News Digest 4-8-2019

Proposal would give pork industry more power over inspections

Under a proposed new inspection system, the responsibility for identifying diseased and contaminated pork in hog plants would be shared with plant employees, whose training would be at the discretion of plant owners, and there would be no limits on slaughter-line speeds. The Trump administration also is working to shift inspection of beef to plant owners. The chief veterinarian with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service from 2016 to 2018 had refused to sign off on the new pork system because of concerns about safety for consumers and livestock. Washington Post [may require registration]

Workers report exposure to toxic coal ash and flue gas at Tennessee power plants

Workers at two power plants in eastern Tennessee say they are continuing to be exposed to toxic fly ash dust and flue gas without masks or respirators. A news organization has been investigating working conditions during the cleanup of Tennessee Valley Authority’s massive coal ash spill at its Kingston Fossil Plant in 2008. Knoxville News [with video]

TOSHA investigating after utility worker dies in trench collapse

A utility worker died last week after becoming trapped while working underground near Spencer, Tennessee. The water department employee reportedly was responding to a water leak when the trench in which he was working collapsed, trapping him. Tennessee OSHA is investigating. NewsChannel 5 (Nashville)

Gun range owner where CBP trained says facility is safe, despite tests

Two U.S. Customs and Border Protection instructors have been found with elevated lead levels in their blood, but the owner of a gun range where agents trained says a broken air venting system and overflowing water tank produced the higher lead levels and the facility has since been cleaned and approved by a certified inspector. WIVB (Buffalo, N.Y.)

Farming and the increased risk of hearing loss

According to the Department of Labor, farming is ranked among the most hazardous occupations for hearing loss. Research indicates that individuals who live and work on farms have substantially higher incidences of premature hearing loss compared with the general population, due to chronic exposure to harmful noise levels, writes Emily Armstrong, of Medical Associates Clinic and Health Plans. Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, Iowa)

Fines levied on Ithaca project

Fed-OSHA has levied fines on contractors and subcontractors working on an Ithaca, New York commercial construction worksite after a picture was posted to social media apparently showing one or more Scaffold Law violations. One contractor reportedly settled on a $4,000 fine, while another is contesting fines of more than $22,000. Ithaca Journal [with video]

Fed-OSHA requesting public comment on powered industrial truck standards

Fed-OSHA is considering whether it should revise the powered industrial trucks standards for general, construction, and maritime industries. The current powered industrial trucks standards contain requirements for design and construction, appropriate locations for use, maintenance, and training, among others. National Law Review