One Year after the West, Texas Explosion: Has Safety Improved?

A year ago today, 15 Americans were killed and 200 injured in a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas that also destroyed surrounding schools, a nursing home, and residential buildings. The disaster raised serious questions about managing the risks that facilities can pose to local communities. A year later, we ask ourselves, are we any safer?

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EPA’s Farmworker Protection Standard Proposal -- An (Insufficient) Step Forward

On March 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposal to revise the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS), which was first announced by the agency on Feb. 20.

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Delayed Health and Safety Standards Cost Lives

On Tuesday, I testified at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce about why critical health and safety standards were being delayed and how we could improve the timeliness and transparency of the rulemaking process. A condensed version of my oral testimony follows, along with a link to my written testimony.

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OSHA's Overlooked Gift to the Chemical Industry

A recent blog post by labor lawyer Steven Wodka highlights a concerning change in how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires chemical companies to classify cancer-causing chemicals that is likely to pose significant problems for OSHA’s ability to enforce how employers warn workers of the dangers associated with the chemicals they work with.

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Government Contracting Policies Should Emphasize Safe Workplaces

Public contract money continues to flow to some corporations that have repeatedly put their own workers at excessive risk, even to companies where workers have died on the job, according to a report issued last week by the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

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Shining a Light on Office of Management and Budget Rule Review Abuse

While anecdotes about the manipulation of the federal regulatory review process by the White House Office of Management and Budget have circulated for years, a recent Washington Post article on the delay of potentially controversial rules by the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) prior to the 2012 elections is truly shocking.

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OSHA Proposes Requirements for Employers to File Workplace Injury and Illness Information Online

On Nov. 8, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed a new rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses by transitioning to an online system for employers to submit such information. 

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OSHA Provides New Tools for Worker Chemical Protections

In an effort to improve protection of workers from exposure to toxic chemicals, OSHA recently unveiled two new tools on their website to assist companies and their workers. The first resource is a toolkit to identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of more hazardous ones.

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Agency Extends Comment Period on Long-Overdue Worker Safety Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on Oct. 25 that it is extending the public comment period for a proposed rule to lower worker exposure to crystalline silica. Silica dust can be deadly; it kills hundreds of workers every year and sickens thousands more. OSHA stated that in response to requests for an extension, it will give stakeholders an additional 47 days beyond the original Dec. 11 deadline to submit comments on the proposal.

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Senate Briefing Highlights Causes of Regulatory Delays

On Oct. 25, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action, chaired by Sen.

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