Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "worker safety" ...

  • Drivers Under Siege

    They are not police officers or firefighters, yet Bay Area bus drivers who work for the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) face some of the most dangerous working conditions with the fewest protections. Using public records and video footage, our analysis found that bus drivers with AC Transit faced more violent assaults than any other district in the San Francisco Bay Area. After we started asking questions, AC Transit announced it would test out new bus shields to protect drivers and California lawmakers introduced a federal bill in Congress with bipartisan support that will require transit districts across the country to reassess their safety measures. The new law would allocate $25 million a year for five years to pay for shields, de-escalation training, systems for transit agencies nationwide to track assault data and report that data to the Department of Transportation.
  • Fatal Flaws

    Kentucky's worker safety program failed to properly investigate nearly every on-the-job death for two years. The victims were tree trimmers, public-works employees, construction workers, home health aides. They died in jobs everyone knows to be dangerous and in jobs you might attend every day without considering whether you'd make it home. But in almost every case, the state's Occupational Safety and Health program didn't do enough to determine if a business was responsible for unsafe conditions — never mind actually hold them accountable.
  • Dangerous Jobs, Cheap Meat

    Americans love meat – we have one of the highest rates of consumption in the world. While U.S. shoppers enjoy relatively low prices and an array of choices, there is a high human price tag. The more than 500,000 men and women who work in slaughterhouses and meat processing plants have some of the most dangerous factory jobs in America. The meatpacking industry has made a lot of progress on worker safety since publication of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” in 1906, but some things remain the same: the work is mostly done by immigrants and refugees; they suffer high rates of injuries and even, sometimes death; and the government lags in oversight. http://harvestpublicmedia.org/content/dangerous-jobs-cheap-meat
  • Danger Zone: Examining safety in the oil and gas boom

    In its "Danger Zone" investigation, EnergyWire found that lax safety procedures in the booming oil and gas drilling industry are killing workers. The series showed that many of the threats to workers, such as explosions and toxic gases, also threaten the general public.
  • Shipyard workers face hidden toxin

    Coal slag, a recycled coal waste byproduct, is used by the ton at the nation’s shipyards, where its blasted against steel hulls to prepare them for paint. The product contains a toxin called beryllium that has been linked to a chronic and sometimes fatal lung disease. Though safety officials at the nation’s biggest shipyard were aware of the toxin, called beryllium, workers say they were not clued in, and union officials say dust from the product, called coal slag, commonly gets in the eyes and throats of workers despite efforts to keep it out of the air.
  • As OSHA Emphasizes Safety, Long-Term Health Risks Fester

    For years, Sheri Farley worked in a cushion-making factory. Spray-gun in hand, she stood enveloped in a yellowish fog, breathing glue fumes that ate away at her nerve endings. “Dead foot” set in. She walked with a limp, then a cane, then she didn't walk much at all. “Part of the job,” was the shrugging response from her managers. This article was the first to reveal how the furniture industry used a dangerous chemical called nPB despite urgent warnings from the companies that manufactured it. The story also described egregious behavior by a small cushion-making company in North Carolina called Royale Comfort Seating, where Ms. Farley worked. The piece spotlighted the consequences of OSHA's failure to police long-term health risks and how efforts to control one chemical left workers exposed to something worse. Workplace illnesses like Ms. Farley's affect more than 200,000 Americans per year and cost our economy more than $250 billion annually. The agency responsible for ensuring that Americans can breathe clean air on the job focuses primarily on deadly accidents. But ten times as many people die from inhaling toxic substances at work.
  • Buried in Grain

    NPR Correspondent Howard Berkes and Center for Public Integrity Senior Reporter Jim Morris spent seven months investigating dozens of horrific and preventable deaths in America’s grain storage bins. They immediately discovered that the government’s own data for grain entrapment incidents was inaccurate and incomplete, and a database kept by Purdue University and used by OSHA and industry was also incomplete. That prompted weeks of painstaking scrutiny of multiple government datasets, which resulted in a more complete list of incidents and discernible and disturbing patterns in enforcement. The NPR/CPI analysis showed that grain bin “drownings” occurred repeatedly and increasingly during a 20-year period in which both OSHA and the industry had promised more focused attention to safety. The analysis also showed that the same safety standards were violated over and over again, year after year, in incidents that left workers dead, including incidents involving underage, illegally employed workers. Workers were repeatedly sent into bins in violation of the law, and without proper training or safety equipment. But NPR/CPI found that OSHA’s fines were cut an average of 60 per cent in 60 per cent of the incidents. In the very worst cases, which involved willful and egregious employer behavior, OSHA cut fines from 50 to 97 percent. NPR/CPI also found that criminal referrals and prosecutions are rare, even when employers are cited for egregious and willful behavior. “Buried in Grain” chronicles a failed regulatory system even as grain harvests and storage, and worker entrapments and deaths, reached record levels. The series highlighted one particular incident in 2010 in Illinois in which a 14-year-old and 19-year-old died, and their best friend watched them die. “Buried in Grain” prompted calls for reform from members of Congress, support for legislation that would make willful behavior in worker deaths a felony, an internal agency effort to look more closely at fine reductions and a second look at possible federal criminal charges in the Illinois case.
  • "Lifesaving Drugs, Deadly Consequences"

    This investigative piece looks at worker safety issues that affect "the nation's healthcare providers." Health care employees are often put in harms way by handling drugs that are meant to save the "lives of cancer patients," but can be "human carcinogens," too. This report shows that regulation on exposure to these types of drugs in the workplace is weak.
  • The Tyranny of Oil

    "The hardest-hitting expose of the oil industry in decades answers today's most pressing energy questions: How much oil is left? How far will Big Oil go to get it? And at what cost to the economy, environment, human rights, worker safety, public health, democracy, and America's place in the world?"
  • The Cruelest Cuts

    The investigation revealed how officials in the poultry industry have ignored and threatened injured workers as they created an illusion of safety inside their plants. The practice helped companies boost profits, but it has also jeopardized the health of thousands of poultry workers.