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employee 58 articles

Deadly West, Texas, blast prompts OSHA to remind employers about chemical safety

The chemical explosion in a West, Texas, fertilizer plant that nearly leveled an entire city last April has prompted federal regulators to contact more than 7,000 agricultural retailers, distributors, producers, and other facilities that use potentially explosive fertilizers to remind them of the importance of safely storing and handling ammonium nitrate. The April 17, 2013, blast at the West Fertilizer facility in West, Texas, killed 15 people, injured more than 200, and decimated parts of the city, including a school, nursing home, and hundreds of houses and businesses. Investigators determined that the company improperly stockpiled several tons of ammonium nitrate, ... Read More

Jury returns $17 million verdict in grain-bin entrapment trial

An Illinois jury has awarded the families of two teens who died after they were buried in a grain bin $8 million each. A third 30-year-old man who survived but was traumatized by the entrapment was awarded $875,000. Tragically, it’s not unusual for workers to sink into giant grain bins and suffocate, but the case of the three youths who became trapped in a bin of wet corn at the Haasbach LLC grain storage complex in Carroll County, Ill., was especially appalling. As National Public Radio’s (NPR) Howard Berkes reported, in July 2010, “teenagers Wyatt Whitebread and Alex Pacas, and ... Read More

Two workers hospitalized, dozens others treated after Foley aluminum plant explosion

Federal and state authorities continue to investigate an explosion that ripped through a South Alabama plant Friday morning, injuring dozens, including one person who remains hospitalized with critical injuries. The blast occurred at Vulcan Inc., a multi-building facility in downtown Foley that produces aluminum signs, sheet metal, and other metal-based products and services. Foley Fire Chief Joey Darby told AL.com that the explosion occurred around a piece of machinery in one of the company’s facilities that removes imperfections from “blank material” and collects the debris. Chief Darby told AL.com that two workers who were working directly with the machine were ... Read More

Study finds chemical exposure may have increased cancer rates in IBM employees

Employees at IBM’s Endicott, New York, facility may have been prone to develop certain types of cancer and other disease due to exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and other toxic chemicals in the workplace, according to the results of a government-led statistical analysis. Endicott residents concerned about toxic exposure at IBM pushed for the study, which researchers with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted during a five-year period using $3.1 million in federal funding. The comprehensive analysis examined the health of 34,494 workers who were employed at IBM’s Endicott facility between 1969 and 2001. The study found ... Read More

OSHA investigating two fatal workplace accidents in Boston

BOSTON, Mass. — Federal safety officials arrived at a Boston steel fabrication plant Tuesday, Dec. 10, to launch an investigation of an employee who was crushed to death Monday night by a falling steel beam. Boston Bridge & Steel Inc., which produces structural steel for buildings, bridges, and other large-scale industrial purposes, said it was “deeply saddened” by the death of 46-year-old Marco Antonio Huezo Mancea, who immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador. Mr. Mancea was in the country on a work visa to support his wife, son and two daughters, all of whom reside in El Salvador. Investigators ... Read More

Protesters rally around Texas worker fired after reporting construction injury

The injury of a Texas construction worker who was nearly killed on the job and then fired for reporting the incident sparked a protest Saturday, as workers and workers-rights groups gathered to draw attention to incident and the plight of whistleblowers throughout the state. Wilmer Lopez Sanchez told the nonprofit Workers Defense Project (WDP) that he was hit in the back with rebar when a load of the bars fell from a crane at a high-raise apartment project in downtown Austin Nov. 8. He and at least two other workers were injured by the falling rebar. Mr. Sanchez was treated ... Read More

More than 675 Ohio workers suffer amputation injuries each year

Earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) responded to multiple complaints brought by workers at a plant that manufactures garage door hardware, who alleged they were exposed to numerous safety hazards whenever they were on the job. Last month, OSHA announced it had investigated the workers’ complaints and inspected working conditions at Archbold-based Napolean Spring Works Inc. That investigation resulted in 16 citations for 15 serious safety violations and one bad enough to be deemed “willful” by the agency. OSHA fined Spring Works $147,600 for the infractions, some of which posed significant risk of amputation to the ... Read More

Construction worker’s death results in penalties for Florida company

MIAMI, Fla. – A South Florida masonry company received a $77,000 fine for safety violations that led to a worker falling to his death at a Miami construction site, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said. An OSHA investigation triggered by the worker’s death in May resulted in Pompano Beach-based Coastal Masonry being hit with one willful and serious safety violation. According to the agency, the worker was helping to build interior and exterior walls for a multilevel condominium building on Brickell Bay Drive in Miami when he fell 70 feet while attempting to straighten a piece of ... Read More

Retailers urged to implement crowd safety controls during ‘Black Friday’ holiday sales

In an effort to prevent trampling deaths and injuries from occurring in stores offering “doorbuster” holiday sales this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding U.S. retailers to take adequate precautions and be prepared to properly manage crowds that gather in anticipation of major sales events. Black Friday injuries and deaths have been of particular concern to federal safety regulators since the a Walmart employee was trampled to death in 2008 after he opened the doors early on Black Friday to an anxious crowd. Several others, including a pregnant woman, were injured in the stampede that literally ... Read More

Truck drivers fired for reporting safety concerns to be rehired, compensated

A North Carolina-based trucking company has been ordered to pay more than $1,070,000 in back wages, interest, compensatory and punitive damages to four truck drivers who alleged they were fired in violation of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act’s (STAA) whistleblower protection provisions, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said. According to the whistleblower complaint, Gaines Motor Lines Inc. allegedly fired the four drivers after they participated in a safety inspection audit of the company’s facility in Hickory, N.C. The inspection was conducted by the Transportation Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the federal agency that regulates the ... Read More