When safety becomes voluntary: workplace self-policing program under scrutiny
What’s the value of a worker’s life? According to the calculus of corporate efficiency, it’s often still cheaper to put workers at risk than to spend money to protect them. And the federal government generously rewards those who have perfected this cost-containment strategy in industries where workplace hazards are just part of business as usual.
Female House GOP staffers make $10K less than male counterparts
Women on the Hill make thousands less than their male counterparts each year, with the gap particularly pronounced amongst Republican staffers. On average, women in the House make $5,862.56 less each year than male staffers. But for GOP women, that number increases to $10,093.09, according to an analysis by National Journal.
3 ex-managers sue Wet Seal, asserting bias against blacks
Three former managers at Wet Seal, a nationwide apparel retailer for young women, filed a federal race discrimination lawsuit on Thursday, asserting that the company had a high-level policy of firing and denying pay increases and promotions to African-African employees because they did not fit the retailer’s “brand image.” The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Santa Ana, Calif., includes a copy of a March 2009 e-mail sent by the company’s then senior vice president for store operations to lower-level managers after she had inspected several stores, saying “African American dominate — huge issue.”
OSHA declines to issue rule protecting workers from heat
As high temperature records are broken across the United States, health and public safety advocates are calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to finally issue a rule protecting workers from extreme heat. In 1972, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommended a heat standard, but OSHA has still failed to implement it. With global warming likely to make heat related deaths more common, public safety advocates say OSHA must act immediately.
BP spill workers say dispersant made them sick
The 1.8 million gallons of dispersant that BP and federal responders spread on the massive Gulf oil spill in 2010 are already coming back to haunt them. FuelFix.com, a Houston Chronicle spinoff devoted to covering energy, reports today that the company that manufactures Corexit, the chemical sprayed on the surface of the Gulf and at the wellhead to disperse the oil in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, is trying to get out of a proposed settlement with plaintiffs who say they have health problems resulting from the spill and cleanup.
Is your small business exempt from OSHA?
The Occupational Safety and Health Act covers most businesses that have employees. It has specific rules and regulations but it also specifies a number of industries that are exempt from the OSH Act. Not everyone has to follow OSH Act regulations and many small businesses are exempt from the requirements.
Big week looms ahead for SeaWorld
The week of July 16 will be crunch time for America’s favorite marine theme park, as SeaWorld braces for the next grueling phase in the aftermath of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau’s death, two and a half years ago in Orlando. The company will have much to contend with.
BP agrees to pay more than $13M and abate violations in settlement agreement with US Department of Labor
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that OSHA and BP Products North America Inc. have resolved 409 of the 439 citations issued by the agency in October 2009 for willful violations of OSHA’s process safety management standard at BP’s refinery in Texas City, Texas. Under the agreement, BP will pay $13M in penalties, and already has abated or will abate all existing violations by the end of 2012.