Occupational Health & Safety

Category archives for Occupational Health & Safety

A recently published book– “Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon” by occupational health physician Paul Blanc – is an historical investigation of the use of carbon disulfide throughout the world to make products. The book describes how the making of rayon led to suicides and caused neurologic deaths of workers exposed to the toxic chemical… and it “names names” of those involved … during two World Wars. We have all heard about lead and asbestos and the legacy of death they created… but none of us has heard this meticulously researched investigative story before.

Mass firings, blacklisting of fired workers, indefinite detentions of union leaders and worker rights advocates in Bangladesh threaten the fragile gains in workplace health and safety in the garment industry. International clothing brands and retailers are being petitioned to reverse the firings, release the detained, and respect the basic rights of garment workers.

Occupational Health News Roundup

The New York Times interviews current, former workers at restaurants run by Trump’s labor secretary nominee; Kentucky lawmakers move to weaken unions; Maryland county votes to raise the minimum wage to $15; and Houston’s new police chief calls for better mental health services for police officers.

A just published book – Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money and the Remaking of an America City – describes how a decade of local organizing and year-round campaigning has resulted in impressive local victories in a Black, white and Asian town dominated by Chevron corporation.  Richmond, California, has set an example and registered successes by local left wing campaigners that contain important and hopeful lessons about uniting allies and successfully defending health, safety and democratic rights.

A union’s persistence results in new OSHA rule for workers exposed to beryllium

For four decades the United Steelworkers had their sight focused on an OSHA rule to protect workers who are exposed to beryllium. The metal can cause a horrible respiratory illness and is a carcinogen. Last week, the union’s persistence paid off.

The Honduras Independent Monitoring Team (EMIH) won the 2016 International Award of the Occupational Health and Safety Section of the American Public Health Association at the APHA’s annual conference in Denver.  Lynda Yanz, Executive Director of the Maquila Solidarity Network, based in Toronto, Canada, accepted the award on behalf of EMIH at the November 1st awards luncheon. 

Occupational Health News Roundup

Hispanic hotel workers in Las Vegas are becoming a powerful political force; families of miners who died from black lung disease sue Johns Hopkins Hospital; Milwaukee officials approve a living wage ordinance for county workers; and women in France and Iceland walk off the job to protest the gender wage gap.

During the week when OSHA renewed its alliance with the American Staffing Association, National COSH held a press call to draw attention to the temp industry’s failure to adequately address health and safety problems faced by temp workers.

Workers’ wages in China are now deemed to be “too high” by consumer product brands seeking to “source” their products in Asia — so Vietnam has become the new “promised land” for international brands selling clothes, electronics and sports shoes, among other products. Vietnamese workers are now facing sweatshop working conditions, like Chinese workers before them, in the global corporations’ “race to the bottom” in wages, working conditions and rights.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Reporters investigate the man whose research is used to deny veterans’ claims about Agent Orange exposure; former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship goes back to court to appeal his conviction; voters in five states will cast ballots on raising the minimum wage; and OSHA’s new worker retaliation rules are delayed.