July 18, 2007 The Pump Handle 1Comment

According to an American Road and Transportation Builders Association analysis, roadway construction workers are killed at a rate nearly three times higher than other construction workers. Tom Demeropolis at the Cincinnati Post reports that roadway construction workers safety is on officials’ minds right now in Kentucky, where highway speed limits have just increased. In the Wall Street Journal, Al Karr notes that a trend toward doing more roadwork at night has eased daytime traffic snarls but heightened concerns about construction workers’ safety. Improved lighting, additional police enforcement, and enhanced communication with drivers are among the strategies some states are using to reduce the risk of accidents.

In other news:

Guardian: Ten U.S. Capitol steamfitters have settled a whistleblower retaliation case against the Architect of the Capitol. After the workers complained publicly about dangerous asbestos levels under the Capitol, they reported that the architect’s office retaliated against them by describing them as troublemakers to members of Congress, threatening their jobs, and cutting off supplies they need to work in an environment where the temperature can exceed 130 degrees.

Chemical & Engineering News: Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey says he’s drafting legislation that would give the Chemical Safety Board more authority to investigate chemically related accidents.

New York Times: A new NIOSH estimate projects that the costs of treating Ground Zero workers suffering from health problems could increase from the current rate of approximately $6 million per month to $20 million per month.

The News & Observer: Over the past two summers in North Carolina, six farm workers have died of heatstroke or suspected heatstroke. The states of California and Washington adopted rules requiring drinking water and cool-off areas following heat-related deaths, but the response in North Carolina has lagged. (See OSHA recommendations for controlling heat stress for more information.)

Kent State Magazine: Musculoskeletal injuries are common among nurses who must lift and move patients. Researchers are testing new safe movement equipment, education, and policies to prevent such injuries.

One thought on “Occupational Health News Roundup

  1. According to NY Times, 14 percent of ground zero workers have stress related diseases, like PTSD. There is a group with a higher rate of PTSD (30%): those that have been bullied at work. The individual cases are also more severe, – more severe than that of a train worker who has had someone commit suicide by throwing himself in front of their train. The severity of their PTSD is on par with Rape Victims.

    The USA is the only western country that hasn’t created some anti bullying legislation.

    Here’s what happens in my state. You start with a new supervisor, or new job. The supervisor doesn’t like you for whatever reason and begins to throw all their time into getting rid of you. Tons of negative documentation are created. Usually the Targets get too sick to hang around waiting to be fired, and they have to quit work because of their health. A few are lucky enough to relocate before the bully can poison the opinon of an interviewing supervisor.

    Bullies have their negative behavior reinforced by the “no cause” findings of civil rights groups, and the bad behavior ratchets up pretty quickly. The employer controls the environment and documentation, so the injured employee has little or no recourse but to stop working one way or the other, with no job to go to. The employer believes that they have been vindicated and have rid themselves of a problem employee.

    These bullies take great pleasure in tormenting their Target, and all internal/external processes (and EEOC, Human Rights Commission) rule against the Target based on lack of proof of protected group. This reinforces the bullying behavior and the employer believes that nothing is going on.

    Please let’s get a blog going on this issue. If anybody wants to join the discussion you can email stopthebullies (at) comcast (dot) net.

    A Target’s coworkers are usually roped into helping the bully, and after a while the Targeted worker has lost confidence and self esteem, and suffers from serious work related PTSD.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.