News Digest 12-2-2019


Pre-Thanksgiving fire at Texas chem plant spurs evacuation

Tens of thousands of residents within a four-mile radius of a Port Neches, Texas chemical plant were forced to evacuate after a series of explosions at the site on the day before Thanksgiving. The fire was burning butadiene, a colorless, hazardous gas, 24 hours after the first explosion. WVTM (Birmingham, Ala.) [with video]


Officials report construction injuries fell this year in New York City

Injuries on New York City construction sites decreased from 657 in the first ten months of 2018 to 483 through October of this year, a decline of more than 26 percent, reports the mayor’s office. Patch


Maine roofing contractor cited again by Fed-OSHA

Fed-OSHA has fined a Maine roofing contractor more than $278,000 after citing it for serious workplace safety violations, including fall protection hazards, following a May complaint. The agency cited the contractor in June for 17 violations, with penalties of over $1.7 million, following an employee’s fatal fall from a roof. A grand jury indicted him for manslaughter and workplace manslaughter in connection with the fatality. WGME (Portland, Maine)


Airline catering workers protest working conditions at Miami International

Dozens of airline catering workers held a protest at Miami International Airport during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year over allegedly hazardous work conditions at a subcontractor for American Airlines. CBS 4 Miami [with video]


Ohio worker falls to death while walking on roof

A 58-year-old man fell to his death while walking on a rooftop ventilation shaft at the Cultural Center for the Arts in Canton, Ohio on November 19. His employer reportedly had been subcontracted to paint the underside of the parking deck after repairs. Fed-OSHA is investigating. Beacon Journal


Indiana governor denies interference in Amazon death investigation

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb last week issued a strongly worded statement disputing allegations he was involved in a state effort to absolve Amazon of responsibility in the death of a worker at one of its fulfillment centers. The motivation, according to an IOSHA safety inspector, was the governor did not want to upset Amazon while the state was actively courting the company to build its massive second headquarters in Indianapolis. Indianapolis Star [with video]


Missouri contractor fined $200K for trench-related violations

Fed-OSHA has fined a Kansas City-area contractor more than $210,000 after finding repeat and serious violations at a water line installation in May. The company has been placed in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. KSHB (Kansas City)


Man accused of impersonating San Antonio firefighter at university

A 29-year-old man was arrested last month for allegedly acting as a San Antonio Fire Department official and attempting to access confidential information at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He allegedly took photos of OSHA safety data sheets and ink in a lab with his cell phone. KSAT (San Antonio)