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COSH Network in the News
Detroit Free Press: More must be done to protect workers -- 7/8/2016
In a recent investigation, Free Press reporters demonstrated that more needs to be done to prevent workplace deaths in Michigan. In a follow-up op-ed, National COSH senior organizer Peter Dooley and Celeste Monforton, lecturer in public health at George Washington University, say employers have a legal and moral responsibility to provide a safe workplace.
Progressive Populist: Fatal Employment -- 6/1/2016
Go to work and die in the US? The answer is yes for 4,821 workers who lost their lives on the job in 2014 versus 4,582 in 2013, a 5.1% jump, according to a new report, “Preventable Deaths 2016,” from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (NCOSH), a 20-group federation, citing federal Labor Dept. data.
Politico: Dirty hands: The unseen world of New York's private waste industry -- 5/25/2016
...A report issued this month by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, a coalition of labor and worker safety advocates, described the private carting world as one rife with fatalities, injury and wage theft. But its list of workers killed on the job painted the bleakest picture.
Web Wire: Coffee and Lung Disease Concerns due to Diacetyl Exposure -- 5/23/2016
In April, National Public Radio published a report about coffee workers involved with roasting activities and exposure concerns from a chemical known as diacetyl. Diacetyl is a natural by-product of the coffee bean roasting process and is also a man-made chemical that is added to some flavored coffees, microwave popcorn and other food products.
Safety + Health: OSHA's new silica rule generates praise, criticism -- 5/22/2016
...The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health stated in a press release that OSHA conducted an “exhaustive regulatory process” that included input from workers, employers and experts.
In These Times: This New Rule Will Make Information About On-the-Job Injuries at Dangerous Workplaces Public -- 5/17/2016
...The rule, which has been several years in the making, was greeted with enthusiasm by labor advocates. “The new OSHA recordkeeping rule,” said National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) acting executive Director Jessica Martinez in a statement, “is an important step towards transparency. By requiring electronic submissions every quarter and making the data public, this common-sense regulation will help us learn more about how workers are hurt and become sick on the job.”...
“We have workers who reported an injury and then were fired. This happens a lot,” explained Massachusetts Coalition for Safety and Health (MassCOSH) executive director Marcy Goldstein-Gelb. There’s also the issue of workers who fear for their immigration status if they take full advantage of their rights and speak out about injuries, she added.
Energy Wire: Oil and gas slips through the cracks of new OSHA rule -- 5/17/2016
OSHA's exclusion of oil and gas from its high-hazard industries list is a symptom of a deeper problem with health and safety data collection, said Peter Dooley, a consultant to the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.
"The whole trying to characterize high-hazard industries by using available injury data can be a pretty blunt tool in the sense of there's a lot of problems with the current reporting systems and the ways that industries often under-report and complicated by the whole issue of the severity of some injuries in some industries versus others," Dooley said. "This is an example of where often OSHA's attempt to be targeting may not have the best information available to it in order to make those distinctions."
Dooley drew a comparison to OSHA's inspection targeting programs, which rely on self-reported injury and illness rates. If those data are not reliable, he said, they skew the targeting system so that certain hazards never rise to regulatory attention.
OSHA's new reporting requirement is an "important step forward" in addressing that problem, Dooley said.
Safety + Health: OSHA: New recordkeeping rule will make injury data public; is a 'nudge' to employers -- 5/11/2016
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health called the rule “an important step towards transparency.”
“The more we know, the more we can do to prevent injuries and illnesses from happening in the first place, with effective safety programs centered on worker participation,” National COSH Acting Executive Director Jessica Martinez said in a statement.
“Accurate and timely reporting of on-the-job injuries and illnesses is one of the best tools we have to learn how to make workplaces safer,” said National COSH Acting Executive Director Jessica Martinez. “The new OSHA recordkeeping rule, announced today in the Federal Register, is an important step towards transparency. By requiring electronic submissions every quarter and making the data public, this common-sense regulation will help us learn more about how workers are hurt and become sick on the job.”
According to Martinez, “The more we know, the more we can do to prevent injuries and illnesses from happening in the first place, with effective safety programs centered on worker participation."
Albany Times-Union: State directs nail salons to fork over $2 million in unpaid wages -- 5/9/2016
Charlene Obernauer, executive director of New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health, said: “NYCOSH has been proud to be a part of this historic nail salon industry shift as we approach the 1 year mark of Governor Cuomo’s regulations and legislation. In the past year, the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition has trained more than 1,000 workers on nail salon health and safety and we have assisted workers in applying for their licenses. Immigrant Asian and Latina workers now have more access to the licensing process, protections and training; and they know that the nail salon workers bill of rights and enforcement of the minimum wage and health and safety laws is on their side.”
