military sexual assault en Occupational Health News Roundup <span>Occupational Health News Roundup</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>An injured worker who was featured in the ProPublica/NPR investigation on the dismantling of the workers’ compensation system recently testified before lawmakers in Illinois, cautioning them against making the same drastic workers’ comp cuts as his home state of Oklahoma. Michael Grabell, who co-authored the <a href="">original investigation</a>, writes that John Coffell, who lost his home after hurting his back at an Oklahoma tire plant, was part of an eight-hour hearing on workers’ comp before the entire Illinois state assembly. Grabell writes in <a href="">ProPublica</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>Coffell told the legislators that after injuring a disc in his back last summer, his pay dropped dramatically because Oklahoma had reduced the maximum wage-replacement benefits injured workers could receive from $801 a week to $561 a week.</p> <p>Almost immediately, he said, his utilities were cut off, his truck was repossessed and his family was evicted from their rental home. Because no relative could accommodate all of them, Coffell sent his three children, aged 5 to 9, to live with grandparents. He and his wife only had enough gas money to see them on weekends. They've had to rely on food stamps to get by.</p> <p>Asked by a legislator how it felt to not be able to support his family, Coffell said, "It's indescribable, really. Pretty much if I was to give a crazy example, if you were to see your husband or child drowning in a pool, but not being able to get them out of it. Kind of the same feeling."</p></blockquote> <p>Grabell reports that the hearing comes as Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner puts forth a number of pro-business proposals that could roll back the state's workers’ comp system, such as allowing workers’ comp judges to give equal weight to the opinions of doctors who are hired by insurance companies instead of giving deference to workers’ physicians. During the hearing, Grabell reports that participants repeatedly drew comparisons between Illinois and Indiana, which has the second cheapest insurance rates for employers in the country. Workers and their families exemplified the differences between the two states — Grabell reports:</p> <blockquote><p>Workers and their families praised Illinois' law. Christine Fuller — who lived in Indiana, but whose father died from falling off a roof on a job in Illinois — said the survivor benefits she received from workers' comp helped pay the mortgage and put her through college and graduate school.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Laurie Summers — an Illinois nurse who dislocated her shoulder lifting a patient at a hospital in Indiana — said she had to drain her retirement savings and fight to get surgery.</p> <p>"I believed with all my heart that my hospital would take care of me," she said. "What I did not know, however, is that working in Indiana takes away that simple security."</p></blockquote> <p>To read the full article, visit <a href="">ProPublica</a>.</p> <p>In other news:</p> <p><em><a href="">Houston Chronicle</a></em>: Susan Carroll and Lise Olsen report that OSHA has proposed $99,000 in fines against DuPont for failing to prevent four worker deaths inside a pesticide unit in La Porte, Texas. OSHA also cited the company for 11 violations and identified a number of needed upgrades. The deadly workplace incident happened last year when workers were exposed to a toxic gas known as methyl mercaptan, an ingredient in a popular pesticide. Carroll and Lise report that the OSHA investigation found that workers weren’t properly trained to use the building’s ventilation system and in fact, according to documents obtained by the newspaper, the ventilation fans in the pesticide unit had been broken for months. In the article, Carroll and Lise quoted The Pump Handle’s own Celeste Monforton, who said the “penalities poked holes in DuPont's ‘veneer’ of safety and represented ‘less than a  slap on the wrist for a billion dollar company. It illustrates why Congress needs to fix OSHA's penalty system.’”</p> <p><a href="">BBC</a>: Reporter Mark Lobel writes that he and a team of fellow BBC journalists were monitored, arrested and detained in Qatar while investigating the experiences of migrant laborers who are building accommodations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Lobel writes: “Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International's Gulf migrant rights researcher, told us the detentions of journalists and activists could be attempts ‘to intimidate those who seek to expose labour abuse in Qatar.’ Qatar, the world's richest country for its population size of little more than two million people, is pouring money into trying to improve its reputation for allowing poor living standards for low-skilled workers to persist.” An article published late last year in the <a href="">Guardian</a> reported that Nepalese migrant workers building World Cup infrastructure in Qatar died at a rate of one every two days in 2014.</p> <p><a href="">Salon</a>: Katie McDonough writes about a new Human Rights Watch <a href="">report</a> that finds service members who report a sexual assault are 12 times more likely to experience some kind of retaliation than to see their attackers convicted. The report is based on interviews with more than 150 service members, both men and women. McDonough writes: “The consequences of the current climate are pretty straightforward: when reporting a rape is more likely to get you punished or kicked out of the military than raping someone, service members don’t report. And this will remain the case until current mechanisms in place to prevent retaliation are meaningfully enforced and other protections are added. But the United States may be a long way off from both.”</p> <p><em><a href=";action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=second-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;_r=0">The New York Times</a></em>: In the aftermath of a <em>New York Times</em> <a href="">investigation</a> into the working conditions at nail salons and the serious dangers to workers’ health, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would seek new rules to improve safety at nail salons and protect workers’ rights. However, reporter Jim Dwyer reminds readers that nail salon workers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the exploitation of immigrant workers. He began his article with the story of Chitra KC, who worked at a gas station in Holbrook, New York, and is one of more than two-dozen immigrant workers with wage theft claims against the owner. Dwyer writes: “Immigrants are the pilings of the New York economy, the providers of low-cost, seamless comforts like 24-hour takeout food, cheap nail salons, all-night gas stations, nonunion construction workers. Some entered the United States legally; others did not. The ability of unscrupulous employers to steal wages can take your breath away.”</p> <p><em><a href="">The Los Angeles Times</a></em>: Lawmakers in Los Angeles are poised to vote on whether to raise the local minimum wage to $15. Reporter Emily Alpert Reyes writes that if Los Angeles goes forward with the wage hike, workers will experience an incremental increase in wages that will eventually reach $15 by 2020. Reyes writes: “The wage proposal would hike pay more slowly than some activists wanted. But leaders in the Raise the Wage Coalition nonetheless heralded it last week as a sound plan to improve the standard of living for low-income workers and their families.”