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NH COSH: A Deadly Week For NH Workers

Hooksett, NH – Two New Hampshire workers were killed this week in unrelated incidents bringing the number of NH work related deaths to at least 10 for 2017. Eric LaFramboise, 35, of Epsom was killed on Sunday when a gust of wind blew down a tree he was harvesting, crushing him. Dakota LaBrecque, 23, of Loudon was pulled into a conveyor and killed at the Springfield Power LLC, in Springfield, NH late Monday. Both incidents are under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Eric LaFramboise is the second tree service fatality in New Hampshire this year. Frederick Wilhelmi, 32, of Hudson died May 23rd while working for a tree service company. The tree service industry is a high-risk industry with NH worker deaths almost every year. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the fatality rate for the landscape services industry, about 80 deaths per year nationally, is similar to that for more recognized high-risk industries such as agriculture and mining.

Dakota LaBrecque was on 23 years old which would qualify him as a “young worker”. Young workers, ages 14-24, are at higher risk of workplace injury because of their inexperience at work and their physical, cognitive, and emotional developmental characteristics. They often hesitate to ask questions and may fail to recognize workplace dangers. According to NIOSH, in 2014 the rate of work-related injuries treated in emergency departments for workers, ages 20–24, was 1.76 times greater than the rate for workers 25 years of age and older.

“Workplace fatalities are rarely random accidents,” said Brian Mitchell of the New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, “Most of these incidents can be prevented with proper safety training and protective equipment. Two worker deaths is a terrible way to begin the holiday season and we mourn the loss of our fallen brothers.”


Editors note: This Tuesday was #GivingTuesday and I started a fundraiser on Facebook for the NH COSH.  If you missed Giving Tuesday and would like to make a donation, please consider donating to the NH COSH.

150 People A Day Die On The Job: AFL-CIO Releases Blistering New Report

(Washington, D.C.) In 2015, 150 workers died from preventable work-related injuries and illnesses every day in the United States, on average, according to a report released today by the AFL-CIO. 4,836 workers died due to workplace injuries, and another 50,000-60,000 died from occupational diseases. The number of immigrant workers killed on the job reached a nearly 10-year high.

“Corporate negligence and weak safety laws have resulted in tragedy for an astonishing and unacceptable number of working families,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Instead of working for stronger protections, too many Republican politicians in Washington, including the Trump administration, are trying to roll back commonsense regulations that enable workers to return home safely to their families. These are more than numbers; they are our brothers and sisters, and a reminder of the need to continue our fight for every worker to be safe on the job every day.”

The report, titled Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, marks the 26th year the AFL-CIO has reported on the state of safety and health protections for workers in the United States. The report shows the highest workplace fatality rates are in North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska and West Virginia.

According to the report, Latino workers have an 18% higher fatality rate than the national average. Deaths among Latino workers increased to 903, compared with 804 in 2014. Overall, 943 immigrant workers were killed on the job in 2015—the highest number since 2007.

The report also finds that construction, transportation and agriculture remain among the most dangerous sectors. 937 construction workers were killed in 2015—the highest in any sector. Older workers also are at high risk, with those 65 or older 2.5 times more likely to die on the job. Workplace violence continues to be a growing problem for workers, resulting in 703 deaths.

The report also highlights the fact that OSHA is underfunded and understaffed to handle the 8 million workplaces across the country.

  • There are only 1,838 inspectors (815 federal and 1,023 state) to inspect the 8 million workplaces under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s jurisdiction.
  • Federal OSHA has enough inspectors to inspect workplaces once every 159 years.
  • State OSHA plans have enough inspectors to inspect workplaces once every 99 years.
  • There is one inspector for every 76,402 workers.
  • The current OSHA budget amounts to $3.65 to protect the safety and health of each worker in America.

Not only is OSHA unable to keep up with growing number of workplaces, the penalties are too weak.

The federal penalty average for the death of a worker on the job is $6,500 dollars.  The state penalties are even worse. The state penalty average for the death of a worker on the job is only $2,500.  Serious OSHA violations carry an average penalty of $2,402 for federal and $1,747 from the state.

Instead of working to strengthen worker protections the Trump administration is rolling back regulations and slashing funding to the Department of Labor.

