Short Stuff: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Battle for Workplace Safety

More Tesla: I wrote earlier this week about the health and safety issues, and under-reporting of injuries and illnesses at Tesla’s Fremont, California plant.  A couple of follow-up article have appeared: First, CalOSHA has opened an investigation following the Reveal article. And CalOSHA is investigating another incident involving a subcontractor who was hospitalized after a piece…

8th Anniversary of Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill

Today is the 8th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and created the largest oil spill in the history of the world. And in case you were under the impression that our government has learned the lessons of the catastrophe, think again. The agency that is supposed to regulate offshore drilling (and…

Production Over Safety at Tesla: “People are getting hurt every day”

Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX and Tesla is a seriously strange and driven guy. That can be a good thing in some circumstances and even amusing if it’s your next door neighbor or crazy uncle. But when you own a major car company, it can mean workers getting hurt or killed. Last May we wrote…

5th Anniversary of West Fertilizer Explosion: Lessons Learned and Not Learned

Five years ago tonight a fire broke out at the West Fertilizer company in West, Texas. Emergency responders rushed toward the facility which contained 40 to 60 tons of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate, but twenty minutes later a massive explosion ripped through the building killing 12 responders and three others, injuring 252 and damaging or destroying…

Acosta Refuses To Commit to Preserving OSHA Recordkeeping Rule

In a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee today, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta today refused to commit not to rescind OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping rule. The rule, issued in 2016, requires employers to send injury and illness information into OSHA and prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for reporting injuries. The electronic recordkeeping rule has…

Charges Dropped Against Railroad for Lac Mégantic Catastrophe

Criminal charges have been dropped against Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA), according to Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP), for causing the deaths of 47 people when 73 cars of highly combustible crude oil derailed in the small Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic in 2013 turning the downtown into a raging inferno. For those of you who…

Acosta To Testify Thursday in Senate on FY 2019 DOL Budget

Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta will testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday morning regarding the Presidents FY 2019 DOL budget proposal. Unfortunately, the entire Confined Space staff will be busy that morning, so you can watch the hearing live here, or (assuming the video works and the crick don’t rise), we’ll provide our…