Black lung disease surges to highs not seen since the '70s, research shows

By Chris Hamby

The likely culprit: a failure by coal mining companies to use readily available tools to control the dust that lodges in miners' lungs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… the researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in a letter …"

"… to improve miners’ Health.” Back in 1969, the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act limited the amount of dust allowed in mines with the e …"

"… 1, parts of a long-awaited rule from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration took effect, and regulators say it should close these looph …"

Contractor, Hispanic worker deaths up in 2013, BLS says

By Talia Buford

The number of contractors and Hispanic workers who died on the job increased in 2013 even as the overall tally of worker deaths declined.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… ity guards or groundskeepers. Several states, including Massachusetts and Illinois, have passed laws in recent years strengthening employer liability for tem …"

Leadership at Chemical Safety Board questioned amid investigation backlog

By Rosalind Adams

Evidence of ongoing management failures and a toxic work environment at the Chemical Safety Board was presented at a hearing Thursday.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Reform":

"… Testimony Thursday before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform blamed the backlog on poor leadership by Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso, …"

CPI-NPR collaboration wins Edward R. Murrow Award

A 2013 investigation of worker deaths in grain bins has won an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association

Deadly Texas fertilizer plant explosion blamed on regulatory failures

A 2013 blast at West Fertilizer that killed 14 "never should have occurred," Chemical Safety Board chairman says.

EPA to regulate coal ash amid court settlement

By Kristen Lombardi

Facing a legal challenge from Earthjustice and others, the EPA agrees to set a plan by year's end to regulate coal ash.

Delay of long-awaited refinery accident report signals divisions at Chemical Safety Board

By Chris Hamby

A last-minute change to a public meeting on a 2010 explosion at the Tesoro refinery in Washington State has board members "embarrassed."

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… ore a safety case system can be fully considered as a regulatory model for California or the United States,” the United Steelworkers wrote in comments to the …"

A small step towards food aid reform

By Sasha Chavkin

Buried in Congress' spending agreement: a small but notable step to reform a controversial program.

West Virginia chemical spill probe falls to overburdened Chemical Safety Board

By Chris Hamby and Ronnie Greene

Massive chemical spill in W.Va. adds to a growing backlog for the troubled Chemical Safety Board.

A century of denial on black lung

By Chris Hamby

A congressman's words 44 years ago, citing the coal industry's efforts to limit its liability for black lung, resonate anew.

Excerpts from this story referencing "diseases":

"… breathing problems. In the 1990s, the industry fought attempts to include diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis in the definition of black lung, …"

EPA under the gun to regulate coal ash

By Kristen Lombardi

Environmental Protection Agency faces new pressure to regulate disposal of the toxic waste for the first time after a judge's decision.

Chemical board's unfinished investigations hinder agency mission, IG finds

By Chris Hamby

A backlog of Chemical Safety Board investigations hinders the agency's ability to help prevent future accidents, a new IG report concludes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "BP":

"… Christi, Texas, in 2009, and a 2008 explosion that killed a worker at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas — the site of a 2005 blast that killed 15 …"

Tornado shelter firm lobbies up for federal tax relief

By Adam Wollner

Tornado shelter firm hires a lobbyist to press federal government for tax relief.

'Retail exemption' shields some fertilizer facilities from stringent safety inspections, rules

By Chris Hamby

An exemption carved out two decades ago allows some fertilizer and other chemical facilities to skirt stricter rules and inspections.

OSHA strengthens protections for temp workers

By Jim Morris

Amid reports of high injury rates for temporary workers, OSHA announces new measures aimed at training and safety.

Workplace deaths up slightly in 2011

By Jim Morris

Worker deaths rose slightly in 2011, though the jobsite fatality rate fell, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Massachusetts":

"… ives to get a job.” Stephanie Moulton, a 25-year-old social worker at a Massachusetts group home, died at the hands of a schizophrenic client on Jan. 20, 2011. …"

Why strong regulatory agencies matter

By Bill Buzenberg

If the Center is doing its job right, then our work should anticipate the news. Unfortunately, that happened with an explosion in Texas.

As critics press for action, Chemical Safety Board investigations languish

By Jim Morris and Chris Hamby

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which probes chemical accidents, is under attack for its slow investigative pace.

Excerpts from this story referencing "BP":

"… st accident the board has investigated was the March 2005 explosion at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas. Fifteen workers were killed and 180 injured …"

"… ut out eight, including a widely praised, 341-page report on the BP-Texas City explosion. Production has trended down ever since. Last year, …"

Report urges phaseout of deadly acid

By Chris Hamby

A survey of refinery workers found deep concern about the handling of hydrofluoric acid and recommends safer alternatives

House bill targets deadly dust explosions

By Chris Hamby

House Democrats are pushing a bill requiring safety steps to curb combustible dust explosions -- a hazard examined in a 2012 Center report.

Meteor strikes on lobbyists' minds

By Dave Levinthal

Special interests have prodded U.S. government to fund tracking of killer space rocks.

Excerpts from this story referencing "California":

"… bsp;role in predicting or averting an even greater calamity. In 2008, the California Space Authority sent a lobbyist to Washington, D.C., in part to promo …"

Defense officials call Air Force F-22 probe sloppy and inadequate

By Douglas Birch

Critics of the Air Force's decision to blame a costly F-22 crash on its pilot have some ammunition

Excerpts from this story referencing "weapons systems":

"… 22’s, which have been criticized by some as models of costly, goldplated weapons systems that are hard to maintain and ill-suited to fulfill present-day needs. Th …"

Labor secretary leaves legacy of worker protections and unfinished business

By Chris Hamby

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis leaves behind a department advocates say increased enforcement but left worker safety rules unfinished.

IMPACT: Federal inspectors step up enforcement of rules to prevent black lung

By Chris Hamby

In a recent enforcement blitz, federal inspectors cited more than a dozen mines for problems that could expose workers to the disease.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… by coal companies and often-lax enforcement by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.In September, inspectors found more than 120 violations at …"

Center environmental investigations honored nationally

By The Center for Public Integrity

Three separate Center environmental investigations have received national reporting prizes in recent weeks.

As Clean Air Act sentencing nears, Justice cites violations at Texas Citgo refinery

By Jim Morris

Justice Department alleges environmental and worker safety violations continue to plague Citgo's Texas refinery.

Fishing deaths mount, but government slow to cast safety net for deadliest industry

By Ronnie Greene

Commercial fishing is the deadliest industry in the U.S., but with federal reform moving slowly, some fishermen are stepping in.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Fishing":

"… law has yet to mandate detailed inspections of the vessels themselves. “Fishing vessels are uninspected, so the Coast Guard doesn’t have jurisdiction to …"

"… a NIOSH epidemiologist based in Alaska who leads the agency’s Commercial Fishing Safety Research and Design Program. “Every time there’s a vessel loss …"

"… t Strides have come, but slowly. In 1988, Congress passed the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act, requiring Fishing boats to carry survival craf …"

"… uthority,” said Jack Kemerer, division chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Fishing Vessels Division. Kemerer said the 1988 law and subsequent tweaks have he …"

IMPACT: OSHA's 'model workplace' program needs reform, report finds

By Chris Hamby

Companies exempt from some inspections under a special OSHA program should face tighter scrutiny, a report finds, echoing a Center series.

Landmark worker death case continues against UCLA chemistry professor

By Jim Morris

UCLA Professor Patrick Harran stands accused of a felony in the death of research associate Sheri Sangji after a lab fire.

Federal produce-testing program spared — for now

By The Associated Press

Federal food program that screens produce for contamination spared until end of 2012

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