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Department of Labor 68 articles

Absence of safety culture in poultry industry demonstrated by recent worker deaths

Alabama and several other southern states have a thriving chicken industry that represents a healthy percentage of the annual GDP, especially in the Deep South from Georgia to Louisiana where chicken production rockets year after year. Unfortunately, as we have seen in the past, this unrestrained growth is accompanied by a corporate push to loosen the rules and regulations that protect the environment and keep factory workers relatively safe and healthy, as more recent worker fatalities demonstrate. In Mississippi, Southern Hens Inc., a poultry processor with facilities in Moselle, was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations (OSHA) for ... Read More

Boss’s violent behavior reported by whistleblower warrants OSHA investigation and lawsuit

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA –The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division, against Duane Thomas Marine Construction LLC and its owner Duane Thomas for firing an employee who reported workplace violence. The lawsuit is the result of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation prompted by a complaint from the employee who worked at the company’s marine dock installation services site on Marco Island, Florida. The employee alleged that, on numerous occasions between December 2009 and February 2011, Mr. Thomas behaved violently at the work ... Read More

Temp worker’s death reveals numerous safety violations at Florida bottling plant

JACKSONVILLE, FLA—A bottling facility in Jacksonville has been cited with numerous federal safety violations following the death of a 21-year-old temporary worker who was killed on his first day on the job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that the death is representative of a disturbing trend of temporary and untrained workers being killed in the workplace shortly after starting a new job. According to OSHA, Lawrence Daquan “Day” Davis was crushed to death by a palletizer machine at the Bacardi Bottling Corporation’s Jacksonville plant in August 2012. The agency noted that the plant relies on Remedy Intelligent ... Read More

Poultry industry presents a growing threat to workers and consumers

When “Juan,” a worker at an Alabama poultry plant fell while hoisting an 80-pound box of chicken, his supervisors ordered him to get back to work. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “X-rays later showed two fractured vertebrae. He was fired, and the employer has not paid any of his medical bills.” Juan is just one example among thousands in Alabama’s giant poultry industry, where workers are subjected to brutal, dangerous working conditions that pose a constant risk of injury and illness, all for the sake of providing American dinner tables with plentiful, cheap chicken. According to the ... Read More

Michigan pushes to protect utility workers from unyielding traffic

On June 22, a journeyman line worker for Consumers Energy in Michigan was responding to a report of a downed power line when he was struck and killed by a motorist. The driver allegedly made no effort to slow down or give leeway when driving past the electrical worker. The incident that killed the worker, Jeffrey Creel, a husband and father of four children, wasn’t an isolated one. Every day, motorists speed past utility workers, denying them the respect and safety that police, firefighters, ambulance personnel, and construction workers receive when working on or near the road. But Mr. Creel’s death ignited ... Read More

Airline attendants may soon receive OSHA workplace protections

Thousands of U.S. flight attendants may soon enjoy better workplace safety protections, thanks to a long-awaited proposal by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to open airline cabins to the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). For decades, flight attendants and other crew members who earn their living in the sky have not enjoyed the comprehensive OSHA regulatory standards and protections as most other U.S. workers, being bound instead to the Transportation Department’s FAA regulations. “Safety is our highest priority and that certainly extends to those who work in the transportation industry,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Under this ... Read More

Worker death leads to multiple fines for Mississippi nutritional company

A health and wellness company that makes omega-3 products for human and animal consumption was cited with 25 safety and health violations following the death of a worker who became caught in a rotating screw conveyer at the company’s Mississippi processing plant. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the workplace fatality triggered an inspection of Houston, Texas-based Omega Protein Inc.’s plant in Moss Point, Miss. Inspectors found 21 serious violations of safety and health regulations at the plant, in addition to four “other- than-serious” violations. OSHA deems a violation serious when it poses a substantial risk of ... Read More

U.S. worker deaths down slightly overall in 2011, but up in some industries

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary report on workplace fatalities in the United States holds some good and bad news for the average American worker. According to the 2011 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), on-the-job deaths trended slightly downward overall in 2011, with some increases in certain industries and types of death. Preliminary records show that the rate of fatal work injuries in 2011 was 3.5 per 100,000 full-time workers, down slightly from the final rate of 3.6 per 100,000 workers in 2010. Increases in the final data over the last three years have averaged 166 deaths (3 ... Read More

OSHA targets construction site fall hazards in the Southeast

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a program in four Southern states aimed at exposing fall hazards at construction sites, the agency’s Atlanta offices announced. The program, which kicked off on August 20, comes in response to an upward trend in the number of falling deaths within the construction industry. Construction work consistently ranks as one of the country’s deadliest occupations, according to Labor Department records, and falling hazards are mostly to blame. In fact, falls are one of the four leading causes of all workplace fatalities in the Southeastern U.S. In 2010, there were 264 ... Read More

Labor Rights Week focuses on safety and fair compensation for all workers

Friday, August 31 marks the final day of Labor Rights Week, a series of annual events organized by the U.S. Department of Labor to educate workers about their basic workplace rights and to raise awareness of workplace safety and fair compensation. The theme for the week’s events, “Promoting Labor Rights is Everyone’s Responsibility,” underscores the importance of partnerships between the Labor Department and other countries to educate migrant workers and their employers about U.S. labor laws. “Making America’s workplaces safe and fair for everyone is the hallmark of Labor Rights Week,” said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.” We’re committed to ensuring ... Read More