The security chief of Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine was arrested Monday and charged with obstructing the investigation into last year’s explosion that killed 29 miners, the first criminal charges stemming from the worst U.S. mining disaster in 40 years.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued a fatality alert to the mining community. It profiles the causes of and circumstances surrounding the 71 fatal accidents that occurred last year. Forty-eight of those deaths occurred in coal mines; 23 deaths were at metal and nonmetal operations and about half of those victims were contractors.
While public and government attention focuses on singularly catastrophic events, such as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, problems quietly fester at the factories that refine the nation’s fuels — labyrinthine complexes full of hazardous chemicals that are plagued by often-preventable accidents, putting workers at risk and endangering nearby communities. Documents reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity, along with interviews of top safety officials and refining industry insiders, confirm an array of contributing factors ranging from haphazard enforcement to resistance from a politically influential industry.
February 22, 2008, began like any other day for José Herrera. A seasoned contract pipefitter in his late 40s, Herrera had labored in Texas refineries for two decades. At 10:35 a.m., a “nipple” — a metal piece measuring only three-quarters of an inch by 17 inches — extending from a heat exchanger broke loose, showering the two men with 550-degree oil, a lawsuit filed by Herrera and Salinas claims.
Roxanne Moyer wondered why managers at her husband’s worksite would allow an obvious dangerous condition to exist. Workers could be so “close to molten steel [that it] just poured over on them.” Her husband, Samuel Moyer, 32 died earlier this month at Arcelor Mittal’s LaPlace, Lousiania steel mill in exactly that way.
Missouri state senator Jane Cunningham is making an unusual plea for parents’ rights in the face of a supposed nanny state: she says the state’s “so over the top” child labor laws are preventing parents from teaching their kids a decent work ethic of the type that helped her sons work and buy cars as teens.
Botched X-rays can shower patients with dangerous doses of radiation. Yet efforts by hospitals and regulators to maintain minimum standards of competence for technicians operating imaging machines have fallen short.
After three months of working in a Wal-Mart warehouse in the Chicago suburbs last fall, Robert Hines was fed up with getting paid much less than he had been promised by the company Reliable Staffing, which hired temporary workers to unload containers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued seven citations to the U.S. Minerals LLC facility in Baldwin, Ill., for allegedly failing to develop and implement procedures to control hazardous energy, install guard rails where needed and maintain equipment.
You’ve seen the signs on the back of trucks. But what do they mean? Turns out they’re part of the U.S. Hazard Communication Standard created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, to help workers on job sites understand what hazardous materials they’re dealing with and how to handle with them. But now a Canadian safety manager, hot on the tail of his smash hit (well, somewhat clicked-upon YouTube link) song about the Canadian system (the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), has written a song extolling the virtues of the American system.