Category archives for Government

Trial of Mining CEO Blankenship: Best quotes from Week 1

The criminal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship commenced on October 7 with opening statements by the prosecution and defense attorneys. The following are some of my favorite excerpts pulled from Day #1’s transcript.

Earlier this week, the White House hosted a Summit on Worker Voice, welcoming organizers from more traditional labor groups, such as unions, as well as voices from new worker movements, such as Fight for $15. At the summit, President Obama spoke about wages, the power of collective action and the growing “gig” economy.

Anyone who’s lived in a big, dense city is familiar with the sight of bicycle messengers weaving their way in between metro buses and taxi cabs, down side streets and around packed crosswalks, pedaling at impressive speeds and often with remarkable agility. Surprisingly, however, there’s little data on these workers, even though it seems they’d be particularly susceptible to injuries on the job.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Union fair-share fees at stake in upcoming Supreme Court case; United Arab Emirates announces labor reforms for migrant workers; taxi drivers in Chicago stop service in protest of proposed Uber rules; and health privacy at risk in workplace wellness programs.

Asbestos, disease burden, and TSCA reform

Senators should mark Mesothelioma Awareness Day (September 26) by considering asbestos as the litmus test for the adequacy of any TSCA reform legislation. They’ll see that S.697 fails the test.

In the U.S., the gap in life expectancy by income is getting wider. To be even clearer: Life expectancy for people with higher incomes has gone up over time, while life expectancy for people earning lower incomes has actually declined.

For years, scientists have described climate change as a slowly emerging public health crisis. But for many, it’s difficult to imagine how a complex planetary phenomenon can impact personal well-being beyond the obvious effects of natural disasters, which climatologists say will happen more frequently and intensely as the world warms. That disconnect is what piqued my interest in a new study on old infrastructure, heavy rainfalls and spikes in human illness.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Former employees at the Blue Bell ice cream plant in Texas report dangerous work conditions; federal health researchers announce new study of oil field workers; Democrats propose new labor rights legislation; and North Dakota legislators announce efforts to hold big oil companies responsible for worker deaths.

“Sharing happiness” is company motto, workers treated with “distrust rather than respect”

Poultry processing firm Allen Harim Foods’ slogan is “Improving the Quality of Life and Sharing Happiness.” It’s difficult for me to see how either is achieved with its mismanagement of work-related injuries and the hazards that cause them.

Paid sick leave, new rights for temp workers, and extending OSHA protections to public sector employees were among the many victories that unfolded at the state and local levels in the last 12 months and that we highlight in this year’s edition of “The Year in U.S. Occupational Health & Safety.”