Archive for the ‘Safety & Health’ Category

April 28: Workers Memorial Day

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Each year, April 28 is designated as Worker Memorial Day, a day to mourn the dead and recommit to safety in the workplace. Despite progress in reducing on-the-job deaths, 13 workers are killed at work every day, with many more suffering grievous and life-changing injuries. Here are some sites and resources commemorating the day.

wmd
OSHA: Workers Memorial Day

Workers’ Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28. It is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers. It is also the day OSHA was established in 1971. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

OSHA provides a clickable map to find activities near you.

safe-jobs

AFL-CIO: Workers Memorial Day

From this year’s  fact sheet:

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the effective date of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Act — which guarantees every American worker a safe and healthful working environment — created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to set and enforce standards and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to conduct research and investigations. This year also marks the 47th anniversary of the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, and 39th anniversary of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act.

But despite the progress:

The Occupational Safety and Health Act is 45 years old, and is out of date. Millions of workers lack coverage, penalties are weak and worker and union  rights are very limited.

Thousands of workers still face retaliation by their employers each year for raising job safety concerns or reporting injuries —fired or harassed simply because they want a safe place to work. The OSH Act’s whistleblower and anti-retaliation provisions are too weak to provide adequate protection to workers who try to exercise their legal rights

In 2014, nearly 4,700workers were killed on-the-job by traumatic injuries and an estimated 50,000 – 60,000 died from occupational diseases. On an average day, more than 10,000 workers are injured or become ill because of workplace hazards, and 150 workers lose their lives as a result of workplace injuries and diseases.

See events listed by AFL-CIO, as well as this year’s fact sheet.

Other resources

 

Healthcare providers struggle with violence-related risk management

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

There’s no question but that healthcare workers face a growing threat of violence from patients while going about their day-to-day jobs. In a 2015 survey, the International Healthcare Security and Safety Foundation reported a 40% increase in violent crime from 2012 to 2014, with more than 10,000 violent incidents mostly directed at employees. High stress, armed patients and visitors, drug and alcohol intoxication, mental health issues and more all contribute to an increasingly dangerous environment. OSHA reports that:

From 2002 to 2013, the rate of serious workplace violence incidents (those requiring days off for an injured worker to recuperate) was more than four times greater in healthcare than in private industry on average. In fact, healthcare accounts for nearly as many serious violent injuries as all other industries combined.

Recently, Susannah Levine reported on the challenge that healthcare facilities face in her Risk & Insurance article, Hospitals Struggle with Security Risks. The article discusses the pros and cons of an armed approach to healthcare security, as well as the insurance implications of various risk management and security measures. Liability insurance may be a determining factor as to whether healthcare facilities opt for armed security or rely on less lethal tools like Tasers and sprays.

“Barry Kramer, senior vice president, Chivaroli & Associates, a health care insurance broker, said that armed security in health care settings is more of a risk management concern than a coverage issue.

“It would be highly unusual for our clients’ liability policies to exclude claims involving security guards, whether or not they’re armed with guns,” he said.

He said many health care risk managers are not equipped to manage exposures associated with licensing and certifying guards or registering the facility’s own firearms.

For facilities that lack the bandwidth to manage, train and track certifications for in-house security staff, Kramer said,third-party vendors, such as local law enforcement or private security companies, can be contracted, since they have firearms experience as well as liability insurance coverage.”

In February, the New York Times discussed various approaches and philosophies that healthcare facilities employ to mitigate risk. The article by Elisabeth Rosenthal – When the Hospital Fires the Bullet – centers on the case of a 26-year-old mental health patient who was shot by police in a Houston hospital. In the course of the article, Roenthal presents various approaches to security:

To protect their corridors, 52 percent of medical centers reported that their security personnel carried handguns and 47 percent said they used Tasers, according to a 2014 national survey. That was more than double estimates from studies just three years before. Institutions that prohibit them argue that such weapons — and security guards not adequately trained to work in medical settings — add a dangerous element in an already tense environment. They say many other steps can be taken to address problems, particularly with people who have a mental illness.

Rosenthal contrasts the approach of Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, where the strongest weapons its security officers carry is pepper spray to that of the Cleveland Clinic, which has its own fully armed police force and also employs off-duty officers.

