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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Judge Hears Claims BP Lied To U.S. About Oil Spill

September 30, 2013 2:20 pm | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

A trial over BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico resumed Monday with a judge hearing claims that the company lied to federal officials and withheld information about the amount of crude spewing from its blown-out well. The focus of this second phase of the trial is on the company's response to the disaster, and billions of dollars are at stake because the two sides disagree over how much oil spewed into the Gulf in 2010.

Trial Set For VT Owner Of NH Gunpowder Plant

September 30, 2013 10:27 am | by Lynne Tuohy, Associated Press | News | Comments

The owner of a New Hampshire gun powder plant where two workers died in a 2010 explosion will argue in court that he cannot be guilty of manslaughter and negligent homicide because he was at a gun show in North Carolina when the fatal explosion occurred. The trial of 64-year-old Craig Sanborn, of Maidstone, Vt., starts Monday in Coos Superior Court in Lancaster.

Stand Out With Excellent On-Site Safety

September 30, 2013 8:01 am | by Konecranes | Articles | Comments

Though the foregoing examples focus primarily on how a strong safety culture can impress and reassure customers, the chief impetus behind building a strong safety culture is to protect a company’s most valuable asset: its employees.      

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Changes In Chemical Management Part 2: GHS Training Deadline Is Now!

September 27, 2013 8:01 am | by Glenn D. Trout, President, MSDSonline | Articles | Comments

Some might question why OSHA wants employees trained on the changes a year and half before chemical manufacturers and distributors have to make them, and the answer is because OSHA wants employees familiar with new label elements and the new safety data sheet format before they encounter them in the workplace. 

Japan Car Parts Makers In Price-Fixing Plea

September 26, 2013 2:29 pm | by Pete Yost, Associated Press | News | Comments

Nine Japanese auto parts manufacturers and two of their executives will plead guilty and pay $740 million in criminal fines for conspiring to fix the prices of more than 30 products sold to many of the world's largest automakers operating in the U.S., the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Violence Continues Over Pay Hikes In Bangladesh

September 23, 2013 9:56 am | by Julhas Alam, Associated Press | News | Comments

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas Monday in the third day of clashes with thousands of garment workers demanding better minimum wages amid escalating tension over the country's main export business. Police said the violence mainly took place in the Gazipur and Savar Industrial zones, just outside the capital of Dhaka. 

Senate Passes Bill To Avert Helium Shortage

September 20, 2013 2:12 pm | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press | News | Comments

Break out the balloons. Congress moved a step closer Thursday to averting an impending shutdown of the federal helium reserve, a key supplier of the lighter-than-air gas used in a products ranging from party balloons to MRI machines.

Ex-Halliburton Manager Charged In Gulf Spill Probe

September 20, 2013 10:07 am | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

A former Halliburton manager was charged Thursday with destroying evidence following BP's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a case that coincides with a guilty plea to a related charge by the Houston-based oilfield services company. Halliburton was BP PLC's cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf in April 2010, killing 11 workers and triggering the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

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SEC Moves Toward Mandate On CEO-Worker Pay Gap

September 20, 2013 10:05 am | by Marcy Gordon, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Public companies would have to show the difference in pay between their CEOs and ordinary employees under a proposal advanced by federal regulators. The Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to propose a rule that would compel companies to report that information publicly. Companies would have to report the ratio between their chief executive's annual compensation and the median, or midpoint, pay of employees.

Changes In Chemical Management Part 1: OSHA Adopts GHS

September 20, 2013 8:01 am | by Glenn D. Trout, President, MSDSonline | Articles | Comments

Today over 43 million workers in over 5 million workplaces are covered by the HazCom Standard, which means OSHA’s adoption of GHS creates compliance issues that extend far and wide into American workplaces, especially  industrial facilities. The biggest changes that companies in the United States will see thanks to GHS adoption are to chemical classification, labels and safety data sheets.

Haslam: VW Tax Credits Not Contingent On Union Status

September 19, 2013 2:07 pm | by Erik Schelzig, Associated Press | News | Comments

Tennessee has not made economic incentives for Volkswagen contingent on the German automaker rejecting the United Auto Workers union at its Chattanooga assembly plant, Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday. A top Democrat in the state House last week alleged that Haslam was trying to use economic incentives to sway Volkswagen against working with the UAW.

Court Upholds CA's Low Carbon Fuel Standard

September 19, 2013 2:06 pm | by Jason Dearen, Associated Press | News | Comments

A panel of federal judges on Wednesday upheld California's first-in-the-nation mandate requiring fuel producers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected arguments from fuel makers that California's "Low Carbon Fuel Standard" discriminated against out-of-state producers.

