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COSH Network in the News 2015

December, 2015

Somerville Journal: Fatal collapse at Assembly ‘could have been prevented,’ officials say — 12/23/2015

…Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director of advocacy group Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health, said $7,000 fines is often not enough to deter companies from repeating the same serious violations down the road.

“We feel that in order to really deter employers, there needs to be more of a bite so employers say this is something that we need to take seriously,” Goldstein-Gelb told the Journal. “What we” ve seen too often is repeat offenders.”

AM NY: NYC fatal workplace injuries rose 39% last year — 12/17/2015

…Twenty-one out of 23 workplace violence deaths took place in private sector. A state law mandates public employees to provide training and come up with prevention plans against workplace violence, but private employees are exempt.

Requiring the private sector to do the same “could be one of the ways to look at the risks and prevent them,” according to Nadia Marin-Molina, a specialist at New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, an advocacy group.

In These Times: U.S. To Increase Worker Protection From Deadly Silica Dust for First Time in More Than 40 Years — 12-15-2015

…But, says National Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health acting executive director Jessica Martinez, striking a note of hope via email, “Given the overwhelming evidence about the hazards of silica, we are hopeful that the final budget agreed to by the White House and Congress will not interfere with OSHA’s scientifically sound, economically practical new silica standard.” Her wish was realized in the budget bill agreement reached last night that dropped the rider.

Charleston Gazette-Mail: An atypical CEO commits a typical crime — 12-15-2015

Op-Ed by Celeste Monforton and National COSH‘s Jessica Martinez. “…if Blankenship is atypical, the crime he was convicted of is not. Five years after the 2010 explosion that killed 29 workers at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine, surviving family members heard a West Virginia jury find the former Massey Energy CEO guilty of conspiracy to violate U.S. workplace safety laws.

“The tragedy of preventable deaths in the workplace, however, is by no means unique to West Virginia or to the mining industry. In fact, the miners killed at Upper Big Branch represent just a fraction of more than 4,600 U.S. workers who died on the job due to traumatic injuries in 2010.”

EHS Today: Coal King Convicted of Conspiracy: Jury Convicts Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship — 12/3/2015

When Blankenship’s conviction was announced, Jessica Martinez, acting executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, commented, “Don Blankenship repeatedly violated our nation’s mine safety laws, and his conviction today will send a message to other CEOs: It’s not acceptable to cut corners and put workers’ lives at risk.”

New York Daily News: Brooklyn residents hope to shut down waste transfer station, claim odors and fumes are sickening — 12/2/2015

Bushwick residents who live around a busy waste transfer station on Thames St. are on a mission to get the facility shut down — claiming the noxious odors and fumes are enough to make people sick…

David Newman, an industrial hygienist with New York Committee for Occupational Safety, said the spray was a red flag.

November, 2015

KDNK Community Radio: Reports Examine Poultry Workers Rights — 11/26/2015

Amy Hadden Marsh reports on National COSH letters to poultry CEOs and Oxfam “Lives on the Line” report.

New York Times: Safety Lapses and Deaths Amid a Building Boom in New York — 11/26/2015

An increase in fatalities and injuries has mostly affected undocumented immigrant laborers and far exceeds the rate of new construction…

“Given the limited number of OSHA inspectors and low fines for violators, many employers do not take OSHA violations seriously,” said a recent report from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, a nonprofit advocacy group with union ties.

EHS Today: Giving Thanks for Poultry Workers — 11/25/2015

This Thanksgiving, more than 46 million turkeys will be placed on dinner tables across the U.S.

However, those people working behind the scenes at poultry factories to prepare those turkeys often go unnoticed.

Jessica Martinez, acting executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, asked for a “call for dignity and respect for those who put food on our tables” during a press conference on poultry industry workers.

The Rick Smith Show: Peter Dooley talks turkey ahead of Thanksgiving — 11/22/2015

Peter Dooley of National COSH joins Rick Smith to highlight worker safety issues ahead of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and shed light on the working conditions of those workers who make the Thanksgiving feast possible.

Politico: Labor Groups Urge Poultry Companies to Improve Worker Conditions — 11/20/2015

The top officials at three of the largest U.S. poultry companies received letters from labor advocates pushing for better worker conditions in processing plants. The letters to Perdue, Pilgrim’s Pride and Sanderson Farms called for better wages, benefits and protection from speaking out about conditions for workers, who are often immigrants. Representatives from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, Interfaith Worker Justice and Western North Carolina Workers’ Center were among those who signed the letter.

Meatingplace (industry newsletter): Worker advocates demand poultry CEOs hike wages, improve safety — 11/20/2015

Saying that they are continuing a public awareness campaign that began last month with the release of the Oxfam America report on poultry processing plant working conditions, a group of poultry worker advocate groups today released the text of a letter sent to the CEOs of three of America’s leading poultry companies demanding “immediate action to raise wages, improve safety conditions and guarantee fair treatment” for the workers who process the nation’s Thanksgiving turkeys as well as chicken…

The letter was signed by officials of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, Interfaith Worker Justice and Western North Carolina Workers’ Center, and announced in a telephone press conference that also featured statements by a former poultry plant worker from Minnesota, a processing plant employee from Arkansas, and officials of Oxfam America and Southern Poverty Law Center.

San Diego Union-Tribune: Congress must act to reduce dust health risk –11/18/2015

Op-ed by Jessica Martinez of National COSH.

Casper Star Tribune: Buried in the budget: Higher fines for workplace safety violations — 11/17/2015

A little-noticed provision in the recently passed federal budget achieved what has alluded Wyoming labor advocates for years: stiffer penalties on companies that break safety laws.

