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April 2012 Archives

Spring Storms Increase Worker Risk

Spring has a dual personality. As winter fades, the sun is shining more, the breezes are warmer, and April showers really do bring May flowers. But those same showers also reflect the darker side to spring – harsh and violent storms. Not only do rain and lightning storms increase in frequency as the warmer months approach, North America’s deadly tornado season spans from April to June. While avoiding injury from these storms can be as simple as staying indoors, for those whose jobs require working outside, staying safe can be a challenge. One study by the Bureau of Labor statistics noted that eleven job-types classified as “outdoor work” made up a third of the reported job-related fatalities. So as spring storm season revs up, workers should understand the variety of hazards they may face.

Understanding Safety Hazards for Food Service Workers

At one time in our working career, many of us have worked in the food service industry. It’s practically a rite of passage as a teenager’s first job, pays tuition for numerous college students, and serves as a full-time career for many adults. In fact, approximately 9.7 million people in the United States work in the dining and beverage service industry. Though there are many advantages to these jobs, there are multiple drawbacks as well. Long hours, sore feet, and demanding customers are just a few of the downsides of the industry. A greater concern, however, is the number of safety and health hazards faced by food service workers.

Surprising Chicago Symphony Assault Reminds of Common Risks

Depending on who you are, a visit to the symphony can be described in many ways. “Inspiring,” if you are a classical-music lover; “boring,” if you are not. Most, however, would agree a night at the symphony is a sophisticated event, with an expectation of refined etiquette from its audience. So it’s easy to imagine that readers of the Chicago Tribune newspaper did a double-take upon reading its recent headline: “Fight Night At Chicago Symphony Orchestra”.

The Hawks Nest Tunnel Silicosis Disaster: Exposing Occupational Diseases

One thing is certain when an economic crisis hits – jobs become scarce and people become desperate for work. This was especially true during the Great Depression, when unemployment in the United States averaged 25%. As the need for jobs increased, not only were more workers willing to take riskier employment, fewer employers were making the effort to ensure worker safety. Few events highlight this more than the Hawks Nest Tunnel disaster where hundreds of workers died or were sickened by exposure to silica dust. This tragedy not only raised awareness of silicosis, a dangerous occupational disease, but helped to improve safety standards and working conditions for all workers today.

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