Workplace Safety News This Week

by Ben Somberg

September 25, 2009

The Chemical Safety Board released its report Thursday on the 2008 explosion at the Imperial Sugar plant in Georgia, finding that the incident was "entirely preventable" (Reuters article, full report). Ken Ward Jr. gave helpful context for the announcement and followed up afterward with the criticism from unions for the Chemical Safety Board's "decision to not repeat its previous recommendations that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration write tough standards regulating combustible dust in America’s workplaces." Celeste Monforton applauded Georgia Senators Chambliss and Isakson for calling on OSHA to issue regulations on combustible dust.

Also on Thursday, a study by PEER announced that "Workplace Exposures Rise as OSHA Health Inspections Fall" --

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration is doing fewer health inspections despite more workplace exposures to toxic and hazardous substances, according to an analysis released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). While workplace exposures are linked to the premature deaths of 10 times more workers than all workplace accidents combined, OSHA now spends less than 5% of its limited resources on workplace health protection.

Last but not least, another item from Monforton, "Dispelling an OSHA Myth," tells the story of a plant in North Carolina that is laying off 300 workers in the wake of a June explosion that killed three people. So much for the story line that jobs are lost because OSHA rules are too strict.

Tagged as: worker safety
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