Jun 6, 2017

Workplace safety conditions become a partisan issue

Erik Schelzi / AP

The Trump administration hasn't named a replacement for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) chief. And Trump's budget proposes eliminating two key programs that ensure worker safety, specifically through OSHA. This all suggests that worker safety could change under Trump, per NYT.

What's changing:

  • Lowering exposure to beryllium in the workplace. The Obama administration introduced a rule (that had been crafted over nearly 40 years) to reduce exposure to beryllium, a chemical element that has caused "Chronic Beryllium Disease," a type of bacterial lung disease that kills approximately 100 people each year. Just weeks ago, as this was set to go into effect, OSHA introduced amendments that would allow some industries to exempt from the rule.

Lowering exposure to silica. The safety agency put another Obama-era rule on hold, which worked to reduce workers' exposure to the mineral silica, which has been linked to cancer and Silicosis, a debilitating lung disease. Reporting workplace injuries. OSHA "delayed action on a rule that would require employers to electronically report workplace injuries so that they can be posted for the public," per NYT.Eliminating the Chemical Safety Board. Trump's budget proposes eliminating this program, which looks into accidents that occur in chemical plants.Eliminating OSHA grant program. The budget proposes ending this program, which "provides training in industries with high injury or fatality rates and workers who do not speak English well."What they're saying: "The President and his administration care very much about worker safety, but believe the Obama administration's approach was counterproductive, and we think we can do better," a WH spokesman told NYT.Why it matters: It has been known for decades that exposure to these respiratory hazards (beryllium, silica, etc.) is linked to disabling, sometimes fatal, diseases. Rolling back Obama-era rules that tried to hold companies accountable for worker safety could result in dangerous workplace conditions.

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World coronavirus updates: Governments tighten restrictions to curb cases surge

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans to declare a state of emergency and a 108 trillion yen ($990 billion) stimulus package Tuesday, as several governments announced new restrictions amid a jump in cases.

The big picture: The virus is confirmed to have killed almost 75,000 people and infected 1.3 million globally as of early Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 136,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 16,000) as half the planet's population is now on lockdown.

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Boris Johnson in intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being treated in the intensive care unit of St. Thomas' Hospital in London due to increasingly severe coronavirus symptoms.

What they're saying: Cabinet minister Michael Gove told LBC radio on Tuesday morning Johnson was not on a ventilator. "The prime minister has received some oxygen support and he is kept under, of course, close supervision," he said.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,348,184— Total deaths: 74,834 — Total recoveries: 284,802Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 368,376 — Total deaths: 10,989 — Total recoveries: 19,828Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned White House colleagues in late January the coronavirus could take over half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, memos obtained by Axios show.
  4. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  5. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  7. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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