Staffing agency bill stirs debate over worker rights
Temporary workers who rely on employment agencies to place them in jobs flooded a hearing Thursday to press for updates to state laws governing those agencies, as advocates said workers are often exploited, with little recourse, by agencies that operate “in the shadows.”
Bill aims to protect hotel workers from sexual abuse
Two Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation to require hotel and motel owners in New York State to provide sexual harassment training to their employees and to provide a clear system for reporting episodes of sexual abuse. The bill would also establish a hotel employees’ bill of rights and would protect hotel workers from retaliation if they speak out about or report cases of sexual harassment or abuse.
Interior beefs up offshore inspections with multi-person teams
The Interior Department’s ocean energy branch is altering its inspection practices by sending multi-person teams to offshore oil-and-gas sites. Interior has sought to bolster its inspections in the wake of last year’s BP oil spill as part of a broader plan that also includes tougher safety rules for offshore drillers.
Government lists styrene as a carcinogen
Styrene is one of eight new substances listed in the 12th Report on Carcinogens, which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released this afternoon. Styrene is used in the building of fiberglass boats. A coalition of groups, including the National Marine Manufacturers Association, had fought against including styrene in the report, saying additional reviews were needed using a “rigorous unbiased transparent process.”
Bus companies with safety problems motor on despite shutdown orders
Federal regulators have repeatedly allowed some bus operators to stay on the road despite finding violations that were dangerous enough to shut them down, Bloomberg reports. Since October, eight companies facing shutdown orders from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration were instead given extensions to keep operating, according to Department of Transportation records.
Tennessee OSHA focuses on heat stress awareness
Tennessee OSHA wants Tennessee workers to be aware of the symptoms of heat stress and heat stroke as temperatures start to rise this summer. Working in the sun and heat can cause heat illness, which can be a matter of life and death.
No shorts for some Capitol Police
Capitol Police officers are sweating a new management decision to ban officers assigned to the Capitol from wearing shorts. With record high temperatures already being recorded in Washington, D.C., officers say the restriction imposes on their comfort and even on their safety.
Lawsuit says chief “purged” MPD of black officers
A high ranking Metropolitan Police Department officer has named Chief Cathy Lanier in a multimillion dollar suit alleging both gender and race discrimination. In May, it was revealed that Commander Hilton Burton and three other officials had filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming Lanier treats female officers better than male officers. Now Burton’s civil complaint, which doesn’t involve any of his coworkers and was filed a week ago, says Lanier doesn’t just discriminate against fellas.
Massey Energy: Too dangerous to do business
Massey Energy has long been a bad corporate actor. From destroying land, water and human health with mountaintop removal coal mining to ensuring the deaths of numerous coal miners by ignoring mine safety regulations, Massey has shown little regard for Appalachian communities and people. A scathing new report commissioned by then West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin points the finger squarely at Massey Energy for the deaths of 29 miners from a massive explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia last April. The report indicates that lax safety standards and a culture of greed rampant throughout the company created a chain of events that caused the disaster. Massey must held responsible for its lethal recklessness.
DOL, OSHA fines blueberry farm for child labor, other violations
Owners of a Hammonton, New Jersey blueberry farm have been fined by federal DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) for child labor, housing, and recordkeeping violations. The farm’s crew contractor has been fined for transporting farmworkers from Florida in unsafe vehicles driven by unregistered drivers.