Archives for February, 2013

Obama Administration’s silence on silica is deafening, 2 years and counting for OSHA proposal

Imagine an organization that is given 90 days to complete a task, but after two years still hasn’t finished the job. When you ask them ‘when we’ll you be done?’ they respond with ‘no comment.’ That’s what’s happening with a Labor Dept rule to protect workers from respirable silica.

Is an examination of social factors contributing to disease part of the physician’s job description?

How will USDA respond to environmental justice concerns for poultry plant workers?

I’m eager to see how USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack responds to the environmental justice concerns raised about the Food Safety Inspection Services’ proposed regulation on poultry plant inspections.

Our Washington Post local opinion piece addresses a problematic exemption in a DC law.

A couple years ago, two public health researchers attended a hearing about the possible expansion of an industrial food animal production facility. During the hearing, a community member stood up to say that if the expansion posed any hazards, the health department would surely be there to protect the people. The two researchers knew that probably wasn’t the case.

A few recent pieces worth a look

It’s not rocket science to prevent coal miner’s deaths

Greg Byers, 43, worked underground at Arch Coal/ICG’s Pocahontas Coal Mine in Beckley, WV. He suffered a serious injury in July 2012 that led to his death. An investigation report explains how common sense–not rocket science–could have prevented his work-related death.

Occupational Health News Roundup

The Family and Medical Leave Act is 20 years old and still doesn’t cover 40% of workers; researchers find evidence of brain damage in five former football players while they’re still alive; and a police officer protecting polio workers in Pakistan was killed.

Florida farmworkers’ wages: Pick 32 pounds of tomatoes, earn 50 cents, and Senators admit they know it

Subsistence wages, unsafe working and living conditions and hard labor describe the work life of many U.S. farm workers. The Senate’s bi-partisan immigration reform plan may help to change this reality.

Texas may boast a booming construction sector, but a deeper look reveals an industry filled with wage theft, payroll fraud, frighteningly lax safety standards, and preventable injury and death. In reality, worker advocates say such conditions are far from the exception — instead, they’ve become the norm.