  • Executive Order 13771, issued Jan. 24, 2017, requires that for every new regulatory protection issued, two existing safeguards must be repealed.
  • Repeal of OSHA’s rule clarifying an employer’s obligation to keep accurate injury and illness records.
  • Repeal of a rule that would have required companies to disclose safety and health and labor violations in order to qualify for federal contracts.
  • Delay in the effective date of OSHA’s new beryllium standard and delay in the enforcement of OSHA’s silica standard in the construction industry. The delay in the silica rule will allow continued high exposures that will lead to 160 worker deaths.
  • Budget proposals to slash the Department of Labor’s budget by 21%, eliminate worker safety and health training programs, eliminate the Chemical Safety Board and cut the job safety research budget by $100 million.

After decades of work, OSHA has helped to save the lives of countless workers and yet there is so much more we can do.  We need the President to take strong and swift actions to strengthen OSHA protections, increase the penalties, hire additional inspectors, and address the growing problems facing workers today.

Read the AFL-CIO’s full report here

 

Teenage Workers Face Real Danger In Summer Jobs

(Image by Donald Lee Pardue CC FLIKR)

(Image by Donald Lee Pardue CC FLIKR)

Watchdog group issues annual list of
most dangerous summer jobs for American teens

Washington, DC—As millions of American teenagers begin summer jobs this month, a national child labor watchdog group is issuing a warning to avoid this year’s most dangerous seasonal work. The National Consumers League (NCL), the country’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy group, founded in 1899 to fight child labor, issued its annual report on the worst jobs for teens, with work in tobacco fields topping the list.

“Nearly 5,000 workers die on the job each year in the United States, an average of 13 workers a day. Tragically, some of those workers are teenagers,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Summer jobs are a great American tradition, a wonderful learning and earning opportunity. But each teen worker death causes irreparable suffering and pain to the families, friends, and communities of these youth. Today we issue our annual warning to serve as a reminder to teens and parents that there are jobs that pose extreme risks to youth workers and should be avoided at all costs.”

Thousands of American children are hurt on the job each year, approximately one every 9 minutes, according to the Children’s Safety Network. In a typical year, 20-30 U.S. children will die on the job, although the statistics are generally trending in the right direction; 20 years ago, that number was 70+ per year. In 2012, 29 children died while working. In 2013, that number fell sharply to 14, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Unfortunately, progress isn’t always steady. The teen work death toll increased from 14 in 2013 to 21 in 2014—the latest year for which we have data. “We hope that the increase does not represent a trend,” said Greenberg.

The 2016 report names five job categories that present an above average risk of injury or fatality. It also provides practical advice for staying safe as well as tips for parents and employers to help make teen work safer.

NCL’s 2016 Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens 

  • Tobacco harvester
  • Agriculture: Harvesting crops and using machinery
  • Traveling youth sales crews
  • Construction and height work
  • Outside helper: Landscaping, grounds keeping and lawn service 

“Many teens lack the experience and sense of caution needed to protect themselves from dangerous conditions on the job,” said Reid Maki, NCL director of child labor advocacy and report author. “In addition, they are often reluctant to challenge authority or ask for safety information. Their judgment and ability to exercise caution is still developing. Parents should keep a close eye on the type of work their children perform and encourage kids to tell their employer, ‘I’m sorry, that seems dangerous.’”

NCL’s Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens encourages youth workers to say “no” when certain dangerous tasks are requested. NCL includes the following blacklist of jobs that involve any of the following tasks:

  • door-to-door sales, especially out of the youth’s neighborhood;
  • long-distance traveling away from parental supervision;
  • extensive driving or being driven;
  • driving forklifts, tractors, and other potentially dangerous vehicles;
  • the use of dangerous machinery;
  • the use of chemicals;
  • working in grain storage facilities; and
  • work on ladders or roofs or other work that involves heights where there is a risk of falling.

Recent on-the-job deaths of American teens

Over time, government agencies, NCL, and other youth advocates have tracked the categories of jobs that have proved most dangerous to teens, and NCL’s report is intended to make teens and their parents aware of those dangers. However, teens are injured and even killed working jobs that don’t fall into the most dangerous jobs categories.

