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COSH Network in the News

April 2016

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.

EHS Today: Workers Memorial Day 2016: National COSH Says More than 100,000 Workplace Deaths Can Be Prevented -- 4/28/2016

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.

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.

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.”

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).

March 2016

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.)

February 2016

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).

January 2016

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.”

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