farm workers https://scienceblogs.com/ en Occupational Health News Roundup https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/10/10/occupational-health-news-roundup-256 <span>Occupational Health News Roundup</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At <a href="https://www.revealnews.org/article/they-thought-they-were-going-to-rehab-they-ended-up-in-chicken-plants/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reveal</a>, Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walter investigate an increasing criminal justice trend in which defendants are sent to rehab, instead of prison. On its face, the idea is a good one, especially for people struggling with addiction. However, the reporters find that many so-called rehab centers are little more than labor camps funneling unpaid workers into private industry.</p> <p>The story focused on one particular center, Christian Alcoholics &amp; Addicts in Recovery (CAAIR) in Oklahoma. Started by chicken company executives, CAAIR’s court-ordered residents work full-time at Simmons Foods Inc., a billion-dollar company that processes poultry for businesses like Walmart, KFC and PetSmart. CAAIR residents don’t get paid and aren’t covered by workers’ compensation; if they get injured on the job, they can be kicked out of CAAIR or sent back to prison. Harris and Walter write:</p> <blockquote><p>About 280 men are sent to CAAIR each year by courts throughout Oklahoma, as well as Arkansas, Texas and Missouri. Instead of paychecks, the men get bunk beds, meals and Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. If there’s time between work shifts, they can meet with a counselor or attend classes on anger management and parenting. Weekly Bible study is mandatory. For the first four months, so is church. Most days revolve around the work.</p> <p>“Money is an obstacle for so many of these men,” said Janet Wilkerson, CAAIR’s founder and CEO. “We’re not going to charge them to come here, but they’re going to have to work. That’s a part of recovery, getting up like you and I do every day and going to a job.”</p> <p>The program has become an invaluable labor source. Over the years, Simmons Foods repeatedly has laid off paid employees while expanding its use of CAAIR. Simmons now is so reliant on the program for some shifts that the plants likely would shut down if the men didn’t show up, according to former staff members and plant supervisors.</p> <p>But Donny Epp, a spokesman for Simmons Foods, said the company does not depend on CAAIR to fill a labor shortage.</p> <p>“It’s about building relationships with our community and supporting the opportunity to help people become productive citizens,” he said.</p> <p>The arrangement also has paid off for CAAIR. In seven years, the program brought in more than $11 million in revenue, according to tax filings.</p> <p>“They came up with a hell of an idea,” said Parker Grindstaff, who graduated earlier this year. “They’re making a killing off of us.”</p></blockquote> <p>Read the full story at <a href="https://www.revealnews.org/article/they-thought-they-were-going-to-rehab-they-ended-up-in-chicken-plants/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reveal</a>.</p> <p>In other news:</p> <p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/10/04/555594403/ben-jerrys-signs-deal-to-improve-migrant-dairy-workers-conditions?utm_source=npr_newsletter&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_content=20171004&amp;utm_campaign=npr_email_a_friend&amp;utm_term=storyshare" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">NPR</a>: Kathleen Masterson reports that Ben &amp; Jerry’s has a signed a deal to help improve working conditions on Vermont dairy farms that supply milk to the ice cream company. Representatives from Ben &amp; Jerry’s and Migrant Justice, a farmworker advocacy group, signed the agreement, which commits the company to paying higher prices to dairy farms that join the Milk with Dignity program. The ultimate goal is to source all of the company’s milk through the program, which ensures workers get adequate breaks, time off, paid sick days, safe job conditions and fair housing. Masterson quoted Enrique Balcazar of Migrant Justice: "This is the first expansion that we've seen from the model of worker-driven social responsibly that was pioneered by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in the Florida tomato fields. It is a great victory and an honor for us dairy workers to expand that model to the dairy industry of Vermont."</p> <p><a href="http://www.newsweek.com/who-has-health-insurance-trumps-labor-department-says-unions-get-americans-681109" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Newsweek</em></a>: Christianna Silva reports that “Trump’s anti-union Labor Department” has just released a study showing that nearly every union member — 94 percent — has access to employer-provided health coverage. On the flip side, 67 percent of nonunion workers <strong>don’t</strong> have access to employer-provided health care. The research, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that among workers who have access to employer-provided care, more union workers take advantage of the option. Access the full statistics <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/94-percent-of-union-workers-had-access-to-medical-care-benefits-in-march-2017.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/10/massachusetts_senate_would_ext.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">MassLive</a>: Shira Schoenberg reports that members of the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill to extend OSHA protections to all public-sector workers. In 2014, state lawmakers expanded OSHA protections to cover all executive branch workers, but the protections didn’t cover those working for cities, towns and higher education. The new bill, which still has to get through the state House, would also establish a new Municipal Occupational Health and Safety Subcommittee. The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents reports that each week, about 28 municipal workers suffer injuries that keep them out of work for five days. Schoenberg quoted Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman: "When Massachusetts workers arrive on the job each day, their health and safety protections shouldn't vary depending on whether they work in the public sector or private sector.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/05/jeff-sessions-transgender-people-not-protected-workplace-discrimination/735709001/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>USA Today</em></a>: Kevin Johnson reports on the directive from Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying federal civil rights law does not protect transgender people from discrimination at work. Not surprisingly, the directive rolls back Obama-era protections that stated the “most straightforward reading” of the law also protected transgender workers. Johnson quoted James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT &amp; HIV Project, who said: "Today marks another low point for a Department of Justice which has been cruelly consistent in its hostility towards the LGBT community and in particular, its inability to treat transgender people with basic dignity and respect.”</p> <p><em>Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years. Follow me on Twitter — <a href="http://www.twitter.com/kkrisberg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@kkrisberg</a>.</em></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/kkrisberg" lang="" about="/author/kkrisberg" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kkrisberg</a></span> <span>Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:15</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farm-workers" hreflang="en">farm workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/government" hreflang="en">government</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/healthcare" hreflang="en">healthcare</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/legal" hreflang="en">Legal</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occup-health-news-roundup" hreflang="en">Occup Health News Roundup</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health-safety" hreflang="en">Occupational Health &amp; Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/osha" hreflang="en">OSHA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/poultry-plants" hreflang="en">poultry plants</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/trump-administration" hreflang="en">Trump administration</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/dairy-farm-workers" hreflang="en">dairy farm workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/diversion-courts" hreflang="en">diversion courts</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/health-insurance" hreflang="en">health insurance</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-camps" hreflang="en">labor camps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-union" hreflang="en">labor union</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-workers" hreflang="en">low-wage workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health" hreflang="en">Occupational health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-safety" hreflang="en">occupational safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/poultry-processing" hreflang="en">Poultry Processing</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/poultry-workers" hreflang="en">poultry workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health" hreflang="en">public health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-sector-workers" hreflang="en">public sector workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/transgender-discrimination" hreflang="en">transgender discrimination</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/wage-theft" hreflang="en">wage theft</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-safety" hreflang="en">worker safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workplace-discrimination" hreflang="en">workplace discrimination</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/healthcare" hreflang="en">healthcare</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/poultry-plants" hreflang="en">poultry plants</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/trump-administration" hreflang="en">Trump administration</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1874386" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1509441193"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Quick note of thanks to you Kim, for your writing on OH+S stuff , here at Scienceblogs, which looks like finishing up maybe.<br /> As an employee in a tropical region, i found several of your posts very illuminating and relevant on a couple of niche issues.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1874386&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="rMo6NT2Fd7GSmh2SMcrKq6Rqc-l6T3s3PdeZto8591c"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Li D (not verified)</span> on 31 Oct 2017 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/13073/feed#comment-1874386">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2017/10/10/occupational-health-news-roundup-256%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 10 Oct 2017 20:15:39 +0000 kkrisberg 62939 at https://scienceblogs.com Occupational Health News Roundup https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/08/10/occupational-health-news-roundup-252 <span>Occupational Health News Roundup</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/business/dealbook/shown-the-door-older-workers-find-bias-hard-to-prove.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>The New York Times</em></a>, Elizabeth Olson writes about the challenges that older workers face in proving workplace bias. She begins the story with Donetta Raymond, a longtime manufacturing worker laid off, along with hundreds of others, by Spirit AeroSystems Holdings. Now, some of those workers are bringing a lawsuit after discovering that nearly half of the laid-off workers were 40 or older, the age when federal age discrimination protections kick in. Olson writes:</p> <blockquote><p>Such lawsuits are popping up as the nation’s work force ages and as many longtime workers claim that they are being deliberately targeted for such reductions. As manufacturing has contracted, more experienced workers feel they have limited options for re-employment if they are discarded at older ages.</p> <p>“Once layoffs were done by reverse seniority. It was last in, first out, so the more senior workers kept their jobs,” said Robert J. Gordon, an economics professor at Northwestern University, who studies the country’s growth and work force productivity.</p> <p>“Now we’re seeing a transition from the age of favoritism to that of age discrimination,” Mr. Gordon said, “because newer workers are allowed to stay on while more costly, older workers are let go.”</p></blockquote> <p>Olson noted that lawmakers in Congress have introduced the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, though past efforts to enhance older worker protections have found little traction in Congress and opposition from big business.