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.
Cal/OSHA is reminding all employers to protect their outdoor workers from
heat illness as temperatures rise throughout California. The National Weather Service
has issued heat advisories for triple-digit temperatures today in Fresno, Kern, Kings and
Tulare counties and forecasts high heat throughout inland parts of the state next week.
Oregon forestry workers who were injured on the job were more likely to fully recover if they received treatment and support from their employers, according to a recent study at the University of Washington. Those workers also reported that their employer promoted safety through policies, practices, and resources—indicators of a healthy safety climate.
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 Peggy Frank, a Los Angeles letter carrier, any federal or California safety rule ordering her employer—and all other firms—to protect workers from the hazards of excess heat didn’t work.
Frank, a 63-year-old grandmother, collapsed and died from California’s monstrously high heat while delivering the mail in Woodland Hills, a section of Los Angeles, last summer. The temperature in that particular neighborhood the day she died? 107 degrees.
After an analysis of 25 OSHA heat-related illnesses — 14 fatal and 11 nonfatal — the Centers for Disease Control suggested that employers start screening their workers for heat stress when the heat index reaches 85 degrees Fahrenheit rather than the 91 F OSHA currently recommends. Heat stress covers a wide variety of potential illnesses, including life-threatening heat stroke.
The state of California continues to place obligations for preventing employee heat stroke onto employers. In 2015, California heat stroke law clarified that cooldown periods or “recovery periods” must be paid, by state law.
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.
In the United States, farm workers die from heat-related illness at an annual rate 20 times that of other workers. However, few studies have measured heat conditions at their actual work settings, and research is limited on how accurately regional weather reports reflect worksite temperatures.