California

Category archives for California

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

The feds grant billions in contracts to shipbuilders with serious worker safety lapses; Texas lawmakers want to undo an Austin initiative that protects construction workers; Chevron agrees to highest fine in Cal/OSHA history after refinery fire; and Democrats hope to ban a dangerous pesticide after EPA fails to act.

“It’s like an oven in there”: preventing work-related heat illnesses

Business lobbyists in California claim proposed worker safety rules for heat illness prevention are on too fast a track. They might think differently if they set up their desk in a warehouse or laundry without air conditioning.

Dozens of safety inspector positions in California are vacant while workplace fatalities and injuries in the state are on the rise. Cal/OSHA has had an average of 34 vacant field enforcement positions a month since July 2015, which means that more than $10 million in state-authorized funding was left unused.

Community groups, labor applaud new California refinery safety protections

Environmental justice and labor groups in California were relentless in their demand to make refineries safer. Their years of effort paid off with an announcement last week by the state of new refinery safety regulations.

A historical look at the ‘radium girls’ and their legacy of worker justice; OSHA’s website for receiving injury and illness logs not accepting submissions; California farmworkers sickened by pesticide after Trump’s EPA reverses course on a probable ban; and former Walmart employees file class-action lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination.

Right now, according to public health officials, about half a million U.S. kids have blood lead levels that could harm their health. However, new research finds many more children — hundreds of thousands more — are likely going unidentified.

Investigation reveals how Case Farms poultry plants exploit immigrant workers; Chinese workers who make Ivanka Trump’s clothing line are overworked and underpaid; California lawmakers consider bill to protect salon workers from harmful chemicals; and Trump’s budget would slash funds for combating child and forced labor overseas.

Occupational Health News Roundup

California farmworkers living in fear of deportation; Ontario health care workers call on officials to address violence in the workplace; West Virginia legislators consider dramatic loosening of mine safety standards; and thousands of workers get ready to strike on May 1.

Last month, California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) proposed revised and stronger regulations for oil refineries in the state after a 4½-year joint campaign by labor unions, environmental and community organizations.  The successful strategic coalition is a powerful example of how health and safety regulations can be improved despite an industry’s wealth, power and political influence.