…But labor advocates said they would continue to advocate for stiffer fines. The federal fines are so low that some violators chalk the penalties up to a cost of business, said Dan Neal, a volunteer for the Equality State Policy Center’s Wyoming Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health Project. Wyoming needs to approach workplace safety as it has drunk driving, in making the penalties so stiff that they force a change in attitude.

Union Edge: Keeping Workers Safe on the Job –11/5/2015

Radio interview with Jessica Martinez of National COSH: overview of the COSH movement.

APHA Annual Meeting Blog: Speak up for safe work — 11/4/2015

…Peter Dooley called on the audience to get active with his group, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, or National COSH, which has local chapters across the country and focuses on issues such as better protections for temp workers.

“We” re really kind of the umbrella group that tries to keep sustained local groups but also have local groups come together and be a national voice,” Dooley said. “In the last five years, National COSH has been outspoken on the tragedy of workplace fatalities and how many workers are exposed to dangerous hazards, dangerous chemicals, and the fact that workplace injuries and fatalities are way too many every day.”

APHA Annual Meeting Blog: #DemandTempSafety11/1/2015

Yesterday’s rainy weather didn’t stop advocates who took to the streets to call for safe and fair workplace conditions for temporary workers. Organized by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) and the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative, a delegation of workplace safety activists, including members of APHA’s Occupational Health and Safety Section, paid a surprise “trick or treat” visit to Elite Staffing Inc., one of Chicago’s leading temporary staffing agencies.

Safety+Health: NYCOSH to NYC: Arresting workers for fake OSHA cards is wrong — 11/3/2015

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health is upset about the recent arrests of New York City construction workers who allegedly possessed fake OSHA cards.

October, 2015

 WBBM-FM (105.9 Chicago): Peter Dooley on Temps –10/30/2105

Keith Johnson interviews National COSH‘s Peter Dooley on health and safety for temp workers, on the day before a National COSH/Chicago Workers’ Collaborative action at Elite Staffing in Chicago.

Chicago Tribune: ‘A Day’s Work’ takes a hard, engaging look at safety of temp workers — 10/29/2015

National COSH-sponsored film screening gets Chicago Tribune review from Nina Metz.

International Business Times: Don Blankenship Trial: Massey Energy CEO Faces Rare Criminal Prosecution For Workplace Safety Issues — 10/15/2015

…“We know there is criminal negligence happening in workplaces every day,” says Peter Dooley, a health and safety consultant for the non-profit National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. “Only nobody is held accountable.”…

For worker health and safety advocates like Peter Dooley, there’s no question what they” d like to see.

“If we had more criminal prosecutions, that would be an incredible incentive for businesses to be making better decisions about adopting worker health and safety programs and preventing fatalities,” says Dooley. “Absolutely.”

The Buffalo News: DuPont to pay $724,000 fine for 2010 fatal Tonawanda explosion — 10/1/2015

…Germain Harnden, director of the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health, added: “Simply put, this is about protecting the health and well-being of Western New Yorkers. This tragedy brings to light the real dangers of working as a contract worker and not being properly protected on the job site.”

September, 2015

EnergyWire: Oil field deaths spiked in 2014, despite declining rig count — 9/18/2014 [Subscripton Only.]

Fatalities in the onshore oil and gas business jumped 27 percent last year, even as low crude prices slowed field activity, according to new federal research…

“Latino workers and other immigrant populations in the industry are typically at high risk for a number of reasons, including being in high-risk, dangerous jobs,” said Peter Dooley, health and safety consultant with the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (NCOSH). “It’s a specific factor that the industry is expanding and bringing in workers at paces at which there may not be precautions in place to protect those workers.”

Crain’s New York: Nail salons will sue Cuomo over wage bond, claiming ‘discrimination’ –9/15/2015

…Charlene Obernauer, executive director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, which supports the mandate, said she was surprised that salon owners were threatening to sue the state, considering none raised objections to the wage bond during negotiations earlier this year. She claimed that one of the trade groups, the Chinese association, didn’t exist prior to the bill’s introduction, and speculated it was the group behind a citywide closure of nail salons to protest the state’s crackdown.

“There’s been a real shift in tone” from the salon owners, she said.

Philadephia Inquirer: An advocate of worker safety pushes employer liability –9/6/2015

It’s criminal what happens to workers who are injured, or worse, killed on the job, but, according to worker safety advocate Barbara Rahke, what happens to their employers is not criminal enough.

Worker deaths “are not freak accidents,” said Rahke, 67, director of PhilaPOSH, a worker safety group primarily funded by labor unions and foundations.

Bloomberg BNA: Workplace Gun Violence Questions Emerge After Murders — 9/4/2015

…Most observers agreed that OSHA’s role in abating gun violence is limited.

“This is an area that has to be addressed by Congress,” Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 27. “It’s a larger issue about gun control.”

Buffalo News: Helping low-income workers find their voice –9/3/2015

Liz Smith-Rossiter relates to workers coping with poverty.

Growing up in Oneida County, her mother was a day care worker who put in long hours but earned little. “We suffered for it as children, growing up in poverty,” she said.

But Smith-Rossiter went on to graduate from Ithaca College in 2007, and came to Buffalo on an assignment for the Working Families Party. She loved the city and decided to stay. After a stint with the state Senate’s Democratic majority, she landed a position with the Western New York Worker Center, which turned into a full-time role as its project director. Last year, the Buffalo resident also got married and completed her master’s degree in public administration at SUNY Buffalo State.

