Faster conveyor belt poultry processing might put consumers at risk

When purchasing chicken for yourself or your families’ table, do you wonder if the chicken was processed properly?  With the popular trend toward buying free-range chickens, or chickens not raised from incubators to cages to death, does it really matter if those preferred free-range chickens end up facing questionable unsanitary processing and packaging?

The chicken industries’ bottom line might be playing a role in the disputed safety regulations of processed American chicken.  As more chicken factories speed up their conveyor belts to quicken the poultry industries’ delivery to demanding consumers, could food safety rules be waived and the humans processing the chicken be harmed?

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42 miners died in U.S. mines in 2013

The most common cause of mining accidents last year involved machinery and powered haulage equipment. Thinkprogress.org photo

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

WASHINGTON, D.C. - According to preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration, 42 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines in 2013, an increase from the 36 miners who died in 2012.

While mining fatalities occurred at a record low rate for the first three quarters of 2013, during the fourth quarter of 2013, six coal miners and nine metal/nonmetal miners died in mining accidents, a significant increase from the same period in 2012, when four coal miners and two metal/nonmetal miners died.

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Blue-collar temp jobs could be dangerous

A groundbreaking 2010 study of Washington state’s workers’ comp claims found that temp workers in construction and manufacturing had twice the claims rate of regular workers doing the same type of work. theconversation.com photo

By Michael Grabell, Olga Pierce and Jeff Lawson, ProPublica

Working as a “blue-collar temp” in the manufacturing and construction industries might be one solution to earning money while waiting for another job to come through or maybe with the hope of the temp job turning into a full-time position.  Although both concepts could be true, there is an underlying danger in taking manufacturing or construction blue-collar temp jobs.  In a report by ProPublica,  it is revealed that some industries are placing profit over safety for the temp workers.  To read the article, link here.

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Government shutdown delayed mine safety inspections

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

After the 2010 mine explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia., killing 29 miners, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration has cited tens of thousand citations, issued hundreds of impact warnings and recently initiated an immediate withdraw order in November at one of the state’s 12 mines.

Many October and November safety inspections were curtailed due to the federal government shutdown.

During a Nov. 21 impact inspection at Maple Coal Co.’s Maple Eagle 1 Mine in Fayette County, W. Va., the following violations and issues initiated an immediate withdraw order to fix the hazards that could potentially cause catastrophic injuries or fatalities to miners, stated a MSHA press release.

  • 20 – foot crack in the mine roof at a belt feeder where miners regularly travel
  • Area of loose roof strata 60 feet long and up to 8 feet wide where miners were at risk of being struck by falling rock
  • Violating the approved roof control plan and failing to install needed roof supports
  • An operator was also cited for a loose coal rib approximately 24 feet long that was cracked and separating from the solid wall
  • An operator did not properly construct or complete several overcasts, or enclosed airways used to maintain ventilation, in several entries
  • An operator failed to maintain intake airways clear of combustible materials and allow water to accumulate in one of the entries

Since 2010, safety investigators found concluded that the Upper Branch Mine explosion was caused by methane and coal dust built up and was ignited by a spark from an improperly maintained coal-cutting machine.  Investigators also said the blast could not have been contained because of clogged water sprayers.

Since April 2010, MSHA has conducted 687 impact inspections and issued 11,427 citations, 1,052 orders and 48 safeguards in this area.

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What’s the deal with genetically modified foods?

This controversial concept of raising food through genetic manipulation is under scrutiny by many Americans.  On the other hand, how are farmers going to feed the world as population growth increases every decade?

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North Dakota oil spill website set will notify public about all hazardous leaks

thecontributor.com photo

By James McPherson, Huffington Post

Bismark, N.D. (AP) — “It took nearly two weeks for North Dakota officials to tell the public about an autumn pipeline rupture that caused more than 20,000 barrels of crude to ooze across a northwestern wheat field …”  To read the complete article, link here.

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Care2.com: Where are the protections for child farm laborers in America?

hrw.org photo

By Crystal Shepeard, Care2.com

“… There are few child labor laws covering the nearly 500,000 children that work on family-run farms. Another 300,000 children work as field hands, some as young as 12 years old. Field hands can perform “hazardous” work as young as 16, jobs that are prohibited in other industries until age 18. These minors can work up to 70 hours per week on summer breaks – even at 12 years old – and still not be in violation of the law. Most of these children, including those on family farms, work on farms that are either contracted with or run by large corporations such as Archer Daniels Midland, Monsanto, and tobacco giants like R.J. Reynolds …”  To read the complete article, link here.

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Whistleblowers can now file complaints online with OSHA

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

Washington, D.C. — Whistleblowers covered by one of 22 statutes administered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will now be able to file complaints online. The online form will provide workers who have been retaliated against an additional way to reach out for OSHA assistance online.

“The ability of workers to speak out and exercise their rights without fear of retaliation provides the backbone for some of American workers’ most essential protections,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

“Whistleblower laws protect not only workers, but also the public at large and now workers will have an additional avenue available to file a complaint with OSHA, said Michaels.”

Currently, workers can make complaints to OSHA by filing a written complaint or by calling the agency’s 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) number or an OSHA regional or area office. Workers will now be able to electronically submit a whistleblower complaint to OSHA by visiting www.osha.gov/whistleblower/WBComplaint.html.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities laws, trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, public transportation, workplace safety and health, and consumer protection laws. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets and instructions on how to submit the form in hard-copy format, is available online at www.whistleblowers.gov.

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