</p> <blockquote><p>While long-term workers are better off than they were a half-century ago when employers flatly blocked applicants over 55 years old and ran help-wanted ads that said “only workers under 35 need apply,” older employees still can encounter different kinds of age bias.</p> <p>Age-related harassment complaints, especially remarks that belittle or demean longtime workers’ skills or contributions, are up noticeably. They rose to 4,185 last year, an increase of almost 14 percent since 2011, according to E.E.O.C. data.</p></blockquote> <p>Read the full story at <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/business/dealbook/shown-the-door-older-workers-find-bias-hard-to-prove.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>The New York Times</em></a>.</p> <p>In other news:</p> <p><a href="http://www.startribune.com/union-feds-at-odds-on-countering-surge-in-coal-mine-deaths/438266393/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Minneapolis Star Tribune</em></a>: Dylan Lovan (Associated Press) reports that this year’s coal miner fatalities have surged ahead of last year’s with new miners particularly vulnerable to fatal incidents. Ten coal miners have died on the job this year, compared to eight last year. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration says it’s responding with new training, but the United Mine Workers of America says the agency’s effort isn’t enough. Right now, inspectors who conduct the trainings are prohibited from punishing the mine is any safety violations are detected. Lovan writes: “A former MSHA official said the agency would be ‘tying the hands’ of inspectors if they don't allow them to write citations on the training visits. ‘The record low fatal injury rate among coal miners in recent years is because of strong enforcement of the law,’ said Celeste Monforton, who served on a governor-appointed panel that investigated West Virginia's 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster that killed 29 miners. There were 12 coal mining deaths in 2015 and 16 in 2014.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.ehstoday.com/safety/sarbanand-farm-workers-protest-after-employee-death" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">EHS Today</a>: Stefanie Valentic reports that farm workers are protesting in Suma, Washington, after a fellow farmworker, Honesto Silva Ibarra, a temporary worker on a H-2A visa working for Sarbanand Farms, died after becoming sick on the job. Workers are alleging mistreatment and unsafe conditions in the death — one said supervisors repeatedly ignored Ibarra’s complaints about feeling sick. At a hospital, Ibarra was treated for dehydration and suffered cardiac arrest. The farm denied they knew about Ibarra’s illness. Valentic writes: “Since then, more than 70 workers for the blueberry grower were fired for insubordination after refusing to return to work and also currently are displaced from their living quarters. The employees protested, saying Ibarra did complain, and they were exposed to long work hours and unsafe conditions.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/08/google-women-discrimination-class-action-lawsuit" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>The Guardian</em></a>: Sam Levin reports that more than 60 current and former Google employees are considering a class-action suit against the technology company for sexism and pay disparities against women. If filed, the suit would build on a case brought by the U.S. Department of Labor, which is claiming Google systematically underpays women. Google denies the claim, though a judge recently forced the company to hand over salary records. Levin writes: “One former senior manager who recently left Google told the Guardian she repeatedly learned of men at the same level as her earning tens of thousands of dollars more than her, and in one case, she said she had a male employee join her team with a higher salary despite the fact that she was his superior.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/2017/08/07/uaw-mississippi/104392836/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Detroit News</em></a>: Keith Laing reports on what’s next for the United Auto Workers after the recent defeat at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, where workers voted nearly 2 to 1 against forming a union. The vote marked the third time in nearly three decades that Nissan workers in the U.S. South had decided not to join the labor union. Shortly before the Canton vote, the union had filed seven claims that Nissan broke labor law; the National Labor Relations Board will consider the charges alongside a series of other allegations. Laing writes the labor board could order another election if it sides with the auto workers union. He writes: “Nissan has dismissed the UAW’s accusations of labor law violations as sour grapes that were part of a ‘desperate, last-minute attempt to undermine the integrity of the secret ballot voting process’ from the union.”</p> <p><em>Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years. Follow me on Twitter — </em><a href="http://www.twitter.com/kkrisberg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>@kkrisberg</em></a><em>.</em></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/kkrisberg" lang="" about="/author/kkrisberg" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kkrisberg</a></span> <span>Wed, 08/09/2017 - 19:35</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farm-workers" hreflang="en">farm workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/government" hreflang="en">government</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/legal" hreflang="en">Legal</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mining" hreflang="en">Mining</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/msha" hreflang="en">MSHA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occup-health-news-roundup" hreflang="en">Occup Health News Roundup</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health-safety" hreflang="en">Occupational Health &amp; Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/age-discrimination" hreflang="en">age discrimination</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/auto-workers" hreflang="en">auto workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/coal-miners" hreflang="en">coal miners</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/coal-mining" hreflang="en">coal mining</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/heat-illness" hreflang="en">Heat Illness</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-union" hreflang="en">labor union</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-workers" hreflang="en">low-wage workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health" hreflang="en">Occupational health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-safety" hreflang="en">occupational safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/pay-disrimination" hreflang="en">pay disrimination</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health" hreflang="en">public health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-fatality" hreflang="en">worker fatality</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-safety" hreflang="en">worker safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workplace-discrimination" hreflang="en">workplace discrimination</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mining" hreflang="en">Mining</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2017/08/10/occupational-health-news-roundup-252%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 23:35:05 +0000 kkrisberg 62905 at https://scienceblogs.com Occupational Health News Roundup https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/07/26/occupational-health-news-roundup-251 <span>Occupational Health News Roundup</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/government-paying-billions-shipbuilders-histories-safety-lapses/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">PBS Newhour</a>, Aubrey Aden-Buie reports on the shipbuilders that receive billions in federal contracts despite histories of serious safety lapses. In a review of federal contracts, Aden-Buie and colleagues found that since 2008, the federal government has awarded more than $100 billion to companies with records of safety incidents that injured and killed workers.</p> <p>In a transcript of the broadcast (which you can also watch at the link above), Aden-Buie interviews Martin Osborn, a welder at shipbuilder Austal USA in Alabama:</p> <blockquote><p><strong>MARTIN OSBORN:</strong> I was up in a boom lift, as we call it, or a man lift, up in the air about 40 feet, cutting a lifting lug off the side of a module, and had a violent kickback. It kicked out of my hands and went across my left hand, cutting me pretty bad. I didn’t take my glove off, because, I knew if I did that, I would have blood everywhere.</p> <p><strong>AUBREY ADEN-BUIE:</strong> Before Osborn’s accident, Austal modified the Metabo grinder by replacing the standard disc with a sawtooth blade made by an outside company. This made the tool more versatile, able to cut through aluminum more quickly.</p> <p>But the manufacturer of the grinder specifically warned against using these blades, saying they cause frequent kickback and loss of control.</p> <p><strong>MARTIN OSBORN:</strong> I have seen pictures of people getting cut in their face, in their necks, in their thighs. It’s the most dangerous tool I have ever put in my hands.</p> <p><strong>AUBREY ADEN-BUIE:</strong> Does Austal know that the tool is as dangerous as it is?</p> <p><strong>MARTIN OSBORN:</strong> Yes, ma’am, they do.</p> <p><strong>AUBREY ADEN-BUIE:</strong> Company e-mails among Austal’s managers obtained by Reveal show that, even before Osborn’s accident, they called the modification lethal, and the grinders an accident waiting to happen.</p> <p>Yet, according to Osborn, Austal workers still use the grinder daily.</p> <p><strong>MARTIN OSBORN:</strong> I have had numerous supervisors tell me that, you know, if you don’t want to use the tool, go get a job at Burger King.</p></blockquote> <p>To read or view the full story, visit <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/government-paying-billions-shipbuilders-histories-safety-lapses/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">PBS Newshour</a>.</p> <p>In other news:</p> <p><a href="https://www.texastribune.org/2017/07/19/special-session-lawmakers-target-austin-workers-protectoins/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Texas Tribune</a>: Andy Duehren reports that Texas legislators are considering a measure that would kill regulations in the capital city of Austin that expedite the permitting process for large construction projects that agree to pay construction workers a living wage, follow worker safety standards, and offer worker training and workers’ comp insurance. The measure being considered in the state legislature would accelerate permitting across the state, while prohibiting cities from enacting measures like the one in Austin. In particular, Republican state Rep. Paul Workman, who helped author the legislation, seems to dislike the Austin-based worker center, the Workers Defense Project, that helped craft the Austin regulations, calling the group a “union front.” Duehren writes: “Workman is one of many lawmakers who have received financial support from real estate and construction interests, according to the data from Texans for Public Justice. Gifts to lawmakers from those two industries totaled more than $23 million between 2013 and 2016<strong>,</strong> the group found.”</p> <p><a href="http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/343664-dems-bill-would-ban-controversial-pesticide" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>The Hill</em></a>: Timothy Cama reports that congressional Democrats have introduced legislation that would ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos. That’s the same pesticide that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt decided not to ban, despite the recommendations of EPA’s scientific advisors. The pesticide was <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/food/2017/07/bill-ban-chemical-epa-pruitt-trump/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recently involved</a> in sickening farmworkers in California, and research shows it can cause neurological problems in children and fetuses. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said of the legislation: “Administrator Pruitt may choose to put aside science, public health and environmental protection in favor of big chemical profits, but Congress should not.