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Telephone Press Conference with David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, and Teen Safety Peer Educators on How to Prevent Workplace Violence

Friday, June 20, 2014

U.S. Dept. of Labor

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
and

 Massachusetts Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH)
New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH)
Philadelphia Project on Occupational Safety and Health (PhilaPOSH)
Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (SoCalCOSH)
University of California, Berkeley, Labor Occupational Health Program (UC Berkeley)

For immediate release
Contact: Jeff Newton: 617-825-7233 x14; Marcy Goldstein-Gelb: 617-642-1878

 Media Advisory for Monday June 23rd, 3 pm

Boston Retail Store Homicide Highlights Risks Facing Teen Workers;
200,000 Sexual Assaults Each Year

6/20/2014 -- Washington, DC – David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, will join a group of teen safety peer educators on Monday, June 23rd for a telephone press conference on how young workers can recognize and prevent workplace violence, launching a national dialogue on workplace violence prevention.

Who:         David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health
Justin Caballero, 17, Teen Safety Peer Educator, MassCOSH, Boston
Alice Kuang, 16, Teen Safety Peer Educator, UC Berkeley, San Francisco
Wendell Skinner, 15, Teen Safety Peer Educator, PhilaPOSH, Philadelphia
Rosanne Foley, Executive Director, Fields Corner Main Streets

What:        Telephone Press Conference on Risks of Workplace Violence for Young Workers

When:       Monday, June 23rd, 3 pm Eastern Time

Where:      Call toll-free: 800 732 8470.  Note: No access code needed. To join the June 23rd call, please RSVP to: jeff.newton@masscosh.org

23 million young people are expected to seek summer jobs this year, many entering the workplace for the first time.  There is often little or no workplace violence training for young workers on the job, despite life-threatening risks. 

Equally troubling is that more than 200,000 young workers annually are victims of sexual assault on the job, according to data from the Shuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Teen safety peer educators will discuss the toll of inadequate training and safety precautions by highlighting several recent teen worker homicides including: 

  • Joseph Morante, 19, who was fatally shot in 2013 while working at a cell phone store in Boston. 
  • Jamil Bader, Jr, 18, who was shot and killed in 2012 during a robbery at his family’s Deli in Newark, NJ
  • Christine LoBrutto, 18, who was shot and killed in 2012 by a co-worker which working on the 3rd shift stocking shelves at the Pathmark store in Old Bridge, NJ.

To promote workplace safety, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provided a safety training grant for Teens Lead @ Work, a new national network of peer education programs, founded by four state occupational safety coalitions and a California university.  The program trains teen safety peer leaders to educate their peers and co-workers on how to recognize and prevent workplace violence.

According to a survey of teen retail workers by the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH):

  • 74% never received training on workplace violence or health and safety
  • 27% had experienced a theft at their workplace
  • 31% of young workers sometimes worked without supervision

Assistant Secretary Michaels will discuss the U.S. Department of Labor’s Susan Harwood grant program, which provides assistance for local workplace safety training efforts. Teen workers will talk about Teens Lead @ Work and their efforts to train their peers about specific methods to recognize and prevent workplace violence.

Teens Lead @ Work is a project of Massachusetts Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), in cooperation with the Labor Occupational Health Program at the University of California Berkeley, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH); the Philadelphia Project on Occupational Safety and Health (PhilaPOSH) and the Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (SoCalCOSH)