Jobs

“Practical, respective resources” for workers to achieve safety at work

The Hesperian Foundation’s new publication “Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety” offers practical information for workers to identify hazards and use collective action to improve their environment at work.

In a recent study, Harvard public health researchers decided to test a few dozen types of electronic cigarettes for diacetyl, a flavoring chemical associated with a severe respiratory disease known as “popcorn lung.” The researchers found diacetyl in a majority of the e-cigarettes they tested. News outlets jumped on the findings, with some announcing that e-cigarettes could cause the often-debilitating respiratory disease.

In 2010, Donna Gross, a psychiatric technician at Napa State Hospital for more than a decade, was strangled to death at work by a mentally ill patient. While on-the-job violence in the health care sector was certainly nothing new at the time, the shocking and preventable circumstances surrounding Gross’ death helped ignite a new and coordinated movement for change. Now, just a handful of years later, California is set to become the only state with an enforceable occupational standard aimed at preventing workplace violence against health care workers.

Not an “accident”: Eric McClellan, 55, suffers fatal work-related injury in Chesterfield County, Virginia

This week’s snapshot of just one work-related fatality in the US. This one occurred on Wednesday, November 25 in Chesterfield County, VA.

Occupational Health News Roundup

The importance of protecting vulnerable workers in efforts to combat climate change; Dallas officials vote for mandatory rest breaks; University of Chicago’s nontenured instructors vote to form a union; and Cal/OSHA launches investigation into porn production company.

Amazon packages, postal workers, and “being careful”

My neighborhood’s mail carrier is now responsible for delivering packages from Amazon. Did the USPS deal-makers consider how these new demands on postal workers increase their risk of suffering an injury or other adverse health consequences?

Trial of Mining CEO Blankenship: “Guilty” say the jurors

The criminal trial of Don Blankenship ended this week with a guilty verdict on one of the three charges against the former Massey Energy CEO. The reaction from family members and reflections from Charleston Gazette reporter Ken Ward make up my favorite quotes from this final week of the trial.

In 2011, a group of researchers embarked on a national study to measure burnout among physicians. They found that 45 percent of U.S. doctors met the criteria for burnout, which manifests as emotional exhaustion, a loss of meaning in one’s work, feelings of ineffectiveness, and a tendency to see people as objects rather than fellow humans. Less than a handful of years later, the problem has gotten significantly worse.

Trial of Mining CEO Blankenship: Quotes from Week 8

The criminal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is in its eighth week. Ken Ward, Jr. of the Charleston Gazette continues to provide updates from the courtroom, but far fewer now that most of the action is behind closed doors where the jury is deliberating.

OSHA’s beryllium rule: a victim of White House’s “regulatory reform” nonsense

A business consulting firm submitted comments to OSHA on the agency’s proposed beryllium rule. The firm calls out OSHA for offering way too many regulatory alternatives. It suggest OSHA return to its past practice of proposing a particular approach (or two) and justifying it.