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…

Manhattan DA Calls For Higher Penalties for Workplace Fatalities

Manhattan NY District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.  has called on  New York State to raise the maximum penalty for corporate conduct leading to death or injury of a worker. Vance used the anniversary of the death of Carlos Moncayo who was killed when an unsecured 13-foot-deep trench collapsed in the city’s meatpacking district in April 2015. According to…