OSHA Delays Enforcement of Silica Standard

OSHA announced this afternoon that it was delaying enforcement of its silica standard in the construction industry for 90 days.  Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement will now begin Sept. 23, 2017. Employers are still required to comply with the standard, but  so that the agency can “conduct additional outreach and provide educational…

Manhattan DA Calls For Higher Penalties for Workplace Fatalities

Manhattan NY District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.  has called on  New York State to raise the maximum penalty for corporate conduct leading to death or injury of a worker. Vance used the anniversary of the death of Carlos Moncayo who was killed when an unsecured 13-foot-deep trench collapsed in the city’s meatpacking district in April 2015. According to…

Scott Pruitt and President Trump’s Environmental Policies are Wonderful. EPA Says So.

Like OSHA, the Environmental Protection Agency has stopped issuing enforcement-related press releases. But the Public Affairs department at EPA has still managed to keep busy, partly by issuing press releases on what a wonderful person Scott Pruitt is and how everyone loves President Trump’s energy and environmental policies. A few examples: Job Creators, American Energy…

OSHA Enforcement: Going into Third Month with No Press Releases

Below is the third installment of large OSHA enforcement cases about which OSHA continues to issue no press releases. None. (OSHA did finally issue an “enforcement” press release earlier this week, although that was actually a whistleblower case against Wells Fargo, not a safety or health case.)  OSHA has still not issued a single press release…

Trump Signs Repeal of Volks Rule: Workers Lose

President Trump yesterday signed the resolution repealing the Volks rule , thereby permanently removing OSHA’s ability to cite patterns of injury and illness recordkeeping violations.  The resolution, passed under the Congressional Review Act, is yet another step in the Administration’s goal of deconstruction the administrative state, or as the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne explained recently: In…

If Neil Gorsuch is Confirmed, “More Workers Will Die on the Job”

Will the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch be good for worker safety? The clear answer is “No.” Allow me to elaborate. Neil Gorsuch is the judicial embodiment of Steve Bannon’s commitment to deconstruct the regulatory state. Emily Bazelon and Eric Posner argue in the New York Times: “The reality is that Judge Gorsuch embraces a judicial philosophy…

More on Southern Auto Parts Carnage

Bloomberg Business Week’s Peter Waldman published a devastating article last month about the injuries and fatalities in Southern auto parts facilities. Confined Space followed up over the next few days with stories about OSHA’s emphasis auto parts emphasis program in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia and the agency’s delay in renewing the emphasis program The story continues…

In $5.4 Million Decision, OSHA Orders Wells Fargo to Reinstate, Compensate Employee

In the largest-ever individual award by the OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program, OSHA announced today that it had ordered Wells Fargo to reinstate and compensate a former bank manager “who lost his job after reporting suspected fraudulent behavior to superiors and a bank ethics hotline.” The order was announced in a press release issued today. (Yes, a…