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Legislative and Regulatory Updates: Spring 2017

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Worksafe is currently prioritizing support for the following bills:

SB 306 (Retaliation Injunctive Relief - Hertzberg)

Sponsor: California Labor Federation

Status: Active bill pending referral in the Assembly

Summary: Would grant the Labor Commissioner authority to seek temporary injunctions against employers for Labor Code violations, such as retaliation for reporting a health or safety hazard. The bill would also give the Labor Commissioner authority to issue citations and penalties directly to enforce retaliation claims, rather than exclusively through the courts. Finally, the bill would authorize an employee who is bringing a civil action for a retaliation claim to seek injunctive relief from the court.

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Posted on Jun 8, 2017 | Comments (0)

New Worksafe Report Scrutinizes Tesla's Health and Safety Record

Over the past several months, workers at Tesla have become increasingly aware of the potential safety hazards at the company’s flagship vehicle plant in Fremont, California.

In April 2017, workers first requested copies of the OSHA Form 300, the log of work-related injuries and illnesses that companies are required by law to make available to their employees.

Worksafe analyzed these logs in order to interpret the data and evaluate how their plant compared to other auto manufacturing facilities.

This report represents the findings of that analysis -- read it here.

 

  

Posted on May 24, 2017 | Comments (0)

2017 Dying At Work Report Released

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Worksafe is proud to announce the release of our 2017 annual report, Dying at Work in California: The Hidden Stories Behind the Numbers.

We produce this report to bear witness to the human toll of unsafe work and unscrupulous employers, to inform the public about threats to worker health, and to emphasize the importance of publically available data on occupational health. We hope the report also serves to inspire collective action and celebrate recent advances and victories that have made workers safer. The full report is available here.

Posted on Apr 27, 2017 | Comments (0)

Join us for Workers' Memorial Day 2017

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Posted on Apr 21, 2017 | Comments (0)

Worksafe attorneys receive Social Justice Awards

Worksafe Managing Attorney Jora Trang and Staff Attorney Nicole Marquez had the honor of receiving the COSH Social Justice Award at the National Conference for Worker Safety and Health Awards Banquet on Wednesday, December 7. Jora and Nicole were recognized for their hard work and commitment to promoting diversity and social justice within the COSH movement.

For many of us, we are sobered by the reality of the coming year’s challenges to worker protections and attacks on immigrant, LGBT, and communities of color. While it is important to recognize these obstacles, it is equally important to recognize our accomplishments. The passion and dedication that won our past accomplishments fuel and reaffirm our commitment to worker power and social justice.

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Posted on Dec 22, 2016 | Comments (0)

Ya Basta! Coalition ending sexual violence against janitors

by Nicole Marquez, Staff Attorney

Workplaces should be free of violent threats or actions, and workers should always feel safe while at work. Unfortunately, this is not the case. 

Workers in the janitorial services, who are disproportionately immigrant and workers of color, are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault and violence at work*. Many often face other unfair and unsafe working conditions.  In its report, the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley (LOHP) found that some janitorial workers do not receive minimum wage, and many do not receive overtime payment. Many often work at night and in isolation. This isolation from co-workers and the public reduces the likelihood that anyone will intervene or witness assaults against them, and allows harassers to exert even greater control over workers.

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Posted on Dec 22, 2016 | Comments (0)

Building Community and Power with Oakland Day Laborers

by Nicole Marquez, Staff Attorney

At a time when marginalized communities are increasingly under attack, Worksafe and its partners, Centro Legal de la Raza and Street Level Health Project (collectively known as the Collaborative), are proud to share how immigrant Day Laborers in the Fruitvale district of Oakland are rising up and becoming leaders in their community. This last year, Worksafe was the only organization that received a grant from the California State Bar Trust Fund for a worker-oriented project around community redevelopment. The funding for this project, Safe, Secure and Sustainable jobs for Day Laborers, results from legal settlements with banks charged with predatory lending and other unlawful practices.

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Posted on Nov 23, 2016 | Comments (0)

Protecting Workers under the New Administration

by Douglas Parker, Executive Director

I’m not going to play political scientist and give you my analysis of the election, as tempting as that might be. Nor am I going to write about what I think this election and its outcome are doing to this country. There are people far more eloquent, and who face potential consequences much more personally than I do, and I encourage you to give your attention to those voices.

What I want to write about is what a Trump Administration could mean for the health and safety of workers. The Obama Administration deserves tremendous credit for new worker protections such as the silica and black lung standards, its emphasis on protecting workers who blow the whistle on workplace hazards, and the enhanced use of enforcement powers against chronic violators. While we benefit from some degree of isolation from federal policy because California has a state occupational safety and health plan, federal rollbacks of health and safety protection policies and resources would still significantly impact California workers.

Budget Cuts Could Leave Workers in the Cold

One of the simplest and most damaging ways for the new Administration to make an impact on safety and health is through the budgeting process. The majorities of both houses and the President-Elect believe regulations like worker protections are the primary obstacle to greater economic growth. Despite being chronically underfunded to carry out its mandate already, we can expect this philosophy to lead to efforts to diminish OSHA by strangling it of funding. These efforts could come sooner rather than later, especially if the current Congress is unable to reach some form of a budget agreement this session and leaves it to the next Congress and President to finalize a budget.

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Posted on Nov 23, 2016 | Comments (0)

Policy Updates: Fall 2016

Health and Safety Standards

Hotel housekeeper Musculoskeletal Injury and Illness Prevention

Worksafe, in solidarity with UNITE HERE, its members, and all non-unionized hotel housekeepers, has been working to push the Musculoskeletal Injury and Illness Prevention Standard. We are optimistic DOSH will propose a standard that includes specialized training for hotel housekeeping employees and supervisors, an increased role for employee representatives, protocols and procedures for early identification of musculoskeletal injury, and record keeping. We have been generally encouraged by the work of the Standards Board, DOSH staff, and the advisory committee so far. Unfortunately, at the last Standards Board meeting, DOSH moved back its estimate for proposing language for this standard from the end of October by “three or four” months.

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Posted on Oct 25, 2016 | Comments (0)

Historic Standard on Workplace Violence Prevention

by Nicole Marquez, Staff Attorney

Last Thursday in Oakland, California, we celebrated a major victory for worker health and safety: our state became the first in the nation to pass a regulation preventing workplace violence. As a leader in progressive health and safety laws, our state will set the example for other states to follow - and hopefully, the entire country.

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Posted on Oct 24, 2016 | Comments (0)
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