CSB: Government at All Levels Should Provide OSHA Coverage for Public Workers

In written testimony submitted yesterday, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) urged "governments at all levels to take steps to protect public employees from preventable chemical accidents, including the establishment of programs incorporating mandatory OSHA standards."

CSB Chairman Carolyn W. Merritt, speaking on behalf of the five-member board at a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing, said, "It is simply inequitable to afford public employees with lesser workplace protections than workers in private industry. No worker--whether employed by the city, county, state, federal government, or the private sector--should have to suffer injury or death just to earn a living."

The hearing before the House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (California), was entitled "Workplace Safety: Why Do Millions of Workers Remain Without OSHA Coverage?" The hearing was web cast live at http://edworkforce.house.gov.

The testimony cited the CSB's investigation of a January 2006 methanol fire and explosion at a Florida municipal wastewater treatment plant that killed two public employees and seriously injured a third. The final report and a computer-animated safety video on the explosion at the Bethune Point Wastewater Treatment Plant are available at CSB.gov, under "Completed Investigations."

The accident at the wastewater facility, which is owned and operated by the City of Daytona Beach, occurred when city employees using a cutting torch to dismantle a metal roof accidentally ignited vapors coming from the vent of a nearby methanol storage tank. Flames traveled back into the storage tank through a corroded flame arrester, causing an internal explosion, multiple piping failures, and a large fire that engulfed the workers.

The CSB report noted that no Florida state laws or regulations exist to require municipalities to implement safe work practices or communicate chemical hazards to municipal employees. For more information contact Jennifer Jones at (202) 577-8448 cell or Daniel Horowitz at (202) 441-6074 cell.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022

    Featuring:

    • WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
    • TRAINING: CONFINED SPACES
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
    • PPE: FALL PROTECTION
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue