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National Workplace Safety Network Welcomes 5 New Associate Members

Monday, July 29, 2013
Press Contacts: 

 

Dorry Samuels Levine, (508) 277-7997, dorry.samuels@gmail.com

National Workplace Safety Network Welcomes 5 New Associate Members

New Groups Will Help Train, Empower Workers Across the Country

 

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health announced today the addition of five new Associate Members to its national network of Committees or Coalitions on Occupational Safety and Health ("COSH groups").

These new groups, located across the country, will add to the COSH Network’s ability to train and empower workers on their rights at work.

The new associate members are: South Florida COSH, the Central New York Occupational Health Clinic, WYCOSH, the Houston Area COSH, and the Knox Area Worker Memorial Day Committee.

Associate members are newly forming coalitions working together to educate and advocate for worker health and safety.

“With the addition of these five new groups to our network – and hopefully more coming soon – advocates are demonstrating a growth of activism around worker health and safety, and are demanding safe workplaces as a human right,” said Tom O’Connor, executive director of National COSH. “We welcome our new associate members and look forward to working with them to improve conditions in workplaces throughout the nation.”

The South Florida Council for Occupational Safety and Health (South Florida COSH), located in Miami and serving Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, will work with a wide range of workers about health and safety issues specific to their industry and climate. These include working with agricultural and landscape workers to educate them about safer pesticide use and the dangers of heat stress; day laborers, domestic workers, and other non-union workers on construction safety and other occupational hazards; unions to help enhance their workplace safety programs; and with employers who would like to establish workplace safety programs or have programs that they would like to share.

“We're very excited to be a part of the COSH Network as we realize how vital workplace safety is, particularly in a state that regularly places in the top three for workplace injuries and deaths each year,” said Jeanette Smith, who is helping to lead South Florida COSH. “While we have been leaders in the wage theft movement, we realize that it is crucial that workplace safety be a deliberate part of our work rather than something that also happens where wage theft happens.”

The Central New York Occupational Health Clinical Center, based in Syracuse, N.Y., and whose affiliations span 26 counties in the state, is staffed by a team of health professionals actively working to support worker health and safety.

"We are kindling the embers of a COSH that dissolved here locally, but whose mission and activities are still embraced by many worker advocates and activists,” said Patricia Rector, the outreach and education director of the center. “We are part of the National COSH network because this is ‘the movement’ side of the work we do, since advocacy and action are essential components of preventing workplace abuses. The collective energy of our partnerships with each other stimulates fresh new thinking and inspires action. We owe the increased visibility of worker health and safety issues in our region directly to the network's vitality.”

The Wyoming Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (WYCOSH) will operate as a special project of the Equality State Policy Center, located in Casper, Wyo., that is aimed at reducing Wyoming’s deplorable job fatality rate. It will continue to stage an annual Workers’ Memorial Day commemoration as part of its effort to keep the reduction in job-related deaths in front of public policy-makers. It also is working with immigrant communities to be sure they know their rights on the job, including their right to a safe workplace.

“People should not be killed or maimed on the job,” said Dan Neal, head of the Equality State Policy Center. “We’re excited to join the COSH network because its experts can help us promote policies that will help make sure Wyoming people return home from work safe and whole.”

The Houston Area Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (Houston Area COSH) will support workers’ efforts to seek justice in their cases of health and safety violations and workplace injury, promote safety and health trainings, engage in education and advocacy work around workers’ health and safety, and organize an annual Workers’ Memorial Day event.

“There is an extreme need for better working conditions in our city and state, and a lack of accountability from Texas employers,” said Adriana Martinez, a leader of the Houston Area COSH and whose husband was killed on the job in Texas. “We would like to be certain that our workers are returning home safe every day. Working together with such a powerful network provides us with the support and confidence to make this basic right possible. We look forward to working together and supporting the efforts made nationally to make this possible.”

The Knox Area Worker Memorial Day Committee, located in Knoxville, Tenn., is a coalition of faith, labor and community groups whose focus is to organize a Workers' Memorial Day event each year in Knoxville. The group is active from January through April of each year. In April 2013, the group worked with Dr. Ken Silver of East Tennessee State University in producing a report that enumerated and analyzed workplace fatalities in the state the previous two years.

“In early 2011, our city watched in horror as two construction workers unnecessarily lost their lives in two separate incidents on a multimillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded bridge project a stone's throw from our downtown and the seat of our city and county government,” said Fran Ansley, a retired law professor who is helping to chair the committee. “Although groups concerned with justice for workers have observed Workers’ Memorial Day in Knoxville for many years, the deaths on the bridge had a galvanizing effect, and we have since begun to make Workers’ Memorial Day a more serious event in our city, gaining participation from elected officials as well as from families who had lost loved ones to on-the-job fatalities in recent years in Tennessee.”

Learn more information about the associate members and all state and local COSH groups.

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The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health is a federation of local and statewide organizations; a private, non-profit coalition of labor unions, health and technical professionals, and others interested in promoting and advocating for worker health and safety.

To learn more about the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, visit: http://www.coshnetwork.org.