Occupational Health & Safety

Category archives for Occupational Health & Safety

Workers at Hershey’s plant feel vindicated by OSHA’s $283,000 penalty to Exel

Federal OSHA proposed a $283,000 penalty against an employer responsible for staffing a Hershey’s chocolate packaging facilty in Palmyra, Pennsylvania for willfully violating workplace safety regulations. The agency’s action followed a formal complaint lodged by workers at the plant, many of whom were foreign students employed under the State Department’s J-1 visa program. A few…

When the Academy Awards reminded me of the death of a day laborer

The topics for my blog posts sometimes come from unusual places. This post is one of these. It popped in my head as I watched Natalie Portman announce the nominees for best actor during Sunday night’s Academy Award broadcast. The snippet featuring Demián Bichir in “A Better Life” reminded me of a worker-fatality report that…

Worker fatality in my hometown results in $12,000 penalty, third chance for employer to improve safety

On July 27, 2011, just a few miles from my home in San Marcos, TX, Mr. Margarito Guardado Resinos, 34, and Mr. Nelson Pineda were working together to erect a pre-engineered steel building frame on property owned by Thermon Manufacturing. The workers were employed by Jetka Steel Erectors of Katy, TX, a firm hired by…

Public health advocates challenge “except in agriculture” exclusions

Agricultural exceptionalism is a term used to describe the special status awarded to employers and firms involved in agriculture. Proponents argue that the special status is necessary because (1) agricultural products contribute to broad national goals (e.g., providing safe and affordable food, preventing hunger); and (2) farming is inherently risky because of the uncertainty of…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Earlier today, US Attorney Booth Goodwin charged Upper Big Branch mine superintendent Gary May with “conspiring to impede the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s enforcement efforts” at that mine. Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia was the site of numerous health and safety violations leading up to the April 5,…

What’s taking so long?

“What’s taking so long?” might be uttered by a youngster waiting for a parent to assemble a swing set, or an art patron waiting for a conservator to restore a masterpiece. When the wait is finally over and the eager child or art lover see the final product, they realize the time was well spent.…

by Elizabeth Grossman What’s being called the first-ever such criminal conviction, an Italian court has returned a guilty verdict against owners of Eternit, the Switzerland-based building materials company. Two weeks ago, W.R. Grace announced its bankruptcy case settlement for the residents of Libby, Montana where the company’s vermiculite plant exposed residents to deadly asbestos fibers…

Beryllium manufacturer and union draft worker safety regulation, ask OSHA to move on it

The world’s largest producer and supplier of beryllium and workers exposed to the highly toxic mineral decided not to wait any longer for federal OSHA to draft a proposed worker safety rule on the hazard. Last week, the United Steelworkers International Union and Materion Brush (the only U.S. manufacturer) sent the complete text of a…

The significance of 2/13

Most readers are probably aware that tomorrow, 2/14, is Valentine’s Day, but do you know what’s significant about 2/13? It’s not a cue to buy chocolates — it’s a reminder that federal law only requires restaurants to pay their workers an hourly wage of $2.13. That minimum hasn’t been raised since 1991; if it had…

by Elizabeth Grossman The news of increased hiring in the January jobs report has been greeted as a sign that the US might finally be emerging from the Great Recession. But a look at the kind of hiring that’s been on the rise over the past few years raises important questions about the changing nature…