Starbucks safety concerns, trench-related fatalities, MSHA grant 

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Tune in on Mondays to get the latest safety news with Frontline’s podcast. We’re covering the top EHS news, along with some quick and useful tips, so you can stay safe and keep rocking on the frontlines.

Starbucks to close stores over safety concerns

We’re starting this week off with a nice cup of coffee. Well, not literally. Starbucks, the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, announced that it’s going to close 16 stores in the US due to safety concerns. The Wall Street Journal reported that the company will close six stores in Seattle; six stores in Los Angeles; two stores in Portland, one store in Philadelphia; and in Washington, D.C.

On July 11, Starbucks executives sent a letter to employees, saying that this decision was a result of the challenges and concerns their employees were facing.

Senior vice presidents of U.S. operations, Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson wrote “With stores in thousands of communities across the country, we know these challenges can, at times, play out within our stores too. We read every incident report you file—it’s a lot.”

The letter also states that in cases where they aren’t able to create a safe environment in a store, Starbucks will close it permanently. In those instances, the company will move employees to neighboring stores.

To make workers feel safer, the company is offering active shooter training and other types of training as well.

Increase in trench-related fatalities

On to the next news, there has been an alarming rise in trench-related worker fatalities.

Through the first half of this year, OSHA has recorded 22 trenching deaths – already a 47% increase from the 15 recorded in all of 2021.
The agency is launching “enhanced enforcement initiatives” and outreach efforts to protect workers from known hazards. Agency administrator Doug Parker stated that “Every one of these tragedies could have been prevented had employers complied with OSHA standards.”

To stem the deadly trend, OSHA enforcement staff is going to consider every available tool at the agency’s disposal,” including issuing referrals for federal or state criminal prosecution.

Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety Grants Program

The MSHA is providing up to $1 million in grant funding for states, territories, and private and public organizations to develop educational and training programs. These programs are intended to “help the mining community identify, avoid and prevent unsafe and unhealthy working conditions in and around the nation’s mines.”

The agency is accepting applications until August 23rd for its Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety Grants Program.