker-safety campaign has been the brainchild of the PCCC or Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal group who is targeting the White House and other Democrats for their failure to support the public option in the health care reform bill.

The petition got started by comparing between the denial of protective gear that harmed various 9/11 clean up workers and the denial of the requests for respiratory protection by BP for the Gulf oil leak responders.

Now, the Obama administrative has been demanded to act firmly with BP to allow allow every clean-up worker to wear respiratory protective equipment if they want and the workers must have the necessary equipment and trainings so that they can do the job safely.

Environmental and public-health groups have long been concerned about the long term health problems that the Gulf cleanup workers could suffer from the crude and oil dispersal's.

OSHA however has cited that most Gulf oil spill clean up workers do not need respirators. The danger is already there with the heat stress and the use of heavy respiratory protection will only make the matter worse.

The real question here is the safety of the workers, whether it is now or later in life. Whatever protection there is, they should be protected.

BP installing new containment cap

BP installing new containment cap
BP has every reason to be content as they are making a big progress in stopping the months old oil spill. They are installing a new containment cap on the blown out well and will activate a new oil-siphoning system after that.

BP’s senior vice president Kent Wells said that they are pleased with their progress and the task will take about 4 to 7 days for the undersea robots, which are performing 1 mile below the sea surface to place the new containment system.

The cap over the well has been removed to place a bigger capping system to capture 3.4 million gallons a day. They are also making a final safety check on a fresh containment ship, which is capable of siphoning up to 25,000 bpd from the well.

Let’s hope that BP’s endeavor is successful this time. The Gulf Of Mexico oil spill has brought two nations together to tackle the problem. US as well as BP have been hiring a lot of personal to respond to and clean up the oil slick. Mostly affecting the US shores, workers and volunteers trained in HAZWOPER safety program have been busy cleaning up the oil affected sites. If the oil flow can be controlled at the well, the clean up operation would be easier.

OSHA Reports that most Gulf Workers are sick from Heat and not Oil and Chemical Exposures

About hundreds of workers in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill clean up operation have complained of symptoms of nausea, nose bleeds, vomiting, and headaches. This may obviously fill people’s mind that it is due to the hazards associated with the oil slick and chemicals used, but the most ironic part is that these symptoms are all related to heat exposure.

The workers who have been suffering from the symptoms are being examined and none have been found to be suffering from the oil hazards but rather from the heat.

OSHA had issued guidelines in late June for worker’s health and safety in the spill operation, that include the limited use of respirators around the exposed oil which is near the oil gusher. There are about 40 employees dedicated to the oil disaster and who have performed more than 2000 work-site visits. Data from the Louisiana Office of Public Health shows that hundreds of workers have reported those symptoms which are similar to oil exposure but more than 60% of the workers were working off shore where most of the concentrated oil is found. This data can be misleading as this makes it look like the workers were sick from oil exposure and in fact from OSHA’s analysis they were most likely sick from heat.

OSHA fears Oil Spill Workers are not getting proper Training

OSHA fears Oil Spill Workers are not getting proper Training
People are depending on the clean up workers to control the biggest oil spill in history, but if these workers are poorly trained, then it would pose as a great risk to their safety and health.

Now, the federal regulators are investigating after complaints were made that numerous companies are providing poor training to some supervisors of the Gulf clean up workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (OSHA) said they received reports that some companies are not training supervisors with the mandatory 40 hours of training course and hands on instruction to handle the hazardous materials. The supervisors are required to get a 40 hour HAZWOPER training in order to qualify for the clean up operations.

OSHA is also focusing their investigation on yet another complaint where numerous companies are promising people secure jobs for prospective supervisors. Some workers have complained that their training certificates were being withheld.

It is quite unfortunate that in such a time of crisis where the world is in dire need of help, there are some who don’t think twice to take advantage of the situation to make a quick buck. For those who are looking for health and safety trainings, it is important to look out for reliable safety training providers to avoid such scams.

Madison Helping OSHA in Program

OSHA will have some assistance from Madison as the city is going to act as a watchdog for the organization in a new pilot program. OSHA has chosen 11 cities across the country for the project designed to reduce injuries and deaths at construction working sites.

Bill Foshee, director of the Madison's building and permit department said, "We're going to be their eyes in the field.” The initiative asks OSHA to work with and also to train the inspectors for local building to reduce the four leading causes of workplace deaths so that they can notify OSHA if they observe any unsafe conditions.

Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis wrote to Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler in a letter, "I believe that workplace enforcement is not only our responsibility, but our moral obligation. We need your help to send our inspectors where they can make the biggest difference."

Three building inspectors in the city will alert OSHA on unsafe and hazardous job sites so that the sites could be inspected by a federal compliance officer. Foshee said regarding their duty, “But we'll try to correct the situation ourselves if we can." More over Foshee has invited an OSHA spokesperson to Madison to speak at the Middle Mississippi Building Officials Association meeting in August to share a Powerpoint and handouts.

Madison is the smallest city among all other cities involved in the program and so Foshee is confused about the selection of the city for the program. He said, "Why us, I couldn't tell you. Maybe they heard we do things right here."

Also in the pilot program are Atlanta, Austin, Boise, Cincinnati, Concord, N.H., Greenwood Village, Colo., Newark, N. J., Oakland, Washington D.C. and Wichita, Kan.

