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Coshnet's Blog

Austin Statesman: Construction Deaths "Tragedy" not "Accident"

In an excellent editorial today, the Austin Statesman decried the enormous toll of human life taken by failures to protect construction workers in Texas from safety hazards. The deaths of three men who fell from a broken scaffold on a high-rise apartment building under construction were a reminder of the sad state of construction safety in Texas.

Let us do our Job! CAL OSHA Inspectors to Appeals Board

A group of 47 CAL OSHA field inspectors, senior and district managers have written a letter of complaint to members of the California OSHA Appeals Board protesting "Board policies and practices that have significantly undermined our ability to do our job of protecting the lives, health and safety of California’s workers." The letter alleges that the Appeals Board has for over four years followed a deliberate policy of scheduling hearings in such a way that it is impossible for inspectors to do their job properly:

Dying for Work in New York

(New York, NY - June 11) The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) today released a new report on worker deaths in New York State and presented a copy of the report to Jordan Barab, Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Teen Killed in Propane Blast

A 17 year old employee of a farm supply store near Minneapolis-St.Paul was killed yesterday when a propane tank exploded in front of the store. Another teen was injured.

An OSHA inspection of the business on Feb. 17 found two violations related to the handling and storage of compressed gases. One violation was classified as serious.

Read more here.

Jail Time for Employer in Teen Worker's Death

The owner of a New Hampshire farm was sentenced to ten months in jail for negligent homicide following the death of a 17 year old worker, who was crushed in her barn. Travis DeSimone, 17, died July 3, 2007, when a concrete wall at the farm collapsed, crushing him. OSHA's inspection found that DeSimone and other employees were assigned to work within the wall's collapse zone, even though the fractured and leaning wall presented a clearly recognized hazard.

UCLA Appeals OSHA Fine--Victims' Friends Outraged

UCLA has appealed the CAL-OSHA citation for serious workplace safety violations that resulted in the death of 23 year old Sheri Sangji. CAL-OSHA found that Ms. Sangji had not received proper training and was not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

Friends and family of Ms. Sangji are outraged at the university's appeal. They have argued that the local District Attorney's office should take up the case and have circulated a petition to urge a thorough investigation. The petition can be found here .

Dangerous Lab Conditions: Not only at UCLA

An article today in the respected academic journal Science suggests that the conditions that led to the death of an employee in a laboratory fire at UCLA were not an anomaly. One senior professor at a top research university who also had long experience in industry told Science that a "culture of safety" is seriously lacking in university labs, which often present conditions worse than those in private industry.

"Man Dies In Freak Accident" --Really?

"A freak accident Sunday night claimed an out of town mans life in Elkton" (TN), is how WKSR.com of Pulaski, TN reported a fatality that appears to have been caused by unsafe conditions inside a water tank. The news report continued:

17 Year Old Killed in Grain Bin

Seventeen year old Cody Rigsby of Kiowa County Colorado was killed when he was buried under several feet of grain in a grain elevator facility. As usual, news reports describe the incident as a "mishap" or "accident" but none question whether the employer, Temple Grain Elevator, had followed proper safety procedures to ensure that its employees, including a teenager, were protected from the well-known hazards associated with this work.

A Worker's Life: Worth 47 cents a day

Following yesterday's story of the $7,000 fine proposed for Wal-Mart's failure to provide adequate safety precautions to its staff which resulted in the trampling death of a worker, a number of readers pointed out the absurdity of such a small fine for the loss of a human life. One reader suggested we consider what this sum equates to in terms of the value per day of life lost for Mr. Jdimytai Damour.