Image via Empty Easel
Nearly a week ago, I reported that the NRDC was afraid fishermen employed by BP to fight the oil spill weren't getting adequate safety equipment -- and that as a result, they were facing some serious health risks. Well, it appears that those fears were well-founded, as multiple fishermen have spoken up about BP's failing to provide them adequate safety gear while working around the slick. Watch this video of a mother of two young fishermen raising concerns at a town hall-style meeting Thursday night.
One of the primary concerns she cites is that her sons have not received respirators, a piece of safety gear required be provided to anyone employed to work in oil cleanup operations where fumes pose a hazard to health (for example, an area now the size of Maryland in the Gulf of Mexico). There are a list of required equipment that BP must provide that's mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Providing functioning respirators for workers entering fume-heavy areas is one of them.
Reports from other sources tell a similar tale, as other complaints at town hall meetings across Louisiana have echoed the same concerns. This video, featuring Dr. Gina Solomon with the NRDC, explaining why it's of an utmost concern that workers receive the safety equipment they're due:
With the cleanup effort still in scramble mode, and the need to mobilize workers quickly, it's easy to see how something like providing respirators to fishermen -- and adequately explaining why they're important in the training course -- may not be a priority to BP. But as you've seen in the video, it truly is important that these fishermen are protected to prevent long term health problems. BP should certainly be making sure the health of its temporary employees are educated as to the risks of working in oil cleanup, as well as offering the necessary protective gear. If they're not doing so, both are offenses punishable by fines from OSHA.
More Reportage on the Gulf Oil Spill
14 Year-old Girl Confronts BP for Lack of Oil Spill Education ...
Flying Over the BP Gulf Oil Spill (Photos + Video)