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Department of Labor 68 articles

Contractor fined after roofing workers suffer on-the-job injuries during Alabama thunderstorm

CORDOVA, Ala. – Federal officials have cited an Alabama steel erection and roofing contractor for fall hazards and several other safety violations following the hospitalization of three workers who were injured while performing roof work in Cordova. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said Russellville-based roofing contractor Marcus Borden failed to provide workers with adequate fall protections while they worked within six feet of an open ledge, as federal safety rules require. OSHA investigators considered the contractor’s lack of proper fall protections to be a willful violation, one that is committed with intentional or voluntary disregard for worker safety ... Read More

Trench collapse in Georgia kills two workers, triggers OSHA investigation

COLUMBUS, Ga. –Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials continue to investigate the collapse of a construction trench at an apartment complex that killed two workers last week. James Jackson, 50, and Allen Thomas, 46, died when the walls of a trench they and four other men were working in caved in and buried them under tons of dirt. The men, who were related, worked for Allen Development Group, which is performing excavation work for an expansion project underway at Summit Pointe Apartments in Columbus. The four men who survived the cave-in tried to help the buried men, even using ... Read More

Senate Committee passes bill to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT workers

A bipartisan bill that would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has passed a Senate Committee by a vote of 15 to 7. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA, received the support of all 12 Democrats and 3 Republicans on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). According to the Huffington Post, the committee spent just 10 minutes discussing the bill before voting it forward. The Committee Chairman, Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), said that the speed at which the bill passed ... Read More

Coal company ordered to withdraw retaliatory lawsuit against whistleblower miner

A federal judge has ordered Armstrong Coal to withdraw its lawsuit against a miner who filed a safety discrimination complaint against the company’s management. The judge’s decision deals a harsh blow to Armstrong Coal’s legal team, which may have overreached in taking its action against the miner, and helps preserve the rights of miners to file safety complaints when they believe their life and the lives of their coworkers are endangered by company policy and poor working conditions. The case stems from Reuben Shemwell, 32, a Kentucky miner who worked as a welder in one of Armstrong’s Western Kentucky coal ... Read More

Maryland parking garage collapse kills one worker, severely injures another

BETHESDA, MD — One construction worker is dead and another severely injured after a “key portion” of a parking garage being built at a Maryland mall collapsed Thursday afternoon. An investigation of the collapse is underway. According to a news release from the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, a new 16-screen movie theater was being built on top of the parking garage when the structure collapsed. There were about 20 construction workers on the site at the time of the collapse. Montgomery County fire officials reported that around 1:47 p.m. a beam weighing 25 tons fell from the third floor ... Read More

Salon industry workers often exposed to toxic levels of formaldehyde

Formaldehyde, a highly volatile and toxic compound that poses a substantial threat to human health, is commonly found in and released by certain hair-smoothing products used by salons. But despite the known dangers and the federal laws designed to protect salon workers from the dangers of formaldehyde, regulators are finding salon workers are regularly exposed to the substance. “We want to make sure that salon owners are aware that if they use these products, they have to implement protective measures such as air monitoring and training,” said Dr. David Michaels, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Assistant Secretary of ... Read More

Oregon plant where worker fell into meat grinder has history of safety violations

Federal and Oregon state authorities are investigating the horrific death of a worker who fell into a running blender at a meat processing plant Friday, April 26, near Portland. The worker, identified by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office as Hugo Avalos-Chanon, 41, of Southeast Portland worked for DCS Sanitation Management, a cleaning company contracted by Interstate Meat Distributors to clean industrial equipment at the meat processing facility. According to the Oregonian, paramedics and sheriff’s deputies received a call around 11:45 p.m. Friday, after Mr. Avalos-Chanon fell in the blender and became entangled in it. The machine was equipped with an emergency ... Read More

Is lack of corporate safety amounting to a ‘terror’ all its own?

If lawmaking proponents of deregulation have their way, Americans won’t have to worry about being harmed by random foreign terrorists so much as they will by the danger and catastrophe presented by many of our own factories, oil rigs, mines, and other places of work. That may sound like an exaggeration, a complete overreach. But is it? Think of all the time and resources law enforcement and intelligence devoted to catching the two Boston bombers who detonated bombs near the finish line of the marathon. Think about all the media attention lavished on that manhunt. All that time, money, and ... Read More

Toxic chemical use in chicken plants set to rise, posing serious health risks to workers, public

With U.S. chicken consumption rising steadily, poultry processing plants nationwide are poised to implement changes that will injure and sicken many workers. Instead of meeting rising demand by expanding facilities and hiring additional workers, the poultry processing industry is poised to increase maximum line speeds and rely more heavily on the use of highly toxic chemicals to treat contaminated chicken. A number of reports have been published explaining the dangers of increasing the already-maximized line speeds in chicken plants, which will boost the number of chickens line workers must inspect from 140 per minute to 175 per minute. Regulations that ... Read More

Rescuers pull out two workers buried by trench cave-in

HOPE HULL, ALA–Two excavation workers were trapped several feet underground when the walls of a trench they were constructing caved in Wednesday afternoon. Heavy Rescue 75 personnel (Lieutenant Donald Pickens, Sergeant Tommy Burton, Firefighter Eric S. Williams and Firefighter Gregory Lowery), Engine Company 3(Lieutenant Herman Dudley, Sergeant Johnathan M. Brown, Firefighter Michael White, and Firefighter Devon Jones), and Truck Company 45 (Lieutenant Adrian Thrasher, Sergeant Robert Hill and Firefighter Joshua Clemons) rescued two trapped workers from a cave in. Assistant Fire Chief Kelly Gordon Senior was the Incident Commander of the operation. Source: Montgomery Fire/Rescue”] According to WSFA News, the ... Read More