Archives for April, 2013

Flavored java, coffee bean workers, and deadly lung disease

This week’s MMWR describes cases of bronchiolitis obliterans diagnosed in two individuals who worked— not at a microwave popcorn plant—-at a Texas coffee bean processing company.

Hundreds of workers at fast-food restaurants in Chicago staged a one-day walk-out last week calling for a $15 an hour wage.

Another day, another study that shows investing in public health interventions can make a serious dent in health care spending. A new study has found that banning smoking in all U.S. subsidized housing could yield cost savings of about $521 million every year.

Will Tom Vilsack’s USDA keep its promise to poultry plant workers about their grueling, disabling work?

The USDA Secretary tells Congress that his agency still plans to implement a new poultry slaughter inspection system that will allow producers to drastically increase line speeds, while a disturbing new report on poultry workers in Alabama explain the harmful effects of the current working conditions.

A few recent pieces worth a look

Construction is the US industry sector with the most worker fatalities. Designing buildings with construction and maintenance workers in mind can make buildings safer, and green buildings truly sustainable.

Preventing fire fighter deaths, learning from the fallen

CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has a special role in the West Fertilizer plant explosion. Its Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program will be investigating the factors that led to the deaths of the 10 volunteer fire fighters.

This week is Workers’ Memorial Week, when we remember the thousands of men and women who die on the job each year and work to prevent future deaths by improving workplace health and safety. Events are happening across the US and around the world.

Eric Rodriguez and his colleagues at the Latino Union of Chicago quite literally meet workers where they’re at — on the city’s street corners. Many of the day laborers who gather there are hired to work construction at residential housing sites. Work arrangements are hardly formal and day laborers are frequently subjected to unnecessary and illegal dangers on the job. Unfortunately, worker safety is often kicked to the curb in the street corner marketplace.

Since the White House Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) began reviewing the Labor Department’s proposed rule to reduce by one-half the permissible workplace exposure to respirable crystalline silica more than two year ago, the US has seen a dramatic increase in industrial sand mining, a major route of workers’ exposure to silica dust. Industry groups claim the more-protective standard would be too expensive.