The Worker Center is a project of the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health

Bloomberg Business: OSHA Is Still Working on Silica — 9/3/2015

…Obama has already threatened to veto Republicans’ proposed budget for the U.S. Department of Labor, which includes an amendment from North Dakota Senator John Hoeven requiring fresh studies before OSHA finalizes its silica rule. “It’s costly and unworkable,” says Hoeven, whose state has benefited from the fracking boom. Labor advocates say they” re pressuring the White House not to let the issue go. “I suspect that Obama’s going to get a lot of heat if he negotiates away the silica rule during the negotiations over that budget,” says Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. “Certainly he” ll take a lot of heat from activists like us.”

New York Times: Some Nail Salon Owners in New York Push Back Against Increased Regulation — 9/3/2015

On WeChat, at least 1,000 people from the salon industry, many of them owners, have joined several groups that have sprung up, in which they planned the strike that took place on Aug. 25, shared information on the latest inspections and, in some cases, advocated raising their prices…

Charlene Obernauer, executive director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, which is one of the founders of the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition, said she preferred to call the strike something else: a lockout.

“Our understanding, from talking to workers whose stores were closed that day,” Ms. Obernauer said, “was that they were not paid for the lost day’s wages.”

WBFO [Buffalo NPR Affiliate]: 7-Eleven workers demand investment to prevent violence –9/1/15

Employees at local 7-Eleven convenience stores say there isn’tenough being done to protect them on the job – particularly during overnight shifts. After multiple robberies and the sexual assault of a worker in February, workers are urging the company to make changes to staffing and security.

“They” re on shift alone on overnights. They don’thave security guards. They don’thave a proper response plan in place for when violence occurs in the store,” said Liz Smith-Rossiter, Project Director with the Western New York Worker’s Center.

August, 2015

Time Warner Cable News: 7-Eleven Workers Rally for Safer Stores –8/30/2015

BUFFALO, N.Y.- More than two dozen protestors shouted their message as they made their way through the crowd at the Allentown Arts Festival to the 7-Eleven at the corner of Auburn and Elmwood.

“These workers have been calling for improved safety conditions that is the responsibility of 7-Eleven to protect their workers and that’s why we’re out here today,” said [Liz Smith-Rossiter, WNYCOSH Worker Center Project Director and National COSH Board Member].

Safety+Health: La seguridad de los trabajadores latinos –8/23/2015

…Reyes’ story is detailed in an April report from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, which claims the father of three might still be alive had he been protected by a fall prevention program that included safety harnesses and proper training.

The Pump Handle: Worker database documents 1,073 occupational deaths so far in 2015: ” Every one of these deaths is preventable” — 8/20/2015

More than 1,000 U.S. workers have died due to job-related events in the first seven months of 2015, according to new data from the U.S. Worker Fatality Database. Researchers estimate that total fatalities will likely reach 4,500 by the end of the year, which would mean that the nation’s occupational death rate experienced little, if no, improvement over previous years.

ISHN: 1000+ deaths on the job so far in 2015 –8/19/2015

The U.S. Worker Fatality Database, an open access volunteer research effort, yesterday released new data about deaths on the job during the first seven months of 2015.

Safety+Health: Database now includes details on more than 1,000 worker deaths from 2015 — 8/19/2015

More than 1,000 worker deaths have occurred during the first seven months of 2015, according to the U.S. Worker Fatality Database.

Volunteer researchers have recorded 1,073 deaths related to “traumatic on-the-job events” this year, states a press release from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, one of the safety advocates that help collect information for the database.

Workers Independent News: On Day Davis Anniversary, Worker Advocates Call For Improved Temp Worker Safety –8/18/2015

“Temporary workers are put into jobs that ate extremely dangerous to begin with. They” re not provided adequate protections. This results in very high rates of workplace fatalities as well as serious injuries.” — Peter Dooley, Workplace Health and Safety Specialist with the National Council for Occupational Safety And Health.

EHS Today: Death on the Job: Putting Names and Faces on Fatality Statistics –8/18/2015

Criminal prosecutions of employers can help prevent future workplace tragedies, claim workplace safety advocates, who on Aug. 18 released new data from the U.S. Worker Fatality Database about deaths on the job during the first seven months of 2015.

The data is hosted by the website of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), and is the largest open-access data set of individual workplace fatalities ever collected in the United States. Two-thirds of the cases include names of the deceased workers.

The Pump Handle: Congressional budget proposals slash OSHA funding, push back on silica exposure standard: ” These cuts and these riders are unconscionable” –8/18/2015

…Earlier this month, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) and Public Citizen, along with 74 fellow organizations that care about worker health and safety, sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to reject proposed funding cuts to OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Industrial Safety and Hygiene News: Safety groups urge presidential veto of OSH funding cuts –8/5/15

President Barack Obama should veto the proposed fiscal year 2016 funding cuts to OSHA and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), said Public Citizen, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) and 74 worker safety, labor, good government, public health, environmental and community groups. Combined, the 76 groups represent more than 6.4 million U.S. members and supporters

EHS Today: President Obama Should Veto Safety Cuts, ” Poison Pills,’ Safety Groups Say — 8/5/2015

Safety and environmental groups came together today to urge President Barack Obama to veto what they called “devastating cuts” to “already radically underfunded” agencies.