Guns in hospitals

Meanwhile, as risk managers struggle with the dilemma of whether to arm or not to arm, patients and visitors are often armed, enabled by state and local gun laws – just one more factor that healthcare facilities are coping with. At of the beginning of the year, Texas law allows for guns in state mental health hospitals. Campus Safety Magazine reports on how Kansas College Hospitals are preparing to allow guns on campus to comply with a new law. Gun laws in health systems vary by state – while a federal law bars guns from schools, there is no such law about firearms in hospitals.

Healthcare Violence Prevention Resources

OSHA: Worker Safety in Hospitals – Caring for our Caregivers

OSHA: Preventing Workplace Violence: A Road Map for Healthcare Facilities

OSHA: Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers

Mitigating Workplace Violence at Ambulatory Care Sites

Emergency Department Violence Fact Sheet

Healthcare Crime Survey 2015

Prior related posts

More perils for healthcare workers

Violence in healthcare: 61% of all workplace assaults are committed by healthcare patients

Report on violence & aggression to Maine’s caregivers; Injuries include bites, kicks, being hit

Chemical Safety Board Issues Report on West Fertilizer Company Explosion

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Two days after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, a giant explosion rocked the small town of West TX. Twelve emergency responders who rushed to the initial fire at the scene were killed in the subsequent blast, as were three civilians. More than 260 were injured and treated at hospitals; 150 buildings were damaged.

Initially, local authorities feared the blast was a terrorist event, but the cause of the blast was the storage of 270 tons of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN). To give some perspective to this, in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building, Timothy McVeigh used 2 tons of ammonium nitrate.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) issued a draft version of its 265-page Investigation Report into the April 2013 Fire and Explosion at West Fertilizer Company for public preview. The CSB’s January 28 public meeting to release its West Investigation Report will be available via live webcast at 6 pm CST

The report is dedicated to the 12 emergency responders and 3 members of the public who lost their lives. It represents one of the most destructive incidents ever investigated by the CSB.

“The CSB’s analysis includes findings on the technical causes of the fire and explosion; regulatory changes that could have resulted in safety enhancements to the facility; the failure of the insurer to conduct safety inspections or provide an adequate level of coverage; shortcomings in emergency response, including pre-incident planning or response training of the volunteer fire fighters; and deficiencies in land use planning that permitted the City of West to encroach upon the WFC over the years.”

The CSB directed recommendations to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Texas Department of Insurance, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, and other regional entities.

CSB estimated that total insurance-related losses were around $230 million, but the WFC was only insured for $1 million. One part of the report looks at related policies and regulations, including ” … the failure of the insurer to identify the risks posed by FGAN. A few years prior to the incident, WFC was dropped by one insurer for failing to address safety concerns identified in loss control surveys. The company that insured WFC at the time of the incident did not appear to have conducted its own safety inspections of the facility.”

The CSB’s analysis also pointed to:

  • A lack of training in hazardous materials response and pre-incident planning on the part of the West Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Shortcomings in federal and state regulations and standards that could reduce the risk of another incident of this type.
  • The location of the WFC relative to the surrounding community, which exacerbated offsite consequences.

In terms of the location, the risk to the public continues:

“CSB’s analysis shows that the risk to the public from a catastrophic incident exists at least within the state of Texas, if not more broadly. For example, 19 other Texas facilities storing more than 10,000 pounds of FGAN are located within 0.5 miles of a school, hospital, or nursing home, raising concerns that an incident with offsite consequences of this magnitude could happen again.”

Related coverage:

Dallas News: Federal investigators: Texans still face risk of West-like blast

The Waco Tribune: Report: Public still not safe from West-style industrial blasts

There are many ongoing related lawsuits. In October, The Waco Tribune reported: 1st West explosion trial gets settled

Earlier coverage

Interactive: West plant before and after – before & after aerial photos show scope of destruction

Ellis County remembers West fertilizer plant explosion – “The day a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas, Ellis County community members went to Facebook and Twitter to share their reactions. Here’s a look back at not only how the explosion that killed 15 people and destroyed most of the town unfolded, but reactions from the terrible tragedy.”

West blast survivors share their stories

Special Report: Poor planning left Texas firefighters unprepared

An excellent Reuters report by M.B. Pell, Ryan McNeill and Janet Roberts was issued in May of 2013.

