Although the use of asbestos has been banned in European Union (EU) nations since 2005, the substance remains a health risk in Europe due to its ubiquitous presence in many private and public buildings.
Asbestos was one of the major agenda items at last month’s seminar on chemicals and worker protection held in Lisbon. Hosted by the European Trade Union Institute in Lisbon in collaboration with the General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers (CGTP), the gathering brought together more than 40 union representatives from 21 European countries.
An alarming increase in the incidence of the black lung disease among the nation’s coal miners has led to a call by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and the United Steelworkers International Union (USW) for a new standard to protect miners from the silica dust that causes the disease.
In a letter to David Zatezalo, the head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), UMWA President Cecil Roberts and USW President Leo W. Gerard noted that changes in mining practices have led to increased exposure to silica for miners.
A Kansas aircraft manufacturer exposed its employees to hexavalent chromium and failed to monitor exposure levels, according to OSHA, which has assessed citations and fines against Spirit Aerosystems Inc.
According to OSHA inspectors, the Wichita-based company failed to
implement feasible engineering controls to limit employee exposure to hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen...
For decades, asbestos was considered an ideal substance used in a variety of industrial materials and equipment due to its remarkable heat and fire resistance properties, paired with incredible durability, poor electrical conductivity, and high tensile strength. Because of these properties, and because it was available in large quantities and inexpensive to produce, asbestos fibers were often combined with other materials for use in thousands of industrial, maritime, automotive, and building products.
Just in time for Workers Memorial Day, April 28, the AFL-CIO has released its annual report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.” Among the figures in this year’s comprehensive look at the state of safety and health protections for America’s workers:
in 2017, 5,147 workers lost their lives on the job as a result of traumatic injuries, according to fatality data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Every day, an average of 137 workers in the United States lose their lives to diseases and
illnesses caused by on-the-job exposures to hazards like silica dust, asbestos, and a wide variety
of toxic chemicals. That means every year, roughly 50,000 people die from occupational
illnesses, and the toll is likely much higher because of underreporting and incomplete statistics.
Three retired New York City Fire Department (FDNY) with 9/11 illnesses died within 48 hours this week, a stark reminder that the death toll from the terrorist attacks continues to climb, going far beyond the 343 members of the FDNY who were killed that day. News sources say the latest victims are retired FDNY Lt. Timothy O’Neill, firefighter Kevin Lennon Fire Marshal Michael Andreachi.
Cal/OSHA has issued serious health and safety citations to Underground
Construction Co., Inc. of Benicia after two of its employees contracted Valley Fever. The
workers were exposed to the fungal disease while using hand tools to dig trenches in
Kings, Fresno and Merced counties—areas where the soil is known to contain harmful
spores that cause the infection.
Chemicals are used in manufacturing to make everything from food containers to your favorite pair of shoes. One such chemical is styrene, a colorless, strong-smelling liquid used to make plastics and rubber for these products and others, including insulation, fiberglass, pipes, vehicle parts, and carpet backing.
During the manufacturing process, chemical vapors contaminate the air.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) investigations have shown that sufficient levels of work-related exposure to certain chemical vapors in flavorings can cause severe, irreversible lung disease. These chemicals, diacetyl and its closely related substitute 2,3-pentanedione, can be added to flavorings like the butter in microwave popcorn.