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…

Appeals Court Upholds OSHA Silica Standard

There is no better holiday gift than the gift of life and that is what the DC Appeals Court gave thousands of workers today with their decision upholding OSHA’s silica standard and telling OSHA to make it stronger. “We reject all of industry’s challenges,” the court stated. The court not only rejected five challenges to the rule brought…

Acosta Testifies and He’s Not Terrible

Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta testified last Thursday at a hearing before the full House Education and Workforce Committee, and although I take great pleasure in (deservedly) criticizing Trump administration appointees, he wasn’t terrible — as Trump appointees go. Now let me qualify a bit. I’m focusing only on workplace safety issues, not on any…

Short Stuff: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Battle for Safe Workplaces

Bad News For Supporters of Silica-related Disease: As of October 23, OSHA’s Silica rule has finally come into full effect. The silica standard, issued in 2016 will save hundreds of workers every year from death due to silicosis, lung cancer and kidney disease, and help thousands of others who would have suffered other diseases.  OSHA…

OSHA Delays Full Silica Enforcement For One More Month

You won’t see it in a press release, but yesterday OSHA announced another 30 day delay in full enforcement of the Silica standard for many employers.  Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Tom Galassi sent a memo to Regional Administrators yesterday outlining the policy that will take effect on September 23: During the first 30 days of enforcement,…

Houston, We Have A Fox-Chicken Problem…

While the new headlines are all about Hurricanes, health care, North Korea and tax “reform,” chickens around the country are getting more and more nervous as the foxes quietly move into the government agencies that are supposed to be protecting them. Over at the Labor Department, Justin Miller in the American Prospect writes about how…

House Republican Budget Continues War on Worker Safety

The House of Representatives continued to wage its never-ending war on working people yesterday when the House Rules Committee voted to add 58 mostly anti-worker amendments to an already un-labor-friendly FY 2018 Labor-HHS Appropriations budget bill. That bill, you may remember, slashed the OSHA and MSHA enforcement budgets and eliminated the Susan Harwood Training Grant…

Trump Administration Continues to Attack Worker Protections

The New York Times takes another look at Obama administration worker protections that are being “revisited” in the early months of the Trump administration. Most of these stories — the Administration’s attempt to roll back the Beryllium rule’s coverage of construction and maritime industries, the delay in enforcement of the silica standard and proposed elimination…

Industry Petitions OSHA to Reopen Silica Standard

Representatives of the construction industry, as well as general industry have petitioned Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to reopen the silica standard, workplace safeguards that would save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year.  This means that for every day implementation of the standard is delayed, almost two workers will die…