For the second time in the past few days, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an investigation into a chemical plant explosion in Louisiana. On Thursday, a plant in Geismar, La., exploded, killing one person and injuring 73. On Friday, a blast in Donaldsonville, La., killed one person and injured seven. The plant that exploded on Thursday hadn't been inspected by OSHA in 20 years. It is not yet known when the last inspection was done at the Donaldsonville plant.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an investigation into working conditions at Sewon America's LaGrange, Ga., facility after an employee, Teresa Weaver Pickard, died after allegedly being forced to work in extreme heat. Sewon, a company that provides auto parts to Kia, denies Pickard's death was work-related, but an anonymous source at the plant has disputed Sewon's account of the tragedy.
Today. Walmart and Gap announced they would develop their own nonbinding safety code and turned their backs on the accord developed by international and Bangladeshi unions, retailers and other groups—groups with firsthand knowledge of what’s needed for worker safety and of the deadly consequences of inaction.
A coalition of faith organizations, investors and labor groups—including the AFL-CIO—is urging major U.S. retailers, including Walmart, Gap, Sears and others, to sign on to a binding workplace and fire safety plan to prevent tragedies such as the recent building collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 garment workers and two 2012 fires that claimed the lives of more than 400 Bangladeshi clothing workers.
In January 2012, the Ironworkers launched a new worksite safety campaign, with the goal of “zero fatalities, and the first figures in show that Countdown to Zero” is making a difference and saving lives (see chart inside post).
Today, 150 people will likely be killed on the job or die from job-related illnesses and disease. That deadly toll will continue tomorrow and the next day and the next until the nation “renews the commitment to protect workers from injury, disease and death,” and makes it a high priority, says the 2013 edition of the AFL-CIO’s Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.
When Bill Brockmiller, president of the Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO, was asked why he and several dozen union and community members and local officials in La Crosse were taking part in Workers Memorial Day ceremonies Sunday, he told WXOW-TV:
You have a right to go to work and earn your daily bread, support your family and come back home at night. So when that doesn't happen, when you lose your life in the pursuit of a paycheck, I think we owe it to those people, and to their family, those they leave behind, to honor that sacrifice.