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.bna.com/chevron-pay-1m-n73014462202/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Bloomberg BNA</a>: David McAfee reports that Chevron has settled with Cal/OSHA officials to pay more than $1 million in fines and make comprehensive safety changes at its refinery in Richmond, California, after a 2012 fire at the refinery sent a cloud of gas and smoke over the nearby community. Cal/OSHA issued 17 workplace safety and health violations following the incident. As part of the new agreement, Chevron will make safety upgrades to the refinery’s equipment, provide training in hazard recognition and continue working with the United Steelworkers. McAfee quoted Clyde Trombettas, statewide manager and policy adviser for Cal/OSHA’s process safety management unit: “The penalty, $1,010,000, was the highest penalty assessed on any employer in Cal/OSHA history, which I think is very significant.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.revealnews.org/blog/house-committee-votes-to-kill-equal-pay-initiative/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reveal</a>: Sinduja Rangarajan reports that the House Appropriations Committee has approved a budget amendment to defund an initiative designed to narrow wage disparities and that required some employers to disclose pay data by gender, race and job category. In particular, the House amendment would prohibit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from using funds to collect such data. Among those opposing the initiative was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which argued that collecting such data was a burden for employers and that it would reveal sensitive information. Rangarajan reports: “The data would help the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission benchmark pay patterns within industries, occupations and localities and take a closer look at firms that fall outside those patterns, said Emily Martin, general counsel and vice president of workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center.”</p> <p><em>Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years. Follow me on Twitter — </em><a href="http://www.twitter.com/kkrisberg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>@kkrisberg</em></a><em>.</em></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/kkrisberg" lang="" about="/author/kkrisberg" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kkrisberg</a></span> <span>Wed, 07/26/2017 - 12:40</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/calosha" hreflang="en">Cal/OSHA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/california" hreflang="en">california</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemical-facility-safety" hreflang="en">Chemical facility safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/environmental-health" hreflang="en">Environmental health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farm-workers" hreflang="en">farm workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/government" hreflang="en">government</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occup-health-news-roundup" hreflang="en">Occup Health News Roundup</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health-safety" hreflang="en">Occupational Health &amp; Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/osha" hreflang="en">OSHA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/pesticides" hreflang="en">Pesticides</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/toxics" hreflang="en">Toxics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemicals" hreflang="en">chemicals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chevron-refinery" hreflang="en">Chevron refinery</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/construction-workers" hreflang="en">Construction Workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/equal-pay" hreflang="en">equal pay</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-workers" hreflang="en">low-wage workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health" hreflang="en">Occupational health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-safety" hreflang="en">occupational safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/shipbuilders" hreflang="en">shipbuilders</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-fatality" hreflang="en">worker fatality</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-safety" hreflang="en">worker safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workplace-safety" hreflang="en">Workplace Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/environmental-health" hreflang="en">Environmental health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/pesticides" hreflang="en">Pesticides</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/toxics" hreflang="en">Toxics</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2017/07/26/occupational-health-news-roundup-251%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:40:20 +0000 kkrisberg 62898 at https://scienceblogs.com Occupational Health News Roundup https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/07/11/occupational-health-news-roundup-250 <span>Occupational Health News Roundup</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At the <a href="https://theintercept.com/2017/06/28/uber-but-for-workers-comp-companys-plan-neglects-injured-drivers/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Intercept</a>, Avi Asher-Schapiro reports on a new insurance plan that Uber is offering its drivers that could help them recoup wages and cover medical expenses if they’re injured on the job. Asher-Schapiro notes that while some have described the Uber insurance plan — which workers buy by setting aside 3.75 cents per mile — as a form of workers’ compensation, it hardly fits the bill. In fact, in documents obtained by the Intercept, Uber explicitly states that the insurance plan isn’t workers’ comp. He writes:</p> <blockquote><p>Compared to traditional workers’ compensation insurance, Uber’s policy represents a major step down in terms of quality, said Michael Gruber, president of the Workers’ Injury Law &amp; Advocacy Group, a non-profit group of attorneys and others focused on occupational claims. For example, in Massachusetts, New York and California, workers’ compensation can pay out two-thirds of salary when a worker is too injured to return to work—while the Uber policy maxes out at half of a driver’s average weekly earnings. Uber’s policy also appears to allow the insurer to deny coverage at their own doctors discretion. Another key feature of traditional workers’ compensation is that an appointed State Board adjudicates disputes that may arise. Those boards are often comprised of both labor and business representatives. Uber’s policy appears to require drivers to submit to a binding arbitration proceeding, explicitly renounce their right to appear before a workers’ comp board, and give up their right to sue or join a class-action lawsuit.</p></blockquote> <p>Some advocates believe the insurance offering is just another attempt by Uber to sidestep the question of whether their drivers deserve the benefits that come with being classified as employees, rather than as independent contractors. Asher-Schapiro writes:</p> <blockquote><p>In 2015, shortly after Uber launched operations in Alaska, Rhonda Gerharz, the chief investigator for Alaska’s Workers’ Compensation Board, initiated an investigation into the company. She thought that the company was possibly misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors, allowing it to avoid buying expensive workers’ compensation insurance in violation of Alaska law.</p> <p>“Misclassification is a big deal,” she explained. “If these workers get hurt and the company doesn’t have insurance, the public ends up picking up the bill in the form of benefits like food stamps and low-income housing assistance.”</p> <p>She began to dig into the exact relationship between drivers and the company. “I look at things like: does the business have the right to hire or fire someone, who’s exercising control of the manner of means to accomplish the task, and who provides the tools for the job,” she told The Intercept.</p> <p>At first blush, Uber appeared to Gerharz to be operating like a traditional employer, and therefore skirting workers’ compensation laws. But before she could finish her investigation, Uber pulled out of the state entirely.</p></blockquote> <p>Read the whole story at the <a href="https://theintercept.com/2017/06/28/uber-but-for-workers-comp-companys-plan-neglects-injured-drivers/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Intercept</a>.</p> <p>In other news:</p> <p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/01/535082619/npr-continues-to-find-hundreds-of-cases-of-advanced-black-lung" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">NPR</a>: Howard Berkes reports that NPR’s ongoing investigation into black lung disease among coal miners has identified an additional 1,000 cases in Appalachia. That new number means that NPR has identified nearly 2,000 cases of progressive massive fibrosis, which is the most serious stage of black lung, in the Appalachia region since 2010. In comparison, federal health officials have reported just 99 cases nationwide within the same time period, Berkes reports, though officials are working to gain a more accurate picture of the disease’s impact and prevalence. Scott Laney, an epidemiologist with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said in the article that evidence suggests “we are in the midst of an epidemic of black lung disease in central Appalachia.” Berkes writes: “Laney said the mining industry's compliance record has been high for at least a decade. There wouldn't be as much advanced black lung disease now, he suggested, if the compliance rates accurately reflected actual exposure to the coal and silica dust that cause advanced disease.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article160293514.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>News &amp; Observer</em></a>: Madison Iszler reports on the children who work North Carolina’s agricultural fields, starting her story with Jacqueline Castillo, who was just 7 years old when she started picking tobacco. Castillo said she felt sick nearly every day, often suffering the headaches, nausea and dizziness that happens when nicotine is absorbed through a person’s skin. Federal law allows kids 12 and older to work in the agricultural sector with a parent’s permission, while kids younger than 12 can do nonhazardous work on a farm if their parent is also employed there or gives permission. Iszler reports that even though some companies have changed their policies on child workers, “advocacy groups and farmworkers say few changes have trickled down and underage children are still working.” She notes: “Many children work in agriculture to help their parents financially and some parents can’t afford child care. Only 55 percent of youth farmworkers in the U.S. graduate from high school, according to Human Rights Watch.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/inslee-signs-plan-for-paid-family-leave/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Seattle Times</em></a>: Rachel La Corte reports that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill earlier this month guaranteeing residents paid family leave. Beginning in 2020, the new law gives eligible workers 12 weeks of paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for a serious medical problem, or 16 weeks for a combination of both. Both employees and employers contribute to the new paid leave system, and employees must work at least 820 hours before they can take advantage of the benefit. La Corte writes: “Sara Reilly, who co-owns Three Magnets Brewing Company and Darby’s Cafe in Olympia, spoke at a rally on the Capitol steps before the signing, and said that she and her husband have wanted to offer paid and family medical leave for their employees, but previously were unable to cover the costs alone. ‘This is an extremely inexpensive way to give our employees a benefit when they so desperately need it,’ she said.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/republican-lawmakers-take-a-raise-away-from-st-louis-workers_us_595f898ee4b0615b9e90dd19" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Huffington Post</a>: Dave Jamieson reports on the efforts of state legislators to overturn local measures that improve wages and working conditions. The story begins in Missouri, where state Republicans passed a measure invalidating a local ordinance passed in St. Louis that raised the minimum wage. The new Missouri law states that no locality can enact a minimum wage that’s higher than the state minimum of $7.70 per hour. Jamieson cites a report from the National League of Cities that found that 24 states now block local minimum wage hikes and 17 states block local paid leave measures. Jamieson writes: “Dennis Shaw, who works at the St. Louis grocery chain Schnucks, received a $1.70 raise due to the St. Louis ordinance. The pay bump translated into an extra $30 or so each week after taxes ― a welcome addition that has helped him pay rent on his one-bedroom apartment downtown and avoid bank overdraft fees. He said that legislators in the state Capitol don’t understand what it’s like for someone trying to survive on the minimum wage in the city.”