Public Citizen, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) and 74 other groups, in a letter to the president advocated that he veto proposed fiscal year 2016 funding cuts to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Safety+Health: Advocacy groups to Obama: Veto OSHA budget cuts –8/5/2015

President Barack Obama should veto proposed funding legislation that would cut OSHA’s budget, 76 advocacy groups urged in an Aug. 5 letter…

The advocacy groups that signed the letter include nonprofit watch dog Public Citizen; the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health; and other labor, public health, environmental and community organizations.

New Jersey Record: Oil train information will be limited in New Jersey — 8/2/2015

After backlash from lawmakers and firefighters, the federal government is reversing course and will continue to require rail companies to make public some information about the movements of trains carrying millions of gallons of volatile crude oil…

“The risk is there right now, but the public is just being kept in the dark about it,” said Debra Coyle McFadden, interim director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council, an alliance of labor and environmental groups. “Communities need more information. Our neighboring states don’tthink it’s a security issue.”

July, 2015

Mass Live: MassCOSH worker safety group responds to deaths in Longmeadow trench, MassPike toll plaza –7/31/2015

The deaths of two Massachusetts workers in the same day Friday prompted a safety warning and call for action from Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health (MassCOSH), a workers advocacy organization.

EHS Today:   NIOSH’s World Trade Center Health Program Treats 9/11 Responders & Survivors –7/29/2015

Liam Lynch of NYCOSH reports on the thousands of responders and survivors who were exposed to the health hazards in the aftermath of the World Trade Center collapse.

Austin American-Statesman: Dupont must end its safety charade — 7/24/2015

In an opinion piece, Jessica Martinez of National COSH and Celeste Martinez say “It’s time for DuPont to end its safety charade. The global chemical giant claims to be a leader in workplace safety and earns millions selling its so-called safety “expertise” to other companies. But the consulting service DuPont sells to other firms are worse than useless; it can actually make workplaces more dangerous.” Also printed in The Houston Chronicle.

Bloomberg   BNA Occupational Safety & Health Reporter: Activists Push for Prosecution of Labor Laws — 7/22/2015

Public interest advocates are stepping up an effort to secure criminal prosecutions and even jail sentences for executives whose companies violate labor, environmental, financial and other laws…

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s work that we can do,” Fran Schreiberg, an attorney with Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, said at the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health‘s annual convention in Baltimore last month. [Please note that full article is subscriber-only.]

Telemundo: Leyes cobijan a trabajadores bajo el sol –7/21/2015

National COSH Board President Barbara Rahke interviewed about Philadelphia heat wave.

New Jersey Star-Ledger: Opinion: N.J. Supreme Court right to uphold protection for whistleblowers in the state — 7/18/2015

Andrew Dwyer of The Dwyer Law Firm and Debra Coyle McFadden of the New Jersey Work Environment Council write:

On July 15, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously beat back a misguided attempt by corporate lawyers to gut our state’s whistleblower statute, the N.J. Conscientious Employee Protection Act.

Pasadena Now: Nurses Decrying Workplace Violence Flood CAL/OSHA Board Meeting in Pasadena City Hall — 7/16/2015

…Several activists and union workers also represented the safety of hotel housekeepers during public comment at the meeting.

Lifting beds with one arm while changing sheets and exposure to the sexual harassment were some of the largest concerns.

“You have very rich people expose themselves to the women because they bring a lot of money to the hotel,” Jorge Cabrera of SoCAL COSH, Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health.

New ‘Watchdog’ employees can seek whistleblower protections, N.J. Supreme Court rules — 7/15/2015

…Debra Coyle McFadden, interim director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council, praised the ruling.

“This decision not only protects employees, it protects all of us by making it more likely violations get reported,” McFadden said. “This includes violations affecting public safety and health, the environment, and financial security of individual households and businesses.”

The Pump Handle: Report explores the dangerous work of recycling: ” Recycling is the right thing to do, but we have to do it the right way” — 7/7/2015

Released in late June, “Sustainable and Safe Recycling: Protecting Workers Who Protect the Planet” chronicles the many hazards that recycling workers encounter on the job as well as ways the recycling industry and local officials can collaborate to improve and ensure worker safety. The report — a collaboration between the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, the Partnership for Working Families and the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) — finds that recycling workers are more than twice as likely to be injured at work as the average worker.

New Jersey Courier-Post: COMMENTARY: Shed light on crude oil shipments — 7/5/2015

Dominick Marino of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey and Debra Coyle McFadden of the New Jersey Work Environment Council write:

Should corporate secrecy come before protection of human lives?

That question was raised dramatically by four events recently involving railroad safety, including the deadly Amtrak crash in Philadelphia.

June, 2015

Center for Public Integrity: Slow-motion tragedy for American workers — 6/29/2015

Article on how “silica, other toxic substances kill and sicken tens of thousands each year as regulation falters” features coverage of   National COSH‘s Stand Up for Safe Work action outside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A companion piece, “The campaign to weaken worker protections,” also features a photograph of the event.

Safety+Health: Washington Update: No fines for ‘minor’ OSHA violations? — 6/28/2015

Under legislation introduced April 22 by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), employers would not be subject to monetary fines for other-than-serious violations discovered by OSHA if those violations are abated within a certain period of time…

The bill also overlooks the fact that employers, in some sense, already have a pass on paying fines, according to Mary Vogel, executive director at the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. Speaking during an unrelated National COSH press conference, Vogel noted that, under the current law, employers in most cases don’thave to abate the violation or pay the associated penalty if they are contesting the violation.

During the press conference, Peter Dooley, a safety and health consultant for National COSH, asserted that Hartzler’s bill ignores a bigger problem: It’s not that employers are facing penalties too large, but penalties for violations in general are too small.

