Short Stuff: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Battle for Workplace Safety

Kentucky Limits Black Lung Claims Reviews:  We have recently noted that black lung is back with a vengeance after almost being eradicated in the late 1990s. Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they’ve identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported. Well, the state of Kentucky is…

Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster Anniversary: Don Blankenship Commemorates By Running for Senate

Today is the eighth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that claimed the lives of 29 coal miners in a massive coal dust explosion.  A press release from Bobby Scott, Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee notes that five independent investigation reports by state and federal agencies agree that the…

Nightmare Now Showing at Chemical Facility Near You

From my next screenplay….”The Day Before The Day After Tomorrow” Open Old film of an ominous fog spreading across the Indian city of Bhopal.  Sounds of coughing, screams, children crying. Caption: “Bhopal, India, December 2, 1984: An uncontrolled release of MIC from a Union Carbide Chemical plant kills thousands of sleeping residents.“ Cut to Helicopter…

OSHA: We don’t need no stinkin’ advice — from workers

OSHA seems to be devaluing advice from outside stakeholders — or at least from workers. We’ve written before about the Trump Administration’s proposal in its FY 2019 budget document to kill two OSHA federal Advisory Committees. ProPublica, along with the Santa Fe New Mexican has has now published an article on the demise of OSHA’s…

OSHA Issues Tiny Penalty for Three Communication Tower Deaths

OSHA has fined Tower King II Inc. $12,934 for the death of three workers who were attempting to install a new antenna on a communications tower in Miami. This is the maximum fine for one serious citation. OSHA has no standard specifically targeted to cell tower worker safety and used the General Duty Clause, which requires…

Corporate America’s Stealth Campaign to Stop Worker and Environmental Protections

Admit it. If they could, Trump and most Republicans would like to just get rid of OSHA, EPA the Consumer Product Safety Commission and any other agency — or law — that protects workers, consumers or the environment. This is all part of Steve Bannon’s goal of “deconstructing the Administrative State” — making sure that…

Climate Change: They Can’t Handle the Truth!

When EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had the brilliant idea last year to convent a “Red-Team/Blue-Team” exercise to debate the science behind climate change, even climate change believers were skeptical.  We already do “Red-Team/Blue-Team” exercises. They’re called peer review.” Now it seems that even the White House — especially Chief of Staff John Kelly — want to…