Tag archives for worker safety
Twelve weeks into 2014, six cell tower workers have died on the job – incidents that caused a total of 7 fatalities. OSHA has called the industry’s safety record “unacceptable” and announced increased focus on tower work safety. But this history of catastrophic and fatal incidents goes back nearly 20 years. What’s needed to effect change?
A few highlights (and low lights) from the first week of public hearings on OSHA’s proposed rule to protect workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica.
Thanks to a unanimous vote of California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board last Thursday, workers get to hold on to a robust chemical right-to-know rule that puts their health and safety first. The vote also means that California workers will reap the benefits of more meaningful right-to-know rules than those at the federal level.
Erik Deighton, 23, was crushed last month in a piece of machinery. A police officer commenting about his death called it an accident. There are well-established ways to prevent a worker from being crushed in a machine. When it happens, it is not an accident.
Over the next three weeks, more than 200 individuals are scheduled to testify at OSHA’s public hearing on its proposed silica regulation. Unlike other regulatory agencies, OSHA’s rulemaking hearings are overseen by an administrative law judge. Those who testify can cross-examine and be cross-examined by other witnesses and agency officials.
“For us it’s personal,” said Jeannie Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator. “It’s a daily issue for us. Every day with a weaker protection standard is another day a worker is exposed to pesticides,” she said. On February 20th the EPA proposed revisions to its Worker Protection Standard for agricultural pesticides. Farm worker advocates are welcoming the proposal – the first update since 1992 – but see both improvements and what some are calling “steps backward.”
Last weekend, construction worker Jose Perez stood up and spoke about life as a construction worker in one of then nation’s most prosperous cities. In front of him were hundreds of supporters who had gathered in downtown Austin, Texas, to call on a local developer to treat its workers better. Looming behind him was the new Gables Park Tower, an unfinished luxury apartment complex where construction workers have reported dangerous working conditions and frequent wage violations.
A 32 year old worker was killed because a machine safeguard had been disabled. His employer had a pattern of reckless behavior, and should not have a license to kill.
Seatbelts save lives. But some workers don’t wear them. We might save some lives if we knew why.