When a soldier brings war back home
This Memorial Day, we remember our fallen soldiers. Many have died in combat, but increasingly, for off-duty members of the National Guard and Army Reserves, soldiers are dying by their own hands. Nationally, the number of those who’ve committed suicide has nearly doubled from 80 in 2009 to 145 last year.
Xcel Energy trial in five deaths opens today
The trial of Xcel Energy on charges of workplace-safety violations — a rare instance of federal prosecutors bringing criminal charges against a company — opens today in Denver. The case stems from the deaths of five men at the Cabin Creek hydroelectric plant near Georgetown in 2007.
Upper Big Branch: Hawk’s Nest redux
For those who don’t know the history of the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel, from 1930 to 1935, approximately 3,000 workers carved a 3 mile tunnel through the Gauley Mountain in West Virginia in order to divert the New River for an electrical station at a Union Carbide plant. Ventilation was limited at best. The miners were not given modest protections like masks or breathing equipment. Quartz dust from cutting into the mountain invaded their lungs. Signs of the deadly lung disease, silicosis, began for some within eight weeks of employment. Public health historians learned in their studies that the building of the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel in West Virginia was considered one of the worst man-made industrial disease accidents in U.S. history. But as we know, it wasn’t an accident. Workers were placed in harm’s way for profit. Their health be damned. Fast forward to May 2011.
California worker safety officials draft proposal to require condoms in porn
Porn performers in California would be required to use condoms in sex scenes if draft rules from state workplace safety officials advance out of the proposal phase. Cal/OSHA officials provided the Associated Press with a 17-page draft proposal that contained sometimes graphic details of the bodily fluids, waste matter and other materials that porn actors must protect themselves against to avoid infection.
Wal-Mart is being pressed to disclose how global suppliers treat workers
Wal-Mart is facing new pressure to monitor and disclose how its international suppliers treat their workers. At its annual shareholder meeting on Friday, the New York City pension funds, which own a small percentage of shares in Wal-Mart, plan to ask the company to require vendors to publish annual reports detailing working conditions in their factories.
Union takes after West Hollywood hotel
The Hyatt Andaz hotel, West Hollywood’s largest and only union hotel, suffered a PR attack from its labor partners Unite Here 11 this week as part of their effort to gain the upper hand in stalled contract negotiations. Releasing a press release on Wednesday, Unite Here 11 announced that “the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (CalOSHA) has issued citations alleging that the Hyatt Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood has failed to comply with multiple state safety regulations.” The agency made no citations, however, for hazardous working conditions charged by Unite Here 11.
Your commute is killing you
In the past decade or so, researchers have produced a significant body of research measuring the dreadfulness of a long commute. People with long transit times suffer from disproportionate pain, stress, obesity, and dissatisfaction.
OSHA casts iron foundry $44,300 fine for repeat, health violations
OSHA has cited Domestic Casting Inc. LLC for exposing workers to safety and health hazards at its Shippensburg, Pa., facility. Proposed penalties total $44,300.
Foxconn worker from Chengdu factory commits suicide
Sadly, a 20-year-old male employee at Foxconn (Apple’s contract manufacturer for many products) committed suicide Thursday morning, according to a report from the Hong Kong China News Agency (HKCNA) cited by Bloomberg. The worker was reportedly employed at the company’s new facility in Chengdu where an explosion killed three workers on May 20.