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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American Workers Can't Report Health, Safety Violations on the Job Without Fear of Retaliation

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2013—A study released today by the Center for Effective Government calls for better protections for workers who report health and safety hazards on the job.

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Workers and Economy to Gain From New Workplace Safety Standards

Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a long-delayed proposed rule establishing a comprehensive standard to protect more than two million U.S. workers from exposure to silica in general, construction, and maritime industries.

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More Health and Safety Impacts of the Government Shutdown

I blogged last week before the federal government shutdown started about potential health and safety ramifications that could result should the shutdown occur. Now that the shutdown is a reality, it’s important to consider some of the health and safety concerns that may be less than obvious.

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Securing the Right to a Safe and Healthy Workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), passed in 1970, recognizes that workers play a critical role in ensuring their workplaces are healthy and safe. The OSH Act gives workers the right to report unsafe working conditions and the right to refuse to work under such conditions without reprisal. The concept is for workers to function as the “eyes and ears” of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and help the agency prioritize its limited resources to focus inspections on the most dangerous work sites. Workers will only report safety and health hazards in the workplace, however, if they can come forward without fear of reprisal. Thus, the law prohibits employers from taking any adverse action against employees who exercise the rights provided to them under the OSH Act.

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Government Shutdown Would Compromise Worker and Public Health

As we creep ever closer to the prospect of a federal government shutdown due to the efforts by some conservative members of Congress to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and attack implementation of our nation’s public health laws, it’s important to understand how a shutdown will impact the health and safety of workers and the public’s health.

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Labor Department Announces Long-Awaited Home Care Workers Rule

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule on Sept. 17 to increase the wage protections afforded to home care workers. The rule, first proposed nearly two years ago, will bring more domestic service workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime provisions.

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EPA Scientists Deem Benzo(a)pyrene a Cancer-causing Chemical

On Aug. 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a draft revised health assessment of the toxic chemical benzo(a)pyrene (BaP). This chemical is widely found in the environment and in a number of workplaces, and in its assessment, EPA declared that BaP causes cancer.

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GAO Confirms Public Interest Group Criticisms of Controversial Poultry Inspection Rule

A report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reinforces health and safety advocates' concerns about proposed changes to poultry inspection procedures. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a controversial proposed rule to shift responsibility for inspections away from agency inspectors to employees of the slaughter and processing plants. Despite calls to address serious food and worker safety concerns, the agency plans to finalize the rule this year. GAO's new report identifies limitations in the data used to justify the rule and casts further doubt on USDA's decision to advance a fatally flawed proposal.

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