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Published: September, 2004; Vol 1, Num 4


A Review:

Confined Space

By Travis Parsons

Are you looking for a place to find “News and Commentary on Workplace Health and Safety, Labor and Politics”?  If so, check out this internet blog: Confined Space, written by Jordan Barab.

What is a Blog?

Blogs are a relatively recent innovation in internet communications. Most have a specific area of primary focus (e.g., gardening, foreign affairs, health) on which the publisher expresses a running commentary through daily or frequent, if irregular postings. Generally, postings include links to specific articles on the web that stimulated the publisher’s comment. In turn, readers are invited to add their own perspective. The net result is a forum of opinionated discussion.

Currently, Barab works at the United States Chemical Safety and Hazard Board.  He used to work for the American Federation or State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).  He is a member of the National Writers Union and United Auto Workers Local 1981.

This blog contains great information on current events within the safety and health arena along with some views on political issues. The website talks about what the government does or does not do to address safety and health concerns.

Included in the blog is a weekly toll, a compilation of fatalities that occur around the U.S. and what is or is not being done about them. Some other topics include: Excavations/Trenching, Record Keeping, Personal Protective Equipment, Chemical exposures, Fall Protection and Toxic Exposures.

Working people need stimulating and challenging workplace health and safety resources, not just fact sheets, health and safety manuals and Material Safety Data Sheets. Those are important, but workers also need opinion and commentary on the politics of workplace health and safety. Millions of people go to work every day anxious about the immediate and long-range impacts on their health and quality of life. This blog connects them to available technical resources, but it also makes the point that politics matter. Barab asserts that voting – in national and local elections – matters in big ways and small ways but, particularly, in regard to how safe their workplaces are going to be. Politics matter to whether their children are going to grow up with unhealthy or injured parents or no parents at all.

People need to understand that everything – tax cuts, growing deficits, appropriations, executive orders, regulatory "reform" – is connected, and it all affects our safety every day.

The purpose of this blog is to help make a difference. Hopefully, it makes a few more people aware of safety and health and the fact that we need to recognize it, talk about it and do something about it.

Travis Parsons is a Safety and Health Specialist at the LHSFNA.