U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is pressing OSHA for better protection of temporary workers, after the tragic death of a 50-year-old temporary employee in a CSC Sugar plant near Philadelphia.
Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, fired off a letter to OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels expressing “deep concern about employment and workplace safety practices involving temporary workers.” Casey also expresses concern “about possible regulatory or legislative impediments to OSHA’s ability to ensure safe and healthful workplaces for temporary workers.”
“While I appreciate that OSHA has limited jurisdiction in prosecuting workplace accidents, the growing number of accidents and fatalities involving temporary workers is clearly unacceptable,” Casey wrote.
In February 2013, Janio Salinas was found buried in a sugar hopper in a CSC Sugar plant. OSHA investigators discovered that a safety device that would have prevented Salinas’s death was removed 13 days before the fatal accident, because the device was “slowing down production.”
OSHA fined CSC $25,855 for the accident, but reduced the penalty to $18,098 after CSC corrected some safety issues.
“OSHA also declined to find CSC ‘willfully in violation’ of safety regulations, though the company had removed a safety device, and [had] been previously fined by OSHA in 2010 for neglecting to implement a safety and health training program for temp employees,” Casey wrote.
In his letter, Casey asks Michaels to provide data on workplace incidents involving temporary workers, and asks the administrator to explain what OSHA has done to boost temporary-worker safety.
“All workers – whether they be permanent or temporary – deserve to be able to work in a safe environment,” Casey says in a news release. “The death of Janio Salinas is deeply troubling. It’s incumbent upon OSHA to review the prevalence of workplace accidents involving temporary workers and ensure that the appropriate safeguards are in place. We, in Congress, have a duty to ensure that OSHA has the necessary tools to do its job.”