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  1. Ivan Barry Pless
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ivan Barry Pless, Retired, 434 Lansdowne, Westmount, Quebec, Canada H3Y2V2; barry.pless{at}mcgill.ca

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Conviction following mine violation of safety standards

After 29 workers were killed in a coalmine in 2010, the chief executive officer (CEO) was convicted of conspiring to violate federal safety standards. However, the court exonerated the CEO of felony charges that could have resulted in a 30-year prison sentence. Instead, he was convicted one single misdemeanour that carried a maximum one year in prison. The deaths were attributed to improper ventilation permitting gases to accumulate. Prosecutors argued that the CEO pursued a course ‘that put profits ahead of lives’. A law professor declared, ‘A century of mine disasters and failing to hold coal company executives responsible is over’. Comment: I do not agree this charade is ended, given the dismissal of the felony charges.

Physicians help reduce children's access to firearms

At the 2015 meeting of the American Public Health Association, physicians were asked to do more to reduce children's access to guns in the home. In nearly half of homes with a gun, the firearm is not properly stored. One speaker suggested that paediatricians should distribute lockboxes and trigger locks alongside counselling about storage practices. As well, physicians were urged to ask about gun ownership and to foster legislation, regulation and research. Comment: In spite of my scepticism, one study is cited that suggests that counselling can be effective in this regard (J Am Board Fam Pract 2003;16:40–46).

UK local authorities asked to ‘make road safety count’

Ahead of a pending spending review in the UK, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and other road safety groups have produced a guide for senior decision-makers on how to get the most cost-effective use from decreasing funds. In 2014, the number killed in road crashes increased by 4%—the first rise in a decade. One response is to promote ‘Making Road Safety Count’, a supposedly cost-effective programme based on ‘local data and evidence’. It prioritises high-risk groups and areas based on …

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