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NH COSH: Jose Valdicieso’s Death Was Preventable With Proper Precautions And Safety Training

NASHUA, NH    On Thursday, November 2, Jose Valdivieso, age 37, was killed on the job in Nashua when the hydraulic lift he was assigned to use came in contact with a power line. According to the OSHA Public Affairs Office, Mr. Valdivieso, of Somerville, MA, was working for Prime Touch Services of Natick, MA at the time of his death. He was originally from El Salvador and is survived by two children.

“Jose’s death is a double tragedy – both for his family and loved ones, and because it was 100% preventable with proper safety precautions and training,” said Susi Nord, co-director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health. “2017 has been a particularly deadly year for construction workers in New Hampshire, with 6 out of 7 work-related fatalities this year occurring in the industry.”

According to the 2017 AFL-CIO report on workplace fatalities, Latino and immigrant workers are at a higher risk of death on the job that other workers. The fatality rate for Latino workers in the U.S. was 18% higher than the national average overall and increased significantly in 2015, with 903 deaths compared to 804 in the prior year. Of the 943 immigrant workers killed on the job in 2015, 2 out of 3 were Latinos.

Employers and construction contractors in New Hampshire are required by federal law to provide a reasonably safe workplace for all workers including proper safety training and protective equipment. They must also ensure the work environment does not prevent or discourage workers from using safe work practices.

Prime Touch Services was cited by OSHA for two serious safety violations in 2013.

Preventing Workplace Violence: National COSH and Local Groups Join Call for OSHA Standard for Health Care and Social Service Workers

NCOSH 300X250San Diego – In solidarity with labor unions representing millions of American workers, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), the New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NHCOSH) and other local COSH organizations have endorsed petitions calling for a comprehensive federal standard to prevent workplace violence in the health care and social assistance sectors.

“With an issue like workplace violence, it’s easy to say, ‘Hey, how can you stop a person who wants to hurt somebody?’” said Jessica Martinez, acting executive director of National COSH. “But that’s just wrong and ignores documented best practices. If you address issues like adequate staffing and lines of communication, worksite security, proper training and safety protocols, there’s no question you can reduce the risks faced by health care and social service workers.”

Workplace violence is a problem across all sectors of the economy. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than two million workers each year report that they are victims of violent incidents on the job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported more than 400 workplace homicides in 2014, making homicide the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States.

Health care and social service workers are among those most at risk. Fifty-two percent of victims of workplace violence, according to the BLS, are health care and social service workers.

On July 12, a coalition of unions filed petitions with the U.S. Department of Labor, calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a “comprehensive workplace violence prevention standard to protect all workers in healthcare and social service settings.” The coalition of labor unions includes the AFL-CIO; American Federation of Teachers; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; American Federation of Government Employees; Communications Workers of America; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Service Employees International Union; the United Steelworkers and National Nurses United.

“Like other on-the-job hazards, workplace violence can be prevented – in health care, social services and in other sectors” said National COSH Senior Organizer Peter Dooley. “To be effective, a workplace violence prevention standard must be part of a comprehensive, systems approach to workplace safety, with workers involved in every step of the process.  That includes evaluating risks, assessing remedies, reporting incidents without fear of retaliation, and design of rigorous training.”

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels, National COSH and local COSH groups point to the proven effectiveness of prevention programs. “A comprehensive workplace violence prevention program,” the letter states, “reduced rates of assault at Veterans Health Administration hospitals between 2004 and 2009.”  The letter also notes that the states of California and Minnesota have recently passed legislation requiring health care employers to implement workplace violence prevention programs.

In addition to National COSH, local groups signing on to yesterday’s letter include:

  • Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health (ConnectiCOSH)
  • Fe y Justicia Worker Center (Houston COSH)
  • Maine Labor Group on Health
  • Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH)
  • Mid-State Education and Service Foundation
  • New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NHCOSH)
  • New Jersey Work Environment Council (NJWEC)
  • New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH)
  • NorthEast New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NENYCOSH)
  • Rhode Island Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (RICOSH)
  • South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice
  • Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (SoCalCOSH)
  • Western Massachusetts Coalition for Workplace Safety and Health (WesternMassCOSH)
  • Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health (WNYCOSH)
  • Worksafe

Yesterday’s letter to Secretary Perez and Assistant Secretary Michaels is available here.

* * *

National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. For more information, please visit coshnetwork.org.  Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.

NH Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health To Honor Workers On Workers Memorial Day

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No matter how hard we work, how hard we try, and people are still going to be injured on the job.  Every day labor unions are pushing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create a safer workplace for all workers.

For over 40 years, unions have been working with OSHA to identify workplace hazards and identify employers who are cutting corners that put workers safety at risk.

