Last week was Workers Memorial Week, and workers and their supporters around the country marked the occasion by remembering those killed on the job and by occupational illnesses. It was also an occasion to call for changes to make workplaces safer and prevent future fatalities.
On January 21, President Biden signed an executive order directing OSHA to consider issuing an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from COVID-19, with a March 15 deadline. More than a month later, workers are still waiting.
OSHA issued citations yesterday to three firms for hazards related to an oil rig explosion that killed five workers. OSHA’s findings tell me that the disaster could have been prevented.
Don Blankenship’s Senate run is a heartbreaking ordeal for families of the Upper Big Branch mining disaster; California Supreme Court ruling will make it much harder to misclassify workers as independent contractors; farmworker families struggle with respiratory health problems; and workers around the world take to the streets for May Day.
Maryland’s appropriations committee gave the State’s OSHA program a chance to admit it doesn’t have the resources needed to do its job. The agency missed the softball questions.
The newspaper headline was “Streator teen killed in workplace accident.” But the details of what happened to Hunter Wolfe, 17, tells me his death was anything but “an accident.”
Sanitation workers in the meatpacking industry face life-threatening dangers on the job; number of OSHA inspectors down under Trump; truckers feel the pressure to work while sleep-deprived; and despite increased demand for sexual harassment training, there’s little evidence it actually works.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled late last month to uphold an OSHA rule to protect 2.3 million workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica. A three judge panel was not convinced by any of the arguments to reject the OSHA rule that were made by attorneys for the National Association of Home Builders, American Foundry Society, and other industry groups. The judges’ 60-page opinion had this bottom line: “We reject all of Industry’s challenges.”
An OSHA news release about a $545,000 settlement with Marshall Pottery was strange to me. The agency hadn’t previously announced the willful violations and $830,000 proposed penalty to the firm related to the death earlier this year of employee Arturo Tovar.
The Center for Public Integrity’s Jim Morris writes a soulful account of a plumber named Jim Spencer who was fatally injured on-the-job in 2016. Read it before looking at the new BLS data on the 5,190 worker fatalities from the same year.