</p> <p><em>Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years. Follow me on Twitter — </em><a href="http://www.twitter.com/kkrisberg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>@kkrisberg</em></a><em>.</em></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/kkrisberg" lang="" about="/author/kkrisberg" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kkrisberg</a></span> <span>Tue, 07/11/2017 - 12:26</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/black-lung" hreflang="en">black lung</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/child-labor" hreflang="en">child labor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farm-workers" hreflang="en">farm workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/government" hreflang="en">government</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/legal" hreflang="en">Legal</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mining" hreflang="en">Mining</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occup-health-news-roundup" hreflang="en">Occup Health News Roundup</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health-safety" hreflang="en">Occupational Health &amp; Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/paid-leave" hreflang="en">paid leave</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/pesticides" hreflang="en">Pesticides</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tobacco" hreflang="en">tobacco</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workers-compensation" hreflang="en">workers&#039; compensation</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/young-workers" hreflang="en">young workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/child-health" hreflang="en">Child health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/child-workers" hreflang="en">child workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/gig-economy" hreflang="en">gig economy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/independent-contractors" hreflang="en">independent contractors</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-workers" hreflang="en">low-wage workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/minimum-wage" hreflang="en">Minimum Wage</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health" hreflang="en">Occupational health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-safety" hreflang="en">occupational safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/paid-sick-leave" hreflang="en">paid sick leave</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/pre-emption-laws" hreflang="en">pre-emption laws</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/uber" hreflang="en">Uber</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-safety" hreflang="en">worker safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/black-lung" hreflang="en">black lung</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mining" hreflang="en">Mining</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/paid-leave" hreflang="en">paid leave</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/pesticides" hreflang="en">Pesticides</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/tobacco" hreflang="en">tobacco</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workers-compensation" hreflang="en">workers&#039; compensation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Categories</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/channel/policy" hreflang="en">Policy</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2017/07/11/occupational-health-news-roundup-250%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 11 Jul 2017 16:26:59 +0000 kkrisberg 62889 at https://scienceblogs.com Occupational Health News Roundup https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/06/30/occupational-health-news-roundup-249 <span>Occupational Health News Roundup</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At the <a href="https://apps.publicintegrity.org/nuclear-negligence/near-disaster/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Center for Public Integrity</a>, a five-part investigative series on safety at the nation’s nuclear facilities finds that workers can and do suffer serious injuries, yet the Department of Energy typically imposes only minimal fines for safety incidents and companies get to keep a majority of their profits, which does little to improve working conditions. Reporters estimated that the number of safety incidents has tripled since 2013.</p> <p>For example, in 2009, the chair of a safety committee at Idaho National Laboratory told high-ranking managers that damaged plutonium plates could put workers at serious risk. However, managers ignored his warnings. Then an incident occurred in which 16 workers inhaled plutonium dust particles.</p> <p>In <a href="https://apps.publicintegrity.org/nuclear-negligence/repeated-warnings/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Part 5</a> of the series, Patrick Malone and Peter Cary write:</p> <blockquote><p>Ted Lewis knew the plutonium plates at the government lab where he worked could leak potentially lethal radioactive dust.</p> <p>He had seen it occur in the 1970s, when he was helping load some of those plates into a nuclear reactor at the lab near Idaho Falls, Idaho. A steel jacket enclosing one of the plates somehow cracked, spilling plutonium oxide particles into the air. But Lewis and his colleagues were lucky — they were wearing respirators and given cleansing showers, so their lives weren’t endangered.</p> <p>Three decades later, Lewis, an electrical engineer who had become chairman of the lab’s safety committee, had a bad feeling this could happen again, with a worse outcome. And he turned out to be right.</p> <p>He tried to head it off. In 2009, Lewis wrote a pointed warning memo — he called it a White Paper — and gave it to the official in charge of all nuclear operations at the Idaho National Laboratory, which is run by a consortium of private companies and universities under contract to the Energy Department.</p> <p>The memo said the chance of encountering a plutonium plate that disintegrated, as Lewis had previously witnessed, was “greater than facility and senior management realizes,” according to a copy. Although Lewis said that a workplace manual published by the contractor — Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC (BEA) — called the risk of an accidental spill of such radioactive dust “negligible,” he wanted his superiors to expect it and prepare for it.</p> <p>He said in a sworn court deposition in January 2016 that he shared his concerns with at least 19 others at the laboratory, which holds one of the world’s largest stockpiles of plutonium, the explosive at the heart of modern nuclear weapons. But they didn’t respond, he said, and some of the precautions he urged — checking the plates more carefully before they were unwrapped and repackaged for shipment and setting up a decontamination shower — were ignored.</p></blockquote> <p>Read the full (and amazing) investigative series at the <a href="https://apps.publicintegrity.org/nuclear-negligence/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Center for Public Integrity</a>.</p> <p>In other news:</p> <p><a href="https://www.usatoday.com/pages/interactives/news/rigged-forced-into-debt-worked-past-exhaustion-left-with-nothing/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>USA Today</em></a>: Brett Murphy reports on a year-long investigation into port trucking companies in Southern California, finding that such companies often treat their workers like little more than indentured servants, forcing drivers to take on huge debt to finance their own trucks and then using that debt against them to “trap drivers in jobs that left them destitute.” When drivers quit, the companies seize their trucks, keeping all the money the workers had paid toward ownership. Drivers also reported being physically barred from going home, being forced to work against their will, and being forced to break safety laws that limit the hours they drive each day. The investigative piece is based on accounts from more than 300 drivers, hundreds of hours of sworn testimony and contracts never seen by the public. Murphy writes: “Retailers could refuse to allow companies with labor violations to truck their goods. Instead they’ve let shipping and logistics contractors hire the lowest bidder, while lobbying on behalf of trucking companies in Sacramento and Washington D.C. Walmart, Target and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies have paid lobbyists up to $12.6 million to fight bills that would have held companies liable or given drivers a minimum wage and other protections that most U.S. workers already enjoy.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mexico-journalists-killings_us_5953b13ce4b02734df2eec11?pnd&amp;ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Huffington Post</a>: Jesselyn Cook reports that seven journalists have been murdered in Mexico this year, which means Mexico is now among the most dangerous places to be a reporter. The most recent victim was Salvador Adame, a veteran TV reporter who covered regional news and politics. Months before Adame’s death, reporter Miroslava Breach Velducea, a reporter for <em>La Jornada</em>, was shot eight times outside her home in front of her children. Unfortunately, the killing of journalists in Mexico often goes unpunished. Cook writes: ‘“Fear and self-censorship by journalists remains very, very strong,’ Emmanuel Colombié, Latin America director for Reporters Without Borders (or Reporters sans frontières), told HuffPost. Some reporters have fled Mexico and others have quit the industry as a result of targeted threats and violence against members of the Mexican press, he noted. In the border state of Tamaulipas, for example, ‘there are very few journalists remaining,’ Colombié said.”</p> <p><a href="http://hppr.org/post/report-slaughterhouse-injuries-are-being-hidden-regulators" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">High Plains Public Radio</a>: Grant Gerlock reports that a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finds that the safety data collected by federal officials doesn’t accurately reflect all the dangers that meat and poultry workers face on the job. According to the GAO report, 151 meat and poultry workers died from on-the-job injuries between 2004 and 2013, which means such workers experience a higher injury rate than their peers in the rest of the manufacturing industry. However, the GAO also found that such injuries are under-reported. For example, injuries among sanitary workers who clean meat plant machinery aren’t always counted as official meat and poultry workers. In addition, some injured workers are simply encouraged to return to work without seeing a doctor. Gerlock writes: “Worker advocates say they have long been suspicious of reported injury rates from meat companies. For instance, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2014-0040-3232.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a recent study at a Maryland poultry</a> plant by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found one-third of workers had injuries that meet the definition of carpal tunnel, but only a handful of injuries had been reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.”</p> <p><a href="http://prospect.org/article/new-farm-worker-union-born" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>American Prospect</em></a>: David Bacon reports that after four years of strikes and boycotts, the first new U.S. farmworker union in 25 years has officially launched: Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) in Washington state. The union’s origins go back to 2013, when workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms grew angry about low piece rates and poor conditions in the labor camps. Workers then discovered that employers had begun recruiting workers via the H2A visa program and paying them nearly $3 more an hour than local workers, even though the visa program is supposed to be for employers unable to find workers locally. Eventually, the employers attempted to fire the entire workforce and replace them with H2A workers. The plan backfired after workers exposed the scheme, paving the way for a union. Bacon reports: “’We are part of a movement of indigenous people,’ says Felimon Pineda, FUJ vice president. An immigrant from Jicaral Cocoyan de las Flores in Oaxaca, he says organizing the union is part of a fight against the discrimination indigenous people face in both Mexico and the United States: ‘Sometimes people see us as being very low. They think we have no rights. They're wrong. The right to be human is the same.’”</p> <p><em>Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years. Follow me on Twitter — </em><a href="http://www.twitter.com/kkrisberg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>@kkrisberg</em></a><em>.