New Hampshire has always taken pride in the fact that we are one of the safest states to work in.  Over the last few years, New Hampshire has led the country with the least number of on the job deaths.  With only seven workplace deaths this year will be no different.

Workers memorial day

Once a year America’s unions and safety organizations, like the NH Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, honor these workers who lost their lives on the job.  The day, dubbed Workers Memorial Day, honors workers while renewing our effort to make our jobs safer.

This year the NH Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health will be holding their annual Workers Memorial Day dinner.

Worker’s Memorial Day will be held on April 28th, at 5:30 at the Plumbers and Steamfitters Hall, 161 Londonderry Turnpike, Hooksett, NH.

This year we have identified 7 individuals who lost their lives on the job in New Hampshire in 2013.  We will be adding their names to our perpetual memorial plaque.  There will be a buffet dinner and guest speakers.  There is no registration fee for this event.

The focus of the meeting is to remind everyone that, despite the passage of the OSH Act over 40 years ago, thousands of workers are injured or killed on the job every year, some of whom may never return to work.

The event is open to everyone, but space is limited.  For more information Brian Mitchell contactnhcosh@nhcosh.org and (603) 232-4406.

 

For more information on Workers Memorial Day go to the AFL-CIO Website where you can find a WMD celebration in your area.

SEIU 1984 Members Keeping NH’s Workers Safe on the Job

By Andrew Towland for the SEA/SEUI 1984
(Original link)

Danger in the workplace is nothing new, and it’s certainly still a very real issue. Thankfully, though, there are people working to limit injuries and illnesses on the job.

Dr. Karla Armenti is the director of the state’s Occupational Health Surveillance Program.

Dr. Karla Armenti is one of those people. Armenti, who’s an SEA member, runs New Hampshire’s Occupational Health Surveillance Program, which gathers information on workplace injuries and illnesses.

“As a surveillance program, my focus is on identifying, documenting and disseminating data on work-related injuries and illnesses,” Armenti said.

Because her program is funded through the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), there are a number of indicators she must report on that help provide a snapshot of the population’s health status. Those indicators include things such as work-related hospitalizations or the adult blood-lead level – basically, how many adults have higher levels of lead in their blood. NIOSH also encourages state-level programs to undertake small research projects.

“We did a study with those adult blood lead levels, by calling workers and asking them about exposure,” she said. “We now have three years of data on that.”

Data like that can then be utilized by other agencies and programs throughout the state.

“It helps inform prevention efforts,” Armenti said.

Another project Armenti said she worked on was with the NH Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, a nonprofit advocacy group, interviewing the state’s immigrant and refugee communities about their working conditions.

“Sixty-two percent had never heard of worker’s comp,” she said. “That gives us our marching orders: We need to better educate our refugees and immigrants.”

With limited English skills, Armenti said many of those surveyed are only qualified for very labor-intensive jobs, which can be dangerous.

“We had 69 percent of the people say they constantly work in odd positions,” she said. “They’re doing really difficulty things.”

That immigrant information was released in a report earlier this year.

Ultimately, Armenti said everything she does is to try to keep workers safe on the job.

“We don’t want people to go to work and be hurt, or worse, not come home,” she said.

“People call them ‘accidents’ at work,” Armenti said. “I call them ‘incidents,’ because nine times out of 10, certain protocols weren’t followed.”

Incidents like those that led to the formation of OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, sadly still occur, Armenti said.

“Why, 40 years later, is it still happening?” she asked.

“That’s where my passion comes in,” Armenti said. “If I can provide data to those stakeholders so they can affect real change, then we have made a difference.”

Video Highlights From The NH Workers Solid As Granite Rally

Here are all of the videos from the NH Workers Solid As Granite Rally.  Be sure to follow us on YouTube as well so you can see our newest and latest movies. 
Intro Movie (Highlight Reel) 
Nashua Teachers Union President
Robert Sherman
Deb Howes
Member of the Nashua Teachers’ Union
Presenting Certificates of Appreciation to Local State Reps
who opposed Right To Work (for less)
Craig Lange
Adjunct Professor at Nashua Community College
Newly formed SEIU 1984 chapter
AFT-NH President Laura Hainey
SEIU 1984 / State Employees Association
President Diana Lacey
National Postal Mail Handlers Union
Representative Ed Barnes
Sheet Metal Workers Local 17
Business Agent, Ed Foley
President of the Metal Trades Council at the
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
IBEW Member,
Paul O’Connor
NH Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
Al Bouchard
NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie
Ret. Firefighter, Member IAFF

Solid As Granite Series part 8: NH COSH Al Bouchard

Al Bouchard is a advocate for the New Hampshire Coalition of Occupational Safety and Health, (COSH).  This short story is powerful and shows why it is important to be union members and why workplace safety is one of the most important protections a union can provide.

To quote AL, “Do not trust your employer when he tells you it is safe”.

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