WI Senate Passes Lemon Law Changes

September 18, 2013 1:29 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Wisconsin state Senate has voted to tighten the state's lemon law, which covers when consumers can sue auto manufacturers. The Senate passed a bill Tuesday would remove the ability to receive double damages in such cases and shorten the deadline for bringing a lawsuit from six years after purchasing a faulty vehicle to three years.

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Appeals Court Sides With Spirit AeroSystems

September 18, 2013 1:27 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A federal appeals court sided Tuesday with Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. in a labor dispute stemming from the way the Wichita-based aircraft parts maker evaluates employee performance. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the district court properly refused the union's efforts to compel arbitration over the issue.

Fastener Standards Today: Improving Quality

September 17, 2013 4:17 pm | by Dick Seidl, Global Applications Engineering Director, Stanley Engineered Fastening | Articles | Comments

Fasteners are essential to modern life; it is easy to forget just what an important role they play. Automakers have reported that the majority of their warranty costs arise from fastener related issues – ranging from the simple rattle in the dashboard coming from a loose tapping screw to a major recall resulting from mis-torqued high strength fasteners in the steering system. Many problems relate back to the not-so-simple fastener.

FTC Clears Honeywell Acquisition, With Conditions

September 16, 2013 2:08 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission cleared Honeywell International Inc.'s acquisition of Intermec Inc. on Friday, on one condition. Honeywell will have to license the patents needed to make two-dimensional bar code scanners to Italian rival Datalogic for 12 years. The FTC said that licensing the patents will resolve its charges that Honeywell's acquisition of Intermec is anticompetitive. 

TX Law Gets Tough On Public, Private Drone Use

September 16, 2013 10:05 am | by Will Weissert, Associated Press | News | Comments

More than 40 state legislatures have debated the increasing presence of unmanned aircraft in civilian airspace, with most of the proposals focused on protecting people from overly intrusive surveillance by law enforcement. But Texas' law tips the scales in police favor — giving them broad freedoms to use drones during investigations and allowing them to bypass a required search warrant if they have suspicions of illegal activity.

Post To Pay $2M For Violations At CA Cereal Plant

September 16, 2013 10:01 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A Central California cereal plant will have to spend more than $2 million for violating federal air quality rules. The Environmental Protection Agency says Friday that Post Holdings Inc. and Ralcorp Holdings Inc. will pay a $635,000 penalty for failing to install air pollution controls at its cereal plant in Modesto.

Obama To Meet With Union Leaders On Health Care

September 13, 2013 2:15 pm | by Sam Hananel, Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama is meeting with union leaders at the White House to discuss labor's growing concerns about the new health care law. Friday's meeting comes after the AFL-CIO approved a resolution this week saying the law could drive up the cost of union-sponsored health plans, encouraging some employers to drop coverage.

BP Seeks Cuts In Settlement Program's Budget

September 13, 2013 10:11 am | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

BP has urged a federal judge to reject a $111 million budget request by the court-supervised administrator of the company's multibillion-dollar settlement with Gulf Coast businesses and residents following its 2010 Gulf oil spill. In a court filing, BP attorneys said claims administrator Patrick Juneau refused to cut his office's fourth-quarter budget request by at least $25.5 million after the company complained that it was excessive.

Ford Wins OH Retrial On Truck Dealer Discounts

September 13, 2013 10:07 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A jury in Cleveland has rejected a claim by commercial truck dealers that Ford Motor Co. overcharged them over an 11-year period by offering discounts to other dealerships. The jury returned the verdict Wednesday in the class-action lawsuit filed by Westgate Ford Truck Sales of Youngstown in 2002.

Japanese Executive Charged With Price Fixing

September 12, 2013 2:03 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

An executive with G.S. Electech has been charged with conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices for automobile antilock brake parts installed in American cars. A federal grand jury in Covington, Ky., on Wednesday indicted Shingo Okuda, who is accused of agreeing to coordinate bids and fix prices of automotive parts submitted to Toyota.

MI Battery Factory Closes For 6 Weeks

September 9, 2013 2:19 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A Michigan factory that makes lithium-ion batteries for General Motors is halting production for up to six weeks because of a controversy over a chemical. LG Chem spokesman Jeremy Hagemeyer says a chemical used to make batteries may not be registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He declined to name it.

BP, Feds Offer Dueling Gulf Spill Estimates

September 6, 2013 2:22 pm | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press | News | Comments

With a high-stakes trial set to resume in less than a month, BP and the federal government on Thursday offered conflicting estimates of how much oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico after the blowout of the company's Macondo well triggered a deadly explosion.

Lawmakers Encourage Drivers To Buy Clean Vehicles

September 5, 2013 2:34 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

California's Senate has approved two bills designed to encourage motorists to buy low-polluting vehicles. Both extend existing programs that allow solo drivers to use carpool lanes as an incentive. B286 by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco passed the Senate Wednesday on a 30-8 vote.

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