Pfizer’s Newest Vaccine Plant Has Persistent Mold Issues and a History of Recalls

Tampa Bay Times by Sarah Jane Tribble

McPherson, KS – Pfizer’s management knew last year there was “a mold issue” at the Kansas facility now slated to produce the drugmaker’s urgently needed COVID-19 vaccine, according to a Food and Drug Administration inspection report. The McPherson, Kansas, facility, which FDA inspectors wrote is the nation’s largest manufacturer of sterile injectable controlled substances, has a long, troubled history. Nearly a decade’s worth of FDA inspection reports, recalls and reprimands reviewed by KHN show the facility as a repeat offender. FDA investigators have repeatedly noted in reports that the plant has failed to control quality and contamination or fully investigate after production failures. 

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ASTM Developing Nonregulatory Standard for Face Masks

EHS Daily Advisor by Guy Burdick

National – ASTM International, a standards-setting organization formerly known as The American Society for Testing and Materials, is developing a new specification for face coverings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended cloth face coverings for the general public to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recommended them in its workplace health guidelines during the pandemic, and four states now require them in emergency temporary standards for COVID-19. The ASTM standard, which would create minimum design, performance, and labeling and care requirements for face coverings, is being developed by the subcommittee on respiratory protection at ASTM. Click here for the full text.

The Center for Construction Research and Training Issued Quick Tips to Increase Ventilation at Indoor Construction Sites Without Operating HVAC Systems

CPWR

National – COVID-19 is airborne and spreads faster and further in enclosed areas than outdoors. As temperatures drop, construction work is moving inside, work areas are being enclosed, and temporary warm-up stations are being set up. Since ventilation guidance issued by OSHA,1 the CDC, 2 and other organizations largely focuses on workplaces with working HVAC systems, below are some suggestions on how to improve ventilation on construction sites. To access the full document, click here.

The US May Soon Have Its First Standard for Consumer Face Masks

CNN by Keri Enriquez

National – The coronavirus pandemic triggered a sudden intense need for masks that had Americans making masks at home out of T-shirts and bandanas. Hundreds of new and untested products flooded the marketplace with almost no oversight or regulation, making consumer masks the Wild West of personal protection equipment. That is set to change. ASTM International, an international technical standards organization, and the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, are working on standards to “establish minimum design, performance (testing), labeling, user instruction, reporting and classification, and conformity assessment requirements for barrier face coverings.”  Click here for the full text.

‘OSHA is AWOL’: Critics Say Federal Agency is Where Workplace Covid-19 Complaints Go to Die

Tampa Bay Times

by Meghan Bowbrowsky
Miami, FL – The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration, charged with enforcing health and safety in the American workplace, has received more than 6,000 complaints nationwide about unsafe work conditions related to COVID-19. And yet, on June 9, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia told lawmakers that OSHA, which his department oversees, had issued just one citation. The complaints go to OSHA, which dutifully maintains a list of the alleged infractions. But it’s unclear how much action is being taken.

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