Workplace

Cone of Silence on Enforcement News from U.S. Labor Department FairWarining Investigates

Cone of Silence on Enforcement News from U.S. Labor Department

Editor's note: See update at bottom of story.

In November, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced fines against businesses with workers who were killed when they were pulled into a wood chipper, burned in a refinery fire and crushed in collapsing grain bins and construction trenches. In all, OSHA issued 33 enforcement news releases that month, and over 50 more from…

A Grim Pattern: Presidential Voting and Workplace Deaths FairWarining Reports

A Grim Pattern: Presidential Voting and Workplace Deaths

More than 4,800 American workers are killed on the job each year. But in states that were carried by Donald Trump, the chances of dying at work are higher than in states that Hillary Clinton won. With a single exception, the states that voted Republican had at least three job-related deaths per 100,000 workers, according…

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…

Silicon Valley Investment Firm Accused of Venturing Into a New Field: Wage Theft FairWarining Reports

Silicon Valley Investment Firm Accused of Venturing Into a New Field: Wage Theft

Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Anis Uzzaman literally wrote the book on success in Silicon Valley. The CEO and co-founder of Fenox Venture Capital is the author of “Startup Bible: The Silicon Valley Way of Developing Success.” But now the U.S. Department of Labor has thrown the book at his company. Following an investigation of alleged…

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…

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…