‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ of state worker safety programs

‘The good, the bad and the ugly’ of state worker safety programs

Jim Morris |
November 13, 2018

Twenty-eight states and territories regulate their own workplaces rather than defer to the feds. While some of these programs are effective, others are in trouble for not adequately protecting workers.

This story is part of a collaboration between the Center for Public Integrity, Ohio Valley ReSource and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

Fifteen minutes before his shift was to end on November 8, 2017, Lariat Rope, a thickset man of 55, tumbled into a pit of scalding water at Sapa Extrusions North America in Phoenix, an aluminum-products plant where he’d worked for more than 25 years. It took rescuers three hours to retrieve his body from the pit, which is used to cool aluminum logs 10 inches in diameter and up to 18 feet long. The cause of death: “multiple trauma due to blunt force injuries, drowning and thermal injury,” according to a report approved by the Industrial Commission of Arizona in April.

The commission’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as ADOSH, cited Sapa for violating a standard requiring employers to install “covers and/or guardrails … to protect personnel from the hazards of open pits, tanks, vats [and] ditches.” It proposed a fine of $7,000 — the amount it had established for violations that “caused or contributed to a fatality” and which, according to the ADOSH field operations manual, cannot be reduced by that agency.

Credit by - The Center for Public Integrity

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