“The lack of preparedness endangers not only firefighters and emergency medical technicians, but also people nationwide living near chemical stockpiles similar to those that exploded in West.

At least 800,000 people in the United States live within a mile of 440 sites that store potentially explosive ammonium nitrate, which investigators say was the source of the explosion in West, according to a Reuters analysis of hazardous-chemical storage data maintained by 29 states.”

Another section of this report indicates how adequate preparation and training might have saved lives:

“Firefighters who have battled ammonium nitrate fires elsewhere – without death or injury to first responders – say having the Tier II information was critical to their success. They knew what they were facing going in, and responded accordingly.
Called to a fire at a similar fertilizer facility in 2009 in Bryan, Texas, firefighters opted not to fight the blaze. Although the circumstances were somewhat different – firefighters knew going in that ammonium nitrate already had ignited – the first responders decided to keep a safe distance and evacuate nearby residents. No one was injured, and the fire burned itself out.

Key to the response, said Chief Joe Ondrasek of the Brazos County Fire Department Precinct 4, was having the fertilizer company’s Tier II report in hand. Firefighters were unable to contact the plant manager immediately, he said, and therefore relied on the report to inform their response.

A federally funded program intended to grant fire departments online access to the Tier II reports was not being used in West. Although some firefighters in Texas said they know about and use the system, known as E-Plan, others said they didn’t know of its existence or how to access it.

Federal funding for the E-Plan system was eliminated last October, which could hurt efforts to keep it up and running.”

Halloween special: Scariest posts from our archives

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Apparently, it’s human nature to love being scared. It’s certainly proven true with blog posts — some of the most popular and highly visited entries from the archives are the ones that set your teeth on edge. Truth is usually scarier than fiction. We’ve dusted them off and present them to you.

In the spirit of Halloween, here are some of our scariest and most popular posts from the “it could have been worse” genre:

The truly terrifying posts

The above posts run the gamut but they have one thing in common: they mainly had happy endings. The really terrifying posts – the ones that should keep us all awake at nights – are ones that end badly. Here are some frequently visited posts in the “it shouldn’t have happened but it did” category. Sadly, this list is hardly exhaustive in the horror genre. Too many workers leave for work in the morning and don’t come home again at night:

Blankenship on trial: Potentially precedent setting case re CEO criminal responsibility

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

A day that many in West Virginia have waited for has come to pass: Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Mining, is on trial. Proceedings began on October 1 in Charleston Federal Court and are in the jury selection phase.

Get your popcorn ready for what promises to be a very interesting and potentially precedent setting case. Holding a CEO criminally responsible for charges related to work safety violations is extremely rare. Observers are interested particularly in light of the Justice Department’s new emphasis and directive on prioritizing accountability and prosecution of individuals rather than just corporations. And no one is watching the proceedings with more interest than the families of the 29 miners who lost their lives.

The Charleston Gazette is following the trial closely with Don Blankenship on Trial, a special reporting section that includes day-by-day trial coverage updates and stories, timelines, a list of legal documents, historical articles, videos, maps and more. It also includes photos and profiles of the deceased.

Coverage also includes links to podcasts by West Virginia Public Broadcasting. WVPB has also been reporting on the case, offering an extensive background and podcasts of the trial events. You can find the latest podcast on the link above, or find a roster of the daily podcasts here or at the WVPB site’s dedicated Blankenship Trial page, where other reportage is also available.

The 16 minute Episode One is well worth a listen. WVPB’s Ashton Marra interviews
Howard Birkus, investigative reporter for NPR on coal mining and work safety, and Mike Hissam, Partner of Bailey & Glasser law firm. They set the stage for the trial and talk about its precedent-setting nature. Birkus says that it is “”extraordinarily rare to hold a CEO responsible for criminal or civil violations at their companies” noting that prosecutors need a paper trail, electronic trail or inside people who will testify. Hissom talk about how this case is on the leading edge of the Obama Justice Department’s new guidelines on criminally prosecuting individuals rather than just fining a corporation. They discuss how CEOs are often insulated from decision-making, but that Blankenship is unique and legendary in his micro-managing practices.

