The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) recently announced the “Dirty Dozen” list of employers who put workers and communities at risk due to unsafe practices.
“The rate of U.S. workplace fatalities from sudden trauma is on the rise, and so is the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses,” said Jessica E. Martinez, MPH, co-executive director of National COSH. “So it’s more important than ever that employers meet their legal and ethical responsibility to provide a safe workplace.”
In addition to focusing on alarming national trends, said Martinez, it’s important to look at the safety practices – and failures – of specific employers. “We are highlighting companies where it’s clear that more can be done to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities,” she said. “The path forward is to empower workers as real partners in workplace safety, because workers know where the hazards are and how to eliminate them.”
This year’s Dirty Dozen, in alphabetical order, from National COSH:
1. Amazon: Multiple deaths at Amazon warehouses in 2022, and citations at seven locations for work practices that “cause serious injuries.”
2. FedEx: Three workers die at the shipping giant’s Memphis hub in 2022. Injuries and fatalities on the rise company-wide.
3. Hanover Company, Lithko Contracting, Friends Masonry Construction: Three construction workers die when scaffolding collapses on a Hanover project. Lithko Contracting cited nine times by OSHA, including one citation (now deleted) for a scaffolding violation.
4. Norfolk Southern and Class One Freight Railroads: BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Union Pacific, Canadian Pacific, Canadian National Railway: Rail workers warn of safety problems long before the catastrophic derailment in Ohio.
5. Occidental Chemical, Westlake Chemical: Olin Corp., a major manufacturer, has endorsed an EPA ban on asbestos; other chemical companies are still fighting this safety proposal, despite 40,000 U.S. deaths a year.
6. Packer Sanitation Service Inc. (PSSI), JBS Foods, Cargill, Tyson: More than 100 children found working illegally in dangerous meat and poultry plants; 85% of them were working at JBS, Cargill or Tyson.
7. Sonoma WISE: Despite opposition from growers using astroturf tactics, California farmworkers win significant victories to counter extreme weather hazards caused by climate change.
8. Swissport International AG Companies: Workers exposed to raw feces and other unsafe conditions; company cited 35 times by OSHA for safety violations since 2013.
9. Tenet Healthcare Corporation: Tenet staff say their employer cuts corners on safety. Since 2001, the company has paid over $1.8 billion in fines for false claims, bribery and kickbacks, health and safety and other violations
10. Tesla, Inc: A construction worker dies in 98-degree heat at Tesla’s gigafactory in Austin. Worker testimony shows contractors pass out fake certificates instead of providing real safety training.
11. Trulieve Cannabis Corp: Truelieve worker dies from an asthma attack after inhaling cannabis dust. Company cited seven times by OSHA for safety violations.
12. Twin Peaks Restaurant: Chain has faced multiple claims of sexual harassment. Workers in Tennessee went on strike in January to protest physical and verbal abuse.
The Dirty Dozen are selected by the National COSH team, with nominations from their network of COSH groups, workers, safety activists, union members, health and safety professionals and academic experts from across the country.
Criteria include the severity of risks to workers; repeat and serious violations of safety standards and applicable laws; the position of a company within its industry and the economy and its ability to influence broader workplace standards, and the presence of a campaign by workers and/or allies to correct health and safety problems.
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