Does the Rise in 2016 Workplace Fatalities Mean that OSHA Failed? Hearing Report Part 2

At yesterday’s House hearing, Eric Hobbes, representing the US Chamber of Commerce, cited a rise in workplace fatalities in 2016 as proof that OSHA’s approach focusing on standards, enforcement and strong media coverage doesn’t work. But according to an analysis performed by the AFL-CIO, a closer look at 2016 fatality data shows that Hobbs’ argument is…

5 Workers Dead in Gas Rig Explosion at Company with History of Safety Problems

Five gas rig workers are presumed dead after an explosion  gas rig in Quinton, OK.  The names of the employees are Matt Smith of McAlester, Parker Waldridge of Crescent and Roger Cunningham from Seminole — and two from neighboring states, Josh Ray of Fort Worth, Texas; and Cody Risk of Wellington, Colorado. For much of the…

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…

Is Opioid Addiction the Most Important Workplace Safety and Health Problem?

I’m going ask some questions in order to start a conversation here — about workplace drug abuse, workplace fatalities and OSHA —  a conversation that will probably go on for a long time.  If you have anything to say about this topic, let’s try to get a discussion going in the comment section. In response…

“Anything goes” Death at Goodyear — in the Workplace and on the Road

Goodyear Tire and Rubber makes tires. They also seem to be good a killing people in a variety of different ways — in cars because of their defective tires, and in workplaces because of their defective safety procedures. Reveal (Center for Investigative Reporting) writer Jennifer Gollan discusses Goodyear’s special talent in her article Treading dangerously: Lax…

Methylene Chloride Deaths: “All Preventable”

Methylene chloride kills. We wrote about 21-year old Kevin Hartley last June. He died last April 29 — Workers Memorial Day — while when he was overcome by methylene chloride while stripping a bath tub. Seventeen workers have died from over-exposure to methylene chloride between 2000 and 2015, and probably at least as many consumers.…

“Weird Noise Coming From the Chipper” as Employee is Dragged to his Death

This article by Elizabeth Floyd Mair of the Altamont Enterprise is a rare summary of a court case involving an employer challenge of an OSHA citation. This case resulted from an employer’s contest of a citation for violations related to the gruesome death of a day laborer who was dragged into a wood-chipper in Guilderland, New…