“To pay $5,000 and $6,000 for a workplace fatality is a travesty of justice,” he said. “That’s the bigger problem.”

National COSH and other worker advocacy organizations have been pushing legislators to update the OSH Act to increase statutory limits for OSHA fines. One bill, the Protecting America’s Workers Act (S. 1112), would do just that. But as Democratic-sponsored legislation, PAWA faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Congress.

Washington Post: When all else fails to stop White House proposals, Republicans turn to the budget — 6/26/15

Appropriations bills block implementation of everything from more stringent silica regulations to streamlined union election procedures. [Artilce includes photo from National COSH‘s demonstration on silica dust at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.]

Boston Neighborhood Network: BNN News Interviews Tolle Graham, MassCOSH — 6/26/2015

BNN interviews Tolle Graham, MassCOSH’s Labor Environment Coordinator, on “”Sustainable and Safe Recycling: Protecting Workers Who Protect the Planet,” a report released by MassCOSH, National COSH, GAIA, and the Partnership for Working Families.

Buzzfeed News: Hyundai Under Fire For “Serious” Safety Violations By U.S. Suppliers — 6/25/2015

…While recordings taken during visits by OSHA inspectors were within legal limits, the regulator cited readings recorded at other times by Lear Corp.’s own internal monitors. According to the letter, even brief exposure to TDI, below current OSHA limits and industry standards, could lead to asthma and other respiratory conditions. Peter Dooley, a consultant for the National Council for Health and Safety and adviser to OSHA, told BuzzFeed News that if monitoring devices indicate a level of exposure that calls for evacuation, “that is a health and safety disaster right now.”…

While OSHA can and does impose penalties for violations — a total of $284,504 for the 79 listed above, reduced to $156,763 after the companies appealed and provided additional documentation — Dooley says the amounts are not typically enough to incentivize companies to change their practices, and internal monitoring by workers and employers is more effective.

“We know that organized workers have more health and safety oversight,” he said. “If an OSHA investigator were to go to every work site, it would take more than a hundred years.”

The Nation: Someone Has to Sort Your Recycling, and It’s a Disgusting and Dangerous Job — 6/24/2015

In Massachusetts, MassCOSH Labor Environment Coordinator Tolle Graham noted that local sanitation-truck drivers are typically supported by “unions that look at working conditions and can negotiate around them.” However, unionization faces “a wall when it comes to the recycling sort centers” that hire low-wage workers. “Sadly, because of the way they” re set up, with people coming from temp agencies, and people being really fearful about their jobs, it’s been a really hard sector to have people have that voice for themselves.”

Inside OSHA Online: Advocates Raise Alarm Over Worker Injuries, Chemical Exposures In Recycling Operations — 6/23/2015

Worker safety and health activists, led by a high-profile worker rights group in Massachusetts, are sounding alarm over the incidence of severe injuries as well as illness following exposure to toxic chemicals as a result of working in the robust and fast-growing garbage recycling industry — possibly leading to an increase in pressure on OSHA to address the complex problem.

One of the most vocal of the national advocacy groups known as coalitions for occupational safety and health (COSH), the Massachusetts branch, issued a broad report Tuesday that was sharply critical of how the recycling sector protects workers, with concerns ranging from machinery hazards to worker encounters with dangerous substances such as discarded pepper spray.

MassCOSH says the report reveals how, despite its many environmental benefits, the recycling business can be fraught with danger to workers… [Subscriber Only.]

BNA Occupational Safety & Health Daily: Municipal Government Oversight of Recycling Plants Will Improve Safety, Report Says — 6/23/2015

Local governments that operate or contract with recycling facilities should take action to improve the safety and health of workers at those facilities, according a report released June 23 by a coalition of safety advocacy groups.

“Improving the recycling sector overall is not only possible—it’s imperative for averting today’s ecological crises, and protecting the health and well-being of this important group of climate workers who protect us all,” the report said…

The report was produced by members of the Partnership for Working Families, the Massachusetts Council for Occupational Safety and Health, National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. [Subscriber Only.]

Corporate Crime Reporter: Recycling Workers Exposed to Safety Hazards and High Injury Rates — 6/23/2015

Last week, a 33 year old man was crushed to death in a cardboard compactor while working at a recycling plant in Winter Garden, outside of Orlando, Florida. It was not an isolated case…

“Recycling is the right thing to do, but we have to do it the right way,” said Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.

EHS Today: New Report: U.S. Recycling Workers Exposed to Safety Hazards and High Injury Rates — 6/23/2015

A new study, released June 23 by environmental, occupational safety and community benefits experts in collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, finds that recycling work is “unnecessarily hazardous” to workers’ health and safety. Seventeen American recycling workers died on the job from 2011 to 2013. Recycling workers are more than twice as likely to be injured at work as the average worker.

Huffington Post: 5 Ways Nail Salon Workers are Winning: Victory in New York State Legislature — 6/19/2015

Charlene Obernauer, Executive Director of NYCOSH, writes: As the New York State legislative session extends indefinitely, nail salon workers and advocates are celebrating perhaps the biggest victory for low-wage workers this legislative session.

Safety+Health: Roofing contractor indicted for fatal fall, accused of lying to investigators — 6/15/2015

Philadelphia– In a rare criminal prosecution for a workplace fatality, the Department of Justice has charged a roofing company owner with attempting to cover up his failure to provide fall protection for a worker who fell 45 feet to his death…

Only two criminal prosecutions related to worker deaths occurred in 2014, according to a National Council for Occupational Safety and Health report.