</p> <p><em>Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for more than a decade.</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, 05/19/2015 - 07:27</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/chemical-facility-safety" hreflang="en">Chemical facility safety</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-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/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/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/workers-compensation" hreflang="en">workers&#039; compensation</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemical-facilities" hreflang="en">chemical facilities</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/chemicals" hreflang="en">chemicals</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/immigrant-workers" hreflang="en">immigrant workers</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/migrant-workers" hreflang="en">migrant workers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/military-sexual-assault" hreflang="en">military sexual assault</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/minimum-wage" hreflang="en">Minimum Wage</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/nail-salon-workers" hreflang="en">nail salon 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/prevention" hreflang="en">Prevention</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-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/pesticides" hreflang="en">Pesticides</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/workers-compensation" hreflang="en">workers&#039; compensation</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2015/05/19/occupational-health-news-roundup-196%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 19 May 2015 11:27:48 +0000 kkrisberg 62362 at Occupational Health News Roundup <span>Occupational Health News Roundup</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A fire at a poultry plant in Dehui, China last week <a href=";_r=0&amp;src=twrhp&amp;pagewanted=all">killed at least 120 people</a> and injured many others. Some state media reports attribute the fire to an ammonia leak, and medical workers reported that many victims had swollen respiratory tracts consistent with ammonia poisoning. Workers who escaped and victims' relatives cited narrow hallways and locked exits as factors in the alarmingly high death toll.</p> <p><a href="">One report from the BBC</a> describes the factory:</p> <blockquote><p>Family members were quoted as saying the factory doors were always kept locked during working hours.</p> <p>The plant is owned by Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry Co. It was only established in 2009 and is not an antiquated facility.</p> <p>Located around 800km (500 miles) north-east of Beijing, it employs some 1,200 people and produces some 67,000 tonnes of chicken products every year.</p> <p>Chickens are slaughtered at the plant and then cut up for retail - a process that takes place in cold conditions. Ammonia is used as part of the cooling system and in such plants flammable foam insulation is commonly used to keep temperatures low.<br /> China map</p> <p>Workplace safety standards are often poor in China, with fatal accidents regularly reported at large factories and mines, says the BBC's John Sudworth in Shanghai.</p> <p>Those lax standards are variously linked to corruption, the prioritisation of efficient production over worker safety in building design, and poor enforcement of safety rules.</p></blockquote> <p>As <a href="">Dorry pointed out at the National COSH blog</a>, the fire in Dehui has reminded many of us about past US workplace fires in which lost exits cost workers their lives, from the Triangle Factory Fire in New York to the Imperial Food Plant fire in Hamlet, North Carolina in 1991. The Hamlet fire killed 25 workers; <a href="">News &amp; Observer reporter Martha Quillin</a> followed up two decades later with survivors and heard of respiratory ailments and other lingering impairments no longer covered by workers' compensation.</p> <p>In other news:</p> <!--more--><p> <a href="">Huffington Post</a>: A new NIOSH study conducted at a South Carolina poultry plant found that 40% of workers had carpal tunnel syndrome, and that finding raises fresh concerns about a proposed USDA rule that would let poultry plants increase their line speed.</p> <p><a href="">US News &amp; World Report</a>: The US House of Representatives has passed the Ruth Moore Act, which makes it easier for survivors of military sexual assault to get disability benefits for related post-traumatic stress disorder, and the House Armed Services Committee has approved a National Defense Authorization Act provision that prevents military commanders from reversing servicemembers' rape convictions. The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the epidemic of military sexual assaults, and a key issue of discussion was Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's bill that would give military prosecutors (rather than commanders) discretion over which sexual assault cases should come to court.</p> <p><a href="">OSHA (Work in Progress) blog</a>: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with partners NIOSH and CPWR, is kicking off a second year of the Campaign to Prevent Fatal Falls. The agency has made available free fall-prevention educational resources in many languages.</p> <p><a href="">Boston Globe</a>: Longtime labor union activist Charley Richardson, who died at age 60 of prostate cancer, is remembered as a dedicated activist and an "engaging, caring, wonderful human being."</p> <p><a href=",-respect-for-employees/1">Cape Breton Post</a>: Mario Sepulveda, one of the 33 Chilean miners who was trapped underground for 69 days following a mine explosion, spoke at the Mining Society of Nova Scotia's annual meeting about the importance of respecting miners and following safety rules. Only four of the 33 miners have been deemed fit to return to working as miners, and many of the men -- as well as their families -- still struggle with psychological repercussions, Sepulveda explains.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/lborkowski" lang="" about="/author/lborkowski" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">lborkowski</a></span> <span>Thu, 06/13/2013 - 05:01</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/confined-space-tph" hreflang="en">Confined Space @ TPH</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/carpal-tunnel" hreflang="en">carpal tunnel</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/dehui" hreflang="en">Dehui</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/factory-fire" hreflang="en">factory fire</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/fall-protection" hreflang="en">fall protection</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/military-sexual-assault" hreflang="en">military sexual assault</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/poultry-rule" hreflang="en">poultry rule</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/poultry-workers" hreflang="en">poultry workers</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/social-sciences" hreflang="en">Social Sciences</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2013/06/13/occupational-health-news-roundup-149%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Thu, 13 Jun 2013 09:01:54 +0000 lborkowski 61852 at