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OSHA Drops Fatality Data, Science Suppression Tracker and More

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SEJ WatchDog is a very interesting website, and I encourage you to read their articles. – Debbie

Source:  Society of Environmental Journalists

By Joseph A. Davis, WatchDog TipSheet Editor

1. OSHA Deep-Sixes On-the-Job Fatality Data

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration used to publish on its website a list of U.S. workers who died on the job. No more. Within days of a new Trump pick taking top office in August, much of it was gone.

OSHA fatality statistics matter to environmental reporters because the deaths sometimes result from exposure to toxic substances or other environmental hazards. For example, the toxic solvent methylene chloride is subject to EPA’s risk assessment program. It has also killed workers who use it.

During the Obama administration, OSHA published the fullest possible list of worker fatalities and related data. In August 2017, shortly after the Trump administration installed Loren Sweatt on a political appointment to a top leadership slot, OSHA started cutting back the worker fatality information it automatically published. That cutback had been requested by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Under the Trump data regime, workplace fatalities are listed only if the incident resulted in a citation (which causes a listing delay of about six months) and the workers’ names are not included. Moreover, OSHA only lists fatalities in states where OSHA oversees workplace safety (about half of the states do this for themselves). OSHA publishes the more limited listing of worker fatality information in a less prominent place on its website.

OSHA under Trump has also cut way back on issuing press releases noting OSHA enforcement actions.

Read the entire article HERE.

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Worker Health and Safety During the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Cleanup in Alaska in 1989

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Here’s what is already known about the dangers of cleaning up an oil spill…especially when those responsible for the spill fail or refuse to provide proper equipment and clothing, including respirators.  ______

This cleanup was the first done under OSHA’s then recent Hazwoper regulation and maybe the first time an OSHA program went into voluntary compliance mode (like the agency later did during the World Trade Center cleanup and Katrina). Contact me for more information on worker health and safety issues during this spill. I was living in Alaska at the time and worked with the Alaska Laborers Union on occupational health and safety concerns during the cleanup.

My email is mdcatlin@earthlink.net .

For a detailed federal government review of worker health and safety issues, read the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report, Alaska Oil Spill Health Hazard Evaluation (HETA 89-200 & 89-273-2111), published in May 1991 and available on the NIOSH website at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/1989-0200-2111.pdf

For more information on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill go to the Website – Sound Truth and Corporate Myths: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

This website is from Riki Ott, PhD, a marine oil pollution expert and former commercial fisherman in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. She was on the scene before, during, and after the Exxon Valdez oil spill and experienced firsthand the spill’s effects, including environmental devastation, economic losses to the fishing industry, and psychosocial trauma to the close-knit community

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