House Holds Hearings on Enforcement Responsibility in Gulf

[tweetmeme]The U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on June 23 to discuss how worker health and safety operations are regulated and which parties are responsible for enforcing regulations. U.S. Rep. George Miller, chairman of the committee, raised questions regarding how OSHA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy (BOE) can better coordinate efforts to prevent or contain the release of hazardous materials, such as the Deepwater Horizon spill.

OSHA oversees workplace health and safety within three miles of the U.S. coastline. The Coast Guard is charged with issuing worker safety violations that occur beyond the three-mile zone. The safety of drilling equipment and industrial systems on drilling rigs is maintained by BOE. “In light of the current tragedy in Gulf, I hope we can answer whether there is a better way to oversee and protect the health and safety of oil rig workers,” Miller said. “The Deepwater disaster clearly demonstrates that the status quo is not good enough. We must do better.”

The hearing also examined protection measures for workers who report unsafe work conditions on mobile drilling vessels. The April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 workers.

Watch the June 23 committee hearing, or visit the Committee on Labor and Education’s website for more information.

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