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…

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…

Weekly Toll: Explosions, Electrocutions and Three More Tow Truck Drivers

Ames Company Releases Details in Employee’s Workplace Death AMES, Iowa  —  An Ames company has confirmed one of its employees died as a result of an accident on the job. At approximately 4 p.m. on Thursday, Danfoss employee John Lavery, 45, was working at the company’s 13th Street location. A preliminary investigation revealed the safety hood on…

LATE BREAKING: Lac Mégantic Rail Workers Acquitted

A jury has acquitted all three rail workers charged with criminal negligence causing death of 47 persons in the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster. For those of you who may not have been following this story, Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) locomotive engineer Tom Harding, 56, rail traffic controller Richard Labrie, 59, and operations manager Jean Demaître,…

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…

Chemical Release Caused by Workers’ Mistakes? CSB Says No.

Seems like no matter how well a government report describes, some reporters persist in blaming workers’ “mistakes” and “gaffes” for chemical releases and other incidents. Last week, the Chemical Safety Board released a final report on a major chemical release at MGPI Processing Inc., in Atchison Kansas in October 2016,  due to the inadvertent mixing…

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…

Martin Luther King Died Defending Workers: Honor Him With a Moment of Silence

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is asking the entire union to join with their members in Memphis in observing a moment of silence on February 1, 2018 to honor the 50th anniversary of the tragic events that touched off the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike, where King was killed. And we here…