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

Workers Can Participate in CSB Investigations: A major goal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act is to encourage workers to participate in the process, including allowing workers to walk around with OSHA inspectors. When the Chemical Safety Board was authorized, the law required that workers be given the same opportunity to participate in facility…

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

Captives on the Kill Line:  Hiring immigrant workers — even undocumented workers — can be a headache. They get rounded up in immigration raids, move away or move on to better-paid jobs.  A much better and more profitable bet are prisoners on work-release. The Southern Poverty Law Center tells the story of one worker, Frank Dwayne…

Former CSB Chair Moves on to (Much) Greener Pastures

Last month, without any warning or explanation, Vanessa Sutherland announced her resignation as Chair of the Chemical Safety Board. Earlier this week we learned why. More money and more love. Norfolk Southern announced that Sutherland had been hired as Vice President, Legal, for the giant rail corporation. Norfolk Southern Railway Co. is a major transporter/hauler of…

Inspector General Issues Bizarre Chemical Safety Board Report

The Inspector General (IG) issued a somewhat bizarre report yesterday on “management challenges” at the Chemical Safety Board. The IG is required by the Reports Consolidation Act of 2000 “to report what we consider the most serious management and performance challenges facing the CSB.” As the report accurately states, “Historically, the CSB has been plagued…

Arkema Chemical Plant Investigation Results in Weak CSB Recommendations

The Chemical Safety Board released its report on the Arkema chemical incident last week. You may recall that during the heavy rains in the Houston area following Hurricane Harvey last year, the Arkema chemical plant was flooded and lost all ability to control the temperature of reactive organic peroxides.  The company evacuated the plant and…

EPA Proposes to Rescind Obama Chemical Plant Protections; Puts Residents At Risk

Five years after a catastrophic ammonium nitrate explosion in West, Texas killed 15 persons, destroyed much of the city, and launched reforms in the way the federal government oversees the safety of the nation’s chemical facilities, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last week told us that he cares more about the concerns of the chemical industry…

Chemical Safety Board Dodges Trump’s Bullet Again

But is the agency selling its soul? House Gives CSB Thumbs Up The House Interior and Environment Appropriations Committee has not only (again) defied President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Chemical Safety Board, but the committee actually plans to add a million dollars to the agency’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget.  The Committee’s bill, released Monday,…

Really Stupid Sh*t: Johns Hopkins, Scott Walker and Bad Foster Parents

Sometimes you just have to smack your head and laugh. Because the only other thing you can do is scream and cry. Let’s start close to home. Martin Luther King Rises From The Grave to Bust Unions Johns Hopkins is Maryland’s largest employer. Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) employs more than 3,000 nurses — 3,000 unorganized…

Wisconsin Refinery Explosion Injures Workers, Causes Mass Evacuation

A huge explosion rocked the Husky Energy Oil refinery in Superior, Wisconsin this morning, sending at least six workers to the hospital and causing the evacuation of schools, businesses and hospitals in a 78 square mile area around the refinery. One worker is apparently being treated for “serious blast injuries.” The explosion reportedly occurred in…