Senator Seeks Answers on Man's Sugar-Plant Death

Bob Casey tells OSHA number of incidents is unacceptable
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2014 12:40 AM CDT
Janio Salinas, 50, died in this sugar hopper at a plant in Pennsylvania in February last year.   (OSHA)

(Newser) – The chief the Senate's workplace safety subcommittee says he is concerned about the rising number of deaths involving temp workers—and he is "particularly troubled" by the death of Janio Salinas, who was buried alive in sugar last year after a plant removed a safety device that was slowing down production. Bob Casey has asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to explain its handling of the Salinas case, which resulted in a fine of just $18,098 for the company, reports ProPublica.

"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," the Pennsylvania Democrat wrote to the agency. He added he was worried about legislative or regulatory impediments to its ability to "ensure safe and healthful workplaces for temporary workers" and asked for updates on what action Congress and the White House could take on protecting these workers. The agency has limited enforcement abilities and a bill that would give it more teeth has been sidelined in every Congress since 2004, ProPublica notes.

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