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

OSHA: The Incredible Shrinking Agency: The number of OSHA inspectors has hit an all-time low according to data compiled by Bloomberg Environment Reporter Bruce Rolfsen. “The agency ended fiscal 2018 with 753 inspectors, compared to 860 at end of fiscal 2014, the personnel data, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, show.” And that…

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

“They Treat Us Like Mules”: “They will break you down and then throw you away.” That’s what construction worker Ernesto Rivera told the Mike Elk at the Guardian about how construction workers are treated in Tennessee. Nashville is booming, but workers are paying the price.”In 2016 and 2017, 16 workers were killed on construction sites in…

Worker Killed In Trench Collapse — Again. Why? And What Can Be Done?

Another in a continuing, never-ending series on the tragedy of preventable trench collapses (and the journalism that accompanies them.) Anthony Smith was killed in a preventable trench collapse a on August 16 when a 15 foot deep trench caved in on top of him. OSHA, for those who don’t know, requires trenches more than 5…

Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Battle for Workplace Safety and Health: Short Stuff

Death by Trench: Equipment World has just completed a special report on trench hazards and the dozens of preventable deaths that happen ever year.  Most chilling is the piece on survivors who tell of the terror they felt being buried under tons of soil. And there are heros, like Jay Herzmark in Washington who worked with…

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

Kentucky Limits Black Lung Claims Reviews:  We have recently noted that black lung is back with a vengeance after almost being eradicated in the late 1990s. Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they’ve identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported. Well, the state of Kentucky is…

Construction Company Owner Charged with Manslaughter in Trench Death

Nothing sharpens the mind like the prospect of spending time in jail. Those of you who know me know that there’s little that makes me more angry than seeing a worker killed in a trench collapse. Every construction company owner knows how to prevent trench collapses — or they should know, or shouldn’t be in…

Boiled to Death, Buried Alive and Leg Ripped Off: The Stories Behind the Statistics

One of the fathers of occupational health, Irving Selikoff, once said that “statistics are people with the tears wiped away.” Today, the statistics look bad. This week we learned that coal mining deaths doubled in 2017, and rose to their highest point in three years. Fifteen miners died on the job in 2017, compared with eight…

Criminal Prosecution After Willful OSHA Citations for 5 Deaths at Tampa Electric?

On June 29, 2017, five workers were burned to death at Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station —  Michael McCort, 60, Christopher Irvin, 40; Frank Lee Jones, 55, Antonio Navarrete, 21, and Amando J. Perez, 56 — after management forced them to do a procedure that they knew was hazardous, probably just to save a few…