Labor rights, under Republican attack
In the past month, the National Labor Relations Board has come under furious attack from Republicans in Congress, and decades-old workers’ rights are at risk. Backed by a well-financed lobbying and publicity offensive, Republicans are using a recent labor-law complaint against Boeing to achieve a radical goal that goes far beyond the legal issues in the case: unraveling workers’ rights that have been part of the fabric of our social contract since the Great Depression.
Lost letter: How government fails to deliver on worker safety
By late 2009, workplace safety regulators had serious concerns about large mail processing centers across the country. Ongoing inspections suggested a widespread, recurring risk of electric shocks or burns from electrical explosions — hazards that have injured at least eight postal workers and killed one over a decade.
Methyl iodide opponents say approval “classic case” of officials bowing to industry; DPR says “extensive evaluation done”
This week attorneys for environmental and farm worker groups filed their opening brief in the lawsuit over California’s controversial approval of the pesticide methyl iodide, which is primarily used on strawberries. When the state approved methyl iodide, it set exposure levels for farm workers 120 times higher than the state’s staff scientists believed to be safe. Since the approval, internal documents have come to light showing a deep rift between DPR staff scientists who believed that methyl iodide was too hazardous for farmworkers, and the DPR managers who approved it.
Government watchdog says errors by air traffic controllers, runway incidents have soared
Errors by air traffic controllers in the vicinity of airports as well as incidents in which there was an unauthorized plane, vehicle, or person on a runway have increased sharply, a government watchdog said in a report released Thursday.
U.S. allowing BP to bid on leases in the Gulf
After an internal debate, the Obama administration announced on Thursday that BP would be allowed to bid on new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Just a day before, the Interior Department cited BP, the British oil company, and its two principal contractors for numerous safety and environmental violations related to the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010.
Edison lab cited for OSHA violations
A township lab equipment company faces possible penalties totaling $122,000 after a recent federal inspection revealed 29 safety and health violations at the facility, authorities announced on Thursday. The violations were found at New Brunswick Scientific Co., which manufactures lab equipment and employs about 248 workers at the Talmadge Road facility, according to a U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration news release.
OSHA cites Texas firm in death at water project site in Webster
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Fort Worth, Texas-based tunneling company Southland Contracting Inc. for seven violations of workplace safety standards after one of its employees was killed at the Eastside Water Supply Project in Webster. On April 11, Southland employees were performing tunneling operations in the raw water intake tunnel on Lake Road when a fuse blew after a piece of equipment was plugged into a branch circuit designed for temporary lighting, officials said, causing the lights in the tunnel to go out. In the darkness, an employee who was operating a locomotive sustained a fatal head injury when he struck a conveyor on the tunnel boring machine, OSHA investigators said.
Underage worker dies from toxic gas exposure at California recycling center
One worker died and two other workers at the Community Recycling and Resource Co. near Lamont, Calif., had to be taken to the hospital when they were exposed to toxic fumes on Oct. 12 while working in and around a drainage tunnel. Cal-OSHA is investigating not only the incident, but also the fact that the worker who died was a 16-year-old named Armando Ramirez.