For background on the Justice Department’s new focus on criminal prosecutions, see the New York Times: Justice Department Sets Sights on Wall Street Executives. Matt Apuzzo and Ben Protess report on new rules, issued in a memo to federal prosecutors nationwide:

“Though limited in reach, the memo could erase some barriers to prosecuting corporate employees and inject new life into these high-profile investigations. The Justice Department often targets companies themselves and turns its eyes toward individuals only after negotiating a corporate settlement. In many cases, that means the offending employees go unpunished.

The memo, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times, tells civil and criminal investigators to focus on individual employees from the beginning. In settlement negotiations, companies will not be able to obtain credit for cooperating with the government unless they identify employees and turn over evidence against them, “regardless of their position, status or seniority.” Credit for cooperation can save companies billions of dollars in fines and mean the difference between a civil settlement and a criminal charge.”

For background on the case, How we got here offers a history of the case.

The reporting traces Blankenship’s rise to power in the coal mining industry and his influence in the state’s politics on through to the April 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explosion that claimed the lives of 29 miners. Several investigations revealed ” … a pattern of violations by Massey of key safety standards, including proper mine ventilation, control of the buildup of explosive dust, and maintenance of equipment to prevent sparks that could set off a blast.” To date, four criminal convictions have occurred. Then in November of last year:

“… a federal grand jury meeting in Charleston indicted Blankenship, charging him with four criminal counts. A superseding indictment was later filed that combined two of the counts. Blankenship faces charges that he conspired to violate federal mine safety standards and to hide those violations from government inspectors and that he lied to federal securities regulators about Massey’s safety practices to try to stop the company’s stock prices from plummeting after the disaster.”

More resopurces
See our prior stories on Don Blankenship here

Follow Ken Ward on Twitter

Follow other reporting and commentary on twitter at #Blankenship

Do’s and Don’ts of an OSHA Inspection

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

A recent news item in WorkersCompensation.com struck us as a cautionary tale of what not to do when OSHA comes to visit: don’t try to hide production lines by turning off the lights and instructing workers to hide and be quiet. Don’t threaten employees.

This reminds us of the poster child of what not to do when OSHA comes to visit, a textbook example: Don’t keep two sets of books.

OSHA inspectors arrive unannounced and an inspection is not something you can reschedule to a more opportune time. It’s important to be ready, to know what will occur, to understand your rights and obligations and to have a plan in place. Shortly after reading about the Nebraska employer, we also found this helpful 5 minute video, Why Are OSHA Inspectors In My Lobby, And What Should I Have Already Done To Be Prepared? Attorneys Neil Brunetz and Mike Mallen from Miller & Martin walk you through being ready for an OSHA inspection.

 

See also: Preparing for an OSHA Inspection, an article by Kyle W. Morriosn in Safety + Health, which includes this handy infographic.

Near-miss trench collapse in dramatic video

Monday, September 14th, 2015

OSHA inspectors were on the scene at a construction project with a 21 foot trench. The on-site inspector was issuing a warning that no workers should be in the trench since there was no shoring. No sooner did he say the words when the trench collapsed, narrowly missing a worker.

We came across this clip courtesy of a post by Fred Hosier at Safety News Alert:
Viral video: Partial trench collapse narrowly misses worker. Fred explained that it’s not a new video:

“Oregon OSHA had been making this video taken by one of its inspectors available for training purposes for a few years. After being posted recently on Facebook, the video has now received almost 1 million views.”

We’re glad that this clip is attracting attention – it may save lives. But it doesn’t need to be a 21 foot trench to claim a life — it could be as little as 6 feet: Read Eric Giguere’s gripping story of 10 minutes buried alive.

Related posts:

“An unprotected trench is an open grave”

It’s spring … and the start of trench death season

Fall from Grace: Dupont in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program

Friday, August 14th, 2015

For many who have had careers committed to safe workplaces, it’s a bit of a heartbreak to see that Dupont, once a pinnacle of safety, is now placed in OSHA’s “Severe Violator Enforcement Program.” This action is the result of investigations spawned by the deadly chemical leak at the La Porte, TX facility last November. The leak claimed the lives of four workers and hospitalized another. Sandy Smith reports in her EHS Today article, OSHA Revisits DuPont Facility Where Four Workers Died, Issues More Citations:

In his remarks about the enforcement action against the company, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels took aim at the company’s reputation for safety. “DuPont promotes itself as having a ‘world-class safety’ culture and even markets its safety expertise to other employers, but these four preventable workplace deaths and the very serious hazards we uncovered at this facility are evidence of a failed safety program,” said Michaels.

