Farm Bill Drops OSHA Language that Would Have Endangered Chem Plant Workers

OSHA Chemical

Workers in chemical facilities and those living nearby can sleep easier after the US Congress declined to include language in the long-awaited Farm Bill that would have forced OSHA to write regulatory language into the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard that would have threatened the lives of chemical plant workers and those living nearby. PSM…

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

dispatches OSHA

The Little Program That Refuses To Die: OSHA announced its 2018 Susan Harwood Grant Awardees last week. This is the $10 million life-saving training grant program that the Trump administration (and Republicans in the House of Representatives try unsuccessfully to kill every year. Happily they’ve been unsuccessful, because the grants go to groups that provide…

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…

5th Anniversary of West Fertilizer Explosion: Lessons Learned and Not Learned

Five years ago tonight a fire broke out at the West Fertilizer company in West, Texas. Emergency responders rushed toward the facility which contained 40 to 60 tons of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate, but twenty minutes later a massive explosion ripped through the building killing 12 responders and three others, injuring 252 and damaging or destroying…

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

More Freedom and More Catastrophic Fertilizer Explosions: After a catastrophic ammonium nitrate explosion at West Fertilizer exploded in 2013 killed 15 people, injured 130 more and destroyed much of the town of West, OSHA discovered that the facility was not covered by OSHA’s Process Safety Management and had therefore not been inspected since the mid-1980s.…

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…

GAO to OSHA: What’s Up With Workplace Violence and Ammonium Nitrate?

The Republican Congress may not be fulfilling it responsibility to provide oversight over a Republican-controlled OSHA, but the Government Accountability Office is still on the job.  The GAO is Congress’s “watchdog” and investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. Over the past couple of years, the GAO has investigated OSHA’s activities around protecting healthcare workers…

California Makes Major Move to Protect Refinery Workers (and communities in their shadow)

It’s not all bad news out there. While Washington sucks workers down into an abyss of corporate anarchy, the State of California is showing us that humans can be rational and protective of their fellow beings. Despite efforts by federal EPA to roll back its Risk Management Program improvements, other Trump administration attacks on worker…