Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Thanksgiving Basket Of Juicy Workplace Safety Nuggets To Read About

My internet has been down, I just got back from my kid's hockey game, and I'm heading out of town tomorrow for Thanksgiving, and I've got a huge, long list of things I haven't written anything about, so you do some work for a change. Here's your holiday reading list

(Uh, sure Aunt Sally, I'd love to discuss how those metrosectuals are ruining the country, but I've got some, uh, work to do. Yeah, that's it, important work. Be right back.)

The Galveston Daily News looks at Chemical Safety Board preliminary findings regarding the cause of the March 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery that killed 15 workers and injured 180 and wonders whether CSB recommendations will be effective or if the company must actually be compelled to do the right thing.

The president of the New York City Building Trades Employers' Association tells the Daily News that the reason there are so many construction fatalities in New York is the high number of non-union contractors.

And speaking of construction in New York, Mark Dittenhoeffer at Tort Deform Blog notes that "Folks have been falling from scaffolds like leaves from trees lately," yet every year the construction industry descends upon the legislature

with increasing force and finance to urge upon our representatives wholesale changes in New York’s Labor Law to remove, repeal, restrict, retrench or reduce those Labor Law sections authorizing a private cause of action against offending worksites.
Meanwhile, things are even dirty in the laundry industry where workers in Connecticut are trying to organize New England Linen. They even have health and safety problems:

Workers have also complained about unclean and unsafe conditions at the company. In March, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for 19 violations of standards, including flammable liquid storage, training, record-keeping, basic housekeeping and machine guarding to prevent accidents and amputations. New England Linen was fined $24,500 for the 19 violations, but later reached a settlement to pay $14,070 on 18 of them.
So do other laundries, as evidenced by an $83,700 OSHA citation against Northern Health Care Linen Services Inc.

But make sure you don't get hurt on the job, especially in California where the California Medical Association surveyed its members who have treated workers under Workers Comp reforms passed in 2004 and found, as one physician said, "It is a terrible system. It's fraud."

And while we're in California, we have a "funny" situation where the Governor has bought the entire bill of goods regarding the benefits of voluntary partnerships based on the the theory that employers will do the right thing if they just have good information. Then he goes and vetoes a bill that would have allowed the state to identify which employers use harmful chemicals (like diacetyl, which causes popcorn lung) so that state authorities can address the problems.

And finally, as if I didn't have enough to do, you can check out my piece at Firedoglake about the amazing contract victory won by janitors in Houston. Yes, that would be Houston, Texas.

And the funniest thing is that someone actually asked me a while back how I can possibly find enough to write about every day. If only....

Have a very happy Thanksgiving everyone.