CBS Boston: Man Killed in Somverville Construction Accident Identified — 6/12/2015

…Morse’s death serves as a “tragic reminder that construction remains a very dangerous industry,” Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health said in a public statement Friday.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of our lost brother,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, MassCOSH’s Executive Director.

The Pump Handle: Advocates must push regulators to improve, enforce standards — 6/9/2015

Ensuring that U.S. workers return home from work healthy and in one piece requires pushing OSHA and other agencies to do more at the state and national levels to improve standards and aggressively enforce them. Meanwhile, health and safety advocates and workers must speak out loudly for worker rights, especially to protect workers who simply report safety problems at their jobs and to protect whistleblowers who reveal criminal behavior.

Those points were discussed last week in Baltimore at the 2015 National Conference on Worker Safety and Health. More than 280 workplace safety and health activists representing local COSH (Council for Occupational Safety and Health) groups, unions, worker centers, community-based organizations, and academics from around the country attended the conference.

“We covered topics ranging from basic worker rights to criminal prosecution for scofflaw employers, to art and culture in health and safety,” said Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, which presented the conference.

EstrellaTV: Expresan Su Indigación — 6/5/2015

Unidos por una misma causa decenas de trabajadores y activistas expresaron su desacuerdo ante la Cámara de comercio de EE.UU por tratar de bloquear la implementación de medidas de seguridad laboral.

InsideOSHAOnline: OSHA ‘Will Issue’ Final Silica Standard, Top Official Promises Worker Health Activists — 6/5/2015

OSHA fully expects before the Obama administration ends to finalize and enact new regulations aimed at reducing workplace hazards from crystalline silica dust, OSHA’s top non-career deputy told safety and health activists at a Maryland conference Wednesday (June 3).

Advocates increasingly worry that Congress will pass language to prevent the agency from promulgating the rule under Obama, an official with National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), the conference organizing body, tells Inside OSHA Online. [Subscriber Only.}

May, 2015

Houston Chronicle: OSHA cites DuPont for serious safety violations, failing to prevent worker deaths — 5/14/2015

…”This should be a wake-up call for chemical operations around the country to make sure there are better emergency procedures, better training and better compliance with the existing regulations that are out there,” said Peter Dooley, a project consultant with the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.

Washington Post: Nail salon workers aren’tthe only ones who need more protections5/12/2015

On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced emergency protections for the state’s nail salon workers, just days after two New York Times reports detailed widespread wage theft and health risks. The stories, by reporter Sarah Maslin Nir, illuminated just how vulnerable these workers are: Often recent immigrants, with low English fluency and few marketable skills, they’re essentially indentured to nail salons that take few measures to shield them from exposure to toxic chemicals used in manicures and pedicures.

But nail salons aren’t the only workplaces with few rules and little oversight. Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health, and Charlene Obernauer, executive director of the organization’s New York chapter, pointed out a few other examples of occupations where workers experience similar vulnerabilities.

DNA Info: Construction Worker Deaths Show Need for Safer Work Sites, Advocates Say — 5/12/2015

…A recent report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Heath shows that Velazquez was one of 15 construction workers killed on the job in the city in 2014.

Since January, nine more construction workers have died because they worked at unsafe sites, according to Charlene Obernauer, the organization’s executive director.

New York Times: Justice for Nail Salon Workers — 5/11/2015

…even though a broken immigration system leaves many undocumented workers vulnerable to abuse and wage theft, they still must be a part of this solution. Mr. Cuomo’s announcement referred to a “community-based partnership” with local organizations “to identify violators and to encourage workers to come forward.”

This is where government must build upon many years of work by grass-roots labor organizations. One example is the New York Healthy Nail Salons Coalition, led by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, and Adhikaar, which means “rights” in Nepali. Adhikaar, based in Queens, has been giving Nepali nail salon workers health and safety training and encouraging the creation of “green” salons using nontoxic products.

Labor Press: New Report Calls for Greater OSHA Enforcement — 5/11/2015

Union members, elected officials and worker safety advocates held a press conference at City Hall to bring attention to a new report that reveals that many construction sites are poorly regulated and unsafe.

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health released on Monday morning “The Price of Life: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities in New York City. On Friday the construction industry released its own report, prepared by the New York State Association for Affordable (NYSAFAH) Housing, and says that union construction sites have higher fatality rates than non-union sites.

The Nation: How Can You Get an Ethical Manicure? Support Worker Organizing — 5/11/2015

…Despite the Times‘s depiction of workers as victims of the industry, advocacy groups involved with the initiative, including Adhikaar, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health are putting workers’ at the forefront of the safety debate by calling on lawmakers to incorporate labor standards into the certification program—including “excluding nail salon businesses that have had a history of wage and hour violations, or that have unpaid [Occupational Safety and Health] violations.”

Corporate Crime Reporter: Mary Vogel on How the Worker Death Rate Was Cut by Eighty Percent — 5/8/2015

Mary Vogel is the executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

In an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter last week, Vogel said that criminal prosecution of workplace safety violations is one way to attack the rising death toll.

– See more at:…

Safety+Health: Immigration reform would reduce Latino worker deaths, National COSH claims –5/4/2015

…Latinos have a greater risk of serious injury or death on the job because they often work in high-hazard industries such as construction and agriculture, and are less likely to speak up for their rights, according to Jessica Martinez, deputy director of the National COSH.

“Enough is enough,” Martinez said in an interview with Safety+Health magazine. “We need to realize there are preventions; that workers do have rights independent of their status, their ethnicity or their language.”

