Tag archives for occupational health
Re-run from May 26, 2015: 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.
Reporters at the Center for Public Integrity investigate the nation’s third wave of asbestos disease; garment workers in Bangladesh continue to fight for safety and dignity in the workplace; Seattle becomes the first U.S. city to allow Uber drivers to organize; and OSHA sends its silica rule to the White House.
In a recent study, Harvard public health researchers decided to test a few dozen types of electronic cigarettes for diacetyl, a flavoring chemical associated with a severe respiratory disease known as “popcorn lung.” The researchers found diacetyl in a majority of the e-cigarettes they tested. News outlets jumped on the findings, with some announcing that e-cigarettes could cause the often-debilitating respiratory disease.
In 2010, Donna Gross, a psychiatric technician at Napa State Hospital for more than a decade, was strangled to death at work by a mentally ill patient. While on-the-job violence in the health care sector was certainly nothing new at the time, the shocking and preventable circumstances surrounding Gross’ death helped ignite a new and coordinated movement for change. Now, just a handful of years later, California is set to become the only state with an enforceable occupational standard aimed at preventing workplace violence against health care workers.
The importance of protecting vulnerable workers in efforts to combat climate change; Dallas officials vote for mandatory rest breaks; University of Chicago’s nontenured instructors vote to form a union; and Cal/OSHA launches investigation into porn production company.
In 2011, a group of researchers embarked on a national study to measure burnout among physicians. They found that 45 percent of U.S. doctors met the criteria for burnout, which manifests as emotional exhaustion, a loss of meaning in one’s work, feelings of ineffectiveness, and a tendency to see people as objects rather than fellow humans. Less than a handful of years later, the problem has gotten significantly worse.
Manufacturing workers in the border city of Ciudad Juárez organize for better working conditions; a stretched OSHA struggles to ensure safe workplaces in Houston; Fight for $15 makes it to the U.S. Capitol; and OSHA investigates the death of a FedEx worker in Memphis.
In February 2015, a group of 7-Eleven night shift workers in Buffalo, New York, filed a complaint with OSHA. Sick of enduring regular bouts of verbal harassment, racial slurs and even death threats from customers — threats they often experienced while working alone with no security guard — they hoped OSHA could help bring about safer working conditions. Unfortunately, the agency decided not to investigate.
The Center for Public Integrity investigates occupational illness and the workers’ compensation system; federal officials accuse coal mining operator of worker retaliation; OSHA penalties finally rise to meet inflation; and low-wage workers go on strike across the nation for better wages.
When Mirella Nava began her new job at Rock Wool Manufacturing Company in Houston, Texas, she had no intentions of becoming an advocate for worker safety. But when she witnessed how fellow workers were being treated and the dangerous work conditions they faced on a daily basis, she felt compelled to speak up.