Workplace Safety and Health

When a Workplace Tragedy is Also a Crime

When a Workplace Tragedy is Also a Crime

When we hear about shootings, bank robberies, or home invasions, we expect the perpetrators to be arrested, tried, and punished appropriately if they are found guilty. When a drunk driver kills an innocent bystander, we treat that death as a criminal act punishable with fines and jail time. When an employer ignores workplace safety and…

Recycling is a Feel Good Activity, But Not for Workers Hurt or Killed on the Job FairWarining Investigates

Recycling is a Feel Good Activity, But Not for Workers Hurt or Killed on the Job

Darkness had enveloped the Newell Recycling yard by the time Erik Hilario climbed into a front-end loader on a cold evening in January 2011. Just 19 years old, Hilario, an undocumented immigrant, had followed his father from Mexico to an industrial park in East Point, Ga., near Atlanta, where they worked as low-skilled laborers amid…

Federal Agency That Protects Whistleblowers Accused of Retaliating Against One of its Own FairWarining Reports

Federal Agency That Protects Whistleblowers Accused of Retaliating Against One of its Own

For nearly five years, Darrell Whitman was a federal investigator who probed whistleblowers’ complaints about being fired or otherwise punished for exposing alleged corporate misconduct. He wanted to help whistleblowers, viewing them as a crucial line of defense against employers who violated health and safety standards or wasted taxpayer dollars. But now Whitman, 70, is…

After Long Delays, Feds Unveil Tougher Rules to Protect Workers From Silica Dust FairWarining Reports

After Long Delays, Feds Unveil Tougher Rules to Protect Workers From Silica Dust

After years of inaction, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration today unveiled tougher standards, widely opposed by industry, to protect workers from exposure to silica dust. Commonly found in sand, concrete and stone, silica has long been recognized as a critical workplace hazard when pulverized into dust. Miners, stonecutters and other laborers who have…

After Long Delays, Feds to Unveil Tougher Rules to Protect Workers From Silica Dust

After Long Delays, Feds to Unveil Tougher Rules to Protect Workers From Silica Dust

After years of inaction, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to unveil tomorrow tougher standards, widely opposed by industry, to protect workers from exposure to silica dust. Commonly found in sand, concrete and stone, silica has long been recognized as a critical workplace hazard when pulverized into dust. Miners, stonecutters and other…

Storefront Crash Suit Against Cumberland Farms Yields $32.4 Million Verdict FairWarining Reports

Storefront Crash Suit Against Cumberland Farms Yields $32.4 Million Verdict

A Massachusetts jury Tuesday awarded $32.4 million, plus interest, to the family of a woman struck and killed by an out-of-control SUV in a case that highlighted the surprisingly common phenomenon of storefront crashes. The verdict was a victory for the husband and daughter of Kimmy Dubuque of Chicopee, Mass. Dubuque was 43 when she…

Report Renews Concern About Asbestos-Like Minerals at Sites in Arid West FairWarining Reports

Report Renews Concern About Asbestos-Like Minerals at Sites in Arid West

Recent research is focusing new attention on an asbestos-like mineral, blamed for staggering rates of a deadly cancer in Turkey, that also is found in the rocks and soil of 13 Western states. The U.S. Geological Survey has identified 95 sites where the mineral, erionite, exists. And a recent hazard assessment at one of the…

Big Trucks, Big Bucks FairWarining Investigates

Big Trucks, Big Bucks

Heavy-Spending Trucking Industry Pushes Congress to Relax Safety Rules

Big rig crashes kill nearly 4,000 Americans each year and injure more than 85,000. Since 2009, fatalities involving large trucks have increased 17 percent. Injuries have gone up 28 percent. Given these numbers, you might expect Congress to be agitating for tighter controls on big rigs. In fact, many members are pushing for the opposite…

Mike Elliott FairWarining Investigates

For Big Railroads, a Carload of Whistleblower Complaints

As both a veteran railroad worker and union official responsible for safety, Mike Elliott became alarmed when he learned of trouble-plagued train signals in his home state of Washington. Signals, he said, at times would inexplicably switch from red to yellow to green – potentially creating confusion that could lead to a crash. Elliott raised…

Watchdog Finds That Nearly 1 in 5 OSHA Whistleblower Probes Are Flawed FairWarining Reports

Watchdog Finds That Nearly 1 in 5 OSHA Whistleblower Probes Are Flawed

Federal officials responsible for protecting whistleblowers and examining their claims of employer retaliation are mishandling nearly one in five of their investigations, a government watchdog reports. A review by the inspector general of the U.S. Labor Department found that 18 percent of the investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lack one or more…