U.S. checks conditions for workers in walkout
The Department of Labor and the State Department opened investigations this week of job conditions at a Pennsylvania packing plant for Hershey’s chocolates where several hundred international exchange students walked off their jobs last week, protesting low pay and strenuous work.
Final rule for notification of employee rights
The National Labor Relations Board has issued a Final Rule requiring most private-sector employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act by posting a notice. The rule was placed on public inspection at the office of the Federal Register on August 25. It is scheduled to be posted in the Federal Register on August 30, 2011 and will take effect 75 days later, on November 14, 2011.
US zoos step up elephant safety rules
The US zoo association has issued tougher safety guidelines on elephants that include a requirement for all institutions to provide barriers that separate handlers from the animals. The guidelines, believed to be among the most stringent in the world, won praise from animal rights activists, although the zoo association said that its primary concern was the working conditions of elephant handlers.
Federal study finds link between military suicides and nutrition
Federal researchers have found further evidence of a link between nutrition and military suicides, which increasingly have plagued the U.S. armed forces over the past decade. In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the researchers concluded that low levels of highly unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids corresponded with a higher rate of suicides. The scientists found a particularly strong association between the military suicides and levels of DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, the major omega-3 fatty acid concentrated in the brain.
America’s most dangerous jobs
At least there is some good news on the employment front: the American workplace is a lot less hazardous than it was a decade ago. Only 4,547 workers died on the job last year, a 23% decline from the 5,915 fatalities that occurred in 2000, according to the latest report on workplace fatalities from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are some of the most dangerous jobs based on fatality rates per 100,000 workers.
Of dead bodies and dirty streets
In the fall of 1924, five bodies from New Jersey were delivered to the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office. You might not expect that to cause the chief medical examiner to worry about the dirt blowing in city streets. But it did. To understand why you need to know the story of those five dead men, or at least the story of their exposure to a then mysterious industrial poison.
OSHA cites UP for retaliating against workers
Federal authorities say Union Pacific retaliated against three employees who raised safety concerns, so the railroad should pay $615,215 in fines and compensation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday that it found evidence the Omaha-based railroad violated the rights of two conductors based in Kansas City, Mo., and an engineer based in Tucson, Ariz.
More than 100 protest alleged retaliation tactics at Chino warehouse
More than 100 protesters rallied Wednesday in front of a warehouse to denounce alleged retaliation tactics by its management and demand the company correct health and safety violations. At a rally at the Chino operations facility of NFI Industries, Warehouse Workers United members said they have been subjected to intimidation tactics, including veiled threats of job loss and assignment changes.
Jeffboat conducting review after third fatality in 16 months
Jeffboat management and union employees began a facility-wide review of equipment and processes at the shipyard Monday in response to last week’s fatality, said Kim Durbin, manager of corporate communications for American Commercial Lines. Steve Duncan, 54, of Pekin, had been an electrician at Jeffboat for 11 years when he was crushed to death between a barge and piece of equipment Friday morning.
Fourth fire this year strikes refinery that relies on toxic acid
In another sign of ongoing risks facing the refining industry and people who live nearby, a fire broke out Wednesday morning at Sunoco Inc.’s Philadelphia oil refinery. It was the fourth known blaze this year at the plant, which uses a highly toxic acid that threatens more than 1.3 million people in the Philadelphia area.