Today is Workers' Memorial Day, established to honor the memory of those workers who have died on the job and those who have become ill due to their work. The events taking place today in the U.S. and around the world will also acknowledge the terrible impact those deaths have on the families of the fallen and the communities in which they lived.
♦ From Mitch to Donald, with Love: Looks like we may have a Secretary of Labor by Thursday. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is preparing a gift for the President making sure he has a full cabinet before his 100 Day anniversary.
This 2017 edition of “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” shows that the rate of workplace deaths and injuries remains much too high, according to the AFL-CIO, which compiled the annual report on the state of safety and health protections for America’s workers.
Earlier this week I reviewed a New York Times article on conflicts of interest among Trump political appointees that highlighted a new Labor Department Special Assistant, Geoffrey Burr. Burr is a former lobbyist for the Associated Builders and Contractors, and his federal disclosure form notes that he lobbied DOL against the silica standard and the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulation that would have required federal contractors to disclose federal labor law violations.
This is not generally how a good company wants a supervisor to respond to a worker who reports unsafe conditions: “Next time you have a problem with safety, talk to me. Then get in your car and hit the f***ing road.” Then you write him up, don’t renew his contract — and, for good measure, fire his son for “talking on the job.”
Before any welding is conducted outside of a designated welding area, a responsible individual must inspect the area and identify precautions to be taken preferably on a written Hot Works permit. Fire extinguishers must be ready for immediate use. A fire watch lasting at least 30 minutes after the welding or cutting operations is required if more than a minor fire might develop.
General hazards of welding include impact, penetration, harmful dust, smoke, fumes, heat and light radiation. Welding “smoke” is a mixture of very fine particles (fumes) and gases. Many of the substances in the smoke can be extremely toxic.
Sparks and spatter fly off from the welding arc. Hot metal and sparks blow out from the cutting flame. The workpiece and equipment get hot. The flying sparks and hot metal, slag, spatter, hot workpiece, and hot equipment can cause burns.