Exxon whistleblowers, safe companies & Amazon’s violations

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What’s going on in EHS this week? Find out with Safety at the Frontline!

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.

Exxon to reinstate whistleblowers

Our first news is coming in from the oil and gas industry. So, in September 2020, the Wall Street Journal alleged that ExxonMobil may have inflated production estimates and the reported value of oil and gas wells in the Permian Basin.

They also reported that the company made inaccurate assumptions claiming that their drilling speed would increase substantially in the next five years. OSHA’s investigation found that two computational scientists who were concerned about the company’s assumptions were fired after the allegations were made by the WSJ.

OSHA ordered ExxonMobil to immediately reinstate two employees and pay them more than $800,000 in back wages, interest and compensatory damages.

America’s safest companies

I’m particularly excited about this next news. A while back, we mentioned EHS Today’s “America’s Safest Companies Awards”. EHS Today recently released the success story of Lindblad, one of the safest companies according to the list.

Lindblad, a privately held construction firm outside of Chicago, has a very proactive approach to all aspects of safety. Safety Coordinator Meghan Vidano mentions that they track and analyze near misses and incidents for root causes and rely on the results to enhance their existing safety program. They also utilize jobsite audits to serve as leading indicator of safety in the field and a good opportunity to determine any areas for improvement.

Some of the elements of Lindblad’s ESG program are:

  • Environmental awareness training for all employees related to the scope of their work, such as work performed in protected wetlands.
  • A chemical and waste management program to dispose of unused chemicals returned from jobsites.
  • Participation in a program run by Commonwealth Edison to promote a more diverse workforce in construction-related jobs, as well as partnering with partner with minority and woman-owned businesses in the Chicagoland area.

Amazon sues Washington State DL&I

Last news of the week, Amazon is suing the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. On Monday, a federal judge was asked to declare that the state’s allegations against Amazon, of serious workplace safety problems violates the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

In March, the department issued a citation at the company’s flagship warehouse near Seattle. It was found that “many Amazon jobs involve repetitive motions, lifting, carrying, twisting, and other physical work,” and said workers were “required to perform these tasks at such a fast pace that it increases the risk of injury.”

The Department of Labor and Industries called the violation willful due to similar citations at three other Amazon sites. Amazon has appealed all the citations and disputes the allegations.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast for more EHS updates, and in the meantime stay safe and stay tuned for next week.