</em></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/kkrisberg" lang="" about="/author/kkrisberg" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kkrisberg</a></span> <span>Fri, 06/30/2017 - 13:12</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemical-facility-safety" hreflang="en">Chemical facility safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farm-workers" hreflang="en">farm workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/government" hreflang="en">government</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/legal" hreflang="en">Legal</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occup-health-news-roundup" hreflang="en">Occup Health News Roundup</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health-safety" hreflang="en">Occupational Health &amp; Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/toxics" hreflang="en">Toxics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/transportation" hreflang="en">Transportation</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/working-hours" hreflang="en">working hours</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemicals" hreflang="en">chemicals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/journalists" hreflang="en">journalists</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-union" hreflang="en">labor union</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-workers" hreflang="en">low-wage workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/meat-packing-workers" hreflang="en">meat-packing workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/nuclear" hreflang="en">nuclear</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/nuclear-facility-safety" hreflang="en">nuclear facility safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/nuclear-safety" hreflang="en">nuclear safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health" hreflang="en">Occupational health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-safety" hreflang="en">occupational safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/poultry-workers" hreflang="en">poultry workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/truckers" hreflang="en">truckers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-fatality" hreflang="en">worker fatality</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-safety" hreflang="en">worker safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workplace-safety" hreflang="en">Workplace Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/toxics" hreflang="en">Toxics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/transportation" hreflang="en">Transportation</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2017/06/30/occupational-health-news-roundup-249%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 30 Jun 2017 17:12:17 +0000 kkrisberg 62883 at https://scienceblogs.com Greek yogurt boom relies on low-wage Mexican, Guatemalan immigrants in New York https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/06/07/greek-yogurt-boom-relies-on-low-wage-mexican-guatemalan-immigrants-in-new-york <span>Greek yogurt boom relies on low-wage Mexican, Guatemalan immigrants in New York</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>My typical afternoon snack has its roots in New York’s $14 billion a year dairy industry. The state leads the country in Greek yogurt production. A <a href="https://milkedny.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/milked_053017.pdf">new report</a> by the Workers’ Center of Central New York (WCCNY) and the Worker Justice Center of New York (WJCNY) fills me in on the laborers who make possible my daily cup of <a href="http://www.chobani.com/">Chobani</a>. I understand better now why many, many dairy parlor workers say their employers care more about the cows than the well-being of their employees.</p> <p><a href="https://milkedny.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/milked_053017.pdf"><em>Milked: Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in New York State</em></a> is based on interviews with 88 dairy workers from 53 different farms. The <a href="https://milkedny.org/who-are-we/">project was a collaboration</a> of WCCNY, WJCNY, and researchers with Syracuse and Cornell Universities.</p> <p>Most of the dairy workers interviewed work in large operations with 500 or more cows, although the workforce is small with typically fewer than 11 non-family employees. Nearly all of the workers interviewed were born in Mexico or Guatemala, 93 percent of them are undocumented laborers, and 73 percent speak little or no English.</p> <p>Some of what the interviews revealed include:</p> <ul><li>The typical hourly wage is $9 per hour for what is usually a 12-hour work shift.</li> <li>On average, the workers leave the farm once every 11 days. Many feel like they are “locked-up” because of the long work hours, inability to get a driver’s license and fear of immigration enforcement.</li> <li>Two-thirds of the dairy farmworkers suffered one or more injuries on the job, and 68 percent of those injuries require medical attention.</li> <li>71 percent indicated that their principal safety concern is aggressive cows and bulls.</li> </ul><p>An attack by a bull nearly caused a dairy worker named Lazaro, 55, to lose an eye. The report explains that the Mexican-born laborer had not been trained to do the dangerous job “pushing cows.” He ended up being flung face forward when a bull charged him.</p> <blockquote><p>“His employer helped him up, but instructed him to wait in a chair near the milk tank while he finished the remaining three hours of Lazaro’s shift milking cows. … While he waited, he grabbed one of the cloths that is normally applied to cow udders and applied iodine to his injury.</p> <p>"Eventually, seeing the significant amount of blood, Lazaro’s employer called one of his family members to take Lazaro to the hospital. He received five stitches for a long cut extending from his eye to his cheek. Though he needed a sixth stitch, the doctors opted not to provide it, as it would have risked damage to his eyeball. He had two broken teeth and two fractured ribs.”</p></blockquote> <p>The report describes the substandard housing provided to many of the dairy workers. Typically it is an old farm house or a trailer, but some workers live in "makeshift rooms off the barn or milking parlor." Many of the workers reported the housing has insect infestations, holes in walls and floors, no locks on their doors and inadequate ventilation.</p> <p>I can’t help but contrast those living conditions to Chobani’s concern for the cows. Under <a href="http://www.chobani.com/ethos">“The Chobani Way: Ethos,”</a> the company’s founder and CEO, <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/chobani-yogurt-billionaire-founder-on-creating-jobs-in-america/">Hamdi Ulukaya</a>, says:</p> <blockquote><p>“The humane treatment of animals is an ethical and moral imperative.”</p></blockquote> <p>Since Chobani has the highest share of the U.S. yogurt market, the Workers’ Center of Central New York (WCCNY) and the Worker Justice Center of New York (WJCNY) are looking for the company's leadership to improve conditions for dairy parlor laborers. The WCCNY and WJCNY are calling on Chobani (and all dairy companies) to implement an independently monitored program to ensure equitable and dignified treatment of workers along the firm's entire supply chain. They recommend a program such as the <a href="https://migrantjustice.net/milk-with-dignity">Milk with Dignity Program</a>, which was developed by the Justicia Migrante/Migrant Justice, a Worker Center in Vermont. The program's elements include:</p> <ul><li>Worker-authored codes of conduct adopted by the companies</li> <li>Worker education about their rights under the code of conduct</li> <li>Third-party monitoring to audit and enforce the code of conduct; receive worker complaints and addresses grievances; create improvement plans to address violations; and enforces consequences for non-compliance</li> <li>Legally-binding agreements which stipulate that the program is an enforceable contract under the law</li> </ul><p>My afternoon snack is often a 5 oz cup of Chobani strawberry or peach yogurt. I sent a message yesterday to the company using their <a href="http://care.chobani.com/ics/support/ticketnewwizard.asp?style=classic">webpage tool</a>.  I said I was a loyal customer urged their leadership to read <em><a href="https://milkedny.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/milked_053017.pdf">Milked: Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in New York State</a>. </em>Very soon after, I received the following reply:</p> <blockquote><p>Good afternoon Celeste,</p> <p>Thank you so much for your message. We appreciate and share your concern for all farm workers. We’re taking a closer look at this report and will be happy to follow back up with you.</p> <p>Again, thank you for reaching out to us.</p> <p>Have a great day, Colleen</p></blockquote> <p>I plan to check back with Colleen in a few weeks.</p> <p>Do you eat yogurt? <a href="http://www.milkedny.org">Find out more</a> about dairy workers in New York and ways to support them.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/cmonforton" lang="" about="/author/cmonforton" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cmonforton</a></span> <span>Wed, 06/07/2017 - 06:36</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farm-workers" hreflang="en">farm workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health-safety" hreflang="en">Occupational Health &amp; Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chobani" hreflang="en">Chobani</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/dairy-workers" hreflang="en">dairy workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/immigrant-workers" hreflang="en">immigrant workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/milk-dignity" hreflang="en">Milk with Dignity</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-center-central-new-york" hreflang="en">Worker Center Central New York</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-justice-center-new-york" hreflang="en">Worker Justice Center of New York</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2017/06/07/greek-yogurt-boom-relies-on-low-wage-mexican-guatemalan-immigrants-in-new-york%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Wed, 07 Jun 2017 10:36:50 +0000 cmonforton 62864 at https://scienceblogs.com Occupational Health News Roundup https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/05/30/occupational-health-news-roundup-247 <span>Occupational Health News Roundup</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At <a href="https://www.eater.com/2017/5/23/15681840/blue-card-farmworkers-legal-citizenship-proposal" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Eater</a>, Elizabeth Grossman reports that Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation that would protect undocumented agricultural workers from deportation and provide them and their families with a path to long-term residence and citizenship.</p> <p>The bill proposes that farmworkers who can prove at least 100 days of agricultural work in the last two years could apply for a “blue card” that grants temporary residency and the ability to work. Farmworkers with a blue card and who work for 100 days a year for five years or 150 days a year for three years would then be eligible for a green card or permanent legal resident status. The spouses and children of blue-card holders would also be eligible for the program. Grossman writes that the proposal has the support of both workers and employers. She writes:</p> <blockquote><p>Undocumented farmworkers are the backbone of the United States’ agriculture industry, a situation that has long posed numerous challenges for these workers, their families, and employers. But the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies and aggressive Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) action — which has detained farm workers in New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere — has created a climate of fear among workers. And that’s already resulting in labor shortages that are prompting some growers to curtail harvest plans.</p> <p>On call with reporters, Monterey Mushrooms president and owner Shah Kazemi confirmed the labor situation. “We’re currently short hundreds of workers,” he said. “We have been forced to cut back our production because people are not showing up to work out of fear. “If we don’t have a way to fix our broken immigration system, I don’t think agriculture can survive in this country,” said Kazemi.</p></blockquote> <p>Continue reading at <a href="https://www.eater.com/2017/5/23/15681840/blue-card-farmworkers-legal-citizenship-proposal" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Eater</a>.