Casper Star Tribune: New state division offers free worker safety advice -- 5/6/2016
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services has launched a new workplace safety division aimed at providing free safety advice and consultation throughout the state...
Brianna Jones, executive director of the government watchdog Equality State Policy Center, is intrigued by the new division.
“This is a completely new development. We don’t necessarily know yet what effect it will have, is the honest answer. I think the jury is still out,” Jones said. “But this seems like an innovative approach, and we’re interested in seeing any sort of development that will improve the job safety culture in Wyoming. That’s our ultimate goal: to make sure that people come home from work safe and sound.”
New York Daily News: NYC private sanitation companies rife with dangerous conditions -- 5/4/2016
The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health found the for-profit companies, which cart away commercial trash, routinely break rules and force employees to work with faulty equipment and no training — and a whopping 71% of workers surveyed said they’d been injured on the job.
Boston.com: 63 people were killed on the job in Massachusetts last year -- 4/29/2016
In 2015, workplace fatalities reached a five-year high in Massachusetts, according to a new report from the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health.
Taunton Daily Gazette: Father of construction worker killed in Taunton speaks out -- 4/29/2016
The names and pictures on the wall belonged to departed workers who plied their trades in dozens of occupations across many industries.
“What they had in common was more important, that their deaths were not freak accidents, that they were not because of human error, that they were not their fault, that they were caused by job hazards that are predictable, that are known and that there are proven strategies for preventing, and that employers and contractors did not do that,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Occupational Safety and Health, the nonprofit organization that organized Thursday’s ceremony.
Public News Service: Remembering Wyoming's Fallen Workers -- 4/29/2016
Wyoming workers who have been killed or injured on the job are being honored this morning at Jackson's City Council chambers...
The Equality State Policy Center, the Spence Association for Employee Rights, Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association and the Wyoming State AFL-CIO are among the organizations sponsoring today's event.
ISNH: Workplace fatalities have increased -- 4/28/2016
Just in time for Workers Memorial Day, a new report from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health finds that the number of workers who died on the job is on the upswing. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Preventable Deaths 2016,” reports that 4,821 workers died on the job from traumatic events in the workplace in 2014, a 5.1% increase from 4,585 deaths in 2013.
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), one of the nation’s leading workplace safety organizations, on April 27 released “Preventable Deaths 2016,” a report outlining the more than 100,000 annual deaths due to acute workplace trauma and long-term exposure to on-the-job hazards.
Peoples World: Temp workers increasingly at risk of dying on the job -- 4/28/2016
"Contract workers are most frequently assigned to the most hazardous jobs," says Jessica Martinez, acting executive director of the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health. "And in too many cases, employers are not meeting their legal obligations to provide safe working conditions" or training workers in safety practices, she adds.
El Nuevo Herald: Aumentan las muertes en accidentes laborales en EEUU, pero disminuyen en Florida -- 4/28/2016
...Según el informe de 20 páginas del 2016 elaborado por el grupo Consejo del Sur de la Florida para Seguridad y Salud Ocupacional, unas 4,821 personas murieron en el 2014 en sus centros de trabajo, un aumento de 236 fatalidades sobre el total en el 2013.
Diario las Americas: México se suma a programa de protección de trabajadores en Florida -- 4/28/2016
..."La situación es preocupante y podría afectar a muchos trabajadores hispanos", manifestó a Efe Jeanette Smith, directora de la South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice, que lamentó que el impulso que ofrece la construcción a la economía se traduce también en más muertes de sus trabajadores. (Also at Fox News Latino and MiamiDiario.com.)
Aristegui Noticias: Crean coalición en EU para defender derechos laborales de migrantes --4/28/2016
...Jeanette Smith, directora ejecutiva de South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice, realizó un estudio en el que se detectó que desde 2013 hubo un incremento de 828 a 874 muertes en el trabajo a nivel nacional, y de 55 a 57 a nivel estatal, y donde la construcción en Florida es la industria con mayor número de muertes laborales en el estado.
Letra Roja: México se une a coalición en Florida para defender derechos laborales de inmigrantes -- 4/28/2016
“Desafortunadamente el número de muertes laborales en el país aumentó desde 2013”, dijo Jeanette Smith, directora ejecutiva de South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice, uno de los miembros de la coalición.
The Union Edge: Rates of Injury and Deaths on the Job, and Why Unions Help Keep Those Numbers Down -- 4/28/2016
Health and Safety Consultant Peter Dooley for the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health talks about the rates of injury and death on the job on this Workers' Memorial Day, and why unions help keep those numbers down.
Inside OSHA: New Health, Safety Data Drives Advocates' Push For Stricter OSHA Policies -- 4/27/2016
Relying largely on recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2014, the AFL-CIO, as well as the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (NCOSH), April 27 released separate reports detailing increases in workplace injuries that the groups said show the need for a host of stricter OSHA policies and practices aimed at better protecting workers.
