Black-lung rule loopholes leave miners vulnerable
Thousands of coal miners continued to suffer and die from black lung during the 40 years that tough new limits on exposure to coal dust were supposed to provide protection. Control of the mine dust was plagued by weak enforcement by regulators and loopholes exploited by mining companies, according to a joint investigation by NPR and the Center for Public Integrity (CPI). The protections were “set up for failure,” says Dennis O’Dell, the safety and health administrator at the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).
Reaffirming the legal rights of miners
Among the most critical provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 is the protection of miners against retaliation for raising health and safety concerns. Two recent decisions by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission have affirmed the legal rights of miners to be protected against discrimination in the workplace.
Black lung: Why respirators are not a solution
Respirators and other breathing devices may seem useful for protecting coal miners from the dust that causes black lung. But federal law does not permit using respirators as a way of complying with dust exposure limits.
US Labor Department focusing on compliance of wage laws in Virginia construction industry
According to the department, large companies such as developers and prime contractors are increasingly subcontracting work to smaller companies that employ workers on-site or to other workers with skills like masonry, carpentry and electrical work.
Houston, we have a workers’ rights problem: Profile of a worker justice center in Texas’ biggest city
Last month, more than 70 ironworkers walked off an ExxonMobil construction site near Houston, Texas. The workers, known as rodbusters in the industry, weren’t members of a union or backed by powerful organizers; they decided amongst themselves to unite in protest of unsafe working conditions in a state that has the highest construction worker fatality rate in the country.
SeaWorld appeals killer-whale safety ruling
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that its animal trainers be forbidden from having unprotected contact with killer whales during public performances. The Orlando-based marine park operator said Monday that it has submitted a petition to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission asking the panel to review the May 30 ruling.
Workplace safety regulators cite recycling companies in Texas and Ohio
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration accused Electronic Recycling and Trading Co. of 14 violations in connection with a combustible dust explosion in January that severely burned two workers at a company site in Austin, Texas. The alleged violations included failing to provide suitable dust collection and fire suppression systems. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $60K. Separately, OSHA accused Toxco Inc. of 14 violations at its battery recycling plant in Lancaster, Ohio, including failing to protect workers from overexposure to lead and cadmium. Proposed penalties total $59K.