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Join Us in Unprecedented Effort to Track Worker Fatalities

National COSH is now the host of the U.S. Worker Fatality Data Project, the largest-ever open-access data set about U.S. workplace fatalities.

Thanks to volunteer researchers Bethany Boggess, Peter Dooley, Anne Marie Gibson, Tammy Miser, Celeste Monforton, Katelyn Parady, Rebecca Reindel, and Gavin West, we’ve collected information on over 1,800 workers who died on the job in 2014.  We’ll soon have data available for the first half of 2015.

So far, we’re still capturing only some of the more than 4500 U.S. workers who die annually from traumatic injuries.  You can help by adding any reports you are aware of in your community, workplace or industry.

You can use our on-line forms to report fatalities that occurred on the job in 2015, and from work-related illnesses in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Forms are available in English and Spanish[, and we will soon add forms in Swahili and Portuguese.
Together we can track, understand, and – in the long run – prevent workplace deaths.
 

COSH groups join unions and workers in Hyundai National Day of Action

Workers at a Lear Corporation plant in Selma, Alabama are organizing for better health and safety conditions – and local COSH groups are joining the fight.
 
The Lear plant supplies seats for a nearby Hyundai auto assembly plant.  Workers in Selma report severe health effects from toluene diisocynanate, a chemical the US EPA says is “extremely toxic” in both short and long-term exposures. 
On June 25th, union members and health and safety activists – including delegations from SoCalCosh (pictured above), Fe Y Justicia and the Knoxville Area Workers Memorial Day Committee  â€“ joined a nationwide “March on Hyundai,” delivering more than 25,000 petition signatures to Hyundai dealerships in more than 20 states.

“Workers in Selma and elsewhere are fighting to be protected from toxic chemical exposure for all workers,” writes National COSH consultant Peter Dooley. “The public needs to know that corporations like Hyundai must step up to the plate and insist that their parts supply chains provide safe and healthy workplaces.”
 

Protect Workers Who Protect the Planet

National COSH has joined with MassCOSH, GAIA, the Partnership for Working Families, and the University of Illinois, Chicago – to release “Sustainable and Safe Recycling.” The new report shows that workers at recycling facilities are more than twice as likely to suffer a non-fatal injury on the job than a typical U.S. worker.

"Recycling is the right thing to do, but we have to do it the right way," said Mary Vogel, executive director of National COSH. "That means educating and empowering recycling workers, and using proven prevention strategies which we know will reduce exposure to hazardous conditions.”
 

Local COSH Round-Up

In a victory for worker and public safety, “the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously beat back a misguided attempt by corporate lawyers to gut our state's whistleblower statute,” writes Debra Coyle McFadden of the New Jersey Work Environment Council (NJWEC).

In an op-ed published in the New Jersey Star Ledger, McFadden and attorney Andrew Dwyer report on this important victory for watchdogs, whistleblowers and New Jersey citizens.  The court’s decision upholds the right of nurses, police officers, firefighters and other workers to report on corporate wrongdoing they discover as part of their daily job  responsibilities.

NJWEC joined 26 other environmental, labor, and community organizations in a friend-of-the-court brief requesting that the state’s 30-year-old whistleblower law be upheld.
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New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) Executive Director Charlene Obernauer (pictured to the left of Governor Andrew Cuomo above) joined other members of the New York Healthy Nails Coalition as Governor Cuomo signed a nail salon worker safety bill into law.

“People working in an estimated 3,000 nail salons in the State can access a trainee program,” she wrote in an open letter, “and workers will have added protection as the State moves to shut down salons that violate the law.”

With a new law on the books, Obernauer says, next steps include
  • supporting worker empowerment, so workers can stand up for their rights;
  • making sure businesses understand and comply with the law;
  • consumer education;
  • helping workers recover stolen wages;
  • ensuring that workers are correctly classified as employees and not misclassified as independent contractors.
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Save the date: Thursday, August 13th at 6 pm is the 2015 Fe y Justicia Worker Center Gala.  This year’s theme is “Transforming Houston Together.” Mayor Anise Parker will be honored at the gala, which will take place at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 3816 Bellaire Boulevard in Houston. You can buy an advance ticket, or make a donation here.
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