Posts Tagged ‘OSHA’
Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
In this space we regularly call for greater employer accountability and the enactment of laws that make that accountability more likely than is currently done voluntarily. Our domain is the non-physical safety threat. U.S. workers are supposedly to be made safe from threats to their physical safety.
OSHA, a “regulatory” agency responsible for Occupational Safety and Health in the U.S. seems to have trouble accomplishing its mission. “OSHA’s mission is to assure safe and healthful workplaces by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” Wondering if by assistance, OSHA means delivering “waivers” to destructive employers who poison and take lives.
For example, the following two stories of injustice based on token punishment will curdle your blood.
A CSC Sugar plant in Fairless Hills, PA provides sugar for Snapple and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The plant is staffed and managed entirely by temp workers. According to ProPublica statistics, temporary workers are most at risk for safety hazards at worksites in states where data exist.
In February 2013, Peruvian New Jersey resident Janio Salinas was unclogging the machine from below. He was buried alive and asphyxiated. Coworkers found him after they returned from lunch. The onsite temp manager had complained about this potential hazard to a higher level manager until a safety platform was installed. However, the big boss instructed the temp manager to remove that platform because it had slowed the flow of sugar, had slowed down “production.” That big boss lied about his order to investigators, claiming ignorance about the platform (picture on the left). His costly decision was made 13 days before Salinas was buried. Turns out the only cost was Salinas’ life.
Next came the OSHA investigation. OSHA initially fined CSC $25,855 but after CSC installed a safety guard and started using a new procedure to break up sugar clumps, the fine was reduced to $18,098 (for good behavior???). Jean Kulp, director of OSHA’s Allentown, PA, office, told Univision that her agency doesn’t have the ability to shut down businesses, has limited criminal enforcement provisions, and found the CSC had not been “willfully in violation,” which would have triggered bigger fines despite a record of repeated violations.
$18,098 for a man’s life!
Kulp’s ultimate insult to the Salinas’ surviving family: CSC had not in her judgement shown “total disregard” for its workers.
Thanks to Daily Kos for the tip to the tale.
Tags: asphyxiation, CSC sugar, Elk River, Freedom Industries, Janio Salinas, Jean Kulp, MCHM, OSHA, West Virginia
Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, The New America | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, January 9th, 2012
Many people want a law against workplace bullying. The official campaign for this legislation began in California in 2002 (first bill introduction in 2003) and turns 10 years in 2012. The text of the bill was written by Suffolk Law Professor David C. Yamada for Workplace Bullying Institute founders to take to state houses throughout the land.
So, here we educate site visitors about a key part of the HWB as introduced in the 21 states since 2003. The bill requires the “private right of action.” That means that individuals wanting to sue using the bill after it becomes law must rely on an attorney they find and hire. There need not be government involvement.