Diario Las Americas: Los hispanos son los que más mueren en accidentes laborales — 5/3/2015

“Los hispanos estamos muriendo mucho más que ningún grupo étnico”, destacó Jessica Martinez, subdirectora del Consejo Nacional de Salud y Seguridad Ocupacional (o National COSH), una de las organizaciones de seguridad de los trabajadores más importantes del país.

April, 2015

International Business Times: Dangerous Oil And Gas Sector Remains Exempt From Key Federal Health And Safety Regulations — 4/30/2015

…Although OSHA’s permissible exposure limit for benzene is one part per million, it stands at a much more generous 10 parts per million for the oil and gas sector — the result of intense lobbying and outcry on the part of industry.

“It’s safe to say a stricter limit would lead to a decline in fatalities and injuries,” says Peter Dooley, safety and health project consultant for the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.

My Central Jersey: Rally honors those killed or injured on job — 4/29/2015

The April 26 rally and march through the city focused on current work conditions and featured testimonials from injured workers and families that lost loved ones in workplace accidents, according to a statement. New Labor and the New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) organized the event.

”Safe working conditions — with protection from toxic and other hazards — are a moral duty and are the law,” the Rev. Fletcher Harper, WEC executive board chair and director of Green Faith, said in the statement. “It’s tragic that many workers are denied this basic level of safety. On Workers’ Memorial Day, we remember those workers who” ve lost their lives on the job- and pledge to continue the fight for workers rights and protections.”

EHS Today: 7 Workers Who Didn’t Make it Home — 4/28/2015

Six hours into his 12-hour shift at a molding company in Michigan, Erik Deighton, 23, was crushed to death by a stamping machine.

He was trying to clear an obstruction in the machine, when it cycled to stamp a part.

Deighton’s death was preventable, had Colonial Plastics invested in modern machine guarding technology that would have kept the machine from running while a worker was near, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health said in its “Not An Accident: Preventable Deaths 2015” report.

South Coast Today: Workplace deaths mourned in Boston — 4/28/2015

Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director of MassCOSH, the nonprofit Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, said it was particularly disturbing to see so many deaths that could have been prevented if standard safety practices had been followed.

“This winter, for example, we saw worker after worker being put up at a 20- or 30-foot height without a harness,” she said.

Oregon Live: New report calls for tougher penalties, safety prevention to reduce U.S. workplace deaths 4/28/2015

A national federation of labor and worker safety groups issued a report Tuesday calling for more aggressive actions to reduce workplace hazards and on-the-job fatalities.

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health said 4,585 U.S. workers died on the job in 2013, the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Casper Star Tribune: Memorial focuses on worker safety — April 27, 2015

…The 26 deaths in Wyoming were preventable, said Brianna Jones, executive director for the Equality State Policy Center, a think tank advocating for worker safety. An official count of 2014’s workplace fatalities has not been released…

“I think this memorial has been one of the vehicles that has really helped keep worker safety at the forefront of the conversation,” Jones said. “It has obviously had a good effect if the governor is willing to attend.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: Memorial ceremony for workers killed on the job — 4/26/2015

…Carpenter Benjamin Hattendorf, 42, died April 17 after falling off a construction site in West Philadelphia.

“He fell 100 feet,” said Barbara Rahke, who heads the Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health, which organized Friday’s event, one of many around the nation held on various days to commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day, officially set for April 28.

Hattendorf’s death particularly affected Rahke. From her office, she can see the construction site where Hattendorf died. That morning, he ate breakfast in her building’s cafeteria. “It’s really unbelievable,” she said.

The (Springfield, MA) Republican: 2015 Workers’ Memorial Day recognizes 62 Massachusetts residents killed on the job — April 24, 2015

Labor leaders read 62 names during Workers’ Memorial Day observances Friday- 62 people killed somewhere in Massachusetts while at work in the past 16 months.

That works out to just more than one death a week, and the vast majority of them would have been prevented if there had been a robust set of safety-minded procedures and precautions in place, said Mary Vogel of Longmeadow, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH).

Charleston (WV) Daily Mail: Upper Big Branch disaster cited as example in workplace safety report — April 23, 2015

In advance of Workers’ Memorial Week, which begins Saturday, a national worker safety group cited the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in a report to highlight the thousands of lives lost each year due to unsafe working conditions…

Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council for Occupation Safety and Health, said the total costs of work-place deaths as a result of injuries and illnesses ranges from $250 billion to $350 billion a year.

Beckley Register-Herald & West Virginia Sentinel: Blankenship trial a ‘wake-up call’ about putting profits over safety, expert says — April 23, 2015

The prosecution of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship will “serve as a wake-up call” and may “set an important precedent” to executives trying to cut corners on safety, a member of the Governors’ Independent Investigation Panel on the Upper Big Branch mining disaster said Thursday.

Dr. Celeste Monforton, also a lecturer at George Washington University, shared her thoughts on Blankenship’s trial Thursday during a National Council for Occupational Safety and Health conference call, announcing the release of a study called “Not an Accident: Preventable Deaths 2015.”

West Virginia Public Broadcasting: National Report Uses UBB to Call for Workplace Safety Enforcement — 4/22/2015

A national worker safety organization is using the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster as call to action for the nation to enforce stricter safety standards to prevent workplace deaths.

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health released their report “Not an Accident: Preventable Deaths 2015” Thursday ahead of the national Workers Memorial Week, which runs from Saturday, April 25, through Saturday, May 2.

