Tag Archive for ‘OSHA’
With limited staff, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) relies heavily on its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, a broad workplace safety program which currently has more than 500 businesses are on its list of bad actors. They include corporate giants such as DuPont and International Paper, each with tens of thousands of employees, as well as more than 300 construction firms. The effort faces an uncertain future under the Trump administration.
Exponent, Inc. is a publicly traded giant in litigation defense and regulatory science with more than $300 million in annual revenues, offices in 20 U.S. cities and five foreign countries, and about 1,000 employees. It’s a go-to destination for major industries with liability problems–even as it is derided by critics as a hired gun whose findings are for sale.
Big railroads are often targeted by complaints of illegal retaliation against whistleblowers who disclose safety hazards or report on-the-job injuries. A recent $1.25 million damage award to a former BNSF Railway Co. employee spotlights what critics say is the unjust punishment sometimes meted out to railroad workers who report injuries or safety problems.
Bhopal should have been a wake up call, but it is unclear whether chemical plants around the world are any safer a quarter century after the December 1984 disaster—during which some 40 tons of toxic methyl isocyanate gas leaked from a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide (now part of Dow Chemical), killing 2,259 people immediately and causing lifelong health problems and premature death for tens of thousands more.
The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration isn’t adequately protecting whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office. Since Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, little more than 2 percent of worker requests for whistleblower status have been granted.