Safety board: DOE and Bechtel ignored safety at Hanford nuke site
A government watchdog has accused officials at the giant Hanford nuclear weapons complex in Washington of discouraging workers from raising safety questions about a radioactive waste treatment plant, including by removing a project engineer the day after he complained about safety problems.
Exploitation of blue-collar temps is targeted
A growing number of temporary workers who take low-wage jobs in warehouses, food processing plants, and construction sites are being exploited because the employment agencies they work for are not regulated, according to a report being released today by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. These temp workers are dropped off at work sites with little information about the job, exposed to toxic chemicals without proper protection, and struggle to get medical treatment for on-the-job injuries, said the study.
Bills: Teach teen workers safety rules
What these first-time workers don’t always understand is how one wrong move in the workplace can change their lives forever and even lead to death. Workplace injuries are the fourth-leading cause of death among Americans ages 10 to 19. More than 30 teens die on the job each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
MSHA’s newly formed Coal District 12 begins operations
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced that the newly formed District 12 office within the agency’s Coal Mine Safety and Health division has begun operations. MSHA initiated the process of splitting the agency’s jurisdiction over southern West Virginia coal mines — formerly all covered by District 4 — into two separate districts earlier this year. “The creation of an additional office in a part of the country with the highest concentration of coal mines has been one of my goals since coming to MSHA,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “Splitting this district will allow MSHA to more effectively execute its mission, provide adequate oversight and keep pace with the evolution of the coal industry.”
Government says 2 common materials pose risk of cancer
The government issued warnings last week about two materials used daily by millions of Americans, saying that one causes cancer and the other might. Government scientists listed formaldehyde as a carcinogen, and said it is found in worrisome quantities in plywood, particle board, mortuaries and hair salons. They also said that styrene, which is used in boats, bathtubs and in disposable foam plastic cups and plates, may cause cancer but is generally found in such low levels in consumer products that risks are low.
Japanese nuclear cleanup workers detail lax safety practices at plant
When Masayuki Sakamoto stepped onto the grounds of the world’s most dangerous nuclear power plant in March, he had little preparation other than a half-hour briefing on protective gear. The 56-year-old owner of a 30-person construction firm from central Japan had been hired to clear debris and shovel dirt at the Fukushima Daiichi plant at a time when its reactors were belching smoke and oozing gamma rays. He had never worn a hazmat suit or used a dosimeter. He still doesn’t have the proper paperwork that, in normal times, would be needed to work in a radioactive environment.
Feds cite W.Va. plant where 3 workers died in blast
A West Virginia chemical plant where an explosion killed three workers last year was cited by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which concluded that “the tragedy could have been prevented” and that the company knowingly violated worker safety laws. AL Solutions Inc., which runs a plant that makes alloys used in aluminum manufacturing in the small panhandle community of New Cumberland, was fined $154,000 for multiple violations and will be placed in the federal agency’s Serious Violators Enforcement Program.
OSHA proposes more than $243,000 in fines against Lewiston, Maine, contractor for egregious fall hazards, other violations
A Lewiston roofing contractor with a long history of violating workplace safety standards faces a total of $243,360 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration following a December 2010 inspection that resulted in citations for alleged egregious willful, serious and repeat violations for a lack of fall protection and other hazards. OSHA previously had cited Lessard Brothers Construction Inc. and its predecessor, Lessard Roofing & Siding Inc., 10 times for fall protection violations at various Maine work sites.
OSHA nails lumber company for LOTO, recordkeeping violations
OSHA has cited Thomasville Lumber Co. for 24 alleged safety and record keeping violations at its plant in Thomasville, Ala. Proposed penalties total $159,700. OSHA began its inspection in December 2010 as part of its national emphasis program to prevent workplace amputations.
Lowe’s employee dies in storage building
A Rock Hill man who was working at the Lowe’s Home Improvement store in South End was killed Saturday morning when he was struck in the head by a door in the warehouse area, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police report. Richard Thomas Yoost, 35, died when a garage door struck him, according to the report. Police said Yoost was standing under the door when it fell on him. It was the first workplace fatality at the South Boulevard location, a company official said.
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