In their first 100 days in power, the Trump administration and the Republican Congress have repealed and blocked worker safety regulations that were years, sometimes decades, in the making. Through legislative action, executive orders and the use of the Congressional Review Act, the executive and legislative branches jointly and repeatedly shifted the cost and responsibility of keeping workers safe from corporations to workers and the public.
Silicosis is a lung disease common among construction workers, including lifelong bricklayers. The disease is caused by inhaling crystalline silica dust, created when drills and saws buzz into bricks, concrete, and mortar.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is extending the effective date of the agency’s final rule on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines until Oct. 2, 2017.
While regulations on the federal level are being repealed or delayed, the rulemaking process is still going strong at the state level – as demonstrated by California’s approval last week of a tough new oil refinery safety regulation.
Representatives of the construction industry, as well as general industry have petitioned Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to reopen the silica standard, workplace safeguards that would save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year.
A once-cozy relationship between unions and OSHA under the Obama administration has cooled –at least for now. Continuing its promise to roll back OSHA rules influenced by the Obama administration, the Trump administration has leveraged OSHA to withdraw one of its so-called pro-union rules.
The U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary on a 60-38 vote.
Acosta has served on the National Labor Relations Board and has been a federal assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice and a U.S. attorney in Florida.
This 2017 edition of “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” shows that the rate of workplace deaths and injuries remains much too high, according to the AFL-CIO, which compiled the annual report on the state of safety and health protections for America’s workers.