Category Archives: Uncategorized

Insult to Injury: Is Income Inequality Tied to Worker Safety?

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from blog.dol.gov

guadalupe

Guadalupe González doesn’t know if she’s going to be able to make it much longer.

The East Boston resident used to hold a full time position as a cleaner for Sodexo. Much of her time working was spent on the campus of Lasell College, located in the wealthy Boston suburb of Newton, where she was paid $10.80 an hour for her labor. Weighed down by her buckets and supplies, she would rush, at Sodexo’s insistence, from building to building across the campus often on uneven terrain.

When Guadalupe fell it was devastating; she knew instantly what her mangled ankle meant. She was going to have to take a break from her physically demanding job, a break she just couldn’t afford. Three surgeries later, Guadalupe is no closer to returning to work than the day she was injured. She is in nearly constant pain and requires a cane to walk. Worse yet, Guadalupe now receives a mere 60 percent of her former earnings, making it almost impossible to buy food, pay bills and make rent. Sadly, Guadalupe is not alone. She is one of at least three million workers seriously injured every year in the United States. She is one of many workers who will lose more than 15 percent in wages over ten years because of their injury while bearing nearly 50 percent of its cost. For workers like Guadalupe, the American dream quickly becomes a nightmare. These injuries and illnesses contribute to the pressing issue of income inequality: they force working families out of the middle…

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Drums with hazardous waste removed from industrial ruins near Paterson’s Great Falls

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.northjersey.com

By JOE MALINCONICO

Paterson Press

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Paterson Historical Preservation office
ATP site

PATERSON – Federal authorities last month removed storage drums containing hazardous chemical from the abandoned Allied Textile Printing (ATP) site near the Great Falls, a move that local officials hope will eventually lead to the cleanup of all contamination at the location.

A report by the United States Environmental Protection Agency said that at least 12 of the 37 drums among the industrial ruins at the ATP site that were deemed “hazardous for corrosivity.” The drums contained sodium hydroxide, oxidizers and peroxide, the report said.

The seven-acre site about 700 feet downstream from the Falls contains the ruins of what once were dozens mills and other manufacturing buildings, a location that produced Colt revolvers in the 19th century and later was the birthplace of Paterson’s silk industry. The mills were closed more than 30 years ago and were ravaged by fires after that.

"One of my historian friends says that part of the ATP site is for America’s Industrial Revolution the rough equivalent of what the Roman Forum is to government,” said Leonard Zax, chairman of the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park Advisory Commission.

The ATP area is within the boundaries of the national park at the Great Falls, but federal park officials do not plan on taking over the land until the pollution is cleaned up.

“This area is enormously important…

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Looking Forward, Looking Back

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from blog.dol.gov

There are some days you’ll never forget, and for me, today is one of them. It’s my last day as assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy, and, as expected, I’m experiencing mixed emotions. While excited about my next adventure, I’m sad to leave my talented and dedicated colleagues and friends at the department.

Kathy Martinez

Since assuming my position in 2009, I have had the privilege of spending my days surrounded by some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met, and they have taught me so much. It’s not often that one gets to see the inner workings of policy development and how it translates into tangible outcomes with real, lasting impact on people’s lives. I am so proud to have been part of the team that helped implement Executive Order 13548 and the 2014 updates to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act — among many other policy efforts — that today are transforming the employment landscape for those of us with disabilities.

But there is another and more personal reason I’ve loved coming to work each day for the past five and a half years. And that’s because I have been able to do so fully. What do I mean by that? I mean that, as an employer, the department reflects the ideals inherent in the policies it puts forward, including those that help strengthen the American workforce through diversity. When I walked through the doors each morning, I knew that my diverse…

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Looking Back: Nellie Kershaw-The First Reported Asbestos Victim

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from en.wikipedia.org

Nellie Kershaw.jpg

Nellie Kershaw (c. 1891 – 14 March 1924) 

Today’s post is shared from wikipedia.org/

Nellie Kershaw  was an English textile worker from Rochdale, Greater Manchester. Her death due to pulmonary asbestosis was the first such case to be described in medical literature, and the first published account of disease attributed to occupational asbestos exposure.[1][2] Before his publication of the case in the British Medical Journal, Dr William Edmund Cooke had already testified at Kershaw’s inquest that “mineral particles in the lungs originated from asbestos and were, beyond reasonable doubt, the primary cause of the fibrosis of the lungs and therefore of death”.[3] Her employers, Turner Brothers Asbestos, accepted no liability for her injuries, paid no compensation to her bereaved family and refused to contribute towards funeral expenses as it “would create a precedent and admit responsibility”.[4] She was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave.[5] The subsequent inquiries into her death led to the publication of the first Asbestos Industry Regulations in 1931.

