Investigative REPORTS

Risk Management, February 2008 | Go to article overview

Investigative REPORTS


The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has begun an investigation into Posen Construction, whose workers have claimed that they were ordered to dump asbestos piping into a nearby lake for disposal. If they questioned the illegal procedures-which had to be carried out without protective equipment-they faced termination, according to statements issued by company truck driver Virginia Brown.

One employee, Linda Darnall, has also alleged that she was fired after objecting to the disposal practices and undergoing medical tests to examine for potential lung damage. "They've harassed the hell out of me," said Darnall in the Naples Daily News. "People are sick. People are being harassed. People are being fired. I am livid." Posen was contracted by Lee County to remove the piping in order to widen a road.

A $1.3 million, independent investigation into a pipe explosion in Midtown Manhattan last summer exposed numerous flaws in Con Edison's underground steam distribution system. The explosion occurred after an epoxy resin that had been recently used to seal a leaking joint in a pipe clogged a trap near the steam main.

"This report shows that Con Ed's poor maintenance contributed to this deadly explosion-that their own repair job clogged valves and kept vital backup systems from functioning," said City Councilman Eric N. Gioia, a Queens Democrat. In response, Con Ed pledged major changes to operations of its 105-mile steam pipe system, which caused the July 18, 2007 explosion that prompted the death of one woman, severely burned two others and inflicted millions of dollar in damages on area businesses.

An independent review in London concluded that flood risk management in Britain should be given an equal priority to that of terrorism and flu pandemic. Reviewer Michael Pitt of the South West Strategic Health Authority made 87 recommendations following last year's catastrophic flooding that caused some $6 billion in losses and inundated 55,000 homes and businesses, the most urgent of which is to create a national framework to man-age the problem. …

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