Workplace Safety and Health

A man operating a table saw in a woodworking shop. (iStockphoto) FairWarining Reports

Power Tool Makers Accused in Lawsuit of Thwarting Adoption of Finger-Saving Device

Leading power tool manufacturers have conspired for years to thwart adoption of a safety device that could prevent thousands of finger amputations and other disfiguring injuries in table saw accidents, according to a federal antitrust lawsuit filed by the developer of the safety technology. Using a hot dog as a proxy for a finger, SawStop […]

Legal Battles Smolder Six Decades After 'the Greatest Health Protection in Cigarette History'

Legal Battles Smolder Six Decades After ‘the Greatest Health Protection in Cigarette History’

It’s hard to think of anything more reckless than adding a deadly carcinogen to a product that already causes cancer — and then bragging about the health benefits. That’s what Lorillard Tobacco did 60 years ago when it introduced Kent cigarettes, whose patented “Micronite” filter contained a particularly virulent form of asbestos.

Stephen Gass, inventor of SawStop, amid rows of patents.

After More Than a Decade and Thousands of Disfiguring Injuries, Power Tool Industry Still Resisting Safety Fix

Every year, thousands of U.S. workers and do-it-yourselfers suffer disfiguring, life-changing injuries from the whirring blades of table saws, though technology exists that could virtually eliminate this.

Adam Thull with his wife, Courtney, 4-year-old daughter, Stevie, and 8-year-old son, Cyril. (Kelli Engstrom)

Emotionally and financially, “it’s devastating.” — Adam Thull

LISTEN: Listen to Adam Thull describe his accident and how it has affected his life. Adam Thull was building a checkout counter for a local bookstore when he noticed a wood panel falling off the edge of his table. As he lunged to catch it, his right forearm got caught on the blade of his […]

(Photo courtesy of Tom Corbett)

“Within a second my fingers were on the ground.” — Tom Corbett

Listen to Tom Corbett describe his accident and how it has affected his life. Tom Corbett was helping remodel the front entryway of a home in Manchester, Mass., two years ago when suddenly his life changed forever. A piece of wood he was trying to cut jammed in his table saw, and his hand was […]

Purdue University professor William Field has been tracking grain entrapments since 1978. (John W. Poole/NPR)

Rethinking OSHA exemption for farms

Should farms be regulated? Corn storage on farms and in commercial structures doubled between 1978 and 2010, climbing from 5.4 billion bushels to a record 10.93 billion bushels, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With growth has come tragedy: worker entrapment deaths in corn or other grains — wheat, barley, soybeans — hit a […]

Will Piper and Annette Pacas kneel at the grave of Pacas’s son, Alex, one of two young workers who suffocated in a grain bin in Mt. Carroll, Ill., in July 2010. Piper narrowly avoided death in the same incident. (John W. Poole/NPR)

Worker suffocations persist as grain storage soars, employers flout safety rules

It was July 28, 2010, just before 10 a.m., and the young men strained to breathe as wet corn piled up around them in Bin No. 9 at the Haasbach LLC grain storage facility.

New federal scrutiny in wake of Center and NPR grain bin ‘drownings’ report

Congress, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Justice Department are beginning to respond to the NPR-Center for Public Integrity Series on hundreds of persistent and preventable deaths in grain storage bins and weak enforcement by federal agencies. Two federal officials familiar with the case say that the Justice Department is again considering criminal […]

Former Peace Corps volunteer Christie-Anne Edie in Colorado Springs, Colo., in September.

Some Peace Corps Volunteers Face Injury Overseas, Indifference at Home

Peace Corps volunteers who serve in impoverished, dangerous countries all too often endure sexual assaults, psychological trauma and physical injuries, as well as exotic diseases. Yet former volunteers-turned-activists say the government workers’ compensation program that is supposed to provide medical care and disability payments for the injured is rife with troubles.

Wal-Mart’s strategy of deniability for workers’ safety

Bangladesh is half a world away from Bentonville, the Arkansas city where Wal-Mart is headquartered. This week, Wal-Mart surely wishes it were farther away than that. Over the weekend, a horrific fire swept through a Bangladesh clothing factory, killing more than 100 workers, many of whose bodies were burnt so badly that they could not […]