The Rick Smith Show: Jessica Martinez talks International Workers Memorial Day -- 4/27/2016
National COSH Acting Executive Director Jessica Martinez spoke to Rick Smith.
Safety+Health: During Workers' Memorial Week, safety advocates call for stronger protections -- 4/27/2016
“In too many cases, employers are not meeting their legal obligation to provide safe working conditions,” National COSH Acting Executive Director Jessica Martinez said during a press conference. “We also know there are not enough OSHA inspectors. … We also know there is not proper training always available. We also know many times employers push productivity over safety.”
Politico: LABOR GROUPS RELEASE REPORTS ON WORKPLACE DEATHS --4/27/2016
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) is out today with a report on preventable occupational deaths. The report, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, finds that more contracted workers died on the job in 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, than in 2013. Contracted workers made up 16.7 percent of workplace deaths, a 7 percent increase over 2013. Workplace deaths decreased among Latinos and Hispanics but increased among white, African-American and Asian workers. There was a 13 percent increase in deaths from falls, slips and trips — a sign, the report said, that the deaths were preventable.
MassLive.com: Workers' Memorial Day 2016 ceremonies planned in Boston, Northampton, Springfield -- 4/27/2016
A Northampton ceremony is scheduled for Thursday at noon at Northampton City Hall, 210 Main St., according to the Western Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health...
A ceremony in Boston is set for noon Thursdayat the State House, 24 Beacon St. It's sponsored by the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and Greater Boston Labor Council.
Capital & Main: To Honor and Protect: Workers Memorial Day 2016 -- 4/26/2016
WMD is a time to redouble efforts to make current and future workplaces safer, Jora Trang, managing attorney at Oakland-based Worksafe, Inc., told Capital & Main by phone. Golden State workers have averaged one fatality a day over the past five years due to unsafe labor conditions, she said, citing a recently released Worksafe report, “Dying At Work in California..."
“This is a wake-up call to take control of the workplace situation,” Jessica E. Martinez, the Los Angeles-based acting executive director for the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, a 20-group federation, told Capital & Main by phone. “We need more worker-involved safety programs and resources for OSHA enforcement.”
WCVB: Brockton student accepted to Harvard and 6 other Ivy League schools -- 4/26/2016
Igbokwe is also active with extracurriculars, including an after school job working for the Massachusetts Coalition Occupational Safety and Health in Boston, and volunteerism with the C5 New England youth program.
Igbokwe said he started as a volunteer for MassCOSH about two years ago, but then worked his way up to an internship and then a job there. In that job, a few weeks ago, Igbokwe said he participated in a walk through at the Boston Latin School testing air quality, as part of an asthma prevention program.
CentralJersey.com: Hundreds rally for safe working conditions -- 4/25/2016
NEW BRUNSWICK - On Sunday, hundreds of workers from community organizations, unions, and faith-based groups rallied to observe Workers’ Memorial Day, an internationally recognized event held annually to commemorate those who have been killed or injured on the job and to renew the fight for safe workplaces.
The rally and spirited march focused on the demand for respect, including safe work and a living wage. New Labor and the New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) helped organize the event, which included 35 other organizations as endorsers.
Philadelphia Inquirer: Prosecutors make new efforts to jail executives for workplace deaths -- 4/10/2016
..."It's one thing [for company owners] to have their insurance company pay fines, and it's another thing to have them personally in jail," said Barbara Rahke, director of PhilaPOSH, an advocacy group that works to improve worker safety.
ISHN: Miners: Blankenship’s prison term is “outrageous” --4/7/2016
Jessica Martinez, acting executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) echoed Roberts’ sentiment.
"Don Blankenship deserves the one-year prison sentence announced today -- and more. One year is hardly enough to make up for the years and decades of life lost at the Upper Big Branch disaster, where 29 miners died because of safety failures."
EHS Today: National COSH: One Year Isn’t Enough for Blankenship -- 4/6/2016
Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship should receive more than the one year in prison to which he was sentenced today, according to Jessica Martinez, acting executive director, National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH).
Alternet: Did You Know That Recycling Can Be a Dangerous Job? -- 3/30/2016
A study in contrasts: recycling workers in Philadelphia face hazards and death. Their counterparts in Alameda County, California unionized, and their workplace health and safety improved dramatically. Barbara Rahke of Philaposh & Gail Bateson of Worksafe tell the story.
OH&S: OSHA Releases Silica Rule -- 3/24/2016
...The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) and other organizations that have pushed for this rule to be enacted, welcomed it immediately. "Workers across America can breathe easier today," said National COSH Acting Executive Director Jessica Martinez. "We've known for decades that silica dust is deadly. With new common-sense rules in place to limit exposure, we can save lives and reduce suffering from silicosis, cancer and other life-threatening diseases."
