Subscriber Login


A pair of Democratic lawmakers are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to deny an industry request for faster line speeds at poultry plants, backing labor arguments that poultry workers already suffer a higher rate of injuries in a sector where labor groups have long sought greater OSHA protections.

Latest News

Labor Secretary (DOL) Alex Acosta largely sidestepped calls from House Democrats to continue Obama OSHA worker safety priorities, including a possible rule addressing workplace violence in the healthcare sector and preserving an injury and illness reporting rule, though he reiterated a pledge of strong enforcement against worker safety violations.

A construction workers' union is backing the Trump OSHA's push to preserve its authority to cite controlling employers for violations affecting other companies' workers, arguing in an appeals court filing that legal precedent and industry practice support the agency's Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act authority to cite controlling employers.

The Department of Labor (DOL) in a new draft strategic plan is vowing that OSHA will “maintain a strong, effective enforcement program,” despite labor officials' concerns that enforcement will drop off as part of the Trump administration's broad deregulatory agenda.

New Jersey officials say the Department of Justice's (DOJ) input may be warranted after their criticism of an EPA-administered reporting law in the state's defense against environmentalist and labor groups' lawsuit seeking release of industrial facility data, in a case that could have broad implications for public disclosure of facility data.

OSHA has delayed for one additional year, until Nov. 10, 2018, a deadline for crane operators to comply with certification requirements so the agency may finish a rule to address industry and operators' concerns with a 2010 update to its cranes standard, despite criticism the delay poses safety risks and employers have had sufficient time to comply.

A public interest group has launched a database for tracking state prosecutions of cases stemming from workers' severe injuries and deaths in an effort to encourage similar prosecutions, amid long-standing criticism that OSHA penalties are inadequate to deter workplace safety violations and as the Trump OSHA has narrowed criteria for publication of worker fatality data.

The Trump Labor Department (DOL) is seeking to preserve OSHA's authority to cite so-called controlling employers for violations affecting another company's workers, arguing that the agency's authorizing statute and long-standing practice support the policy, in a lawsuit that an observer says re-opens debate on the OSHA enforcement policy.

A group representing trial lawyers is joining environmentalists and health advocates in urging EPA to expand the legacy and continuing uses of asbestos the agency plans to assess, as well as mineral types, suggesting they may bring new civil suits against manufacturers if the agency does not address those uses' potential risks to workers.

Despite high expectations for the Trump administration to rein in the Obama OSHA's emphasis on enforcement, industry attorneys are suggesting that Scott Mugno, the Fedex official tapped to lead the agency, may struggle to quickly ramp up compliance assistance, while labor groups say thorough vetting of his safety priorities is needed.

Short Takes

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has voted to withdraw recommendations to a branch of the Interior Department (DOI) to bolster worker participation in safety on off-shore drilling operations, amid questions of whether the recommendations should go to OSHA, though the move has drawn criticism from an Obama-era OSHA official.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says private sector occupational injuries and illnesses continued a long-standing downward trend in 2016, with total nonfatal injuries decreasing by 48,500 over 2015 numbers, though the bureau says the number of injuries that caused workers to miss work remained constant between the two years.

The House has passed a bill that would override a controversial 2015 ruling that expanded the definition of a “joint employer” subject to enforcement of labor and worker safety measures, which Democratic critics fear could hamper worker protections, though Republican backers argue the bill would not harm workplace safety.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) has introduced a bill that would require the Department of Defense to vet for past OSHA violations any contractors who bid on or seek renewal of contracts of $1 million or more, seeking to restore protections in an Obama policy that the Trump administration rescinded in March.