The Federal Government Plans to Reform “Star” Workplace Safety Program That Reduced Inspections at Some Manufacturers
After ProPublica raised questions about the rigor of inspections at Star Program facilities that used asbestos but received limited unannounced OSHA visits, regulators are seeking input about how to reform it.
In a letter to the EPA, Olin Corp., one of the few U.S. manufacturers still using asbestos, signaled newfound support for a federal ban on the deadly mineral and said it could halt imports as soon as this week.
In an unusual move, the EPA opened a new public comment period on its proposed asbestos ban to get input regarding new information, including ProPublica findings that workers were “swimming” in the deadly substance.
Public Health Leaders Question Whether Asbestos Facilities Should Be Exempt From Surprise Inspections
The American Public Health Association raised concerns that plants “game the system” to hide asbestos problems and called for scrutiny from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
New accounts from workers contrast sharply with what chemical giants have said on the record about worker safety at their facilities.
A law blocking the use of asbestos, a potent carcinogen, would be harder to overturn than a similar ban being considered by the EPA, advocates say.