</p> <p>In other news:</p> <p><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-administration-plans-to-minimize-civil-rights-efforts-in-agencies/2017/05/29/922fc1b2-39a7-11e7-a058-ddbb23c75d82_story.html?utm_term=.2fd1e81f75b0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Washington Post</em></a>: Juliet Eilperin, Emma Brown and Darryl Fears report that the Trump administration is planning to gut the U.S. Department of Labor division that ensures federal contractors abide by nondiscrimination laws as “part of wider efforts to rein in government programs that promote civil rights.” In particular, the plan would fold the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs into the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), even though the two units have very different roles. The reporters writes: “Unlike the EEOC, which investigates complaints it receives, the compliance office audits contractors in a more systematic fashion and verifies that they ‘take affirmative action’ to promote equal opportunity among their employees. Patricia A. Shiu, who led the compliance office from 2009 to 2016, said the audits are crucial because most workers don’t know they have grounds to file a complaint. ‘Most people do not know why they don’t get hired. Most people do not know why they do not get paid the same as somebody else,’ she said.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/26/hickenlooper-mead-oil-tank-explosion/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Denver Post</em></a>: In the wake of an oil tank explosion that killed one worker and injured three others, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says he will “take any necessary action to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” John Ingold reports that state oil and gas regulators have asked oil company Anadarko to conduct a “root cause” analysis of the explosion — a request that state regulators rarely make. OSHA says it’s investigating the explosion. Anadarko already faces lawsuits related to a different explosion earlier this year. That explosion was the result of gas seeping from a cut underground flowline, killing two people and seriously injuring another. Ingold writes: “At least 51 other workers have died in the state’s oil and gas fields since 2003, <a href="http://extras.denverpost.com/oil-gas-deaths/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a Denver Post investigation</a> last year found. When those deaths occur, an interlocking set of laws and regulations often keep companies from facing severe penalties, the Post found.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/carolineodonovan/a-senator-just-introduced-the-first-ever-national-gig?utm_term=.vea8rGWPO#.tvrOpVjY5" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">BuzzFeed News</a>: Caroline O’Donovan reports that Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has introduced the first piece of federal legislation addressing the lack of benefits for on-demand workers. More specifically, the bill would create a $20 million fund that organizations could use to build portable benefits programs — benefits that independent contractors could ideally bring with them from gig to gig. The article notes that some states have proposed similar legislation. For example, Washington state lawmakers are considering a bill that would require on-demand employers contribute a certain percentage of profits toward a benefits fund. O’Donovan writes: “Warner, who estimates that currently a third of the US workforce falls outside traditional employment and predicts that figure will increase to 50% by 2020, said his goal is to get people to break out of the ‘mindset that...the only way you got benefits was if you're a full-time, permanent employee.’”</p> <p><a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/crime/article153380449.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Charlotte Observer</em></a>: In some good news for workers, Joe Marusak reports that North Carolina’s Unicon Inc. has paid nearly $600,000 in back wages and an equal amount in damages to more than 800 workers who round up and transport chickens to poultry processors. The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division had previously found the company violated federal overtime and record-keeping rules, automatically deducting pay for lunch breaks that workers didn’t actually take and failing to pay workers for the prep and cleanup involved in rounding up chickens. Marusak reported that Mark Watson, a regional administrator with the Wage and Hour Division, said: “This agreement goes a long way to ensure that Unicon’s workers are made whole by providing the wages they earned. It also levels the playing field for other employers in this industry.”</p> <p><em>Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years. Follow me on Twitter — <a href="https://twitter.com/kkrisberg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@kkrisberg</a>.</em></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/kkrisberg" lang="" about="/author/kkrisberg" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kkrisberg</a></span> <span>Tue, 05/30/2017 - 15:46</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/department-labor" hreflang="en">department of labor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farm-workers" hreflang="en">farm workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/government" hreflang="en">government</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/legal" hreflang="en">Legal</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occup-health-news-roundup" hreflang="en">Occup Health News Roundup</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health-safety" hreflang="en">Occupational Health &amp; Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/osha" hreflang="en">OSHA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farmworkers" hreflang="en">farmworkers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/federal-contractors" hreflang="en">federal contractors</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/gig-economy" hreflang="en">gig economy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/independent-contractors" hreflang="en">independent contractors</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-workers" hreflang="en">low-wage workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health" hreflang="en">Occupational health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-safety" hreflang="en">occupational safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/oil-and-gas" hreflang="en">oil and gas</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/overtime-pay" hreflang="en">overtime pay</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/poultry-workers" hreflang="en">poultry workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health" hreflang="en">public health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/undocumented-workers" hreflang="en">undocumented workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/wage-theft" hreflang="en">wage theft</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-fatality" hreflang="en">worker fatality</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-safety" hreflang="en">worker safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workplace-discrimination" hreflang="en">workplace discrimination</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workplace-safety" hreflang="en">Workplace Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2017/05/30/occupational-health-news-roundup-247%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 30 May 2017 19:46:49 +0000 kkrisberg 62860 at https://scienceblogs.com Occupational Health News Roundup https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/05/16/occupational-health-news-roundup-246 <span>Occupational Health News Roundup</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/authorkatemoore/the-light-that-does-not-lie?utm_term=.uvN4PjKlm#.emDn6ek3w" target="_blank">BuzzFeed</a>, Kate Moore tells the story of the “radium girls,” the hundreds of women during WWI who worked painting watch dials with luminous radium paint — a substance that would eventually poison and kill them even though they were told it was perfectly safe. What followed was years of employers covering up and denying evidence that radium was killing workers, while berating the women for attempting to get help with their mounting medical bills.</p> <p>Eventually, Moore writes, their fight for justice led to one of the first cases in which an employer was held responsible for the health of workers, helping lay the foundations of modern labor law. Among the many watch painters highlighted in the story was Molly Maggia, whose illness began with a toothache and then traveled to her limbs, eventually leaving her unable to walk:</p> <blockquote><p>By May 1922, Mollie was desperate. At that point, she had lost most of her teeth and the mysterious infection had spread: Her entire lower jaw, the roof of her mouth, and even some of the bones of her ears were said to be "one large abscess." But worse was to come. When her dentist prodded delicately at her jawbone in her mouth, to his horror and shock, it broke against his fingers. He removed it, "not by an operation, but merely by putting his fingers in her mouth and lifting it out." Only days later, her entire lower jaw was removed in the same way.</p> <p>Mollie was literally falling apart. And she wasn’t the only one; by now, Grace Fryer, too, was having trouble with her jaw and suffering pains in her feet, and so were the other radium girls.</p> <p>On September 12, 1922, the strange infection that had plagued Mollie Maggia for less than a year spread to the tissues of her throat. The disease slowly ate its way through her jugular vein. At 5 p.m. that day, her mouth was flooded with blood as she hemorrhaged so fast that her nurse could not staunch it. She died at the age of 24. With her doctors flummoxed as to the cause of death, her death certificate, erroneously, said she’d died of syphilis, something her former company would later use against her.</p> <p>As if by clockwork, one by one, Mollie’s former colleagues soon followed her to the grave.</p></blockquote> <p>Read the full story at <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/authorkatemoore/the-light-that-does-not-lie?utm_term=.uvN4PjKlm#.emDn6ek3w" target="_blank">BuzzFeed</a>.</p> <p>In other news:</p> <p><a href="https://www.revealnews.org/blog/osha-tells-companies-to-report-injuries-but-theres-no-website-for-that-yet/" target="_blank">Reveal</a> (Center for Investigative Reporting): Jennifer Gollan reports that even though a new OSHA rule requires employers to electronically submit their injury and illness records by July 1, the agency doesn’t yet have a working website where employers can actually comply with the law. Instead, the OSHA site says: “OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions at this time.” The reporting rule, which also protects workers against retaliation for reporting injuries, is currently being contested in court by a number of industry groups, including the National Association of Home Builders and National Association of Manufacturers. Gollan quotes former OSHA chief David Michaels: “Because the secretary of labor is not allowing OSHA to post this website, it means tens of thousands of employers will be in violation of the law. …Law-abiding employers are asking where to send their information in. OSHA is ignoring the law.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/05/california-farm-workers-just-got-poisoned-nasty-pesticide-greenlghted-trump" target="_blank"><em>Mother Jones</em></a>: Tom Philpott reports that local public health officials believe that more than 50 farmworkers outside of Bakersfield, California, were exposed to the highly toxic pesticide chlorphyrifos, which  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had been close to banning. Then in March, agency Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to greenlight the chemical for continued agricultural use. After learning of the incident, Kern County public health officials urged anyone exposed to seek medical attention immediately. In humans, chlorphyrifos can cause a range of problems, from vomiting and diarrhea to tremors and blurred vision. Philpott reports: “A spokesman for (Kern County Department of Agriculture and Measurement Standards) said test results pinpointing the chemical are pending but would not be done for at least a week. Dow AgroSciences, one of the main makers of the chemical, did not respond to phone calls and emails.”</p> <p><a href="https://rewire.news/article/2017/05/15/lawsuit-walmart-discriminates-pregnant-workers/" target="_blank">Rewire</a>: Nicole Knight reports that two former Walmart employees have filed a class-action lawsuit claiming the company discriminated against them and many more pregnant workers by failing to provide appropriate on-the-job accommodations. One of the pregnant workers said after her doctor said to avoid heavy lifting, her supervisor “told her she had seen a pregnant Demi Moore do a somersault on television, and pregnancy was therefore ‘no excuse.’” It was only after lifting a 35-pound tray sent her to the hospital that she was allowed to do more sedentary work. She was later fired after asking about pregnancy leave. Knight quoted a representative of A Better Balance, one of the groups filing the complaint: “In 2017, it’s incredible that major companies like Walmart are discriminating against pregnant women — who are simply asking to keep on working and have a healthy pregnancy.