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Workplace fatalities continue to rise

14 workers a day lose their lives on the job, the most in eight years

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released data on work-related fatalities in the United States. The news was not good. The report notes that 5,190 workplace deaths occurred in 2016, 354 more than in 2015. This was the third year in a row workplace fatalities have increased. The last year on record with more than 5,000 deaths was in 2008. 

Hospitality workers suffering sexual harassment in silence

It is time for other industries to help stop sexual harassment

When we think of sexual harassment, recent news stories about entertainment industry icons and prominent political figures come to mind. But another segment of society has been contending with this issue for years. Media coverage of widespread sexual harassment scandals is finally giving them a platform to speak out. This overlooked group is comprised of low-wage employees in the hotel industry, especially those who work as housekeepers.

Insurer warns about potential for more construction injuries

California, like many states, is experiencing a shortfall in highly skilled construction workers. Spending on construction and development exceeded expectations this fall for residential, commercial and industrial projects. In northern California, particularly after the wildfires, there are numerous high-priority projects to undertake and residential development is expected to spike. Developers, owners and contractors are in need of workers, and often must hire inexperienced or untrained people to fill positions. The labor demand is expected to exceed staffing levels throughout 2018 and beyond. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 800,000 jobs will be added to the construction industry by 2024.

All of the above means safety must be a top priority moving forward. The risk of injury on construction sites is greatest for newer workers. Unsafe jobsites result in devastating injuries. Many expect there to be a larger number of construction workers injured or killed on the job in the coming year.

Diagnostic tool could help identify CTE

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is often associated with concussions among National League Football players. It is a degenerative and incurable brain disease caused by head trauma. In July, for example, researchers published autopsies of 111 former NFL players — revealing that 110 suffered from CTE. It has led to a far-reaching national discussion about the dangers of head trauma.

Currently, CTE is only diagnosable through an autopsy and is generally only looked for upon the request of the family. That means it is still unclear how many NFL players may get or currently have CTE. It is also hard to extrapolate data about NFL players to the public since hardly anyone who has not played professional football is examined for CTE.

Are U.S. workers at risk of losing workplace protections?

workplace safety.jpgSince it is rarely discussed, many people are surprised to learn just how dangerous U.S. workplaces can be. In fact, according to a recent article co-authored by Kathleen Rest, the executive director of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and David Michaels, a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health, 13 people die every single day in the U.S. because of hazardous working conditions.

Even worse, ten times as many die after succumbing to work-related illnesses, including cancer, silicosis, mesothelioma and asbestosis, just to name a few. In total, work-related diseases claim an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 lives every year in the U.S.

LA Mayor says he will defy Trump administration on immigration

LA city hall.jpgDespite repeated threats that the city may lose federal funding, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has said he will not bend to the White House on immigration.

Just one day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a directive ordering cities to notify the Department of Homeland Security at least 48 hours before releasing uundocumented immigrant detainees, Garcetti told Buzzfeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, "We will not change what we are doing and our values are not for sale." Garcetti added, "What they're asking the city to do is in violation of the Constitution."

Do CA's "old" laws protect workers injured in "new" gig economy?

gig economy.jpegEven though California already has some of the most comprehensive worker protection laws, there is definitely room for improvement -- particularly when it comes to workers' compensation benefits (or lack thereof) for those injured while working in the new "gig" economy.

What exactly is the "gig" economy you may ask? While there isn't an exact, universally-accepted definition, many consider a "gig" to be a single job or task for which a worker is hired, often through an app or the digital marketplace. Some of the most common examples of gig workers include drivers for Uber and Lyft.

Is your boss 'stealing' your wages?

Money flying away2.jpegCalifornia has some of the toughest laws in the nation when it comes to protecting workers and making sure they get paid for the work they do. Unfortunately, despite these laws, some employers continue to skirt the rules by trying to pay workers less than they deserve - and less than they are entitled to under the law.

This is wage theft, plain and simple; and even though it is illegal, it occurs far more often than many people know. In, fact according to a report issued by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) last month, wage theft due to minimum wage violations alone likely exceeds $15 billion every year.

Are employers retaliating against immigrant workers who report work-related injuries?

deportation2.jpegAccording to a recent report by WBUR News, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained a 37-year-old injured construction worker when he went to meet with his employer to discuss potential injury benefits - benefits the employer was supposedly offering to help the worker's family while he was recovering from his injury.

While attorneys for the injured worker still don't know whether the employer arranged for this arrest, they claim that the employer had no workers' comp coverage on the day of the worker's injury.

Report: Tesla factory workers complain of long hours, stress and serious injuries

Dubbed the "factory of the future", a new report claims many of the workers at the Tesla automobile factory in California are now complaining about grueling hours, unrealistic production goals and often life-threatening injuries.

As recently reported by the Guardian, hundreds of ambulances have been called to the factory for worker-related injuries and other medical issues over the last several years, including more than 100 ambulances for workers experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, abnormal breathing, seizures and chest pains.

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