News Digest 4-4-2019


In exclusive interviews and written communications with Workers’ Comp Executive, former DIR Director Christine Baker responds directly to the State Auditor’s recent critical report. Baker, in her own inimitable fashion, goes directly to the relevant points. This story can’t be found anywhere else – and we include links to the full text of the Auditors report, Baker’s full and unedited statement to the Executive and even an email she sent to California’s labor and management leaders. Read it and learn what the behind-the-scenes back story really is. Cal-OSHA Reporter


Two sentenced for illegal asbestos removal

Two brothers, whom federal authorities say put workers’ health at risk in the illegal removal of asbestos at a commercial property site in Darien, Connecticut in 2015, have been ordered to pay fines of $9,500 and perform 50 hours of community service. Though workers wore dust masks and suits, the masks were not designed for use in asbestos abatement and failed to provide protection against asbestos fibers, inspectors found. Connecticut Post


Oklahoma law prohibits guns in hospitals owned by government subsidiaries

Attorney Karen S. Rieger discusses an Oklahoma law that effectively prohibits possession of guns in hospital facilities owned by government subdivisions. A hospital or other business may not prohibit possession of a firearm in a locked vehicle on company property, and a person may be asked to leave if carrying a firearm in a prohibited location. Rieger discusses what hospitals should do now to adequately address this upcoming issue. Oklahoman


Customs officers exposed to lead contamination at western New York training facility

An industrial hygienist has concluded that hundreds of federal customs officers in the Buffalo area trained for years in a gun range that was heavily contaminated with lead. No serious health impacts have resulted from the lead contamination, according to an agency spokesman. A 2017 National Institutes of Health study found that among people who used such facilities regularly, blood lead levels were commonly found “at concentrations that are associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes.” Buffalo News


Firearms manufacturer fined more than $210K in connection with fingertip amputation

Fed-OSHA has cited the Remington Arms Company for 27 alleged violations following an incident that involved an employee’s fingertip being amputated at an Ilion, New York manufacturing plant. WSYR (Syracuse)


Federal appeals court upholds Fed-OSHA fine against retailer for failure to vaccinate

The 8th Circuit has declined to reverse Fed-OSHA penalties against Walmart after the appeals court found no serious error with an administrative law judge’s conclusion that the company failed to properly vaccinate members of an emergency response team against hepatitis B. The ALJ found the company committed two violations but reclassified one and reduced the other, resulting in a $26,000 fine. HR Dive