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.texasobserver.org/texas-farmworkers-bill-dead/" target="_blank"><em>Texas Observer</em></a>: Gus Bova reports that a much-needed bill to improve housing conditions for Texas’ 200,000 migrant farmworkers has died in the state legislature. According to a 2016 investigation by the <a href="http://specials.mystatesman.com/farmworker-housing/" target="_blank"><em>Austin American-Statesman</em></a>, nine out of 10 Texas farmworkers lack access to licensed housing, with many workers forced to sleep packed together on the floors of houses that lack running water, ventilation or electricity. The bill aimed at improving such conditions would have mandated state officials regularly inspect farmworker housing and follow up on complaints, increased fines for violators, and enabled workers and advocates to appeal state licensing decisions. Bova quoted state Rep. Ramon Romero Jr.: “The biggest takeaway for me is that 50 or 60 years after my dad came here as a farmworker, the state of Texas hasn’t improved farmworker conditions, and is actually going in the opposite direction.”</p> <p><em>Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years. Follow me on Twitter — <a href="https://twitter.com/kkrisberg" target="_blank">@kkrisberg</a>.</em></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/kkrisberg" lang="" about="/author/kkrisberg" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kkrisberg</a></span> <span>Tue, 05/16/2017 - 09:35</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/california" hreflang="en">california</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cancer" hreflang="en">cancer</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemicals-policy" hreflang="en">chemicals policy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/environmental-health" hreflang="en">Environmental health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farm-workers" hreflang="en">farm workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/government" hreflang="en">government</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/legal" hreflang="en">Legal</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occup-health-news-roundup" hreflang="en">Occup Health News Roundup</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health-safety" hreflang="en">Occupational Health &amp; Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/osha" hreflang="en">OSHA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/paid-leave" hreflang="en">paid leave</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/toxics" hreflang="en">Toxics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/womens-health" hreflang="en">women&#039;s health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemicals" hreflang="en">chemicals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/epa" hreflang="en">EPA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farmworker-housing" hreflang="en">farmworker housing</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farmworkers" hreflang="en">farmworkers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/injury-reporting" hreflang="en">injury reporting</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-workers" hreflang="en">low-wage workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health" hreflang="en">Occupational health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-safety" hreflang="en">occupational safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/pesticide-drift" hreflang="en">pesticide drift</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/pregnancy-discrimination" hreflang="en">pregnancy discrimination</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/prevention" hreflang="en">Prevention</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/radium" hreflang="en">radium</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-fatality" hreflang="en">worker fatality</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-safety" hreflang="en">worker safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workplace-safety" hreflang="en">Workplace Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/cancer" hreflang="en">cancer</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemicals-policy" hreflang="en">chemicals policy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/environmental-health" hreflang="en">Environmental health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/paid-leave" hreflang="en">paid leave</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/toxics" hreflang="en">Toxics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/womens-health" hreflang="en">women&#039;s health</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2017/05/16/occupational-health-news-roundup-246%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 16 May 2017 13:35:10 +0000 kkrisberg 62852 at https://scienceblogs.com Occupational Health News Roundup https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/04/18/occupational-health-news-roundup-244 <span>Occupational Health News Roundup</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At <a href="https://www.bna.com/injured-job-undocumented-n57982086678/" target="_blank">Bloomberg BNA</a>, Stephen Lee reports that with fears of deportation looming, undocumented immigrants are becoming afraid to access legal remedies when they’re injured on the job. The article notes that such immigrants are disproportionately employed in hazardous jobs and while they account for just 15 percent of the overall workforce, they account for 18 percent of occupational fatalities. Lee writes:</p> <blockquote><p>Sofia, a Mexican fieldworker in Santa Rosa, Calif., has a workers’ compensation case in the works after hurting her arm and shoulder pulling vine roots, requiring surgery. But she says she’s reluctant to show up to her dates with the workers’ compensation administrative court—and even go to the doctor—because of the Trump administration’s tough stance.</p> <p>“My life has changed a lot,” Sofia told Bloomberg BNA through a translator. “I don’t go out. Everything you hear on the news tells you to be careful, because immigration agents will be there to grab you. I’m very afraid. I now live a life that is pretty much enclosed, indoors. I tell my husband every day to be careful when you drive, because you could get a ticket and that could be a pretense for them to arrest you.”</p> <p>Rosita, a 40-year old cleanup worker from Mexico who now lives in Suisun City, Calif., is going through the workers’ compensation system after hurting her hands and right arm while cleaning heavy equipment in 2014. But once she heals, she isn’t sure what she’ll do.</p> <p>“I’m afraid of returning to work,” Rosita told Bloomberg BNA, also through a translator. “I don’t feel confident enough to go back to work. With the new president and all the changes, I’m definitely afraid.”</p></blockquote> <p>Read the full article at <a href="https://www.bna.com/injured-job-undocumented-n57982086678/" target="_blank">Bloomberg BNA</a>.</p> <p>In other news:</p> <p><a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/coralewis/women-ironworkers-will-get-six-months-of-paid-maternity?utm_term=.piBb9B6Pm#.booROBdbY" target="_blank">BuzzFeed News</a>: Cora Lewis reports that women members of the Iron Workers Union will now get six months of paid maternity leave that they can take before giving birth. The benefit is believed to be a first of its kind for the building industry and was partly in response to so many women leaving the sector for other professions. The union is home to about 2,100 women workers. Lewis reports: “The numbers put maternity leave for iron-working women on par with corporate employees at tech companies like Etsy, Adobe, Spotify and Cisco. Netflix and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are among the only companies that offer workers more paid parental leave, according to data gathered by <a href="mailto:Care@Work">Care@Work</a>, which specializes in family benefits.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/17/health/home-health-worker-insurance-partner/" target="_blank">CNN</a>: Shefali Luthra reports that despite caring others’ health, many home health workers still lack health insurance coverage of their own. From 2010 to 2014, about 500,000 such workers got coverage through the Affordable Care Act, with most of those gains due to Medicaid expansions. Still, about one in every five home health workers don’t have insurance. Luthra writes: “The current air of uncertainty adds an extra layer of concern. Under the 2010 law, ‘at least we were on a path’ to addressing coverage and access concerns, said Elly Kugler, the federal policy director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a coalition that represents home care providers. If it goes away, she said, it's not so clear how these workers will access health care.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.sfexaminer.com/health-care-workers-union-declares-sanctuary-union/" target="_blank"><em>San Francisco Examiner</em></a>: In an opinion piece, Porfirio Quintano writes about the decision of his union — the National Union of Healthcare Workers — to declare itself a “sanctuary union” and protect its members against heightened deportation threats as well as defend them against management retaliation. The union is partnering with San Francisco-area immigration lawyers to represent members at risk of deportation as well as educating its members on their legal rights. Quintano writes: “During the union meeting I attended in San Francisco earlier this year, two members questioned becoming a sanctuary union, fearful that we would be ‘protecting criminals.’ It fell upon me and another member to explain that our goal wasn’t to hide our undocumented brothers and sisters, but to guarantee them due process. The right to representation is one principle all union members can rally around.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.startribune.com/dueling-protests-face-off-over-minneapolis-minimum-wage/419638673/" target="_blank"><em>Minneapolis Star Tribune</em></a>: Adam Belz reports that protestors are facing off on whether servers should be exempt from a Minneapolis minimum wage hike. The article reports that City Council member have signaled support for a $15 minimum wage without a tip carveout. Protestors on both sides of the carveout debate demonstrated outside a local restaurant earlier this week. Belz reports: "About 35 people protested what they said would be wage theft, and to argue that the Minneapolis City Council should enact a $15 minimum wage that does not exempt servers, bartenders and other tipped workers. They held banners and several wore the red shirts of the 15 Now coalition. Just after noon, about 50 people in the light green and blue of the Pathway to $15 coalition marched up University Avenue toward the other protesters, chanting ‘Whose tips? Our tips!’”</p> <p><em>Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years. Follow me on Twitter — <a href="https://twitter.com/kkrisberg" target="_blank">@kkrisberg</a>.</em></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/kkrisberg" lang="" about="/author/kkrisberg" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kkrisberg</a></span> <span>Tue, 04/18/2017 - 12:23</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farm-workers" hreflang="en">farm workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/healthcare" hreflang="en">healthcare</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/legal" hreflang="en">Legal</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occup-health-news-roundup" hreflang="en">Occup Health News Roundup</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-fatalities" hreflang="en">occupational fatalities</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health-safety" hreflang="en">Occupational Health &amp; Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/osha" hreflang="en">OSHA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/paid-leave" hreflang="en">paid leave</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/womens-health" hreflang="en">women&#039;s health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workers-compensation" hreflang="en">workers&#039; compensation</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/health-insurance" hreflang="en">health insurance</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/home-health-care-workers" hreflang="en">home health care workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/home-health-workers" hreflang="en">home health workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-union" hreflang="en">labor union</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-workers" hreflang="en">low-wage workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/maternity-leave" hreflang="en">maternity leave</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/minimum-wage" hreflang="en">Minimum Wage</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health" hreflang="en">Occupational health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-safety" hreflang="en">occupational safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health" hreflang="en">public health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/undocumented-workers" hreflang="en">undocumented workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-fatality" hreflang="en">worker fatality</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-safety" hreflang="en">worker safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workplace-safety" hreflang="en">Workplace Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/healthcare" hreflang="en">healthcare</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/paid-leave" hreflang="en">paid leave</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/womens-health" hreflang="en">women&#039;s health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workers-compensation" hreflang="en">workers&#039; compensation</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1874287" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1492701840"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Int he city of Seattle (and possibly the whole state of Washington) the minimum wage applies to everyone, tipped or not. It's never changed the way I tip.