Throwback Thursday: Hurricanes and putrid refrigerators

Millions of cubic yards of household debris from Hurricane Harvey is piling up in southeastern Texas. An NPR story following Hurricane Katrina paints a picture of what happens when it is carried away to landfills.

Public interest continues to grow for accurate information on the working conditions faced by the 450 million workers in global supply chains. The last quarter’s reports, through September 2017, include information on workplace health and safety, discrimination and sexual harassment of women workers, and corporate non-compliance with even basic labor laws in the electronics, apparel, and food industries.

Senate Republicans are again trying to ram through an Affordable Care Act replacement that threatens the health and well-being of millions of Americans. It’s shameful. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at what people who actually work in health care are saying about the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill.

More deregulation by Trump: Ditching mine safety requirements

The Trump administration’s deregulatory zeal has infiltrated the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Trump’s appointee is insisting that a safety examination performed while miners are working is as protective as one performed before miners begin their work.

Earlier this week, members of the Senate Finance Committee announced an agreement to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The announcement had been anxiously awaited by families and advocates across the nation, as the program’s federal funding expires in about two weeks. The agreement is good news, but coverage for CHIP’s 8.9 million children isn’t safe just yet.

In the last two years, the California Legislature has provided the Department of Industrial Relations with significantly increased financial resources to enhance the effectiveness of Cal/OSHA and better protect the 19 million workers in the state. DIR has failed to take full advantage of these resources to strengthen Cal/OSHA while at the same time it has provided refunds to employers who have paid the fees that generate these unused resources. The net effect is a Cal/OSHA that is weaker and less effective than it could be if all available resources were put to work. The people who pay the cost of these resources “left on the table” are the workers of California and their families and communities.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Labor unions are becoming de facto immigrant rights groups; Trump pick to head MSHA is a former coal executive; Cal/OSHA opens more investigations into Goodwill’s safety conditions; and a new memorial honors first responders who became ill after exposures during the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

Articles on the public-health toll from hurricanes, plus pieces on DACA, hookworm, and “President Trump’s War on Science.”

Typically, we like to end the annual “The Year in U.S. Occupational Health & Safety” on an uplifting note. But this time around — to be honest — that was a hard sell.