Nellie Kershaw was born to Elizabeth and Arthur Kershaw in Rochdale in 1891. In 1903 she left school, aged 12, to take up employment in a cotton mill and 5 months later began working at Garsides asbestos mill.[1][2] She transferred to Turner Brothers Asbestos on 31 December 1917, where she was employed as a rover, spinning raw asbestos fibre into yarn.[2][6] She was married to Frank Kershaw, a…

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How Companies Like Walmart Are Fighting to Keep Workplace Injuries Secret

Today’s post was shared by Mother Jones and comes from www.motherjones.com

Andrew Francis Wallace/ZUMA

Nearly four years ago, while lifting pallets of blankets during an overnight stocking shift at Walmart, Barb Gertz began to notice a dull pain in her arms. She kept on lifting and stocking, but by the time her lunch break rolled around she could no longer raise her arms. Her doctor told her she had tendinitis in her biceps, and that it was most likely caused by her job. Walmart disagreed. The retailer contested Gertz’s workplace-injury claim—and won.

If Gertz had worked in a factory, she could have bolstered her case with evidence from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s national database of manufacturing workplace injuries. But no such database exists for retail workers like Gertz. A new regulation that OSHA is scheduled to finalize this year would change that. OSHA wants to create a public database of workplace injury and illness data from all industries, not just manufacturing. This would help workers, the government, researchers, and journalists identify companies with safety problems. But the trade groups that represent some of America’s biggest chains—including Walmart, Target, and McDonald’s—are fighting back hard.

The National Retail Federation—a group that represents Walmart, McDonald’s, and The Container Store—spent $2.4 million lobbying on this measure and other issues between January and September of last year. In a letter to OSHA last March, the group complained that the rule would require…

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Nearly all respirable coal dust samplings comply with new mine dust rule

End Black Lung Now

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from www.dol.gov

News Release

Dust levels in underground coal mines continue to trend downward with new low in 2014

ARLINGTON, Va.Chester Fike was just in his 30s when he was diagnosed with black lung. As the disease progressed, the West Virginia coal miner was eventually so incapacitated that a simple walk with his family was impossible. In the summer of 2012, four months after a double lung transplant raised hopes for a second chance, Fike lost his fight for life at 60.

In an effort to spare others the same fate, the Mine Safety and Health Administration published a final rule, which took effect in August 2014, to lower miners’ exposure to respirable coal mine dust in all underground and surface coal mines. From Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2014 — the first phase of the rule — more than 23,600 dust samples have been collected, and results show that about 99 percent of samples are in compliance. Since MSHA launched its "End Back Lung — Act Now" campaign in 2009, the yearly average of respirable dust levels of designated mining occupations in underground coal mines has fallen every year and, in 2014, reached the lowest level ever recorded.

"These results show that the new dust rule is working, and miners should be breathing cleaner air at coal mines," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Despite concerns from some in the mining industry, most of the valid samples collected have met compliance levels….

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New York State Department of Health Completes Review of High-volume Hydraulic Fracturing

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.health.ny.gov

Acting DOH Commissioner Zucker Recommends Activity Should Not Move Forward in New York State

DEC Commissioner Martens Will Issue a Findings Statement Early Next Year to Prohibit High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing

The state Department of Health has completed its public health review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) and Acting DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker recommended that high-volume hydraulic fracturing should not move forward in New York State. Dr. Zucker announced his findings and recommendations today at a Cabinet Meeting in Albany.

“I have considered all of the data and find significant questions and risks to public health which as of yet are unanswered,” said Dr. Zucker. “I think it would be reckless to proceed in New York until more authoritative research is done. I asked myself, ‘would I let my family live in a community with fracking?’ The answer is no. I therefore cannot recommend anyone else’s family to live in such a community either.”

In 2012, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens asked the DOH Commissioner to conduct a review of the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (SGEIS). Dr. Zucker’s report fulfills that request.

As a result of Dr. Zucker’s report, Commissioner Martens stated at the Cabinet Meeting today that he will issue a legally binding findings statement that will prohibit HVHF in New York State at this time.

“For the past six years, DEC has…

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Florida has a Large Percentage of Medicare’s top “Controlled-Drug” Prescribers

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from flojcc.blogspot.com

Today’s post is authored by Judge David Langham and shared from flojcc.blogspot.com/

A story was recently published on the WUSF website, Health News Florida. It says that the “prolific prescribers” of some medications are facing “Medicare scrutiny.”

A chart in the story reflects the distribution of 192 top prescribing medical providers in 12 states. Of these, 52, or 27% are located here in the Sunshine State. 

The article notes that in 2012, “Medicare covered nearly 27 million prescriptions for powerful narcotic painkillers and stimulants with the highest potential for abuse and dependence.” 

Despite efforts at addressing narcotic use, the article notes that this was a “9 percent” increase compared to 2011. 

Thankfully, though Florida has the largest volume of providers represented in this chart, the top prescriber is not in Florida. Dr. Shelinder Aggarwal of Huntsville, Alabama has that distinction. He prescribed “more than 14,000 Schedule 2 prescriptions in 2012.” This amounted to “more than 80 percent of his Medicare patients” receiving “at least one prescription for a Schedule 2 drug, in many cases oxycodone.”Apparently he is no longer a physician, the article notes he “surrendered his medical license” in 2013. 

The prescription practices are a “real area of concern” for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to the director, quoted in the article. 

The article suggests that data in existing resources can…

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