Included in IMPO's top five news stories: a closing silicon plant due to trade battles with China and OSHA's top violations of 2015.
Take a look at last week's top news stories:
Silicon Plant Shut Down Due To Trade Battle With China: A Washington silicon manufacturer will shut down a plant until June due to an ongoing trade battle over solar panels. The Columbia Basin Herald reported that REC Silicon will temporarily close its Moses Lake plant and shift its workers into maintenance roles. The company produces silicon materials for the electronics and solar energy industries, but its solar business was hindered by a three-year-old trade battle between the U.S. and China. The U.S. imposed duties on China in 2012 over allegations that it improperly dumped solar cells on the market; China responded with a 57 percent duty on solar grade polysilicon imports. REC exploited a trade loophole to access the Chinese market without paying the 57 percent fee until last year, when China closed the loophole.
Analyzing OSHA’s Top 10 Violations Of 2015: Preventable deaths and workplace accidents continue to occur at the hands of saw blades and conveyor belts. The data has been collected in the annual OSHA Top Ten Violation Report for 2015, which reveals that the total number of incidents were down 4.5 percent from 2014, and 11 percent from 2013. Graphic Products has analyzed the data and outlined preventative measures to ensure worksites not only meet OSHA compliance, but provide safety resources to equip workers. Click the link to see the top 10 list for 2015.
Report: Ford Doubling Factory Production In Mexico: Ford plans to build a new plant in Mexico and expand an existing facility that will double its production capacity in that nation over the next two years. Construction, which will likely cost in excess of $1 billion, is slated to begin this year. Upon completion in 2018, the projects are expected to increase Ford's Mexican output by 500,000 vehicles annually.
Report: Illegally Stored Chemicals Led To Tianjin Blast: Chinese authorities released the findings of an investigation into a massive chemical blast in Tianjin last summer and said that 25 officials would face charges. The Associated Press, citing the official Xinhua News Agency, reported that investigators blamed the initial fire on nitrocellulose at unlicensed warehouses owned by Ruihai International Logistics Co. The blast killed 165 people -- including 99 firefighters -- and injured hundreds more. An investigator told state TV that firefighters were not aware of the ammonium nitrate stores when they responded to the fire.
Supreme Court Halts Implementation Of Power Plant Emissions Limits: The U.S. Supreme Court last week placed one of the Obama administration's signature environmental initiatives on hold. The court, in a 5-4 decision, granted a stay in North Dakota v. EPA, in which 27 states challenged the administration's Clean Power Plan. The plan, which is considered a critical component of the country's obligations under the Paris climate change agreement, would require power plans to cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels over the next 15 years. The order stops implementation of the initiative until the court challenges are resolved, which will almost certainly occur after President Obama leaves office.