To protect the nation’s health care workers and the public from exposure to the Ebola virus, President Barack Obama should use his executive authority to put in place mandatory protections and other workplace standards for hospitals and other health care facilities, the AFL-CIO urged today.
The Obama administration issued on Friday a new report outlining new chemical safety and security regulations and policies that—if enacted—could help protect the more than 130 million people who live nearby or work in the nearly 3,400 U.S. facilities that manufacture chemicals, refine petroleum, generate electric power and others that use or store hazardous chemicals.
Despite significant advancements in workplace health and safety over the past four decades, 150 people will be killed on the job or die from job-related illnesses and diseases today, reports the 2014 edition of the AFL-CIO’s annual Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, released this morning.
Today is the 25th annual Workers Memorial Day, and around the country workers, workplace safety activists and community and faith leaders are honoring the men and women killed on the job and renewing their commitment to continuing the campaign for strong job safety laws and tough enforcement of those laws.
When the West, Texas, fertilizer plant, where 30 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate—stored in wooden sheds without sprinkler systems and near other combustible material—caught fire, exploded and killed 15 people, including 10 emergency responders, the state of Texas had virtually no regulations governing ammonium nitrate and other hazardous chemicals. A year later, it still doesn’t.
While the AFL-CIO “strongly supports” a proposed new rule that would limit workers’ exposure to silica dust, AFL-CIO Safety and Health Director Peg Seminario outlined several areas that should be strengthened to provide better worker protection from deadly silicosis and other diseases caused by silica exposure.
In its semi-annual report, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) says it is concerned that the two key federal agencies charged with protecting workers’ health and safety have the resources and ability to meet their workplace safety obligations.