EHS Today: Industry Associations Back Final Rule on Silica -- 3/24/2016
...The next step, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) says, will be to make sure employers know how to control silica dust.
“That means training and materials provided in language workers can understand. It also means informing workers about their right to a safe and healthy workplace – and the actions they can take to enforce their rights,” said Peter Dooley, a health and safety project consultant at national COSH.
Safety+Health: OSHA releases long-awaited final rule on silica -- 3/24/2016
...In a statement, Jessica Martinez, acting executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, said workers across America “can breathe easier today.”
Boston Globe: Fight to lift minimum wage also raises awareness on workplace safety --3/24/2016
In a letter to the editor, MassCOSH Executive Director Marcy Goldstein-Gelb writes: "...In a just world, employers would institute safety measures to prevent burn injuries, and our federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration would have the resources to deter employers from putting workers in harm’s way."
KPHX 1480: The Sam Kelley Show -- 3/23/2016
National COSH's Peter Dooley spoke about workplace safety and Workers' Memorial Week.
inewsource.org: Nine local employers hit with Cal-OSHA’s highest fines in 2015 -- 3/21/2016
...Even if employers paid the maximum penalties for violations, some workplace safety advocates say the fines aren’t nearly enough.
“It is really just pocket change for a lot of these employers,” said Jessica Martinez, of San Diego, the acting executive director for the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. “They’re relatively low when we’re talking about someone who has lost a life or a limb.”
City & State New York: Rep. Collins under fire for company pay violations in New Jersey -- 3/8/2016
Rep. Chris Collins is taking heat from rival politicians and labor groups after a Western New York workers’ rights organization released information showing that the congressman and one of his companies has been fined for failing to pay prevailing wages in New Jersey.
The Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health circulated a press release Tuesday detailing the penalties against Audubon Machinery Corporation, a Buffalo-area medical supply manufacturer. (Article also appeared in The Daily Public.)
New Jersey Star-Ledger: Christie puts public's safety at risk by blocking information -- 2/19/2016
Opinion piece by Dan Fatton of the New Jersey Work Environment Council (NJWEC) and Dominick Marino of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey.
Buffalo News: Workers in the construction boom need protections -- 2/10/2016
Opinion piece by Germain Harnden of The Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health (WNYCOSH).
Truthout: US Building Boom Fuels Spike in Construction Worker Injury and Death -- 1/20/2016
...Charlene Obernauer, executive director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), agrees. "Real estate is the domestic product in New York City," she said. "In other places, they have corn or coal, but in New York City it's about the race to build the biggest, most profitable buildings." That said, Obernauer points out that construction workers and their advocates face additional obstacles. OSHA - the federal agency responsible for protecting worker health and safety - is severely understaffed, she told Truthout. In the Empire State alone, she said, "It would take the 113 inspectors employed by the agency 107 years to inspect each workplace one time."
EHS Today: Flint Workers on Safe Ground in Water Crisis -- 1/27/2016
...“We need to get to the bottom of what happened in Flint and find out why tens of thousands of people, including workers, have been exposed to contaminated water,” said Jessica Martinez, acting executive director of National COSH.
WBFO 88.7: Labor study highlights safety issues on construction sites -- 1/26/2016
Worker safety is at risk and there aren't enough inspections of job sites, especially construction job sites. That's the conclusion of a new report from the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health, an organization with strong alliances to local labor groups.
The report "Fatal Falls: The Downside of the Construction Boom" says the inspections which occur find safety problems. In the case of construction sites inspectors found violations in 83 percent of the sites.
Buffalo News: A call to safeguard Scaffold Law --1/25//2016
“OSHA lacks enough inspectors to do its job effectively, and the penalties don’t have enough impact on employers, said Liz Smith-Rossiter, WNYCOSH Worker Center project director.”
Time Warner Cable News: Study Reveals Poor Safety Records at Construction Sites Across Western New York -- 1/25/2016
The Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health released a study Monday, after analyzing visits to construction sites made by OSHA over a period of a year. The report says in 2014, inspectors found a violation in 83 percent of construction inspections in a 10-county area, including Buffalo and Rochester.
BNA Bloomberg: OSHA Poised to Pass on Combustible Dust in 2016 -- 1/11/2016
...Loss of life will continue to happen in the future without a comprehensive combustible dust standard, said Peter Dooley, president of LaborSafe and a safety and health project consultant for the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.
Buffalo News: Questions amid mourning in Tonawanda Coke death -- 1/7/2016
...Local workplace safety experts said that there are supposed to be safeguards in place to prevent fatal occupational injuries.
“Most of the time, I would say almost all of the time, these accidents are very preventable,” said Germain R. Harnden, executive director of the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health. “I don’t know the reason why, but if the company took a shortcut or just didn’t have the proper safety precautions, these accidents happen very easily.”