Today is Workers Memorial Day. It’s a day to remember those who’ve been hurt or killed on the job. And it’s a day to recommit to making worksites safer across the nation. Every day in America, 12 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, 3.3 million people suffer a workplace injury from which they may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy.
Yesterday was Workers Memorial Day, a day set aside by worker safety and health advocates to remember men and women who are killed on the job across this country. The Obama administration’s worker safety regulators and agencies are making a big deal about this day of commemoration, and tying it to the 40th anniversary of the creation of OSHA. But as I read the speeches, and studied the AFL-CIO report, something just jumping out at me … it was the list of terrible workplace disasters that our nation has suffered over the last two years. Those things didn’t happen when George W. Bush was president. They happened on President Obama’s watch. And they happened after Hilda Solis was confirmed as Labor Secretary.
Since the Tucson shootings, U.S. Capitol Police have urged members of Congress to be more vigilant. Lawmakers’ aides now coordinate public activities in home districts with local law enforcement authorities. There are new protocols for reporting death threats, strange phone calls and suspicious Facebook postings.
The Federal Aviation Administration is shaking up the management of the nation’s air traffic control system following embarrassing incidents of controllers sleeping on the job and making errors. The FAA said Friday it has appointed new managers to oversee the operation of airport towers and regional radar centers that handle planes flying at high altitudes as well as approaches and departures. The previous managers are being reassigned.
Retired captain Chesley Sullenberger warned in an interview published Thursday by the DailyBeast.com, that cuts to FAA funding may have an impact on safety and that the government should be forthcoming about potential consequences. According to Sullenberger, cuts could translate to reductions in staffing at regulatory agencies and represent a decision to accept something less than the highest standards. He said such cuts would lead to an increased risk that someone will come to harm who otherwise would not have. Sullenberger stated that the industry has made a promise to passengers that it will do the best it can, even when that is not easy, expedient, or inexpensive. He also raised concerns about pilot fatigue regulation.
OSHA has started conducting inspections of outpatient care centers in four states — Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and Florida — in an effort to reduce needlesticks and sharps hazards, according to a report from the ASC Association in its ASCA Government Affairs Update.
Workers in Louisiana face a higher chance of dying during an accident on the job compared to workers in other states, but are also are less likely to endure minor injuries or catch an illness while in the workplace.
When older workers are injured on the job, they’re sidelined for longer periods of time than their younger co-workers, CDC researchers found.
CBS correspondent Lara Logan says she believed she was going to die while she was being sexually assaulted and beaten in Egypt’s Tahrir Square.
There are so many college students willing to work as interns — and, often, willing to work for free. (There are even some students who pay for their internships.) The number of unpaid internships has steadily increased in recent years, prompting questions about the legality and ethics of unpaid internships. Last year the U.S. Labor Department released a list of six criteria that must be met for an unpaid internship to be legal and some states launched investigations into internship programs. Some university officials worry that cracking down on unpaid internships could mean fewer opportunities for students hungry for real world experience. But researcher Ross Perlin says colleges and universities have failed to “inform young people of their rights or protect them from the miserly calculus of employers.”