OSHA

Category archives for OSHA

Don’t be fooled by the safety talk

Two recent incidents reminded me of what a worker said about “safety talks.”

Pictures say a thousand words: OSHA Silica Hearings week #3

OSHA’s public hearing on its proposed regulation on respirable crystalline silica concluded last week. Some of the final witnesses included the American Petroleum Institute and the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund.

“No dust, no silica”: OSHA Silica Hearings Week #2

A high-road employer and lower-wage workers spoke in the second week of public hearings on OSHA’s proposed rule to protect workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica.

Twelve weeks into 2014, six cell tower workers have died on the job – incidents that caused a total of 7 fatalities. OSHA has called the industry’s safety record “unacceptable” and announced increased focus on tower work safety. But this history of catastrophic and fatal incidents goes back nearly 20 years. What’s needed to effect change?

“We’re not stupid”: OSHA Silica Hearings Week #1

A few highlights (and low lights) from the first week of public hearings on OSHA’s proposed rule to protect workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica.

Thanks to a unanimous vote of California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board last Thursday, workers get to hold on to a robust chemical right-to-know rule that puts their health and safety first. The vote also means that California workers will reap the benefits of more meaningful right-to-know rules than those at the federal level.

A preventable work-related death is not “totally an accident”

Erik Deighton, 23, was crushed last month in a piece of machinery. A police officer commenting about his death called it an accident. There are well-established ways to prevent a worker from being crushed in a machine. When it happens, it is not an accident.

OSHA’s proposed silica regulation: Let the public hearings begin!

Over the next three weeks, more than 200 individuals are scheduled to testify at OSHA’s public hearing on its proposed silica regulation. Unlike other regulatory agencies, OSHA’s rulemaking hearings are overseen by an administrative law judge. Those who testify can cross-examine and be cross-examined by other witnesses and agency officials.

When President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law in 2011, it was described as the most sweeping reform of the nation’s food safety laws in nearly a century. Public health advocates hailed the law for shifting regulatory authority from reaction to prevention. What received less attention was a first-of-its-kind provision that protects workers who expose food safety lawbreakers.

“For us it’s personal,” said Jeannie Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator. “It’s a daily issue for us. Every day with a weaker protection standard is another day a worker is exposed to pesticides,” she said. On February 20th the EPA proposed revisions to its Worker Protection Standard for agricultural pesticides. Farm worker advocates are welcoming the proposal – the first update since 1992 – but see both improvements and what some are calling “steps backward.”