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workers 59 articles

New Orleans Elevator Malfunction Injures Five Workers

An elevator malfunction at the scene of a luxury condo development in New Orleans injured five construction workers July 28 and triggered an investigation by federal safety officials. The elevator inside The Standard plummeted seven stories to the ground with 11 construction workers inside. Amazingly, only five of the workers were injured and the most serious injury was a fractured foot. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent inspectors to the construction site at South Rampart and Julia Streets to open an investigation. The investigation is still underway. It could take weeks for a preliminary report and months before ... Read More

No Tougher Safety Rules In Sight Despite Oil Field Worker Deaths

A reporter researching oil field fatalities for the online business journal EnergyWire helped uncover a pattern of mysterious deaths, mostly of young, healthy workers who died atop or near oil field hatches they had opened to measure oil well levels by hand. The death of 21-year-old Dustin Bergsing, whose lifeless body was found slumped next to an open oil hatch in 2012, was unsettling to reporter Mike Soraghan because federal safety regulators found no safety violations, so no fines were issued, and no corrective action was taken that could prevent such deaths in the future. Both the industry and the ... Read More

Construction companies fined for exposing workers to falls, eye injuries

Federal safety inspectors cited a pair of Jacksonville, Fla., construction companies for endangering workers with lax safety measures, including insufficient fall prevention and improper eye protection. In February and April, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent compliance officers to construction sites as part of its Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction, which identified areas with a higher than average number of construction accidents and targeted them for improvement. The agency said that in the course of these inspections, officials from OSHA’s Jacksonville office observed employees of Transformers Construction Services Inc. and Buildtronix LLC exposed to safety ... Read More

OSHA fines Wireless Horizon for tower collapse that killed two workers

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Wireless Horizon Inc. with two willful and four serious safety violations following an investigation of a March 25 cell tower collapse that killed two workers in Kansas. The deaths of the workers, two technicians ages 25 and 38, bring the number of U.S. communication tower deaths to 11 so far this year. There have been 24 deaths among cell tower workers since the beginning of 2013, according to OSHA records. The Wireless Horizon workers were dismantling a tower in Blaine, Kansas, using a gin pole, a special load-lifting device. The ... Read More

OSHA orders back pay, damages, and job reinstatement to railroad employee

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) LLC, the second-largest freight railroad network in North America, retaliated against a North Dakota worker in December 2013 for reporting a work-related injury and submitting a physician’s treatment plan to his employer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concluded in an investigation. OSHA ordered Fort Worth, Texas-based BNSF to pay the worker more than $30,000 in back wages and damages and to take other corrective actions. The former employee submitted a whistleblower complaint to OSHA alleging BNSF violated the anti-retaliation provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act, which prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who ... Read More

Wyoming fracking site blast kills one worker, injures three others

One worker has died and three others were seriously injured after an explosion ripped through a storage tank Wednesday at a natural gas production facility operated by fracking giant EOG Resources Inc. in southwestern Wyoming. The worker who was killed was contracted to clean natural gas storage tanks at the EOG site south of LaBarge, Wyo., alongside another contract worker and two EOG employees. A company representative told Reuters that the site contained one natural gas well and two gas storage tanks. “The tank stores natural gas, and was undergoing cleaning when the explosion occurred,” the Lincoln County Homeland Security ... Read More

Companies must report all employee amputations, eye loss, death to OSHA under new rule

Under a new federal safety rule that will take effect Jan. 1, all employers will be required to notify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) whenever an employee is hospitalized for an on-the-job injury, suffers an amputation, or loses an eye at work. OSHA regulators originally proposed the new rule change three years ago to enhance current requirements, which mandate that employers notify OSHA when a work-related accident kills an employee or injures and hospitalizes three employees. “Hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, indicating that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention ... Read More

Long hours, fatigue made deadly Arizona fuel truck crash inevitable, whistleblower says

Arizona officials investigating the deadly August 1 crash of an asphalt oil truck in North Phoenix said that driver fatigue was to blame, and a whistleblower has bolstered those findings with claims that Cactus Transport forces its drivers to work dangerously long driving shifts without a break. Witnesses told investigators that they noticed the oil tanker swerving in the southbound lanes on Interstate 17 just before 5 a.m. The truck then ran onto the median, struck a sign post, and rolled over. The driver of the truck was killed. No other vehicles were involved, but the crash ruptured the tank ... Read More

Feds side with Oregon truck driver whistleblower, order reinstatement and back pay

An Oregon truck driver who filed a whistleblower complaint against her employer alleging she was fired for refusing to drive an unsafe truck will receive back wages and compensation for legal fees in addition to being reinstated to her job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced. After completing an investigation of the complaint, OSHA ordered Terry Unrein, an independent trucking contractor based in Gresham, Ore., to reinstate the driver, who was fired in late 2011 after she refused to drive a five-ton truck with inadequate tire tread on public highways. According to OSHA, Terry Unrein fired the driver ... Read More

Federal agencies partner up to improve whistleblower protections for commercial drivers

Better oversight of whistleblower protections afforded by the federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) is the aim of a memorandum of understanding signed by leaders of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The joint effort will strengthen coordination and cooperation between the two agencies, resulting in better anti-retaliation protections for employees of the commercial truck and bus industries. According to OSHA, the memorandum “allows for the exchange of safety, coercion and retaliation allegations when received by one agency, that fall under the authority of the other.” The STAA shields drivers and ... Read More