Neena Satija and Jim Malewitz report in the Texas Tribune: New OSHA Penalties for DuPont After Deadly Leak

“We have concerns about the safety culture,” David Michaels, the agency’s director, said in an interview Thursday. “We expect chemical facilities where highly toxic materials are used to have a culture that focuses on ensuring worker protection. It appears to have broken down.”

In a May interview with The Texas Tribune, Michaels called the initial $99,000 fine “petty cash” for the multibillion-dollar company and said he wished he could dole out harsher penalties.

On Thursday, he said fines matter little for any company that large, but shining a spotlight on a company that has long touted a goal of “zero safety incidents” will send a message to employers nationwide.”

A must-read account: Up In the Tower

In reading accounts of the November chemical disaster, it’s apparent that this came very close to being much worse – not just for plant workers, but also the larger community.

We call your attention to Up in the Tower, an excellent and eye-opening article in Texas Monthly by Lise Olsen that dissects the events leading up to and during the tragic November day. It lays bare many of the failures, warning signs and build up to the day’s events. By painting portraits of the deceased workers and their actions, it also puts a human face on the tragedy.

Olsen outlines how Dupont’s fall from grace began a number of years ago, a result of many factors: pressure to increase profits for shareholders, corporate restructurings, high turnover with more experienced workers retiring or leaving and being replaced by less experienced workers. Dupont experienced prior safety failures leading to fatalities:

DuPont experts continue to deliver lectures at global safety conferences and make millions peddling their safety programs to other companies, with results that they say have been proved. But the corporation’s pristine safety reputation suffered after toxic releases killed two workers at chemical complexes in New York and West Virginia. One longtime DuPont employee was fatally poisoned in 2010 after cheap plastic tubing burst inside a shed at DuPont’s plant in Belle, West Virginia, dousing him with phosgene, a gas that had been used as a chemical weapon in World War I. That same year, an explosion killed a contract welder and injured his co-worker in Buffalo, New York. They hadn’t been warned of a possible gas buildup inside the tank they were repairing. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, a small federal agency that investigates the nation’s worst industrial chemical accidents, reviewed both cases and criticized DuPont. Company officials had failed to follow their own maintenance and safety rules, the board said. “In light of this, I would hope that DuPont officials are examining the safety culture company-wide,” the board’s former chairman John Bresland announced in July 2011.

OSHA is trying to compensate for the low fines by shining a spotlight on the company’s practices so an article like Olsen’s may have wider exposure than the typical OSHA releases, which tend to mainly garner coverage in trade publications. Certainly, the fines are little comfort to the surviving families, as Olsen notes:

The penalties and company assurances seem small to Gilbert and his family. He and his wife canceled the big fiftieth-wedding-anniversary party they’d planned with all four of their children. Their sons’ smiling faces appear in the family portraits that line their shelves and walls, but family gatherings are more somber now. Gibby’s widow comes alone; Robert’s wife is raising their young children without him. Gilbert has accepted that Robert died trying to rescue his co-worker. He takes some comfort knowing that Gibby helped save another man’s life and perished trying to save his brother. His sons died heroically, but, he says, their deaths could have been easily prevented if their employer, a multibillion-dollar corporation, had invested in upgrades and followed its own rules. “It wasn’t necessary for them to die.”

 

— Reader comment from our mailbox —

Good Morning.

I was the carrier claims service representative for E. I. DuPont de Nemours from the late 80’s through most of the 90’s at both the Belle, WV plant, as well as, Waynesboro and Martinsville, VA. In the conduct of my responsibilities there, I became somewhat familiar and was impressed by the safety culture at these plants. It’s sad to see this strong emphasis on “Safety First” deteriorate to this point.

I would hope that the pursuit of profit wasn’t a cause of this change in attitude, or the weakening of union influence on safety matters by collusion or desperation for jobs, but it’s hard to think of another explanation.