Safety + Health: Criminal prosecutions, control strategies will prevent worker deaths, National COSH says — 4/22/2015

Broader use of hazard prevention strategies and threats of stiffer consequences for workplace safety violations will help reduce the number of annual worker deaths, a group of safety advocates stated during an April 23 press conference.

Despite progress made over the past several decades in reducing the number of occupational deaths, an average of 12 workers are still killed on the job every day, Mary Vogel, executive director with the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, said during the press conference.

Construction Dive: Latino worker fatality rate climbs, industry at odds over solutions — 4/8/2015

…Although a federal law is already in place requiring that training materials be presented in a language workers understand, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have the tools or manpower to monitor every construction manager to ensure they are following the rules, said Jessica Martinez, deputy director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH), a worker advocacy organization.

There is a void not only of training in Spanish, she added, but also of OSHA site inspectors who speak Spanish. “Being able to have an inspector who can talk to the workers in a safe space in the language that they understand will make it easier to enforce the law,” Martinez said.

NY 1: Second Construction Accident in Two Days Injures Four — 4/7/2015

“Fall from heights or people working at elevated heights is one of the most common injuries and fatalities that workers have on the job,” says New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health Executive Director Charlene Obernauer.

Last Wednesday, another worker was killed—when he fell six stories from a building in Brighton Beach. Advocates with NYCOSH say much of their work involves urging companies to take safety seriously.

“There are oftentimes citations that are issued based on things like not providing a harness or not providing workers with, really, the safety and equipment that they need,” says NYCOSH Executive Director Charlene Obernauer.

March, 2015

Huffington Post: On Wal-Mart’s Watch: A Seemingly Endless Health and Safety Catastrophe — 3/23/2015

Charlene Obernauer, Executive Director of NYCOSH, writes: “In the past seven years, Wal-Mart has been affiliated with a number of health and safety catastrophes throughout their supply chain.”

Associated Press: McDonald’s workers file hazard complaints –3/16/2015

Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, said in a conference call organized by labor groups that the burns and other hazards detailed in the complaints are “pretty universal” in the fast-food industry.

EHS Today: Workers Fed Up With McDonald’s: File OSHA Complaints — 3/16/2015

According to a fast food worker safety survey conducted by Hart Research Associates and released March 16 by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, 79 percent of fast-food workers in the United States have been burned in the past year, most repeatedly. A total of 87 percent of fast food workers have suffered some type of injury in the past year, including 78 percent who suffered multiple injuries.

Wall Street Journal: Labor Group Seeks to Hold Fast Food Chains Responsible for Worker Safety — 3/16/2015

…Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, said on a conference call Monday that the group’s theory is similar to one that OSHA uses to hold multiple employers responsible in temp-worker situations. The council, which advocates for workplace safety, has helped to advise the fast-food workers’ campaign.

Ms. Vogel said OSHA “looks at which company has some control over the working conditions, and certainly McDonald’s does in many of these franchises.”

Salon: “Put mayonnaise on it, you” ll be good”: McDonald’s employees detail outrageous response to serious workplace injuries — 3/16/2015

“Fast food workers are like everyone else, they come to work to earn a living and to provide for their families,” said Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on a press call. “They don’tcome to work to get injured, they don’tcome to work to get burned, and they certainly don’tcome to work to be handed a packet of mayonnaise or mustard when they do get burned.”

(Additional coverage of fast food worker survey in Christian Science Monitor, Wonkette, and Buzzfeed.)

Long Beach Press-Telegram and Torrance Daily Breeze: Carson refinery strike is about safety — 3/5/2015

Guest commentary from Jorge Cabrera of SoCalCOSH and Barbara Rahke of PhilaPOSH. “Safety and staffing, however, are two sides of the same coin. Working in the oil and gas industry, according to federal safety statistics, is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, with more than 800 deaths between 2003 and 2010. That’s seven times more dangerous than other U.S. industries.”

February, 2015

Variety: ” Midnight Rider” Accident Still Resonates One Year Later — 2/18/2015

…Mary Vogel, executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, says that a problem is that the level of fines allowed under the OSHA Act are so low that for many companies, “it is the cost of doing business.”

“That is why the prosecution is so important,” she said. “For some companies, that is what it takes to be deterred, to do the right thing.”

National Law Review: Unions Urge OSHRC to Change Procedural Rules — 2/9/2015

OH&S: Groups Seek Changes in OSHRC Procedures — 2/2/2015

Safety + Health: Employees deserve greater participation in OSHRC hearings, petitioners say — 1/28/2015

National COSH and a coalition of unions and other safety advocacy groups has petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to amend its procedural regulations and permit greater employee participation during hearings.

The Buffalo News: Labor Leader advocates for “high road” growth — 2/1/2015

Richard Lipsitz, president of the Western New York Area Labor Federation discusses wage theft, immigrant workers, the WNY Worker Center, and WNYCOSH in a Buffalo News interview.

January, 2015

Houston Chronicle: DuPont workers had been exposed to potentially lethal chemical for years, records show — 1/12/2015

…[Peter] Dooley, a safety and health project consultant for the National Council on Safety and Health, said it appears DuPont’s actions fell short.

“Every indication points to that the right protections were not in place and that the facility wasn’t prepared to deal with possible exposures from maintenance operations,” he said.

New Jersey Star-Ledger: N.J. Supreme Court should protect workplace whistleblowers: Opinion — 1/8/2015

New Jersey Work Environment Council general counsel David Tykulsker on efforts by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and the New Jersey Employers Association to strip protections for whistleblowers.