General interest news briefs, Nov. 1

The US National Petrochemical and Refiners Association quoted the US General Accounting Office as saying that companies experiencing "labor unrest" in 1998 were almost 10 times as likely to receive a visit from an Occupational Safety & Health Administration inspector. Over the 5-year period 1994-1998, employers with labor problems were 6.5 times more likely to be inspected by OSHA. The report suggests, says NPRA, that OSHA is being used by organized labor to pressure employers into meeting labor union demands.

Australian refiners have begun making available lead replacement gasoline as part of a move that will phase out leaded gasoline by Jan. 1, 2002. The replacement gasoline will ease the transition of the more than 2 million Australian cars that are designed for leaded gasoline, said a government statement.

Thailand has officially named Piromsakdi Laparojkit as the chief of the National Energy Policy Office and shifted the former head of the energy regulatory agency to lead the government's public relations department. The shuffle, effective Oct. 2, came as a surprise as many of the kingdom's energy industry thought that the Chuan Leekpai administration might reinstate Piyasvasti Amranand as secretary general of NEPO. Piyasvasti, one of Thailand's most respected bureaucrats, left the NEPO post after completing the limit of 6 years last May (OGJ Online, May 24, 2000).

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