Chronic polluters also chronic workplace health and safety violators
We have learned from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request and released by the Center for Public Integrity earlier this month that there are currently about 465 United States industrial facilities on what the EPA calls its “watch list.” The list is made up of businesses EPA considers chronic violators of the Clean Air Act – but against which the agency has taken no formal enforcement action. An examination of these same companies’ occupational health and safety records reveals them also to be chronic violators of Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) standards.
Board urges OSHA to stop delays on dust standard
The Obama administration needs to move much more quickly to set standards that could prevent combustible dust explosions like the one that killed three workers last December at a Hancock County metals recycling plant, a government watchdog agency said Wednesday. U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigators called on the Labor Department to propose broad new standards on combustible dust within a year.
Secrecy shenanigans continue despite collapse of case against Thomas Drake
Despite the Justice Department’s glaring defeat in the Drake case, the government is refusing to make amends with the whistleblowers it so egregiously mistreated. A front-page top-of-the-fold Baltimore Sun story reports that Drake and four other whistleblowers filed a lawsuit seeking to recoup property that the government seized in retaliatory raids back in 2007. Drake said the request is simple: “We’d like our stuff back.”
OSHA accuses SeaWorld of being influenced by media
The trial between SeaWorld and OSHA got heated Thursday when prosecutors accused park officials of changing policies solely because of media coverage. SeaWorld restricted trainers from entering the water with killer whales after one of the orca’s grabbed veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau by her ponytail, pulled her into the pool and drowned her. Prosecutors said SeaWorld should have seen it coming.
Retail employees face stress, injuries during holiday shopping season
Black Friday just might be the least favorite day of the year for retail employees. Richard Feinberg of the Purdue University Retail Institute says that full-time and seasonal employees working the front lines of retailing during the holidays face an enormous amount of stress, and OSHA is warning employers to protect employees during Black Friday and other major sales events during the holidays.
37,000 Target employees sign petition to protest working long hours On Thanksgiving
It’s no secret that to boost profits during a down economy, many retailers have put the squeeze on their employees to work longer and harder for less and less. Workers are often forced to choose between being with their families or working long hours on holidays to keep their jobs. Now, thousands of employees are standing up to the retail giant Target to protest the long hours they’re being required to work on Thanksgiving.
When it comes to EMS safety, worker perception may reflect reality, Pitt study finds
Poor perceptions about workplace safety culture among emergency medical services (EMS) workers is associated with negative patient and provider safety outcomes—the first time such a link has been shown in the pre-hospital setting, according to a study by University of Pittsburgh researchers that now appears online in Prehospital Emergency Care and is scheduled to be published in the January-March print edition.
The problem of presenteeism
Colleagues who work with runny noses, sore throats and clammy skin are as seasonal as the flu. Yet are sick employees workplace troopers or are they insecure about their jobs? A new study from Concordia University, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, has found that presenteeism — attending work when ill — isn’t always a productive option.