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.
In March, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a final rule on exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Federal efforts to protect workers against silica date back to the Great Depression, when Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins mounted a campaign to eliminate harmful exposures. For 20 years now, OSHA’s regulatory agenda has included updating its outdated rule to catch up to the long-established science on harmful exposure levels. The final rule on silica, which goes into effect in June 2017, does just that. The rule is expected to save 600 lives each year, and prevent 900 new cases of debilitating diseases resulting from silica exposure.Read more...
At the top of Worksafe’s legislative agenda this year was tackling the dangers of indoor heat. After years of work on the issue with our allies, including the California Labor Federation and the Warehouse Worker Resource Center (WWRC), Worksafe is proud to celebrate with California workers a new law that will save lives!
On September 29th, Governor Brown signed SB 1167, a law that will put rules in place to protect workers from indoor heat exposure. Workers in warehouses and factories – often non-ventilated, even in the peak of summer – or in heat-intensive industries like laundry facilities are routinely expected to work for hours in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. The new law requires the Cal/OSHA Standards Board (OSHSB) to create and implement new rules to protect workers from the hazards of working in indoor heat.Read more...
At a Nov. 19th legislative hearing in Los Angeles, Worksafe Staff Attorney Nicole Marquez provided a detailed set of recommendations to improve protections for Latino workers.
The hearing, convened by Roger Hernández (D-Los Angeles), Chair of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee, explored recent evidence that Latino workers in California suffer a disproportionately high rate of workplace injuries and fatalities. A big spike in the number of Latinos killed on the job in Los Angeles in 2013 (the last year with complete data) drew national attention, although preliminary data for 2014 shows a decline.
Testimony by researchers, union leaders, and Latino workers focused on the scope of the problem. In the final panel exploring policy options, Ms. Marquez outlined a set of solutions that would give Latino workers a stronger voice on the job and ensure that Cal/OSHA and other state agencies have enough staff and resources to enforce health and safety laws. Click here for Worksafe's testimony.
Four years after Domingo Blancas’ brush with death on the job, the California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (Board) has upheld citations issued to his employers for failing to have an effective IIPP (Injury and Illness Prevention Program) that addressed the hazard of indoor heat.
Worksafe – along with Alexander Community Law Center at SCU, and Warehouse Worker Resource Center – represented Domingo before the Board, and together we succeeded in getting justice for him and all the other workers exposed to this preventable hazard.
Domingo worked in an Inland Empire warehouse that serves retail giants such as Walmart. He was employed by a temporary staffing agency, Tri-State Staffing (TSI), and hired to work for the warehouse operator, National Distribution Center (NDC).