Category Archives: Uncategorized

The workers’ compensation system is broken — and it’s driving people into poverty

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

There’s a good news/bad news situation for occupational injuries in the United States: Fewer people are getting hurt on the job. But those who do are getting less help.

That’s according to a couple of important new reports out Wednesday on how the system for cleaning up workplace accidents is broken — both because of the changing circumstances of the people who are getting injured, and the disintegration of programs that are supposed to pay for them.

The first comes from the Department of Labor, which aims to tie the 3 million workplace injuries reported per year — the number is actually much higher, because many workers fear raising the issue with their employers — into the ongoing national conversation about inequality. In an overview of research on the topic, the agency finds that low-wage workers (especially Latinos) have disproportionately high injury rates, and that injuries can slice 15 percent off a person’s earnings over 10 years after the accident.

“Income inequality is a very active conversation led by the White House,” David Michaels, director of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, said in an interview. “Injuries are knocking many families out of the middle class, and block many low-wage workers from getting out of poverty. So we think it’s an important component of this conversation.”

There are two main components to the financial implications of a workplace injury. The first is the legal…

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Construction Fall Safety Stand-Down – Pt 2

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from experttalk.creativesafetysupply.com

Fall prevention requires employer planning and employee training. Listen to Matt McNicholas of OSHA discuss the annual Construction Fall Safety Stand-Down May 4-15, 2015.

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Matt says employers need to do three things to keep employees safe from falls:

1. Plan ahead to get work done safely.
2. Provide the correct equipment.
3. Train the exposed workers how to safely use equipment.

Matt is a Safety And Health Specialist with OSHA in Chicago. In this podcast, he tells stories of surprise jobsite inspections during his 12 years as an inspector.

Hear Matt also tell about warning lines, designated areas, anchorage points and control zones.

This is the second Safety Experts Talk featuring fall prevention experts.

TRANSCRIPT

(:00)
Brandon Nys: Welcome to Safety Experts Talk. Take a look at our website at CreativeSafetySupply.com/podcast for related links in the transcript of this podcast.

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OSHA

(intro music)

Matt McNicholas: I’ve seen leaps and bounds, quite frankly, in terms of fall protection used over the course of my career here. But the bottom line is that, it’s still a leading cause of fatalities in construction, and it’s always in the top 10 issued violations of OSHA citations.

(:33)
Dan Clark: Falls from height kill more people in construction than any other type of accident—almost 300 fatalities annually—prompting the Construction Fall Safety…

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Kettle Falls, WA Cedar Mill Fined More Than $150,000 for Safety Violations

Today’s post comes from guest author Kit Case, from Causey Law Firm.

Kettle Falls cedar mill fined more than $150,000 for safety violations in connection with worker injury

The Columbia Cedar mill in Kettle Falls has been fined $151,800 for safety violations after a worker was seriously hurt while trying to clear bark from a hopper.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) cited the employer for one willful violation and 28 serious violations of workplace safety regulations.

The willful violation involved multiple instances of employees working in close proximity to exposed and unguarded chain sprockets on chain conveyors, a hazard that can cause permanent disabling injuries. The one willful violation carries a penalty of $52,000.

L&I initiated the inspection after learning that in June 2014 an employee had suffered a serious injury and was hospitalized after becoming entangled in a rotating shaft meant to move bark in the back of a hopper. The investigation found the equipment had no guarding installed to protect employees.

Along with the willful citation, the employer was cited for several serious violations related to machine/equipment guarding, and for not ensuring “lock-out/tag-out” procedures were used to prevent machinery from starting up or moving during service or maintenance by workers.

There were several additional serious violations involving fall/overhead hazards, hand-held tools, personal protective equipment and forklift training.

The employer was also cited for failing to report the hospitalization of an injured worker. By law, all employers are required to report to L&I within eight hours any time a worker is hospitalized or dies due to work-related causes.

A willful violation can be issued when L&I has evidence of plain indifference, a substitution of judgment or an intentional disregard to a hazard or rule. A serious violation exists in a workplace if there is a substantial probability that worker death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition.

The employer has 15 working days to appeal the citation, and has notified L&I that it plans on doing so. Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of those who have died on the job.

 

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

Print

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

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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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