The White House should allow public debate on OSHA’s silica rule
One year ago today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) submitted a proposal to the White House that would update the standard that protects workers from exposure to crystalline silica dust. Although the review should have concluded after 45 days, the proposal remains at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Beryllium manufacturer and union draft worker safety regulation, ask OSHA to move on it
The world’s largest producer and supplier of beryllium and workers exposed to the highly toxic mineral decided not to wait any longer for federal OSHA to draft a proposed worker safety rule on the hazard. Last week, the United Steelworkers International Union and Materion Brush (the only U.S. manufacturer) sent the complete text of a draft regulation to the head of Labor Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
Think you’re a virtuous valentine? Think again.
After digging into the background behind the Valentine’s Day industry, I’m pretty convinced that my own wry holiday spirit is merited—if not for this day’s sky-high levels of consumption (expected to reach $17.6 billion this year) then, at the very least, for its environmental damage and poor labor practices. Below, a breakdown of the Valentine’s Day trifecta: flowers, chocolate, and greeting cards. The results aren’t pretty.
Tip big: Restaurants aren’t good to workers—especially women
Just in time for the restaurant industry’s biggest day of the year, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United delivered an anti-Valentine to the industry for its systematic mistreatment of women in the business, from fast service joints to fine dining establishments. The report—”Tipped Over the Edge: Gender Inequity in the Restaurant Industry”—shows the business has delivered no tangible love to its workers and a healthy dose of discrimination towards women in the restaurant workforce.
A disturbing peek under the ‘Tilted Kilt’
When I heard last week that 19 women had sued the Chicago franchise of a national chain called Tilted Kilt, known for its “scantily-clad kilt girls,” I was not surprised. News of the lawsuit was gratifying, but reading the actual complaint was disturbing. The conditions alleged by the women at the restaurant do sound “outrageous” and “extreme” as the lawsuit says. But the most disconcerting revelation, for me, was the fact that the charges apparently deal almost excusively with the behavior of one manager described as a “predator.”
Fashion Week 2012: Unpaid internships questioned after Diana Wang’s Harper’s Bazaar suit
Rachel Moskowitz is one of hundreds of unpaid workers behind the scene at New York Fashion Week, running through Thursday all over Manhattan. She’s trading long hours of manual and clerical labor for the chance to be in the thick of glamour. In the summer months, Moskowitz and her fellow interns will fill the offices of magazines, PR firms and production companies, hoping that their hard work will eventually lead to coveted fashion jobs. Yet the legality of such internships has come under scrutiny.
Rapidly growing older workforce demands employer attention to injuries
The health and safety of the rapidly growing number of older U.S. workers demand employer attention to reduce injury-related losses, experts say. Health care costs, workers’ compensation spending and worker productivity are factors employers must consider as the nation’s population and its workforce age, they add. That is because employees’ physical condition, such as deterioration caused by age or chronic disease, can affect how older employees respond to potential workplace hazards, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Major employers support flu shot requirement for health professionals
Many of the country’s largest companies are telling hospitals to send a message to physicians and other health professionals who refuse influenza immunization: “You’re fired.” Most hospitals that have adopted mandatory policies require all employees to receive the flu vaccination as a condition of employment unless they present evidence of a medical contraindication. If the employees do not get immunized, they are typically required to wear face masks whenever they interact with patients or risk getting a pink slip.
Asbestos deaths bring 16-year sentence
In a case followed around the world, two former executives of a Swiss building-products conglomerate were convicted in Italy Monday of causing the asbestos-related deaths of more than 3,000 people. Each defendant — Swiss billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny, former owner of the Eternit conglomerate, and Belgian baron Louis de Cartier de Marchienne, a major shareholder in the firm — was sentenced to 16 years in prison on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Joe Ramonetha, South Africa zoo worker, killed by lioness
A lioness sprung at the throat of a zoo worker on a rural conservation farm and killed him, apparently because security gates were left open, the Johannesburg Zoo said Tuesday.