TOPIC: Occupational Safety & Health Administration

In Chicago, OSHA still pretty unknown and ineffectual

David Michaels, administrator for the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration, writes a Wall Street Journal op-ed defending workplace regulations as economically beneficial. Michaels is responding to an op-ed by James Gattuso of the Heritage Foundation stating that regulations stifle economic growth. This antiseptic debate starkly contrasts with a report that shows the devastating impact of a weak OSHA on workplace safety.

Robert Dietz of Progress Illinois relays a survey from ARISE, a Chicago non-profit for low wage employees. (more…)

Death on the farm

Judith Graham of the Chicago Tribune reports on fatal grain bin accidents and what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is doing to stop them. “Last year, 51 men and boys were engulfed by grains stored in towering metal structures that dot rural landscapes, and 26 died,” Graham writes, “the highest number on record, according to a report issued last month by Purdue University. Illinois led the nation with 10 accidents and five deaths.” OSHA has recently increased their inspection of grain elevators, but there is a pretty big “however” here: the agency cannot regulate the activities of farmers with fewer than 10 employees.

OSHA takes on Illinois grain elevators

The U.S. Dept. of Labor has fined two northwestern Illinois grain elevators $1.35 million for a number of health and safety violations. The Labor Dept.’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Haasbach LLC of Mount Carroll for 22 safety violations, many that stem from the deaths of two teen workers last summer. (more…)

Let’s find out why Chicago air stinks

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin has called for a federal investigation of air pollution from Chicago area Metra trains and other pollution sources, following a Chicago Tribune investigation. WLS radio reports that Durbin wrote letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Federal Transit Administration, and Federal Railroad Administration with the request that they review particulate matter in the atmosphere around Metra trains and train stations. (more…)

OSHA in Chicago Heights

The Labor Dept.’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has come down hard on Gaby Iron and Metal Company in Chicago Heights, Illinois. Wire reports culled by the trade publication Reliable Plant (which also evidently reports on unreliable plants) reveal that OSHA inspectors have cited the company for 17 alleged violations, including “four alleged willful violation with proposed fines of $112,000.” The most serious violations relate to the company exposing its worker to dangerous levels of lead. (more…)

OSHA looks into plastics plant death

The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety and Administration is investigating the death of a plastics plant worker in the northern Illinois town of Rochelle.

Alex Gary of the Rockford-Register Star reports that investigators from OSHA’s Aurora, Illinois office are probing the death of Mackenzie T. Downing, a 25 year-old who was fatally caught in machinery at a TransWorld Plastic Films plant. (more…)

OSHA mobilizes after Illinois grain bin deaths

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the deaths of two workers in a northwestern Illinois grain bin could have been prevented. Via the Springfield State Journal-Register, the Associated Press reports that on Wednesday two workers were fatally entrapped in a grain bin in Mount Carroll, Illinois. Run by Haasbach LLC, the bin stores (more…)

OSHA in Illinois

The Labor Dept.’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration has fined a Belvidere, Illinois crystal manufacturing plant $510,000 for seven “serious” and five “willful” safety violations. However, Ken Hennessy, the president of NDK Crystal, vowed to appeal the fine, reports the Rockford-Star Register‘s Betsey Lopez Fritscher.

The fines stem from an explosion last December at the plant that killed one worker. (more…)

Labor Department Rolls Out Regulatory Agenda

With mine safety front and center after the deaths of 29 miners in West Virginia just weeks ago and the recent mine collapse in Kentucky, the Department of Labor rolled out its regulatory agenda last week, including proposals to revamp mine safety rules.  Will compliance or enforcement be at the heart of Labor’s regulatory efforts? (more…)

In Las Vegas, Workplace Safety Belatedly Scrutinized

The Wall Street Journal’s Melanie Trottman and Alexandra Berzon report that the Labor Dept. will step up its federal-state workplace safety programs:

The action follows calls from unions and senior congressional Democrats — including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and U.S. Rep. George Miller of California — for a tough response to 12 construction deaths that occurred on the Las Vegas Strip between December 2006 and June 2008 amid a building boom. (more…)