Worksafe and Labor Coalition Win Improved Protections in Revised Heat Standard
Last week, by a 5-1 vote, the California OSH Standards Board approved major revisions to Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention standard. Because the next heat season is almost upon us, the new provisions may go into effect as early as April 1, 2015, instead of following the normal wait time, which would take us well into the summer. Employers will have to revise their written programs and train workers on the new provisions before then.
Worksafe led the multi-year effort to bring together the voices of organized labor, farmworker organizations, and public health experts to support the proposal by Cal/OSHA enforcement staff, who argued that they needed clearer and stronger language to reduce the rate of heat-related illnesses and fatalities in the state.
Registration is open for the National COSH (National Council for Occupational Safety and Health) 2015 Conference on Worker Safety and Health.
The conference will take place on June 2 – 4, at the Maritime Institute just outside of Baltimore, MD, with an optional Health and Safety Stand-UP event on Friday, June 5.
As a member of National COSH, we're excited to help put together what's sure to be the biggest and best event yet! National COSH coordinates all of the member "COSH" groups - Coalitions on Occupational Safety and Health - around the U.S. You can learn more about COSH groups here, or come to the June conference to meet representatives from all the COSH groups in-person! Read more...
Join Worksafe’s efforts to strengthen worker protections from heat illness: Sign our letter by September 24th!
After surviving last weekend’s heat spell, it’s easy to appreciate the importance of protecting the people who work outside every day in the hot sun -- harvesting and packing food, landscaping communities, building houses, parking or washing cars, directing traffic, or doing road repairs.
Every year in California, at least 600 people experience some kind of heat-related illness on the job. So far this year, at least three have died. That’s with the current heat illness prevention standard in place.
Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released preliminary data on the number of work-related fatalities for 2013; final figures are due out next spring. While the overall trend nationwide indicates both a lower number of deaths (4,405) and rate of fatal incidents (3.2 per 100/000 workers) compared to 2012 figures, California moved in the opposite direction: more workers killed and a startling increase in deaths among Latino workers.
The preliminary number of deaths for California in 2012 was 339, which was later revised up to 375; the preliminary figure for 2013 is already at 385 deaths. We can reasonably expect the final count to surpass 400.
On April 15, 2013, 26-year-old temporary worker David Eleidjian never came home from his job at a Bay Point industrial manufacturing facility. The Iraq war veteran and recent father was caught and pulled into an unguarded spinning shaft, and died later at the hospital.
Four days later, in Santa Rosa, 21-year-old Hugo Tapia also left for his temp work position, at the glass company his father had worked at for decades. He too never returned. Only two weeks into the job, he was crushed by heavy, unsecured glass that fell off an A-frame rack.
In October, amid the tensions of a BART strike brought on in part by concerns over worker safety, BART employee Chris Sheppard and consultant Laurence Daniels were inspecting a dip in the tracks near the Walnut Creek station. They were struck and killed by a train on a maintenance run, driven by a student trainee likely being instructed in the event of a prolonged strike.