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Occupational Health News Roundup

New investigative series examines the toll of occupational illness and the lack of federal protections; OSHA steps up its efforts to protect nurses; women janitors face sexual assault and rape risks on the night shift; and IKEA reports that raising wages worked so well, the company is set to raise them again.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Historic agreement reached between farmworkers and agribusiness in Baja California; New York fast food workers testify in support of higher wages; Cal-OSHA to strengthen its heat exposure oversight; and labor advocates say an upcoming visit from Pope Francis could be a boost for workers.

Back in 1970 when the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was established, local policymakers could choose whether or not to extend OSHA protections to state employees. Unfortunately, Massachusetts took a pass. But decades later — and after years of advocacy, organizing and research on the part of worker advocates — employees of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can now look forward to safer and healthier workplaces.

Family-friendly workplace policies can have unintended consequences for women; building owner charged with murder in collapse of garment factory in Bangladesh; new standing recommendations proposed for office workers; and a famous food journalist calls for improved working conditions for food workers.

After 18 years as a professional house cleaner in the suburbs of Chicago, Magdalena Zylinska says she feels very lucky. Unlike many of her fellow domestic workers, she hasn’t sustained any serious injuries.

Injured workers testify before Illinois lawmakers on preserving the workers’ comp system; OSHA fines DuPont for failing to prevent the deaths of four workers; journalists arrested in Qatar while trying to investigate migrant working conditions; and a new report finds that service members who report sexual assault are likely to face retaliation.

More than $30 million in Arkansas, $25.8 million in Kentucky, $105.5 million in Washington and $180 million in Michigan. That’s how much money just four states during just one fiscal year saved under their newly expanded Medicaid programs.

Just another example of how cuts to health care funding simply shift the costs and endanger people’s health. This time it’s a study on the impact of eliminating adult dental coverage within the California Medicaid program. Not surprisingly, the cut resulted in a significant and immediate rise in people seeking help in hospital emergency departments.

The Department of Labor proposes a new rule to help miners with black lung disease; federal lawmakers introduce new hike to the minimum wage; worker safety outreach in Houston highlights the impact of new reporting rules; and a new museum is opening in honor of coal miners.

Today, Maine’s legislature held a hearing on the Toxic Chemicals in the Workplace Act, a proposal to require employers to identify harmful chemicals in the workplace and replace them with safer alternatives. It’s the perfect example of state action on behalf of worker safety and exactly the kind of measure that might no longer be possible under two congressional proposals aimed at overhauling the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.