Texas weakens chemical exposure guidelines, opens door for polluters

By Lisa Song and Rosalind Adams

Amid a fracking boom, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has quietly weakened air pollution guidelines for toxic chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "energy":

"… te, a year into his first term as Houston’s mayor. A deputy secretary of energy during the Clinton administration, White made air quality a priority durin …"

New battlefront for petrochemical industry: benzene and childhood leukemia

By Kristen Lombardi

Jarrett McElheney grew up near a cluster of petroleum storage tanks. His parents believe benzene in drinking water gave him cancer.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Chemistry":

"… he API has financed additional work of his on benzene, as has the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main lobby. In a deposition taken last …"

Benzene and worker cancers: 'An American tragedy'

By Kristen Lombardi

Previously secret documents illuminate a 10-year effort by petrochemical titans to counteract damning science on the carcinogen benzene.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… ican tragedy.” Five million Americans at risk Benzene emissions in the United States have declined sharply since 1987, when federal regulators set the occupati …"

"… ng block.” Benzene ranks 17th among the top 20 chemicals produced in the United States, according to the federal government. The petrochemical industry’s deca …"

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 "Labor":

"… ned, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In all, 4,405 workers died from injuries sustained on the job …"

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Jim Morris":

"… n the network radio category. In online and radio stories, the Center’s Jim Morris and NPR’s Howard Berkes focused on a 2010 accident in Mt. Carroll, Ill., …"

Saturated with oil money, Texas legislature saved industry from pollution rule

By David Hasemyer, Ben Wieder and Alan Suderman

An effort to impose stricter rules on Texas oil and gas operators in 2011 fizzled after the state legislature got involved.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas Commission on Environmental Quality":

"… ] has any real concern about,” said Larry Soward, a former member of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Soward is now president of the board of Air Alliance Houston, an organiza …"

High bladder cancer rate shrouds New York plant, exposing chemical hazards in the workplace

By Jim Morris

A decades-long spate of bladder cancer at a Goodyear plant in Niagara Falls, N.Y. spotlights limits of regulation over dangerous chemicals.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Nitro":

"… Goodyear, Monsanto, Lanxess Corp. of Pittsburgh and AC&S Inc. of Nitro, W.Va., according to the Environmental Protection Agency — import it fro …"

OSHA rule targets worker exposure to silica

By Jim Morris

Citing concerns over the deadly lung disease silicosis and lung cancer, OSHA on Friday proposed a rule to control worker exposure to silica.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… e not being able to live to see his grandchildren?” Monforton asked. …"

IMPACT: OSHA strengthens rules for 'model workplace' program

By Chris Hamby

IMPACT: Companies exempted from some safety inspections under an OSHA program will face automatic removal after work-related deaths.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… deaths or particularly serious violations. The new policy, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, comes after a 2011 Center for Public Integrity investigation found a sign …"

'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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… applied. In the wake of the deadly blast in West, Texas, last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating whether this claim was justified, an OSHA spokesman said. …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Illinois":

"… example, researchers who studied nearly 4,000 amputations among workers in Illinois found that five of the 10 employers with the highest number of incidents w …"

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 "state law":

"… s death motivated her mother, Kim Flynn of Peabody, Mass., to press for a state law that would require mental health facilities to provide “panic buttons” …"

Thoughts from our board chair, Bruce Finzen

By Bruce Finzen

Chair of Center's Board of Directors will match donations through May 7.

Excerpts from this story referencing "America":

"… ment of Justice, and OSHA’s pledge to review the workplace conditions of America’s grain workers. This type of impact is the heart of the Center’s work …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Chemical plant":

"…  to track exactly how many chemical accidents occur in the U.S. Chemical plants are required to report accidental releases of many substances to the Nati …"

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 "Tesoro Corp.":

"… investigations in a timely manner. On April 2, 2010, an explosion at the Tesoro Corp. oil refinery in Anacortes, Wash., killed five workers instantly and severe …"

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… ng. The report also recommends stronger oversight by regulators. Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency should better use their authority …"

U.S. asbestos imports condemned by health experts, activists

By Jim Morris

More than 50 countries have banned asbestos, a toxic mineral linked to cancer and other diseases. The United States isn't one of them.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… nvolve the use of asbestos are strictly regulated" by the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “Diaphragms made of asbestos are a critical separation medium in the c …"

New federal scrutiny in wake of Center and NPR grain bin 'drownings' report

By Howard Berkes

The Justice Department might again consider criminal charges in case reported by Center and NPR.

