News Digest 4-3-2019

Labor Department HQ has mice, bedbugs

There is a mouse and bedbug infestation at the Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C., according to test documents. As a result of severely elevated levels of mouse allergen, workers with respiratory complications face a high risk of an acute asthmatic attack, the documents state. The agency is also trying to eradicate a bedbug problem. Politico


Opioid crisis affecting Wisconsin companies, business group says

Nearly a quarter of workers around the country admit drinking or using drugs on the job, according to a new survey from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business group, is taking notice and will focus on substance abuse, particularly opioids, at an April 14-17 annual conference of the Wisconsin Safety Council. Wisconsin Public Radio


Fed-OSHA pulls fine in fatal Disney World-area hotel accident

Fed-OSHA has dropped a proposed fine of more than $13,000 against an engineering contractor related to the deaths of two construction workers at a hotel near Disney World in August. Four workers were pouring concrete on the building’s seventh floor when the support structure collapsed, causing two to fall to their deaths. A third worker fell, but hung on and climbed to safety. The fourth was not injured. Orlando Sentinel [with video]


Ammunition company fined $188K in fatal explosion

Fed-OSHA has fined a Florida ammunition maker more than $188,000 in connection with a flash-powder explosion that killed two workers in September. The employees were loading flash powder into a blast strip inside blast booths when it ignited and exploded. One, a 42-year-old wife and mother of three, was killed at the scene and the second employee died a week later from his injuries. Fed-OSHA cited one willful and six serious violations in the incident. Miami Herald


Another fire at Houston-area chemical plant

The Crosby, Texas KMCO facility, which has a history of environmental and workplace safety issues and is currently not compliant with the federal Clean Water Act, caught fire Tuesday, just over two weeks after another fire at a Deer Park chemical plant. The KMCO facility is near the Arkema plant that caught on fire after losing control of its stores of organic peroxides during Hurricane Harvey. Houston Chronicle


North Carolina: Commissioner won’t seek reelection

North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, also known as the “elevator lady” for putting her photo on inspection certificates inside 28,000 elevators statewide, announced Tuesday she would not seek re-election in 2020. WWAY


Signs of mold in your home and how to prevent it

Mold experts say it’s important to address mold right when you spot it in order to get ahead of the problem. Fed-OSHA and the EPA provide resources for how to stop it, what to do if you have it, and how it can impact you if you don’t address it. WBRC (Birmingham, Ala.)