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Kleen Energy disaster anniversary, new worker safety bill introduced

Seven years ago this week, six workers were killed in a massive explosion at the site construction site for the Kleen Energy power plant in Middletown, CT. Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT), along with Democratic colleagues from the House Education and the Workforce Committee, marked the occasion by introducing the Protecting America’s Workers Act.

The Trump Administration is gearing up to make Federal OSHA as under-resourced and ineffective as it can. Our strategic response has to be more than simply defending the status quo ante; we have to rebuild the social movement that was powerful enough 50 years ago to force another right-wing Republican president, Richard Nixon, to support and sign the OSH Act in the first place.

Work for an agency? Have something to leak?

Some federal employees are witnessing changes under the Trump Administration that they know are a really bad idea or could be illegal. NPR reporter Howard Berkes has set up two secure and encrypted means for agency employees to communicate with him.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Obama-era labor veterans worry about the future of worker protections; a draft Trump executive order would allow employers to discriminate based on their religious beliefs; coal miner rulings offer a look at the legal philosophy of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee; and Iowa Republicans move to gut union rights.

Over the past 24 years, since the FMLA was signed, US policy on paid family and medical leave has stagnated. Today, members of Congress have re-introduced legislation that would help us catch up to most of the rest of the world.

Not violating federal labor law seems like a commonsense precursor for being awarded lucrative federal contracts. House Republicans, however, disagree.

Bizarre email from Trump’s HHS spokesperson

The Pump Handle had its own bizarre experience today with the Trump Administration. It came via an email concerning a news release from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

One step forward, two steps back. Dire consequences from Trump’s edict on regulations

President Trump made good today on a ludicrous campaign pledge: For every one regulation issued by a federal agency, they will have to offset the cost by eliminating two existing regulations. “Want a new stop sign in your neighborhood? Fine, give up two stop signs somewhere else.” What a hair-brain idea.

President Trump’s callous and short-sighted executive order restricting US entry for refugees and travelers from certain countries is rightfully getting a lot of attention, but it risks overshadowing another destructive thing he did for global health during his first week in office: reinstating and expanding the Mexico City Policy, also known more descriptively as the…

We’re just a humble little public health blog. But we can still do our part. If you or someone you know need help getting health insurance coverage before next week’s enrollment deadline on Jan. 31, here are some good resources.