It’s Always Something: Dispatches from the front lines of the battle for workplace safety

Black Lung is Back: After almost being eradicated in the late 1990, black lung is back, with a vengeance. Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they’ve identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported, according to an NPR story.  “When I first implemented this clinic back in 1990, you…

Indiana OSHA Cuts Penalty 94% for Fatality at Indiana Auto Parts Facility

Last October, Melissa Stephens went to work on third shift at Autonium in Jeffersonville, Indiana. She never came home to her husband of  20 years or her four children. Stephens had apparently gone through the interlocked gate, to put a fiber pad over a broken seal. But a spinning belt and pully dragged her into a…

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…

Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Battle for Safe and Health Workplaces: Short Stuff

The moral of this week’s stories is that if you find yourself eating pork chops at your fancy seaside hotel in a hurricane ravaged part of Florida, you need to re-evaluate your life. Trumpworld to Government Scientists: No Science for You! This falls into “The Onion or Real News” category. Imagine my alarm when I…

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…

Feds Crack Down on Arizona OSHA…For Now.

There are a couple of stories here. Recent headlines report on an OSHA letter warning Arizona OSHA that it is following inappropriate enforcement procedures. Underlying this situation is the question of how OSHA will enforce its legal duty to ensure that OSHA state plans are “at least as effective” as the national program. The Arizona case may…

Public Employees: Too Late to be Concerned After a Death

The Massachusetts Senate has voted to expand the death benefit for public employees who die on the job to $300,000. The amendments was submitted in honor of Longmeadow Department of Public Works foreman Warren P. Cowles who was killed earlier this year during Winter storm Stella. Good news? So why does this make me mad? Because generally I’d…

Utah State OSHA Plan: Good for the boss, bad for me?

The Salt Lake City Tribune (partnering with The Utah Investigative Journalism Project) published an article last week entitled “Death on the Job: Utah’s worker safety agency rejects ‘heavy-handed’ enforcement,” which, as you can probably tell, addressed a number of serious problem with Utah’s Occupational Safety and Health program (UOSH): no penalties for public employee OSHA citations…