In West Virginia, safety violations that kill miners carry smaller penalties than violating a school’s trademark
Nearly two years after Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, the deadliest mine accident in nearly 40 years, the West Virginia House of Delegates has just passed a mine safety reform bill that should, in theory, strengthen some of the lax laws that made the tragedy possible. Through the legislative process, the bill, already mild to begin with, has been further weakened to appease coal industry lobbyists and legislators who fear them.
Worker safety rule languishes as campaign money flows
A federal rule meant to protect the lungs of workers has been caught in bureaucratic purgatory for more than a year now, frustrating public health advocates who believe the rulemaking process has been overly influenced by industry lobbies. The so-called “silica” rule under consideration by the Labor Department would limit the amount of breathable silica dust to which workers in the construction and mining industries are exposed.
Sick-time rules re-emerge
A debate over paid sick leave is intensifying around the country, amid concerns that economic pressures are prompting workers to place their financial security above their health. Many people will go to work while ill—and even send their children to school sick—because they can’t afford to stay home, supporters of paid sick time say.
Federal agency investigating sand-blasting hazards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says coal and copper slag contain traces of highly toxic beryllium, arsenic and other contaminants. Federal regulators are investigating whether manufacturers of the blasting grit have provided adequate notice that users could be inhaling potentially harmful substances.
Workers at Hershey’s plant feel vindicated by OSHA’s $283k penalty to Exel
For the most part, the OSHA citations issued this week to Exel do not address the underlying causes of the hazards that led to the workers’ injuries. Exel was cited for failing to record those injuries, but nothing in the citations compel the company to address the root of the problem. That’s because OSHA doesn’t have any standards on the books requiring employers to reduce or eliminate injury-causing repetitive motions, awkward postures, excessive line speed or other risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders.
Atascadero State Hospital fined for safety violations
State safety investigators Thursday issued three citations against Atascadero State Hospital for unsafe working conditions for staff treating the facility’s mentally ill and violent offenders.