EU looks to strengthen oil and gas regs

It seems as though the European Union, in spite of recent economic difficulties, might be headed for a bit of a shakeup in safety laws in the Oil and Gas sector. Back in October 2011, EU energy chief Günther Oettinger published a limited proposal to boost safety requirements in the industry that is often belaguered by comparatively lax safety laws. 

The proposal has been stalled somewhat, but only as Members of European Parliament (MEPs) push to give the bill more teeth, namely by expanding its scope to consider delicate Artic ecosystems, adding ‘polluter pays’ laws, and ensuring greater oversight of the regulation’s implementation process.

If the EU does indeed move ahead with strengthened safety laws in the oil and gas sector, that’s great news for EHS professionals

Whatever safety rules the EU does implement, perhaps it should take a cue from Petrobras’ experience and consider including protections from unindentified sea … Read more...

Safe Chemicals Act, calls for OSHA reform, new whistleblower complaint procedures and more on EHS This Week

On this week’s edition of EHS This Week:

  • OSHA’s issues final rule on whistleblower complaint procedures for the consumer products industry.
  • A Senate comittee approves a new Safe Chemicals Act.
  • Calls for dramatic OSHA reform and a whole lot more.

Remember to write us with your suggestions, questions and comments at Also, if you are an industry expert and ever want to take part in the program, we’d love to have you. 

Until next week, enjoy the program!

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NAOSH Week, big South Korea climate news, interesting data on American workers’ sleep habits and more on EHS This Week

This week we take a look at a variety of OSHA citations, the incoming onset of the biggest week in health and safety for the continent, NAOSH Week, significant climate legislation news out of South Korea — which seems to be following Mexico’s recent example — the Obama Administration’s new rules on gas fracking, and a whole lot more.

As mentioned, next week is NAOSH week and we will be doing our utmost to provide comprehensive coverage, given this is such a great opportunity to highlight the value of occupational health and safety across North America. It’s also particularly resonant, coming only days after both the International Day of Mourning for those injured or killed at the workplace (April 28) and International Workers’ Day last Monday.

As always, write us at or with any suggestions, comments, or ideas for future shows. We’ve loved your feedback so far, but … Read more...

Australian Governments finalize historic standardization of nationwide OHS regulations

In an effort to reduce incidences of work-related death, injury, and illness across the country, the Council of Australian Governments recently began to enact the harmonisation of work health and safety (WHS) laws, ratified in July 2008 with the signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in OHS. The move represents a significant departure from the former scenario in which all states, territories and the Commonwealth at large had been responsible for defining and enforcing their own health and safety laws which, although similar to one another, featured significant differences in their application and detail.

In response to industry calls for greater national consistency, currently half of the Commonwealth states and territories (with Western Australia and Victoria as the notable exceptions at the moment) have begun to implement the nationally harmonized WHS legislation, which took effect on January 1, 2012. The harmonization model calls for the Commonwealth as well as all states and territories to begin enforcing the model laws.

Some quick facts …

Milk ain’t oil: EPA sides with common sense

Yes, the line’s been used a hundred times in the past few days, but warrants repeating: U.S. dairy farmers needn’t cry over spilled milk any longer.

Beneath the sound and fury of political arguments over the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) right (nay, duty) to regulate greenhouse gases, the agency quietly sided last week with milk producers and finally exempted milk from oil spill control regulations.

The EPA has long required shippers of oil tanks and containers to develop spill control and prevention plans. Problem was, this included dairy farmers, since milk is defined as oil under the Clean Water Act because it contains animal fat (an oil). The regulations were originally designed for Big Oil, not farmers, but it has taken a few years for the agency to exempt dairy from the Act’s requirements. With the final ruling, milk, milk product containers, and milk production equipment are exempt from Clean … Read more...