Trump’s Worker Safety & Health Budget Again Undermines Worker Safety & Health

Earlier this week, President Trump submitted his Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal. This is his second budget proposal, and like the first, although it left OSHA’s budget fairly flat, it once again proposes to slash or eliminate important safety and health programs and agencies.  And this is Trump’s second OSHA budget that has been proposed…

Good News for Poultry Processing Workers

It’s not all bad news for workers out there. Curiously, however, the good news for poultry workers is coming from an uncharacteristic place: the Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA has denied an petition from the National Chicken Council asking to let meatpackers operating under a new inspection system to run their plants “at any line…

The Gang That Couldn’t (de)Regulate Straight

President Trump frequently boasts about “eliminating more regulations in our first year than any administration in history.” This is supposedly a good thing for the American people, even thought most regulations are actually “protections,” protecting workers and consumers from health and safety hazards, exploitation, bad food — and being ripped off by their employers. And…

Maryland Refuses to Protect Construction Workers From Deadly Silica Dust

Inhaling silica dust can cause silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease. OSHA’s 45 year old standards were antiquated and did not protect workers, which is why in 2016, OSHA issued two new respirable crystalline silica standards: one for construction, and the other for general industry and maritime.  About 2.3 million workers are exposed…

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…

Government Shutdown: What Does It Mean For OSHA — And For Workers

As we go to press, it looks likely that the federal government, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, will shut down at midnight tomorrow night — for the second time in less than 5 years. I have two vivid memories from the last government shutdown in 2013 and how it affected OSHA and American…

Dispatches From The Front Lines Of The Battle For Workplace Safety: Short Stuff

Fake News: Former Bush Administration OSHA head Ed Foulke has boldly predicted in a National Law Journal interview that Trump’s OSHA will focus more on compliance assistance than enforcement.  That’s about as insightful as saying that a Republican administration will focus more on tax cuts. But what’s infuriating is his continuation of the myth that…

Do Fewer OSHA Inspectors Matter?

One sign that anti-OSHA conservatives are getting nervous about articles (and television appearances) highlighting the declining number of OSHA inspectors are articles questioning whether government plays a useful role in protecting workers. In this case, the Reason Foundation, which “advances a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and…

Report Calls For Studying Vulnerable Workers, Gig Economy, and Maintaining OSHA’s New Recordkeeping System.

Workplace safety and health surveillance and recordkeeping sound boring, but good data about who’s getting hurt, sick or killed — how and why– are vital to determining the need for safety and health protections, funding and where to put resources for inspections, standards and other strategies to keep workers from getting sick, injured and killed…