  • Farmhand Heather Marie Barley, 17, of Buckley, Michigan, died suddenly while working on a hog farm in December 2015. Elevated levels of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide were suspected to have come from a steam generator connected to a pressure washer.
  • On his first day on the job feeding tree limbs into a wood chipper, in December 2015, 19-year-old Mason Cox in Gastonia, North Carolina died instantly when his body was pulled into the chipper. His employer was so disturbed by the incident that he had a heart attack.
  • December 2015: 19-year-old Oscar Martin-Refugio was shot in the heart by robbers as he worked in a Bridgeport, Connecticut pizza shop. He died soon after.
  • Grant Thompson, 18, died from a snakebite while working in his parents’ pet shop in Austin, Texas in July 2015.
  • In October 2014, 18-year-old Jeremy McSpadden, Jr., of Spokane Valley, Washington was working as an actor at a Halloween haunted hayride when he died tragically after losing his footing and falling under the rear wheel of a bus.

To read the full report, click here (PDF).


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League (NCL), founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. NCL chairs the Child Labor Coalition, which seeks to remove children from work that threatens their health or development. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org or www.stopchildlabor.org.


150 Workers Die Every Day From Preventable Workplace Injuries And Illnesses


150 workers die every day AFLCIO
(Washington, DC, April 27, 2016)More than 4,820 workers were killed on the job in 2014, according to a new report by the AFL-CIO. Additionally an estimated 50,000-60,000 died from occupational diseases, resulting in a daily loss of nearly 150 workers from preventable workplace injuries and illnesses.

“Working people should not have to risk their lives to make a living and support their families,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Yet every day, millions of Americans are forced to work with little to no safety protections while big businesses and corporations profit off our lives.”  

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, marks the 25th year the AFL-CIO has publishednational findings on the safety and health conditions for working people.Among other findings:

  • The report calls attention to an increase in fatalities among older workers.
  • The states with the highest fatality rates were Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota and Mississippi.
  • In 2014, 804 Latino workers lost their lives on the job and the fatality rate for Latino workers remains higher than the national rate.
  • Workplace violence injuries, particularly among women workers in health care, is a serious problem. The workplace violence injury rate has increased by 60% over the past five years, while the overall job injury rate has declined.

Oversight of job safety and health conditions remains weak and is getting worse in certain ways.  OSHA can now inspect a workplace on average only once every 145 years, compared with once every 84 years in 1992, when the AFL-CIO issued its first report. The average penalty for serious violations last year was only $2,148 and the median penalty for worker deaths was only $7,000.

DOTJ16_fb4b_UnionDensityStatesSafer“We have made important progress, including winning new OSHA silica standards to protect workers from deadly dust,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “But as this report shows, too many employers are cutting corners and workers are paying the highest price. We must keep working for stronger laws and enforcement to hold employers accountable, until all working people are safe on the job.” said Trumka.

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect is being released in conjunction withWorkers Memorial Day when vigils, rallies, and actions are being held across the country to remember workers killed and injured on the job. The report can be found online here: aflcio.org/death-on-the-job.

 

National COSH: Over 100K Workplace Deaths Can Be Prevented

image from National COSH

National COSH Also Recognizes First-Ever
“Outstanding Health and Safety Stories, 2016”

Workplace Fatalities Are Increasing
and a Leading Cause of Death is Also Most-Violated OSHA Standard

SAN DIEGO, CA – The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, one of the nation’s leading workplace safety organizations, today released “Preventable Deaths 2016,” a report outlining the more than 100,000 annual deaths due to acute workplace trauma and long-term exposure to on-the-job hazards. 

This year, the organization also recognized for the first time “Outstanding Health and Safety Stories, 2016,” including film, print, broadcast and Internet stories which highlight occupational hazards and workplace fatalities. 

With newly-updated data on workplace fatalities from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Preventable Deaths 2016” reports that 4,821 workers died on the job from traumatic events in the workplace in 2014, a 5.1% increase from 4,585 deaths in 2013. 

NCOSH 300X250“An increase in workplace deaths is a wake-up call for all of us,” said Jessica Martinez, acting executive director of National COSH. “All the evidence shows that we can save lives – by strong enforcement and worker-involved safety programs to prevent sudden deaths in the workplace, and by removing the long-term hazards that are slow, silent killers.” 

