Archives for June, 2013

Security cameras in taxicabs, not partitions, reduce homicide rates for cab drivers

The risk of homicide is higher for taxicab drivers than for most other occupations. A new study finds that surveillance cameras mounted inside the cabs substantially reduce the drivers’ risk of homicide.

Walmart vs. Costco

As workers converged on Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting in a quest for higher pay and better working conditions, an in-depth article on Costco highlighted some stark differences between the two big-box stores.

Occupational Health News Roundup

A fire in a Chinese poultry plant with narrow halls and locked exits killed 120 workers; a NIOSH study finds high rates of carpal tunnel syndrome among poultry workers and fuels concerns that USDA’s proposed rule allowing line-speed increases will increase health risks to workers; and Congress takes steps toward addressing military sexual assault.

“Timeliness” a priority for Obama’s regulatory czar nominee, backlog awaits him

President Obama’s nominee for regulatory czar has an affinity for timeliness. It will be interesting to see how he deals with a backlog of rules “under review” and an office plagued by missed deadlines.

It seems we barely go a week now without news of another violent gun incident. Last week’s shooting rampage in Santa Monica, Calif., has resulted in the deaths of five people. And since the Newtown school shooting last December — in the span of less than six months — thousands of Americans have been killed by guns.

Lead-poisoned workers: Thousands each year in the US, especially among Hispanic workers

Between 5,000 and 6,000 cases of elevated blood lead levels from workplace exposures are reported each year to state health departments. In California, where the workforce is 36 percent Hispanic, the proportion of individuals with elevated blood-lead who also had Hispanic surnames was 64-70 percent.

Every week, the Austin-based Workers Defense Project welcomes standing room-only crowds to its Workers in Action meetings. And once a month, a local OSHA representative would join the meeting, giving some of Texas’ most vulnerable workers the chance to meet face-to-face with the agency. Unfortunately, due to the federal sequester, OSHA has had to indefinitely suspend its participation. It’s a significant loss.

“If we could get growers to comply with the law, that would revolutionize agriculture in this country,” said United Farm Workers (UFW) national vice president Erik Nicholson explaining the circumstances that led to the creation of the Equitable Food Initiative.

When Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) passed away Monday at the age of 89, the Senate lost one of its longest-serving members and the US lost a public-health champion.

Fallen Houston firefighters raise national death toll to 37, 2013 especially deadly for Texas crews

In a typical year, about five firefighters in Texas die in the line of duty. So far in 2013, the death toll is 13. The official count doesn’t include five responders who were killed at West Fertilizer.