Regards,
R.S.L, AIC

There’s No Fairy Godmother For This Cinderella

Monday, July 13th, 2015

I’d like to make a bet with you. Here it is. I bet you will answer “Yes” to at least one of the following three questions:

  1. Do you know anyone who works as a Personal Care Aide or a Home Health Aide?
  2. Has anyone in your immediate family, now or in the last 10 years, been taken care of by a Personal Care Aide or a Home Health Aide?
  3. Do you personally know anyone who  now or in the last year employed the services of a Personal Care Aide or a Home Health Aide?

I like my odds. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, six of the ten fastest growing occupations from 2012 to 2022 will be in the health care industry and numbers two and three on the list are – you guessed it – Personal Care Aides and Home Health Aides, growing by 49% and 48%, respectively, closely following Industrial-Organizational Psychologists, a profession that is expected to grow by 53% during the ten year period.

While Psychologists are projected to have the greatest rate of growth, they’ll only be adding about 900 jobs to the economy. This is dwarfed by the numbers of new jobs for the Aides, 581 thousand and 424 thousand, respectively. Taken together, they’ll be adding more than a million workers to the economy. A hefty number, indeed.

The rate of injury for both of the Aide groups is 2.5 times the rate for all public and private sector workers.¹ You would think that would get somebody’s attention, maybe somebody at OSHA, for example. And, you know what? It did. This from OSHA:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) to focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in nursing and personal care facilities with high injury and illness rates.

“Nursing and personal care facilities are a growing industry where hazards are known and effective controls are available,” said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. “The industry also ranks among the highest in terms of injuries and illnesses, with rates about two and a half times (emphasis added) that of all other general industries. By focusing on specific hazards associated with nursing and personal care facilities, we can help bring those rates down.”

Only one problem with that: It was written exactly 13 years ago this month!

Now read this:

Non-fatal injuries to health care workers requiring days away from work are on the rise, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Nov. 9, and OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels has vowed to launch a National Emphasis Program on Nursing Home and Residential Care Facilities.

“It is unacceptable that the workers who have dedicated their lives to caring for our loved ones when they are sick are the very same workers who face the highest risk of work-related injury and illness,” said Michaels.

According to BLS, the incidence rate for health care support workers increased 6 percent to 283 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, almost 2.5 times the rate for all private and public sector workers (emphasis added) at 118 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. The rate among nursing aides, orderlies and attendants rose 7 percent, to 489 per 10,000 workers. Additionally, the rate of musculoskeletal disorder cases with days away from work for nursing aides, orderlies and attendants increased 10 percent to a rate of 249 cases per 10,000 workers.

“The rates of injuries and illnesses among hospital and health care workers underscore OSHA’s concern about the safety and health of these workers,” said Michaels.

That was written by OSHA in November, 2011.

A National Emphasis Program is becoming kind of predictable for OSHA. Maybe we’ll see another one around 2020. Until then, or until ever, Personal and Home Health Aides will be the Cinderellas of the health care universe. Except their story won’t have a “happy ever after” ending, and they’ll never get to meet a Prince.²

 

¹ And this rate of injury does not include the thousands of Aides who are hired to take care of Grandpa and Grandma in the home and who are paid minimum wage.

² Paying lip service to this issue goes back at least as far as 1997 when the BLS, using 1994 data, published an Issues Paper, and said this:

Overall, the 1994 injury rate in home
health care services (474 lost workday
cases per 10,000 workers) is about 50
percent higher than the injury rate in
hospitals, the institutional setting from
which many home-care patients are
released, and 70 percent greater than the
national rate.

 

Related: A Living Wage For Caregivers, New York Times, 10 July 2015

 

Tomorrow is Workers Memorial Day

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Safe-Jobs-Save-Lives-Poster_large

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day, a day dedicated to remembering those who have suffered and died on the job and renewing the fight for safe workplaces.

Here are some resources and events about tomorrow’s observances.

OSHA: 4,585 [U.S.] workers died on the job in 2013

Interactive Map of 2014 Worker Fatalities

Death on the Job report, 2014

Workers’ Memorial Day — April 28, 2015
CDC’s Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report

Find Workers Memorial Day events near you

Intolerance for Unsafe Workplaces
Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO

Occupational exposure is OSHA’s focus for this year’s Workers’ Memorial Day

5 “Easy” Ways to Improve Temp Worker Safety
Alliance for the American Temporary Workforce

#WorkersMemorialDay

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