<br /> I feel like telling servers that it is their job to get up to minimum wage with tips leaves them very vulnerable to abuse by patrons.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1874287&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="diTYsQWFe5gehfBt4nd31DTvbaPkT_mb2U247UyJ7w4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JustaTech (not verified)</span> on 20 Apr 2017 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/13073/feed#comment-1874287">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2017/04/18/occupational-health-news-roundup-244%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 16:23:16 +0000 kkrisberg 62835 at https://scienceblogs.com Occupational Health News Roundup https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/03/21/occupational-health-news-roundup-242 <span>Occupational Health News Roundup</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At the <a href="http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article139284133.html" target="_blank"><em>Sacramento Bee</em></a>, Ryan Lillis and Jose Luis Villegas report on the effects that Trump’s immigration crackdown is having on California farms, writing that fear of deportation is spreading throughout the state’s farming communities. While many farmworkers believe immigration raids are inevitable, farm operators, many who voted for Trump, hope the president will bring more water to the region and keep immigration officials off their fields. Lillis and Villegas write:</p> <blockquote><p>Fear is everywhere. The night before, the local school board became one of the first in California to declare its campuses a “safe haven” for students and families, meaning it won’t ask about students’ immigration status or allow federal immigration authorities onto school property.</p> <p>That anxiety stretches throughout the southern San Joaquin Valley, among the most fertile and productive agricultural regions on Earth. As the spring picking season approaches, farmworkers are convinced the fields will be raided by federal agents intent on rounding up undocumented immigrants and shipping them back to Mexico or Central America. With many fearing the authorities will also set up checkpoints on the highways, the United Farm Workers union said the labor flow has already been cut in half at some farms.</p> <p>“If they don’t need us here to work the fields, who’s going to do the work?” said a 54-year-old farmworker named Metorio, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico and a father of three. The Sacramento Bee is only using his first name because he fears deportation.</p> <p>“The workers who do this work are the Mexicans, the Latinos,” he said. “I hope President Trump will see how much the farmers need us.”</p></blockquote> <p>To read the full article, visit the <a href="http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article139284133.html" target="_blank"><em>Sacramento Bee</em></a>.</p> <p>In other news:</p> <p><a href="https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/03/13/health-care-workers-face-epidemic-of-violence.html" target="_blank"><em>Toronto Star</em></a>: Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on the “epidemic of violence” that Ontario’s nurses and other health care workers face on the job – experiences that Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, recently wrote about in a letter to Ontario’s minister of labor. In that letter, Hurley said the threat of violence that health care workers face goes “unacknowledged, dismissed or tolerated by administrators and regulators.” Within the Canadian province, health care workers experience the second-highest number of reported injuries, ahead of industries such as construction, mining and manufacturing. Mojtehedzadeh writes: “Dianne Paulin, a registered practical nurse from North Bay with 25 years of job experience, says she would have been spared her life-changing injures if the psychiatric ward she worked on had implemented common sense policies like bolting down furniture. Instead, she was assaulted by a patient who pinned her against his room door with a chair and repeatedly punched her, leaving her with a bulging neck disc, post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-politics/20170314/wv-senate-bill-eliminates-mine-safety-enforcement" target="_blank"><em>Charleston Gazette-Mail</em></a>: Ken Ward Jr. reports that the West Virginia Senate is now considering an industry-backed bill that would dismantle the state’s miner safety laws. Among the changes proposed: state safety inspectors wouldn’t inspect mines anymore, they would conduct “compliance visits and education”; violators of health and safety standards wouldn’t receive fines, but “compliance assistance visit notices”; and state regulators wouldn’t have the authority to write safety and health regulations, but could only focus on improving compliance assistance. Ward Jr. writes: “One thing that is clear is that the bill would maintain and encourage the use of ‘individual personal assessments,’ which target specific mine employees — rather than mine operators or coal companies — for violations, fines and, possibly, revocation of certifications or licenses needed to work in the industry.” In related news, the <em>New York Times</em> Editorial Board recently published an <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/opinion/compounding-the-risk-for-coal-miners.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&amp;smprod=nytcore-ipad&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">opinion</a> arguing that Trump’s promise to resurrect coal’s “heyday” is prompting the health and safety onslaught in state legislatures.</p> <p><a href="https://www.bna.com/industry-gop-push-n57982085189/" target="_blank">Bloomberg BNA</a>: Sam Pearson reports that industry groups, along with House Republicans, are pushing for an infinite delay of OSHA’s updated beryllium standard. In a letter to OSHA, Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., said the agency had made a mistake by issuing standards for construction and shipyards, as its 2015 proposed rule only applied to general industry. Pearson writes: “In public comments, Sammy Almashat and Emily Gardner of Public Citizen countered that the postponement was ‘simply the latest in a 16-year-long series of delays of a rule that the entire scientific community agrees is urgently necessary to save thousands of workers from the risk of needless suffering and death.’”</p> <p><a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/coralewis/hundreds-of-thousands-of-workers-will-strike-may-1?utm_term=.lnM1qwOAb#.reamxAK0l" target="_blank">BuzzFeed</a>: Cora Lewis reports that nearly 350,000 service workers nationwide plan to strike on May 1, with tens of thousands of California SEIU members joining the protest. The strike is being driven by organized labor, but an overriding goal is to use the gathering to highlight “alt-labor” groups, such as worker centers. Lewis writes: “The Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United, a food industry worker advocacy group, will also be participating in the strike, according to Saru Jayaraman, its co-director. ROC United and its network of restaurant owners and workers were instrumental in organizing the recent Day Without Immigrants protest, which shuttered hundreds of restaurants in cities across the country. America’s last major general strike was the first such Day Without Immigrants, in 2006, in which more than a million workers struck.”</p> <p><em>Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years.</em></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/kkrisberg" lang="" about="/author/kkrisberg" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kkrisberg</a></span> <span>Tue, 03/21/2017 - 13:22</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/black-lung" hreflang="en">black lung</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/california" hreflang="en">california</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemicals-policy" hreflang="en">chemicals policy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/farm-workers" hreflang="en">farm workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/government" hreflang="en">government</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/legal" hreflang="en">Legal</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mining" hreflang="en">Mining</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/msha" hreflang="en">MSHA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occup-health-news-roundup" hreflang="en">Occup Health News Roundup</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health-safety" hreflang="en">Occupational Health &amp; Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/osha" hreflang="en">OSHA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/regulation" hreflang="en">regulation</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/toxics" hreflang="en">Toxics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/beryllium" hreflang="en">beryllium</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemicals" hreflang="en">chemicals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/health-care-workers" hreflang="en">health care workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/immigrant-workers" hreflang="en">immigrant workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-union" hreflang="en">labor union</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-workers" hreflang="en">low-wage workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health" hreflang="en">Occupational health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-safety" hreflang="en">occupational safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health" hreflang="en">public health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/violence-health-care" hreflang="en">violence in health care</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/worker-safety" hreflang="en">worker safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/workplace-safety" hreflang="en">Workplace Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/agriculture" hreflang="en">agriculture</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/black-lung" hreflang="en">black lung</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemicals-policy" hreflang="en">chemicals policy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/labor-rights" hreflang="en">labor rights</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/low-wage-work" hreflang="en">low-wage work</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/mining" hreflang="en">Mining</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/regulation" hreflang="en">regulation</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety" hreflang="en">safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/toxics" hreflang="en">Toxics</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1874278" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1490223056"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The interesting thing about underground mining is IMHO it could now be done with robotics and no humans underground most of the time. In particular with the new longwall methods all the equipment is automated, add some tv cameras and fiber optic cables and no human need be at least at the working face, either they can be in a safe room or back on the surface. As an example from a related industry consider that on modern oil rigs all pipe handling needed to round trip a well is done by machines, Further continious miners are currently run with about a 30 foot cable.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1874278&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="AKObXtvZQYHKRonvx4hN6sdpy1FhG1g46kBuHNTWldI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Lyle (not verified)</span> on 22 Mar 2017 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/13073/feed#comment-1874278">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2017/03/21/occupational-health-news-roundup-242%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:22:32 +0000 kkrisberg 62815 at https://scienceblogs.com