Kim Krisberg and I published yesterday—Labor Day 2017—the sixth edition of “The Year in U.S. Occupational Health & Safety.” It’s our effort to record the key events which advanced (or degraded) worker safety protections in the last 12 months. Kim’s blog post yesterday provided an overview of the yearbook. I offer today a snapshot of the yearbook’s first section which addresses high points and low points of actions at the federal level.
Last year the OHS community bid farewell to Joe Main and David Michaels, the assistant secretaries of labor for MSHA and OSHA, respectively. We describe the final initiatives implemented in both agencies under their leadership, including a beryllium regulation and granting of a petition from healthcare workers for a standard to address workplace violence. The yearbook also recaps the OHS community’s response to the Trump administration’s actions over the last seven months to cut worker safety budgets and repeal health and safety regulations.
Sprinkled throughout the yearbook are photographs contributed by OHS advocates. Especially prominent are images of participants who attended the National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (COSHCON16) held in December 2016 in Baltimore. The one on the left (Jessica Martinez, MPH of National COSH) captures the spirit of the OHS community.
We offer two special inserts in the yearbook’s section on federal activities. One highlights work by journalists to expose the serious workplace safety problems at companies that receive federal contracts. The stories were published by the Center for Investigative Reporting, ProPublica, and the Center for Public Integrity.
The other special feature is about the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH). It recaps the organization’s efforts over the last 12 months—from shining a light on the temporary staffing industry, to promoting its “Agenda for Action”—and memorable activities by local COSH groups.