“American workers are dying, but American journalism is not dead,” said Martinez. “We are proud to recognize this year, for the first time, the in-depth work of journalists and story-tellers who are revealing trends about how and why workers are getting sick and losing their lives.  This is exactly the kind of information workers and activists need to make our workplaces safer.” 

Additional study is needed, said Martinez, to determine why workplace deaths increased in 2014.  Available evidence indicates that the higher number of deaths is not linked to an upsurge in economic activity. The BLS reports that the rate of fatalities also increased in 2014, to 3.4 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent jobs, up from 3.3 in 2013.

Other key findings from “Preventable Deaths 2016” include:

  •  A leading cause of workplace death – falls, slips and trips – increased to 818 fatalities in 2014, a thirteen percent increase from 724 deaths in 2013.  The hazards of working at heights are well-known, as are tested and effective safety protocols to protect workers. OSHA’s fall protection standard, however, is the most frequently violated rule in the United States; the agency issued 7,402 citations for violation of the standard in 2015.
  • More than 95,000 U.S. workers die each year from the illnesses caused by long-term exposure to workplace hazards, according to a 2014 estimate by leading scholars and practitioners published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. This estimated death toll from cancer as well as heart, lung, kidney and other diseases is much higher than previous estimates.
  • “Cancers caused by work can be prevented by reducing or eliminating the exposures leading to the disease,” writes Jukka Takala, president of the International Commission on Occupational Health and the lead author of the 2014 study on deaths due to long-term workplace hazards.

“Preventable Deaths 2016” includes case reports of individual workers who died on the job drawn from the U.S. Worker Fatality Database, a cooperative effort by National COSH and partner organizations to compile names, faces and facts about workers who die on the job every year.

“Outstanding Health and Safety Stories, 2016” were selected by the National COSH team of staff, consultants and volunteer members of our Board of Directors, based on an extensive review of film, print, Internet and broadcast stories about occupational safety published during the past year.  The winning selections:

Film

“A Day’s Work”, released in 2015 and produced by David M. Garcia and Dave DeSario

Print, Internet and Broadcast

Print, online and broadcast stories are presented in order of date of publication. National COSH recognizes each of these stories equally as an extraordinary contribution to public understanding of workplace safety. 

Selection criteria included stories that are a result of in-depth investigation; stories showing trends that affect many workers and families; and effective use of multimedia Internet capabilities with photos, video, infographics and links to databases of injuries and fatalities. 

“At a time when many news organizations are responding to economic pressures by chasing clicks with provocative headlines, these outstanding stories can provoke outrage about deaths that can and should be prevented, ” said Peter Dooley, a project health and safety consultant at National COSH.  “We can save lives by empowering workers, requiring employers to rigorously follow existing safety standards, and passing stronger health and safety laws and regulations.”

“Preventable Deaths 2016” is being released to mark Workers’ Memorial Week, a global event that commemorates workers who lost their lives on the job.  In the United States, more than 90 local communities in 32 states will remember workers killed on the job. A listing of events is available on the National COSH website.


New Hampshire showing of “A Day’s Work”

Concord, New Hampshire
April 28, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
Red River Theatre, 11 South Main Street.

Screening of film “A Day’s Work,” followed by a panel discussion following featuring the film maker, temp workers, and worker advocates. Event co-sponsored by the New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, New Hampshire AFL-CIO, BDB Health Promotions, UNH Occupational Health Surveillance Program.

New AFL-CIO Report, ‘Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect,’ Shows 150 Workers Killed on the Job Every Day

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According to a report released today by the AFL-CIO, 4,585 workers were killed in the United States during 2013 due to workplace injuries. An additional estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases, resulting in a loss of nearly 150 workers each day from preventable workplace conditions.

“America’s workers shouldn’t have to choose between earning a livelihood and risking their life, yet every day too many end up on the wrong end of that choice,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Corporations are prospering while working people suffer because of corporate negligence and insufficient government oversight. We must go beyond mourning those we’ve lost, and take bold, decisive action to ensure that a day’s work brings opportunity, not the risk of death or injury.”