Excerpts from this story referencing "spokesman":

"… and injury lawsuits filed by Piper, the Whitebreads and Annette Pacas. A spokesman for Gary Shapiro, the acting U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Ill …"

"… penalty reductions in cases with willful citations and fatalities. An OSHA spokesman declined comment. Congress is also beginning to respond to the NPR/CPI se …"

Bill aims to strengthen OSHA workplace enforcement

By Chris Hamby

Senators propose tighter workplace safety rules, targeting breakdowns highlighted in Center for Public Integrity reports.

Excerpts from this story referencing "injuries":

"… sites – not just those they directly employ – and to account for their injuries and illnesses on required logs. Currently, injuries to contractors, who pe …"

"… d to account for their injuries and illnesses on required logs. Currently, injuries to contractors, who perform some of the most dangerous work in many indust …"

Worker suffocations persist as grain storage soars, employers flout safety rules

By Jim Morris and Howard Berkes

The 2010 deaths of a 14-year-old boy and a 19-year-old man in an Illinois grain bin highlight unsafe practices, spotty enforcement.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chief of staff":

"… hree months after the Mt. Carroll accident. “And in that meeting, [OSHA chief of staff] Deb Berkowitz says, ‘Ronnie, can you help us figure out how we can stop …"

Rethinking OSHA exemption for farms

By Jim Morris and Howard Berkes

Most farms are exempt from federal workplace safety rules. Given ongoing grain entrapment problems, some say they shouldn't be.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Agriculture":

"… els to a record 10.93 billion bushels, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With growth has come tragedy: worker entrapment deaths in corn or other …"

How industry scientists stalled action on carcinogen

By David Heath

Tens of millions of Americans drink tap water tainted with chromium. But industry pushback has made it hard for the EPA to regulate.

Excerpts from this story referencing "spokesman":

"… all of the significant authors or the funding. Paustenbach said through a spokesman that the rules did not require disclosure because the amount paid Zhang wa …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… rs from materials as varied as sugar, coal, wood and plastic. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration began the process of issuing a rule to address the hazard in 2009, but its …"

Report suggests OSHA safeguard contingent workers

By Chris Hamby

Regulators should launch an enforcement blitz of companies using large numbers of contingent workers, a nonprofit group concludes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "advocacy":

"… he report from the Center for Progressive Reform, a nonprofit research and advocacy group, echoes many of the findings of a December Center for Public Integri …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Labor":

"… es recover from the financial crisis.  …"

"… ment employees that she planned to return to California, where she grew up.Labor advocates credit her with restoring the department’s commitment to prote …"

Even after workplace deaths, companies avoid OSHA penalties

By Chris Hamby

Following jobsite fatalities, OSHA vows crackdowns -- but sometimes collects nothing, a Center investigation found.

Excerpts from this story referencing "officer":

"… light and for failing to provide proper fall protection.Wright had been an officer and co-owner of another business, Superior Roofing Contractors Inc., that …"

About the Methodology

Across the U.S., workers die in preventable accidents. Yet often, a Center investigation found, OSHA reduces fines or waives them entirely.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… Integrity’s analysis relies on data from multiple sources, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Treasury Department and the Justice Department. Using the Freedom of …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Occupational Safety and Health Administration":

"… ndustry leaders.A report suggesting reforms, from a task force of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, comes more than a year after a Center for Public Integrity series reveale …"

Kentucky death case: Another black eye for state workplace safety enforcement

By Jim Morris

Kentucky's deletion of all violations in worker death case criticized by victim's family, feds.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Atlanta":

"… to alleviate the burden of history,” OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta, Cindy Coe, wrote to Hayes.In a written statement, Kentucky’s Department …"

"… a CASPA — Complaint About State Program Administration — with OSHA’s Atlanta regional office, calling Kentucky’s dismissal of the citations a “trav …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… y or death.” Harran, 42, did not respond to interview requests from the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for Investigative Reporting. In a 2009 statement to the Los …"

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