Mine workers need strong whistleblower protections
Massey Energy’s intimidation of workers and falsification of safety records highlights the need for Congress to enact strong whistleblower protections and give the government more ability to keep mine workers safe, Public Citizen said today.
Massey could have prevented mine accident, report says
The explosion at the Massey Energy Co. mine where 29 workers were killed more than a year ago was preventable, Labor Department officials said. An investigation by Massey Energy concluded that the explosion was a naturally occurring event caused by an inundation of natural gas and was beyond its control.
Officials: W. Va. mine operator kept two sets of safety records
Federal mine disaster investigators disclosed a few pieces of new information Tuesday night from their year-long look at the April 2010 deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion. They said that mine owner Massey Energy kept two sets of records that chronicled safety problems. One internal set of production reports detailed those problems and how they delayed coal production. But the other records, which are reviewed by federal mine safety inspectors and required by federal law, failed to mention the same safety hazards.
Guidelines for helping energy operators identify risk are unveiled
Four months before offshore oil and gas operators are required to adopt risk-management procedures aimed at improving worker safety and preventing another oil spill blowout, an interim report commissioned by federal regulators and released Tuesday identified potential guidelines that could be used evaluate the new plans.
Xcel Energy found not guilty in 2007 deaths of five workers in Colorado
A federal jury Tuesday found Xcel Energy and a subsidiary company not guilty of violating workplace safety rules in the deaths of five men at a power plant. The verdict came after about 20 hours of jury deliberation over three days, and it was a significant victory for the utility in a rare case of a company being charged criminally. If convicted, Xcel and Public Service Company of Colorado had faced up to $5 million combined in fines, plus extra safety monitoring.
Pesticide labels should be in Spanish as well as English, groups say
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should ensure that pesticide warning labels are printed in Spanish as well as English, since Spanish is the native language for more than 80 percent of agricultural workers, Public Citizen and 56 other organizations told the agency today.
Few consequences for diplomats accused of abusing domestic workers
A maid or nanny alleges that her employer has raped her, taken her passport, made her shovel snow in shorts, refused to pay her or beat her unconscious. In most cases, this is what would happen next: Police would investigate. If the allegations were true, the employer would face criminal charges and a potential civil lawsuit for emotional and monetary damages. Unless the employer is a diplomat.
The true cost of tomatoes
Mass-produced tomatoes have become redder, more tender and slightly more flavorful than the crunchy orange “cello-wrapped” specimens of a couple of decades ago, but the lives of the workers who grow and pick them haven’t improved much since Edward R. Murrow’s revealing and deservedly famous Harvest of Shame report of 1960, which contained the infamous quote, “We used to own our slaves; now we just rent them.”
Citizen’s Voice: Bridge project deaths show need for worker safety
Two men died on the Henley Bridge renovation project this year. Their deaths raise many questions. One is how the employer, Britton Bridge LLC, handled safety on the job. Another is the performance of public agencies charged with monitoring safety. Did Britton put expediency and profit ahead of worker safety in bids and conduct of the work? Did the state and federal authorities with responsibilities to this project properly assess bids and monitor and enforce rules and guidelines?
Parents unaware of job dangers to teens: report
Parents of working teens need to know more about hazards in the workplace, according to a study published in the July issue of Journal of Adolescent Health. The study, which was conducted by the University of N.C.-Chapel Hill and Injury Prevention Research Center, reported that teens work in a variety of different environments and are exposed to hazards.