Brazil: April 28 – protection week against asbestos

April 22-28: The Brazilian Association of Exposed to Asbestos (ABREA) organized a series of events under the banner of “Protection Week against Asbestos.” The event was supported by the Inter-Union Health and Safety Council in Osasco and the Region where the event took place. The objective of the event was to evaluate next steps of the organization after the ban on asbestos in Brazil. An international delegation of Ban Asbestos Network, with delegates from Indonesia, India, Japan and United Kingdom attended to the meeting.

The week included an ecumenical event, honouring the victims of asbestos and the launch of the book “Eternidade”, by the journalist Marina Moura, which tells the story of the creation of ABREA and other regional organizations fighting against asbestsos.

The social movement made a very positive assessment of the ban on asbestos in the country, but, recognizes there is still a lot of work to do including fair compensation for those exposed to asbestos, environmental decontamination and the end of asbestos export. Brazil is the main asbestos exporter to India and the second exporter to Indonesia.

USA: USW on The Leslie Marshall Show – Safety is every worker’s right

Ashlee Fitch from the USW’s Health, Safety and Environment department joined The Leslie Marshall Show to talk about Workers’ Memorial Day, as well as the rolling back of many critical Obama-era worker protections and the risk that places on America’s work force.

“A lot of workers’ rights have been coming under the microscope and coming under attack, and health and safety is no different,” Fitch said regarding the Trump administration’s slashing of OSHA staff and regulations.

“We fought for almost 40 years to even get a beryllium standard pushed through,” she said, “and once we did, the [Trump] administration quickly rolled back those protections for workers who are in the construction industry and in the maritime industry.”

Each year, 11,500 shipyard and construction workers, including Steelworkers at Newport News, Va., are exposed to beryllium, a toxic element laced through the coal waste often used in abrasive blasting grits. Beryllium inhalation has long been known to cause lung cancer and berylliosis, a debilitating and often fatal respiratory illness.

Workplace violence is also a major health and safety issue for all working people, but particularly health care workers, and the union is currently working in Washington to urge Congress to pass the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. The vital bill would issue an occupational safety and health standard that requires covered employers within the health care and social service industries to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan.

“When you look at the rates of violence against health care workers, the rates are 12 times higher than the overall work force,” Fitch said. “We saw this and recognized that we have a lot of things going on in our workplaces that don’t align with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”

One of the hopes for the bill is that it will strengthen workers’ ability to report acts of violence they experience on the job, especially immigrant workers, who often fear punishment via harassment and even deportation.

Listen to the full Leslie Marshall interview on Soundcloud

https://m.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2019/usw-on-the-leslie-marshall-show-safety-is-every-workers-right

USA: AFL-CIO releases yearly worker safety report – Death on the job

In recognition of Workers Memorial Day, the AFL-CIO has released its 2019 edition of “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect,” a national and state-by-state profile of worker safety and health in the United States.

In 2017, 5,147 workers lost their lives on the job as a result of traumatic injuries, according to fatality data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Each day in this country, an average of 14 workers die because of job injuries—women and men who go to work, never to return home to their families and loved ones. This does not include those workers who die from occupational diseases, estimated to be 95,000 each year.

Violence is also a growing threat to workers’ safety, especially in the health care industry. Rates of violence against health care workers are reported to be up to 12 times higher than rates for the overall workforce.

The cost of these injuries and illnesses is enormous—estimated at $250 billion to $330 billion a year, according to the AFL-CIO report.

To access the entire report, click here.

2019 Death on the Jobs Report release video, AFL-CIO Latino

USW News release

USA: Worksafe Releases Report for Workers Memorial Day 2019

Workers Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor workers who have died on the job.

Joel Perales was a 30-year veteran of the East Los Angeles U.S. Postal Service. He was also a beloved community pastor, husband, father of five, and diehard Dodgers fan.

On December 3, 2018 Perales decided to pick up an extra shift on his day off — the holidays were coming and he wanted to have a little extra money to purchase gifts for his grandchildren. Tragically, he was killed that morning when a car struck his mail truck in the city of Commerce. Perales had a large and loving family; he is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, and several siblings.

Despite decades of progress, the human toll of workplace tragedies continues to be unacceptably high. 376 California workers were killed at work in the last annual count, about one per day. Thousands more were injured or made ill from preventable workplace hazards. When employers fail to protect workers, the public health suffers.

Dying at Work in California 2019 is Worksafe’s eighth annual report on the state of safety and health protections for California workers. In it, we remember the lives that have been lost, and we highlight opportunities for improving worker health and safety in California. Be sure to check out the contributions of the UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP), the Healthy Work Campaign, and National COSH.

Attention Bay Area: Please join us today at noon in Downtown Oakland for our Workers Memorial Day event. We are cohosting with LOHP and are hoping for a big turnout. Let’s gather – please come out if you can.

We hope that you will read and share Dying at Work in California 2019.

In Solidarity,
Doug Parker, Executive Director, Worksafe

Global: ILO’s Guy Ryder – ‘All countries should ratify health and safety conventions’

ILO’s Guy Ryder – ‘All countries should ratify health and safety conventions’
Speaking in Russia ahead of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, said the well-being of workers continues to be a priority for the ILO as the world of work undergoes rapid change.
https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_689373/lang–en/index.htm

Guy Ryder, l’OIT: «Tous les pays devraient ratifier les conventions relatives à la sécurité et à la santé au travail»
https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_689942/lang–fr/index.htm

“Todos los países deberían ratificar los convenios sobre seguridad y salud”, afirma Guy Ryder, OIT
https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_690048/lang–es/index.htm

USA: Laborers’ International Union of North American (Northwest region) 28 April message

Laborers’ International Union of North American North West Region has issued a video message to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day.  Facebook page

 

Holland: EU youth election marks 28 April

BWI affiliate in Holland FNV marked International Workers’ Memorial Day with an EU election for youth.

United Kingdom: Unite highlights helicopter asbestos scandal

Unite, the UK’s largest union, has accused the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of shamelessly hiding behind ‘commercial interests’ in refusing to provide information about the asbestos scandal involving the maintenance of its Sea King helicopter fleet.

It said it was highlighted the ‘absolute scandal’ of the MoD’s failure to inform workers that they could have been exposed to asbestos as part of its activities around International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) on Sunday 28 April, as the theme for this year’s event is dangerous substances – get them out of the workplace.

https://unitetheunion.org/news-events/news/2019/april/government-hiding-behind-commercial-interests-in-sea-king-asbestos-scandal/

Zimbabwe: 28 April construction union message of zero tolerance for work hazards

The BWI affiliates in Zimbabwe (CLAWUZ, GAPWUZ, ZCATWU, ZEWU) commemorated IWMD at RIO DOURO with a campaign for zero tolerance for workplace hazards.

Hong Kong: CSGWU and HKCTU highlight Karoshi on International Workers’ Memorial Day

In Hong Kong the CSGWU and 職工盟(HKCTU) held an #IWMD2019 assembly in front of the Legislative Council, highlighting karoshi (death from overwork) fatalities; between 2013 and 2018 Hong Kong recorded 635 fatality cases where no accident occurred and therefore not considered work-related, meaning no compensation for the workers’ families.

Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living