Better Workplace Safety Records can Reduce your Insurance Premiums

Better Workplace Safety Records can Reduce your Insurance Premiums
Construction companies have now found an effective manner of lowering their construction insurance and other public liability insurance premiums. All they have to do is to improve their workplace safety records!

Being employers, companies in the construction industry as well as the general industry, are responsible for their employees’ health and safety at the workplace. The best way to go about doing this is through finding and eliminating any workplace hazards. In doing this, employers can effectively improve their workplace safety records and subsequently minimize their insurance liability.

In the United States, companies are governed by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). OSHA has for years strived to ensure that workplaces across the nation are hazard free and adhere to all the OSHA health and safety standards. If companies fail to do either of the two, the employees are given the freedom to file a complaint with OSHA or ask for a surprise inspection. Upon finding violations, inspectors can issue fines and citations. These fines and citations are what lead to high insurance premiums.

Companies should ideally identify all the hazardous areas within the organization, and should then take the necessary steps to spread awareness and eliminate these hazards. In the US, there have been more than a 100,000 cases of injuries to worker's feet at the construction site. Even such minor injuries can act as a liability to the company and can easily be avoided by providing workers with safety toe boots.

Companies that wish to reduce hazards can start by implementing safety teams to inspect all areas of the workplace. These safety teams must be properly trained and must be able to identify the hazard areas. Companies can also hire consultants from their insurance companies. These consultants have had vast experience in the past and can help mitigate risks.

All in all, it is important to keep in mind that your insurance premiums are directly proportional to the risks posed at your workplace. So, if you want to reduce your premiums, start by eliminating all hazards at the workplace.

$27 Million in Funds to Help Workers with Job Training, Placement etc.

Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi are the four states that have been greatly affected by the oil spill at Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a National Emergency Grant of $27 million for the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Hilda L. Solis, the U.S. Secretary of Labor said, “Working families in the Gulf Coast have been dealt a tremendous blow by this oil spill, and they are facing serious long-term challenges. They need and deserve our help now. From the start, we have been actively engaged in ensuring workers tackling the cleanup are kept safe and healthy. These grants will help those still looking for work find jobs that are good, safe and will help the region's economy get back on track."

The four states have been experiencing economic hardship due to the wage decline and job loss in the shrimping, fishing, hospitality and tourism industries. And it is hoped that the funds will help them in recovering as far as possible. Alabama and Mississippi will each receive $5 million. Florida and Louisiana will receive $7 million and $10 million respectively.

The services fund includes skills assessment, basic skills training, individual career counseling and occupational skills training. These will help to increase their capacity to help workers where their safety and health is concerned.

The U S department of Labor has been involved in the Deepwater Horizon response since April and OSHA is deployed all over the Gulf Coast for monitoring the cleanup and to ensure whether BP has provided appropriate worker safety and health training and protections or not.

Cal-OSHA to Revise Heat Safety Guidelines

Cal-OSHA to Revise Heat Safety Guidelines
The law dictates a number of rules and regulations, which ideally should be adhered to. However, in reality, just the opposite tends to happen. For example, the workers who have to work outside in the heat. These workers need shade, water and heat illness training for their safety and health. According to the critics, although these things are provided by law, in reality, these existing rules are too vague to meet the workers requirements.

As a result of this statement, California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has decided to make the rules more specific adopting some revisions to current guidelines so that the workers can work comfortably and safely.

They have calculated some new regulations, for example:

Shade should be easily accessible and provided for at least 25-percent of employees in case of above 85-degrees temperatures. And above 90-degree temperature, plentiful water will be provided. If temperature goes higher than 95, for heat related illness, employees will be monitored more closely.

The workers at Cal-OSHA feel that to train the supervisors on these proposed changes is very crucial as far as effective implementation is concerned. Jim Lopes, a worker at Cal-OSHA said, "We found out in 2006 that if supervisors were trained, less cases resulted in fatality."

If approved, it will be a big a step taken that will have an impact on the Central Valley's farming community. To prepare for the new changes, state officials with more than 200,000 workers have already spent few months holding training seminars.

If all – from workers to top management really involve themselves in these new regulations, it will surely have a great impact on the workers safety and health.

First Hurricane of Season hits BP Oil Spill Clean-up

First Hurricane of Season hits BP Oil Spill Clean-up
As soon as hurricane Alex came along, the long efforts to clean oil from the Gulf of Mexico has been halted. It was previously predicted that a severe storm season was ahead. The storm Alex has closed the Mexico-Texas border on 29 June and has halted BP's oil spill clean-up efforts.

3.6 meters (12ft) high waves caused due to the hurricane are expected to delay the company's plans to employ a further system to clean more oil from the blown-out oil well until later in the week. Flights spraying dispersant chemicals and other booming operations were all halted.

The hurricane with winds of 80mph was located about 255 miles south-east of Brownsville, Texas, in the early hours of the morning on 29 June. The US national hurricane center predicted that the storm was moving at 5mph to the west. Generally, the Atlantic hurricane season occurs from 1 June to 30 November, and this year the meteorologists predicted it to be an active one.

Because of the strong surf created by the hurricane, Mexico has closed its Gulf coast ports of Dos Bocas and Cayo Arcas that handle more than 80% of the country's oil exports. Though Alex is delaying BP's clean-up efforts, the company has expected that the storm will not interrupt plans to drill two relief wells that are intended to plug the leak by August. South Texas officials have prepared rescue vehicles and shelters in San Antonio and Laredo, and rushed supplies to the Rio Grande Valley.