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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Posts Tagged ‘OSHA’

What Happens When You Call OSHA, White House

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Before we tell about the fun we had today phoning OSHA, sweet OSHA, we wanted to mention our recent and more enjoyable phone experience with Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a 400,000-member grassroots organization that is behind the “BP Makes Me Sick” campaign. Adam explained the Gulf Coast cleanup workers’ predicament as follows:

“At least 4 times now Keith Olbermann has focused on the issue of Gulf Coast cleanup workers who want to wear respirators as they deal with these toxins that are in the water, but BP is denying them the ability to do it and threatening to fire these workers if they do. The main reason that has been identified is that BP does not want images out there of people wearing respirators because that feeds the fact that they’ve exposed lots of toxins into the water and they’re trying to make this not seem like an environmental disaster or at least mitigate it as much as possible. So what we’re doing is forming this local-national coalition, asking the government to demand that BP allow the cleanup workers to wear respirators on the job . . .”

Dialing Through BP’s Perception Management

So today we did as Adam asked, and as we’ve urged our good readers to do: We phoned (and re-phoned) the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the White House to say Won’t you please make BP be humane and let the workers in 100-degree heat breathe through respirators instead of being forced to “go commando” at the risk of being fired, inhaling those toxic crude oil fumes and Corexit dispersant chemicals because BP doesn’t want bad publicity? (Something like that. You get the drift . . . )

(Now, the following narrative doesn’t mean it’s complicated to call—this is just what happens when you keep asking questions . . . It’s really pretty simple.)

First we called the OSHA number 202-693-2000 given by the BP Makes Me Sick web site. A nice receptionist said yes, she’s been getting a lot of BP respirator-denial calls at this number, but the number that people should call instead is 800-222-1222: there’s a comment line where you can leave a message. But no, that 800 number led to a poison-in-the-workplace prevention office in New York City. The guy there, also friendly, said I guess you should call NIOSH—but the number he gave had been changed to a new number, 1-800-CDC-INFO, that would have required going through a Byzantine phone tree, definitely not the place to register a complaint about Gulf Coast worker safety. So we called back at the original number (202-693-2000) and told the nice receptionist what happened. Maybe this number here is the correct one after all? She said (reluctantly), Well, I can take your name and number . . . So we gave her name, number and URL. Thus, we verified by personal experience that the right number is 202-693-2000. She also gave us the fax number for the head of OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary: 202-693-1659.

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Stop BP from Hurting Cleanup Workers:
Join the “BP Makes Me Sick” Coalition

Monday, July 12th, 2010

We cannot let the denial of protective gear that hurt so many 9/11 cleanup workers happen again with the Gulf cleanup workers.

BP Refuses Respirator Masks for Cleanup Workers

Levees Not War has joined the “BP Makes Me Sick” Coalition of Gulf Coast fishermen, environmental groups, and some 60,000 Americans to press the White House and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to force BP to provide the workers cleaning up BP’s toxic mess to wear protective gear. BP has refused to allow protection because photographs of workers with air filter masks would be bad for the oil giant’s image.

20 percent of offshore workers have been exposed to 2-butoxyethanol, a chemical used in the dispersant Corexit 9527 that has been linked to health concerns. —“Where Are the Respirators?” (Mother Jones)

Click here to tell the White House and OSHA to protect workers (script provided).

Phone the White House (comment line 202-456-1111) and OSHA (202-693-2000 or 800-321-6742). • Also fax the White House (202-456-2461) and OSHA Asst. Secretary Dr. David Michaels at 202-693-1659.

“President Obama and the federal government must demand that BP allow every cleanup worker who wants to wear respiratory protective equipment to do so—and ensure that workers get the equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely.”

The Coalition is organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and backed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, and supported by some 35 environmental and public health and fishermen’s groups, including the Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Louisiana Shrimp Association, United Commercial Fishermen, and members of Congress including Reps. Alan Grayson, Kendrick Meek, and Carolyn Maloney (see signatories list here).

See the Mother Jones article “Where Are the Respirators?” below the fold, Elana Schor’s “Petition Urges Obama Admin to Protect Gulf Spill Cleanup Workers” in the New York Times, and Keith Olbermann’s interview with MaryLee Orr of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network on the screen below.

And then click here and here to UNF––K THE GULF.

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