Archives for September, 2009

The Mountain Eagle ( Whitesburg, KY) reports that coal miner Scott Howard was retaliated against by management at Arch Coal’s Cumberland River Coal Co. mine for his safety complaints and other protected activity.  In “Judge Agrees with finding that miner was being punished,” the paper notes that an administrative law judge (ALJ) with the Federal Occupational Safety and…

Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers

A Washington Post editorial entitled “Down and Out” (9/8/09) alerted me to a new report by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) on working conditions experienced by low-wage workers in the U.S.  The 72-page report “Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers:  Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America’s cities,” describes the results of a survey conducted in 2008…

by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure One of the most feared outcomes of infection with influenza is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS; in less severe form it mahy be called Acute Lung Injury, ALI). For reasons we still do not understand, cells deep in the lung that are involved in gas exchange (oxygen and carbon…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Wyoming has had the highest rate of workplace deaths in recent years – 15.6 fatalities per 100,000 workers from 2005-2007. Oil field workers, or roughnecks, are at particular risk, and some of them are pushing the state to make it easier for injured workers and dead workers’ survivors to sue oil companies. The Los Angeles…

Calculating Costs of Labor Law Violations

The New York Times editorial page draws attention to a new report that provides details about just how badly our system of workplace protections is failing workers in low-wage industries. Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America’s Cities provides the results of extensive research by the Center for Urban Economic…

Labor Rights are Human Rights

As I get ready to take in the 3-day Labor Day weekend, I have to remind myself that this national holiday has deep roots in the trade union movement and struggles (sometimes violent) for workers to secure basic human rights.   In 1948, some of the fundamental protections sought by our worker-forbears were codified into the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Among others,…

Breastfeeding is a Human Right

by Ruth Long Yesterday, a friend and neighbor told me that she was chastised for nursing her daughter in a DC public library.  She had placed herself in a discreet corner and covered herself and her child who was nursing, while she read a book to her older child.  The librarian then confronted this woman…

John Howard to Head NIOSH

We’ve just learned that Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be announcing later this afternoon that John Howard, MD has been selected to lead the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Dr. Howard headed NIOSH for six years during George W. Bush’s administration, and both the American Society of Safety Engineers and…

Things to Remember About US Healthcare

A lot of the media coverage of the healthcare debate lately has focused on the politics, probably because journalists feel like they’ve already spent several months explaining the various aspects of proposed reform. But there are a few things that bear repeating, because not everyone seems to remember them. The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein has…

Nano Genie out of the Bottle

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (a partnership between the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Pew Charitable Trusts) compiles an inventory of nanotech-enabled consumer products, and they recently announced that they’ve identified 1,000 nano products. Given the many concerns about effects of nanoparticles on workers’ health, human tissues, and even our water supply,…