The report, entitled Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, marks the 24th year the AFL-CIO has produced its findings on safety and health protections for workers in the United States. The report shows the highest workplace fatality rates were found in North Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming, West Virginia, and New Mexico.

While workplace deaths and injuries were high in many private sector industries, such as oil and gas extraction, the injury rate for public sector workers was 58 percent higher than for private sector workers. In fact, 8 million state and local public employees lack any OSHA protections. OSHA oversight and enforcement remains weak. Federal OSHA has the resources and staff to inspect workplaces on average only once every 140 years. The average penalty for serious violations was only $1,895, and the median penalty for worker deaths was only $5,050.

Other report highlights include the startling rise of Latino worker deaths, as the Latino fatality rate was 18 percent greater than the overall rate, and the urgent need to update OSHA silica safety standards based on near-century old research.

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect was released after numerous Workers Memorial Day vigils, rallies, and actions were held across the country, and can be found online here: aflcio.org/death-on-the-job.

150 Workers Die Every Day From Injuries Or Occupational Diseases

Asbestos Abatement Workers

“Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” details workplace fatalities
www.aflcio.org/death-on-the-job

 In 2011, 4,693 workers were killed on the job, according to a new AFL-CIO report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.” That is an average of thirteen workers every day. In addition, another estimated 50,000 die every year from occupational diseases – an average of 137 a day, bringing the total worker fatalities to 150 a day.  North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska and Arkansas had the highest workplace fatality rates, while New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Washington had the lowest. Latino workers, especially those born outside of the United States, continue to face rates of workplace fatalities fourteen percent higher than other workers, the same as last year.

In 2011, 3.8 million workers across all industries experienced work-related illnesses and injuries. The true toll is estimated to be two to three times greater, but lack of reporting in this area results in lower official figures.

The job fatality rate had been declining steadily for many years, but in the past three years the rate has essentially been unchanged, at 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers. Similarly, for the past two years, there has been no change in the reported workplace injury and illness rate (3.5 per 100 workers). If we are to make progress in reducing job injuries and deaths, we will need more concerted efforts and additional resources.

This year’s report comes on the heels of a horrific explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, which killed 15 people, injured hundreds more and caused widespread destruction, as well as the tragic collapse of a building that housed garment factories in Bangladesh, which led to the death of over six hundred workers.

The report also examines the role of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 43 years after its creation. It finds that OSHA remains underfunded and understaffed, and that penalties are too low to deter violations. Because of the underfunding, federal OSHA inspectors can only inspect workplaces once every 131 years on average, and state OSHA inspectors would take 76 years to inspect all workplaces.

OSHA penalties are too low to be taken seriously, let alone provide deterrence. The average penalty is only $2,156 for a serious federal health and safety violation, and only $974 for a state violation. Even in cases involving worker fatalities, the median total penalty was a paltry $5,175 for federal OSHA and $4,200 for the OSHA state plans. By contrast, property damage valued between $300 and $10,000 in the state of Illinois is considered a Class 4 felony and can carry a prison sentence of 1 to 3 years and a fine of up to $25,000.

Criminal penalties under OSHA are also weak. While there were 320 criminal enforcement cases initiated under federal environmental laws and 231 defendants charged in FY 2012, only 84 cases related to worker deaths have been prosecuted since 1970.

In the face of an ongoing assault on regulations by business groups and Republicans in Congress, progress on many new important safety and health rules has stalled. The White House Office of Management and Budget has delayed needed protections, including OSHA’s draft proposed silica rule, which has been held up for more than two years.

“In 2013, it is unacceptable that so many hardworking men and women continue to die on the job,” said AFL-CIO President and third-generation coal miner Richard Trumka. “No one should have to sacrifice his or her life or health and safety in order to earn a decent living. Yet, elected leaders, business groups and employers have failed to provide adequate health and safety protections for working families. At the same time, too many politicians and business leaders are actively working to dismantle working people’s right to collectively bargain on the job and speak out against unsafe, unjust working conditions. This is a disgrace to all those who have died. America’s workers deserve better.”

“Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” was released after hundreds of Workers Memorial Day vigils, rallies and action were held across the country to commemorate all those workers who died and were injured on the job.

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