The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a settlement with Modern Oil Company, the operator of the Kwick Stop convenience store in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The lawsuit alleged that after OSHA investigated a workplace safety complaint a store in Shawnee, Oklahoma, management grilled the three employees of that store until it determined who called OSHA. 

Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), S. 510. It passed with strong bipartisan support.  The final vote was 73 to 25. My friend Jason Zuckerman has written a detailed analysis of FSMA’s new whistleblower protection. Those who need the details about the scope and legal requirements for FSMA

The December 2010 issue of Scientific American, page 12,  features my letter to them about the Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA), HR 2067 and S 1580.  I appreciate the way that the editors enlarged this quote on their letters page:  “When whistleblowers speak truth to power, they could finally hold employers accountable.”

Since I wrote my letter, I learned that the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, has released the number of workplace fatalities for 2009. In that year, only 4,340 Americans died on the job. This is a 17% drop from the prior year, showing the effects of the recession. The recession was particularly hard on the construction industry which which has historically contributed more than its share of fatalities.

Also, although there has been no advancement of the Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA), HR 2067 and S 1580, Rep. George Miller was successful in getting the Robert C. Byrd Miners Safety and Health Act passed by the House Judiciary Committee. It is H.R. 5663. Section 701 of this bill is equivalent to PAWA’s modernization of Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It would, if passed, finally give workplace health and safety whistleblowers a meaningful protection from retaliation. The companion bill in the Senate, S. 3671, is still in committee. I imagine that during the lame duck session, Rep. Miller will be looking for a must-pass bill to which he can attach the Robert D. Byrd Miners Safety and Health Act. If the Senate would concur, then our workplaces would become safer through the protection of safety whistleblowers.


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In an editorial yesterday, the Charleston Gazette of West Virginia called on Congress to pass a law to modernize the legal protections for workplace health and safety whistleblowers. "Whistleblowers protect the health and safety of working Americans by exposing unsafe conditions," the editorial begins. It then recounts how the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it filed a lawsuit in Oklahoma City against Modern Oil Company, the operator of 30 Kwick Stop convenience stores.  The lawsuit alleges that after OSHA investigated a workplace safety complaint at one of its stores in Shawnee, Oklahoma, management grilled the three employees of that