Occupational Health & Safety

Category archives for Occupational Health & Safety

Fatal work injury that killed Rick Simer, 64, was preventable, OSHA cites K.B.P. Coil Coaters

The fatal work-related injuries that killed Simer, 64, could have been prevented had K.B.P. Coil Coaters, Inc. followed worker safety regulations.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Former head of the federal Wage and Hour Division talks about efforts under Obama, challenges under Trump; news releases on OSHA enforcement actions disappear from its website; Texas lawmakers propose bills to improve farmworker housing conditions; and congressional Republicans vote to roll back OSHA reporting rules.

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.

Case and Deaton’s analysis of increasing mortality rates among white middle-age Americans made a connection to economic phenomena, but their analysis didn’t discuss specific pathways that might lead from one to the other. A group of doctoral students at UMass Lowell’s Work Environment Program set out to explore those causal pathways.

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.