FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The State of Worker Safety in America

U.S. worker safety remains unsatisfactory. We turn to a new report from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (NCOSH) titled “The Dirty Dozen.” It spotlights firms putting workers and communities in harm’s way through unsafe practices, released on Workers’ Memorial Week (April 23-30) to honor those who died and were hurt on the job.

“It’s heartbreaking to see workers lose their lives when we know these tragedies could have been prevented,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, co-executive director of National COSH, said in a statement. “Time and again, employers are warned about unsafe conditions. When companies fail to correct safety hazards, it is workers who pay the ultimate price.”

The 12 companies named in the report are: Amazon (Seattle); Case Farms (Troutman, N.C.); Dine Brands Global Inc. (Glendale, Calif.); JK Excavating (Mason, Ohio); Lowe’s Home Improvement (Mooresville, N.C.); Lynnway Auto Auction (Billerica, Mass.); New York and Atlantic Railway (New York City); Patterson UTI Energy (Houston, Texas); Sarabandad Farms (Sumas, Wash.); Tesla Motors (Fremont, Calif.); Verla International (New Windsor, N.Y.) and Waste Management (Houston).

Patterson UTI Energy is a drilling company that had an explosion killing five workers near Quinton, Okla.: Roger Cunningham, 55; Josh Ray, 35; Cody Risk, 26; Matt Smith, 29; and Parker Waldridge, 60. According to NCOSH, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Agency issued Patterson UTI 110 OSHA violations during the past 10 years, a decade in which 13 company workers lost their lives.

Labor conditions in energy extraction can be awful. What about the service sector for working people? Consider Dine Brands Global, Inc. (IHOP and Applebee’s) in Glendale, Calif., where “demands for sex, groping, threats of violence against workers (and) more than 60 complaints about sexual and harassment and abuse,” revealed an ugly pattern, according to NCOSH.

While the national rate of union membership was 10.7 percent in 2017 and 2016, workers in food services and drinking places had a 1.4 percent unionization rate in 2017 compared with 1.6 percent rate in 2016, according to the federal Labor Dept. As a result of this low unionization rate, food and beverage workers are more vulnerable to mistreatment than union members. The biggest group of organized women are labor union members.

“NCOSH’s listing of Dine Equity matches our own experience of receiving complaints from the company’s workers on sexual harassment and assault,” according to Saru Jayaraman, head of Restaurant Opportunities Center United in N.Y.C., a workers’ advocacy group. “Unfortunately, Dine Equity is not unique; the restaurant industry has the highest rates of sexual harassment and assault of almost any industry, and corporate restaurant chains set the low standards on this issue for the industry. Our legal department is supporting current and former workers from Dine Equity and many other similar chains in pursuing their rights legally.”

South African Elon Musk, who owns Tesla Motors, is a poster boy for hi-tech auto production. He employs workers to make electric cars in part at a former General Motors and Toyota factory in Fremont, Calif. Tesla made the NCOSH list of unsafe companies. Recordable injuries rose 31 percent over the industry average, while serious injuries rose 83 percent higher.

To read “The Dirty Dozen” in its entirety go to www.coshnetwork.org/.

 

More articles by:

Seth Sandronsky is a Sacramento journalist and member of the freelancers unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Email sethsandronsky@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
August 19, 2019
John Davis
The Isle of White: a Tale of the Have-Lots Versus the Have-Nots
John O'Kane
Supreme Nihilism: the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto
Robert Fisk
If Chinese Tanks Take Hong Kong, Who’ll be Surprised?
Ipek S. Burnett
White Terror: Toni Morrison on the Construct of Racism
Arshad Khan
India’s Mangled Economy
Howard Lisnoff
The Proud Boys Take Over the Streets of Portland, Oregon
Steven Krichbaum
Put an End to the Endless War Inflicted Upon Our National Forests
Cal Winslow
A Brief History of Harlan County, USA
Jim Goodman
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is Just Part of a Loathsome Administration
Brian Horejsi
Bears’ Lives Undervalued
Thomas Knapp
Lung Disease Outbreak: First Casualties of the War on Vaping?
Susie Day
Dear Guys Who Got Arrested for Throwing Water on NYPD Cops
Weekend Edition
August 16, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Uncle Sam was Born Lethal
Jennifer Matsui
La Danse Mossad: Robert Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein
Rob Urie
Neoliberalism and Environmental Calamity
Stuart A. Newman
The Biotech-Industrial Complex Gets Ready to Define What is Human
Nick Alexandrov
Prevention Through Deterrence: The Strategy Shared by the El Paso Shooter and the U.S. Border Patrol
Jeffrey St. Clair
The First Dambuster: a Coyote Tale
Eric Draitser
“Bernie is Trump” (and other Corporate Media Bullsh*t)
Nick Pemberton
Is White Supremacism a Mental Illness?
Jim Kavanagh
Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit
Andrew Levine
Have They No Decency?
David Yearsley
Kind of Blue at 60
Ramzy Baroud
Manifestos of Hate: What White Terrorists Have in Common
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The War on Nature
Martha Rosenberg
Catch and Hang Live Chickens for Slaughter: $11 an Hour Possible!
Neve Gordon
It’s No Wonder the Military likes Violent Video Games, They Can Help Train Civilians to Become Warriors
Yoav Litvin
Israel Fears a Visit by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib
Susan Miller
That Debacle at the Border is Genocide
Ralph Nader
With the Boeing 737 MAX Grounded, Top Boeing Bosses Must Testify Before Congress Now
Victor Grossman
Warnings, Ancient and Modern
Meena Miriam Yust - Arshad Khan
The Microplastic Threat
Kavitha Muralidharan
‘Today We Seek Those Fish in Discovery Channel’
Louis Proyect
The Vanity Cinema of Quentin Tarantino
Bob Scofield
Tit For Tat: Baltimore Takes Another Hit, This Time From Uruguay
Nozomi Hayase
The Prosecution of Julian Assange Affects Us All
Ron Jacobs
People’s Music for the Soul
John Feffer
Is America Crazy?
Jonathan Power
Russia and China are Growing Closer Again
John W. Whitehead
Who Inflicts the Most Gun Violence in America? The U.S. Government and Its Police Forces
Justin Vest
ICE: You’re Not Welcome in the South
Jill Richardson
Race is a Social Construct, But It Still Matters
Dean Baker
The NYT Gets the Story on Automation and Inequality Completely Wrong
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Retains Political Control After New US Coercive Measures
Gary Leupp
MSNBC and the Next Election: Racism is the Issue (and Don’t Talk about Socialism)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail