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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query safety. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query safety. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fashion Safety - Why Won't American Companies Get In Line?

US retailers are continuing to ignore the deadly working conditions in Bangladesh. Fashion Safety was the 1911 catalyst for bringing safer working conditions to Americans and established a legal basis for compensation for occupational injuries outside of the civil justice system.

While the European companies are now joining together, along with economic interests, to establish a program for safer Bangladeshi garment factories following the recent tragedies, major US retailers like Walmart, Target and the Gap are ignoring the effort.

"Labor and consumer groups have pressed Western retailers to join the plan, especially after the factory building collapse and after a fire last November killed 112 workers in a Bangladesh factory. The plan, which many labor unions and nongovernment organizations also have signed, is called the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh."
Click here to read: Clothiers Act To Inspect Bangladeshi Factories (NY Times)

Safety Inspector Sought
Bangladesh Safety Accord Seeks Chief Safety Inspector. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh garment factories is seeking a chief Safety Inspector to recruit, train, deploy and manage an inspectorate in Bangladesh to protect the safety and health of four million garment workers. The Accord has been signed by more than 50 clothing companies and the Global Unions IndustriALL and UNI. The Safety Inspector will be paid US$200,000 and divide his/her time between Dhaka, Bangladesh and an office in Europe. All interested candidates can obtain the full job description from <> and the application period closes on July 30, 2013.

Text of job announcement:

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

Safety Inspector: Terms of Reference / Job Posting


The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (“Accord”) is an historic agreement between the Global Unions IndustriALL, and UNI, and numerous global Brands and Retailers, to improve safety standards in Bangladeshi textile and garment industries. The Accord is governed by a Steering Committee appointed by the signatories.

Terms of Reference

The Safety Inspector, reporting to the Steering Committee, will recruit, train, develop, deploy and supervise an inspectorate capable of evaluating fire and electrical safety, structural safety, and worker safety in Bangladeshi garment factories that supply the Brands. The successful candidate will divide his/her time between Dhaka, Bangladesh and an office to be established in Europe.

The Safety Inspector will coordinate a preliminary classification of factories based on existing and provided information, brief initial inspections where necessary, and take into consideration other recent audits performed by some of the Brands.

S/he will recommend to the Accord Steering Committee fire safety and building safety standards that will be applied by the Accord. Developing these recommendations is anticipated to be an ongoing process that may take a considerable amount of time. These must satisfy, but may go well beyond, existing Bangladeshi regulations and standards.

S/he will recommend to the Steering Committee a methodology for safety inspections and interventions, taking into consideration the successes and failures of previous similar initiatives. This methodology must be able to be set out as guidelines for the inspectorate to be trained on and to follow. Methodologies may be necessary for both quick screening inspections and more in-depth analyses.

The Safety Inspector and the inspectorate must as a group be capable of evaluating:

- structural hazards such as design and material deficiency, insufficient consideration of geological or environmental conditions, overloading, etc.

- fire hazards, including general housekeeping, storage of flammables, dust control, sources of ignition (cutting, welding, open flame, electrical installations, heating systems, boilers etc.), as well as inadequate emergency procedures and escape routes.

- workplace hazards resulting from unsafe materials (including dangerous chemicals), tools, electrical installations, equipment, poor ergonomic design, or a contaminated or overcrowded workplace environment.

- hazards resulting from work organization, such as lack of training, lack of effective workplace health and safety committees, lack of attention to workers' rights (such as the right to refuse unsafe work) and other management policies and practices that would put buildings and the people in them at risk.

The Safety Inspector and the inspectorate as a group will prioritize factories based on the degree of remediation required. Based on the inspection findings, s/he will recommend remedial action for building and fire safety, including worker and management training, fire detection, protection, and firefighting measures, as well as evacuation measures and the need for practice drills. These recommendations will be provided to factory owners, Brands contracting products from the factories and the Steering Committee.

The preceding points are not an exhaustive list. The Safety Inspector will work with the Steering Committee to establish a more complete job description.

Qualifications and Skills Desired

The ideal candidate will be able to apply extensive technical skills with leadership, diplomacy, and courage.


The ideal candidate will have knowledge of most of the safety disciplines described below, but it is understood that the successful person may not have expert-level knowledge in all these areas and should be free to consult other experts where required.

- Bachelor's degree or higher in a related discipline such as civil, structural, or fire engineering

- Thorough knowledge of the building and/or fire safety codes of a high-standard jurisdiction.

- Professional certification or licensing by a major national or international body

- Minimum 10 years of relevant experience


- The skills necessary to establish and lead a group and administer a budget approved by the Steering Committee are essential.

-  Evidence of social and cultural sensitivity; some knowledge of human and labour rights, are important assets.


This is a high-level position. Depending on qualifications and experience, the salary for this position will be in the range of $200,000 USD with a generous benefits package.

How to Apply

Closing date for applications: 30 July, 2013

Contact: Please send a letter of interest and a detailed curriculum vitae with references to:

Interim Secretariat
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh
c/o UNI Global Union
8-10 avenue Reverdil
CH-1260 Nyon


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Safety Incentive Programs: Lawful? Effective?

Today's guest author is Jon Rehm, Esq. of the Nebraska bar.

The ” _____ days without an accident sign” is a common feature in many workplaces. These signs are often parts of employer safety incentive programs. These programs intend to reduce work injuries which should reduce workers’ compensation expenses for business.

Often these programs include money or other financial incentives for employees. The use of programs that financially rewards employees presents three questions to me. Are these programs lawful, are they effective and are their other ways to improve workplace safety?

Are employer incentive programs lawful?

In 2018 the Department of Labor reversed Obama era regulatory guidance that safety incentive programs would violate OSHA anti-retaliation rules. The concern of the previous administration was that safety incentive programs discouraged reporting of injuries. But even the Trump DOL believes that a lawful safety incentive program must include anti-retaliation training and also address “near misses” or incidents that were nearly accidents so as not to discourage the reporting of workers’ compensation claims.

OSHA regulations largely address how that federal agency enforces workplace safety law. Employees can’t sue their employers for violations of OSHA. But in certain industries, OSHA allows whistleblower cases for employees reporting unsafe work condtions. Similarly, state laws can allow employees to being retaliation cases for reporting safety problems and or reporting a work injury. Safety incentive programs that penalize workers for injuries could violate anti-retaliation laws depending on how they are designed.

Are safety incentive programs effective?

Safety experts have questioned the effectiveness of directly rewarding employees for not being hurt. These experts believe that these programs lead employees to cover up injuries which could cover up bigger safety issues. Philadelphia attorney Richard Jaffe criticized safety incentive programs because they are premised on the fact that employees create unsafe conditions. Put another way, the programs are premised on the assumption that employees are to blame for getting hurt.

There is powerful anecdote about the failure of some safety incentive programs. The Massey Energy Upper Big Branch Mine explosion killed 29 West Virginia minors in 2010. Massey’s CEO Don Blankenship had a safety incentive program that included sporting equipment and luxury goods for minors who didn’t miss work for accidents. Blankenship was convicted of violating safety standards in connection with the Upper Big Branch explosion.

The Upper Big Branch explosion coupled with the callousness of Don Blankenship is an extreme example of what could go wrong with employee safety incentive programs.

So what works?

Safety programs that involve employees working with management are the most effective. Employee input is critical because employees often have the most knowledge about a job. They also have a strong incentive to avoid injury.

Unions give employees a say in their workplace. Not surprisingly, studies in the United Statesand Canada show unionized workplaces are safer than non-unionized workplaces. Scholars have coined the term “union safety dividend” to describe the workplace safety benefits associated with unions.

I think unions are a better safety tool than programs that target worker behavior because they don’t assume that workers are at fault for their injuries. There are times where an employee may be at fault or share fault for an injury. But that’s why workers compensation pays limited benefits regardless of fault. Workplace safety programs that incorporate employee and employer viewpoints realize that risks in the workplace can come from employer, employee and third parties like equipment manufacturers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Workers’ Compensation Insurer Responses to COVID-19

This free NIOSH Center for Workers’ Compensation Studies (CWCS) webinar will highlight the ways that many insurers are responding to COVID 19:
  • Communicating prevention programs
  • Providing funding for engineering controls and PPE
  • Providing remote risk control services

Monday, May 20, 2013

The International Call for Fashion Safety - Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

MAY 13, 2013 
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

The undersigned parties are committed to the goal of a safe and sustainable Bangladeshi ReadyMade Garment ("RMG") industry in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or 
other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures. 
The signatories to this Agreement agree to establish a fire and building safety program in 
Bangladesh for a period of five years. 

The programme will build on the National Action Plan on Fire Safety (NAP), which expressly 
welcomes the development and implementation by any stakeholder of any other activities that 
would constitute a meaningful contribution to improving fire safety in Bangladesh. The 
signatories commit to align this programme and its activities with the NAP and to ensure a close 
collaboration, including for example by establishing common programme, liaison and advisory 

The signatories also welcome a strong role for the International Labour Organization (ILO), 
through the Bangladesh office as well as through international programmes, to ensure that both 
the National Action Plan, and the programme foreseen by the signatories of this Agreement, get 

The signatories shall develop and agree an Implementation Plan within 45 days of signing this 
Agreement. The nongovernmental organisations which are signatories to the Joint Memorandum 
of Understanding on Fire and Building Safety (dated March 15, 2012), having stated their 
intention to support the implementation of this programme, shall, at their own election, be signed 
witnesses to this Agreement. 

This Agreement commits the signatories to finance and implement a programme that will take 
cognizance of the Practical Activities described in the NAP involving, at minimum, the following 

SCOPE: The agreement covers all suppliers producing products for the signatory companies. 
The signatories shall designate these suppliers as falling into the following categories, according 
to which they shall require these supplier to accept inspections and implement remediation 
measures in their factories according to the following breakdown: 

1. Safety inspections, remediation and fire safety training at facilities representing, in the 
aggregate, not less than 30%, approximately, of each signatory company’s annual 
production in Bangladesh by volume (“Tier 1 factories”).

2. Inspection and remediation at any remaining major or long-term suppliers to each 
company (“Tier 2 factories”). Together, Tier 1 and Tier 2 factories shall represent not less 
than 65%, approximately, of each signatory company’s production in Bangladesh by 

3. Limited initial inspections to identify high risks at facilities with occasional orders, onetime orders or those for which a company’s orders represent less than 10% of the MAY 13, 2013 
factory’s production in Bangladesh by volume (“Tier 3 factories”). Nothing in this 
paragraph shall be deemed to alleviate the obligation of each signatory company to 
ensure that those factories it designates as Tier 3 represent, in the aggregate, no more than 
35%, approximately, of its production in Bangladesh by volume. Facilities determined, as 
a result of initial inspection, to be high risk shall be subject to the same treatment as if 
they were Tier 2 factories. 


4. The signatories shall appoint a Steering Committee (SC) with equal representation 
chosen by the trade union signatories and company signatories (maximum 3 seats each) 
and a representative from and chosen by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as a 
neutral chair. The SC shall have responsibility for the selection, contracting, 
compensation and review of the performance of a Safety Inspector and a Training 
Coordinator; oversight and approval of the programme budget; oversight of financial 
reporting and hiring of auditors; and such other management duties as may be required. 
The SC will strive to reach decision by consensus, but, in the absence of consensus, 
decisions will be made by majority vote. In order to develop the activity of the SC, a 
Governance regulation will be developed. 

5. Dispute resolution. Any dispute between the parties to, and arising under, the terms of 
this Agreement shall first be presented to and decided by the SC, which shall decide the 
dispute by majority vote of the SC within a maximum of 21 days of a petition being filed by 
one of the parties. Upon request of either party, the decision of the SC may be appealed to 
a final and binding arbitration process. Any arbitration award shall be enforceable in a 
court of law of the domicile of the signatory against whom enforcement is sought and 
shall be subject to The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign 
Arbitral Awards (The New York Convention), where applicable. The process for binding 
arbitration, including, but not limited to, the allocation of costs relating to any arbitration 
and the process for selection of the Arbitrator, shall be governed by the UNCITRAL 
Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration 1985 (with amendments as adopted 
in 2006). 

6. The signatories shall appoint an Advisory Board involving brands and retailers, suppliers, 
government institutions, trade unions, and NGOs. . The advisory board will ensure all 
stakeholders, local and international, can engage in constructive dialogue with each other 
and provide feedback and input to the SC, thereby enhancing quality, efficiency, 
credibility and synergy. The SC will consult the parties to the NAP to determine the 
feasibility of a shared advisory structure. 

7. Administration and management of the programme will be developed by the SC in 
consultation with the 'High-Level Tripartite Committee' established to implement and 
oversee the National Action Plan on Fire Safety, as well as with the Ministry of Labour 
and Employment of Bangladesh (MoLE), the ILO and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für 
Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), to maximize synergy at operational level; 
and the SC may make use of the offices of GIZ for administrative coordination and 


8. A qualified Safety Inspector, with fire and building safety expertise and impeccable 
credentials, and who is independent of and not concurrently employed by companies, 
trade unions or factories, shall be appointed by the SC. Providing the Chief Inspector acts 
in a manner consistent with his or her mandate under the provisions of this Agreement, 
and unless there is clear evidence of malfeasance or incompetence on his or her part, the 
SC shall not restrict or otherwise interfere with the Chief Inspector’s performance of the 
duties set forth in the Agreement as he or she sees fit, including the scheduling of 
inspections and the publishing of reports.

9. Thorough and credible safety inspections of Tier 1, 2 and 3 factories shall be carried out 
by skilled personnel selected by and acting under the direction of the Safety Inspector, 
based on internationally recognized workplace safety standards and/or national standards 
(once the review foreseen under the NAP is completed in June 2013). The Safety 
Inspector shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that an initial inspection of each 
factory covered by this Agreement shall be carried out within the first two years of the 
term of this Agreement. The Safety Inspector will be available to provide input into the 
NAP legislative review and to support capacity building work regarding inspections by 
the MoLE foreseen under the NAP. 

10. Where a signatory company’s inspection programme, in the opinion of the Safety 
Inspector, meets or exceeds the standards of thorough and credible inspections, as defined 
by the Safety Inspector, it will be considered an integral part of the programme activities 
set forth in this Agreement. Signatory companies wishing to have their inspection 
programme so considered shall provide the Safety Inspector full access to the findings of 
their inspections and he or she will integrate these into reporting and remediation 
activities. Notwithstanding this provision, all factories within the scope of this Agreement 
shall still be subject to all the provisions of this Agreement, including but not limited to a 
least one safety inspection carried out by personnel acting under the direction of the 
Safety Inspector. 

11. Written Inspection Reports of all factories inspected under the programme shall be 
prepared by the Safety Inspector within two (2) weeks of the date of inspection and 
shared upon completion with factory management, the factory’s health and safety 
committee, worker representatives (where one or more unions are present), signatory 
companies and the SC. Where, in the opinion of the Safety Inspector, there is not a 
functioning health and safety committee at the factory, the report will be shared with the 
unions which are the signatories to this Agreement. Within a timeline agreed by the SC, 
but no greater than six weeks, the Safety Inspector shall disclose the Inspection Report to 
the public, accompanied by the factory’s remediation plan, if any. In the event that, in 
the opinion of the Safety Inspector, the inspection identifies a severe and imminent 
danger to worker safety, he or she shall immediately inform factory management, the 
factory’s health and safety committee, worker representatives (where one or more unions 
are present), the Steering Committee and unions which are signatories to this Agreement, 
and direct a remediation plan.

12. Where corrective actions are identified by the Safety Inspector as necessary to bring a 
factory into compliance with building, fire and electrical safety standards, the signatory 
company or companies that have designated that factory as a Tier 1, 2, or 3 supplier, shall 
require that factory to implement these corrective actions, according to a schedule that is 
mandatory and time-bound, with sufficient time allotted for all major renovations.
13. Signatory companies shall require their supplier factories that are inspected under the 
Program to maintain workers’ employment relationship and regular income during any 
period that a factory (or portion of a factory) is closed for renovations necessary to 
complete such Corrective Actions for a period of no longer than six months. . Failure to 
do so may trigger a notice, warning and ultimately termination of the business 
relationship as described in paragraph 21. 

14. Signatory companies shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that any workers whose 
employment is terminated as a result of any loss of orders at a factory are offered 
employment with safe suppliers, if necessary by actively working with other suppliers to 
provide hiring preferences to these workers.

15. Signatory companies shall require their supplier factories to respect the right of a worker 
to refuse work that he or she has reasonable justification to believe is unsafe, without 
suffering discrimination or loss of pay, including the right to refuse to enter or to remain 
inside a building that he or she has reasonable justification to believe is unsafe for 

16. The Training Coordinator appointed by the SC shall establish an extensive fire and building 
safety training program. The training program shall be delivered by a selected skilled 
personnel by the Training Coordinator at Tier 1 facilities for workers, managers and 
security staff to be delivered with involvement of trade unions and specialized local 
experts. These training programmes shall cover basic safety procedures and precautions, 
as well as enable workers to voice concerns and actively participate in activities to ensure 
their own safety. Signatory companies shall require their suppliers to provide access to 
their factories to training teams designated by the Training Coordinator that include 
safety training experts as well as qualified union representatives to provide safety training 
to workers and management on a regular basis. 

17. Health and Safety Committees shall be required by the signatory companies in all 
Bangladesh factories that supply them, which shall function in accordance with 
Bangladeshi law, and be comprised of workers and managers from the applicable factory. 
Worker members shall comprise no less than 50% of the committee and shall be chosen 
by the factory’s trade union, if present, and by democratic election among the workers 
where there is no trade union present.

18. The Safety Inspector shall establish a worker complaint process and mechanism that 
ensures that workers from factories supplying signatory companies can raise in a timely 
fashion concerns about health and safety risks, safely and confidentially, with the Safety 
Inspector. This should be aligned with the Hotline to be established under the NAP. 

19. The SC shall make publicly available and regularly update information on key aspects of 
the programme, including:

a. a single aggregated list of all suppliers in Bangladesh (including sub-contractors) 
used by the signatory companies, based on data which shall be provided to the SC 
and regularly updated by each of the signatory companies, and which shall 
indicate which factories on this list have been designated by that company as Tier 
1 factories and which have been designated by that company as Tier 2 factories, 
however volume data and information linking specific companies to specific 
factories will be kept confidential, 

b. Written Inspection Reports, which shall be developed by the Safety Inspector for 
all factories inspected under this programme, shall be disclosed to interested 
parties and the public as set forth in paragraph 11 of this Agreement. 
Public statements by the Safety Inspector identifying any factory that is not acting 
expeditiously to implement remedial recommendations. 

c. Quarterly Aggregate Reports that summarize both aggregated industry 
compliance data as well as a detailed review of findings, remedial 
recommendations, and progress on remediation to date for all factories at which 
inspections have been completed.

20. The signatories to this Agreement shall work together with other organizations such as ILO 
and the High-Level Tripartite Committee and the Bangladeshi Government to encourage 
the establishment of a protocol seeking to ensure that suppliers which participate fully in 
the inspection and remediation activities of this Agreement shall not be penalised as a 
result of the transparency provisions of this Agreement. The objectives of the protocol 
are to (i) support and motivate the employer to take remediation efforts in the interest of 
the workforce and the sector and (ii) expedite prompt legal action where the supplier 
refuses to undertake the remedial action required to become compliant with national law. 

21. Each signatory company shall require that its suppliers in Bangladesh participate fully in 
the inspection, remediation, health and safety and, where applicable, training activities, as 
described in the Agreement. If a supplier fails to do so, the signatory will promptly
implement a notice and warning process leading to termination of the business 
relationship if these efforts do not succeed. 

22. In order to induce Tier 1 and Tier 2 factories to comply with upgrade and remediation 
requirements of the program, participating brands and retailers will negotiate commercial terms 
with their suppliers which ensure that it is financially feasible for the factories to maintain safe 
workplaces and comply with upgrade and remediation requirements instituted by the Safety 
Inspector. Each signatory company may, at its option, use alternative means to ensure factories 
have the financial capacity to comply with remediation requirements, including but not limited to 
joint investments, providing loans, accessing donor or government support, through offering 
business incentives or through paying for renovations directly. 

23. Signatory companies to this agreement are committed to maintaining long-term sourcing 
relationships with Bangladesh, as is demonstrated by their commitment to this five-year 
programme. Signatory companies shall continue business at order volumes comparable to or 
greater than those that existed in the year preceding the inception of this Agreement with Tier 1 
and Tier 2 factories at least through the first two years of the term of this Agreement, provided 
that (a) such business is commercially viable for each company and (b) the factory continues to 
substantially meet the company’s terms and comply with the company’s requirements of its 
supplier factories under this agreement. 

24. In addition to their obligations pursuant to this Agreement, signatory companies shall 
also assume responsibility for funding the activities of the SC, Safety Inspector and 
Training Coordinator as set forth in this Agreement, with each company contributing its 
equitable share of the funding in accordance with a formula to be established in the 
Implementation Plan. The SC shall be empowered to seek contributions from 
governmental and other donors to contribute to costs. Each signatory company shall 
contribute funding for these activities in proportion to the annual volume of each 
company’s garment production in Bangladesh relative to the respective annual volumes 
of garment production of the other signatory companies, subject to a maximum 
contribution of $500,000 per year for each year of the term of this Agreement. A sliding 
scale of minimum contributions based on factors such as revenues and annual volume in 
Bangladesh will be defined in the Implementation Plan with annual revisions, while 
ensuring sufficient funding for the adequate implementation of the Accord and the Plan. 

25. The SC shall ensure that there are credible, robust, and transparent procedures for the 
accounting and oversight of all contributed funds.

See also: 

Public Outrage Over Factory Conditions Spurs Labor Deal (NY Times) 


UNI Global Press Release

Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are waking up to the fact they must take an initiative on Bangladesh garment factory safety.
Global commerce union leaders are urging all governments to commit to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety and push for its speedy implementation. 

The Netherlands Government has called on Dutch retailers to sign the Accord and discussed financial support to improve conditions for the Bangladeshi garment industry. Other European governments, notably France, Denmark and Norway have also shown support. In the U.S. a group of leading Senators has written to retail CEOs who have not signed up, including Walmart and Gap, urging them to reconsider.

The legally binding Accord, driven by IndustriALL and UNI Global Union and the NGOs, the Clean Clothes Campaign and the Worker Rights Consortium, has a critical mass of support from leading retailers around the world with more than 35 brands confirmed:

H&M, Inditex, C&A, PVH, Tchibo, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Primark, El Corte Inglés, jbc, Mango, Carrefour, KiK, Helly Hansen, G-Star, Aldi, New Look, Mothercare, Loblaws, Sainsbury’s, Benetton, N Brown Group, Stockmann, WE Europe, Esprit, Rewe, Next, Lidl, Hess Natur, Switcher, Abercrombie & Fitch, John Lewis, Charles Vögele, V&D, Otto Group, s.Oliver, Bonmarche, HEMA, Comtex.

UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings said, “There can be no excuses from the retail sector for not signing up to the Accord, when Walmart alone spends $2.5 billion per year on advertising and Gap $653 million.” 

The trade unions committed to take the message back to their home governments to insist the retail sector backs the deal and that grass root members of parliament mobilise to support it.

Union leaders said it was time for governments to step up.

Per Tønnesen, President of the Danish union HK HANDEL said, “We welcome the fact that the Danish Trade Minister has raised the Bangladesh Factory Safety deal and shown support. This is an important step to convince Danish brands to sign the Accord. All Danish retail companies must be urged to support the Accord. HK HANDEL is looking forward to playing its part in rolling out the implementation plan and the governments should be on-board.” 

John Hannett, General Secretary of USDAW in the UK and President of UNI Europa Commerce said, “The British Government must get behind the Bangladeshi Safety deal but so must politicians of every political persuasion. The big UK retailers have shown their support for the Accord and now it’s up to the politicians to help convince those who have not yet signed. The French Commerce Minister has called on companies, unions and NGOs to come together to discuss concrete steps to improve factory safety in Bangladesh and the Dutch have made their position clear and are considering financial support – the UK must not drag its heels.” 

Michael Bride, of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union of North America said, "We applaud the group of eight U.S. Senators, led by Sherrod Brown, Tom Harkin and Dick Durbin, for calling on those brands yet to sign the Accord to reconsider. U.S. corporations should understand that their efforts to excuse themselves from human rights obligations which companies elsewhere have signed up to will be neither easily forgotten nor forgiven. The U.S. Government has a responsibility to ensure that companies located in its jurisdiction are not permitted to adhere to a lesser standard on human rights and safety than companies in the rest of the world."

The shoe factory collapse in Cambodia earlier this week has underlined that factory safety is not an issue confined to Bangladesh and that such an agreement is vital for the whole retail industry. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Employer Fraud: Safety Manager Conceals Employee Injuries for Bonus

On Apr. 11, 2013, Walter Cardin, 55, of Metairie, La., was sentenced to serve 78 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release, by the Honorable Curtis L. Collier, U.S. District Judge. Cardin was convicted at trial in November 2012, after being charged by a federal grand jury with eight counts of major fraud against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), an agency of the United States.

The indictment and subsequent conviction of Cardin was the result of a six-year
investigation conducted by the TVA-Office of Inspector General (TVA-OIG). The trial revealed that Cardin, as safety manager for the Shaw Group (formerly Stone & Webster Construction) at TVA’s Brown’s Ferry Nuclear site in Athens, Ala., provided false and misleading information about injuries at that facility as well as TVA’s Sequoyah Nuclear site in Soddy Daisy, Tenn., and TVA’s Watts Bar Nuclear site near Spring City, Tenn. 

The Shaw Group had a contract with TVA to provide maintenance and modifications to the three facilities and to provide construction for the Brown’s Ferry Unit Number 1 reactor restart. Cardin generated false injury rates which were used by the Shaw Group to collect safety bonuses of over $2.5 million from TVA. As part of a civil agreement filed with the United States in 2008, the Shaw Group paid back twice the amount of the ill-gotten safety bonuses.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Republic Steel reach comprehensive settlement agreement over safety and health violations

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that Republic Steel has agreed to settle alleged health and safety violations at the company's facilities in Lorain, Canton and Massillon, Ohio, as well as Blasdell, N.Y. The comprehensive settlement, in which the company agrees to abate all cited hazards and implement numerous safeguards to prevent future injuries, addresses more than 100 safety and health violations found by OSHA at the company's facilities during inspections conducted in the fall of 2013. The agreement also resolves contested citations from two previous inspections regarding a June 2013 arc flash incident at the Lorain facility and a case alleging numerous fall hazards at the company's Canton facility that OSHA issued in August of 2013.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Republic Steel has agreed to pay $2.4 million, and has further agreed on additional penalty amounts in the event there is a determination of substantial non-compliance with the agreement. The company has agreed to abate all safety and health hazards identified by OSHA, including willful and serious violations for failure to provide required fall protection, failure to implement lockout/tag out procedures to protect workers who service or maintain machines, and failure to provide machine guarding to protect workers from hazardous machinery.

In addition to abating the cited hazards, Republic Steel has agreed to several additional measures to improve compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and better protect its employees. Republic Steel will: hire additional safety and health staff; conduct internal safety and health inspections with representatives of the United Steelworkers; establish and implement a comprehensive safety and health management program to identify and correct hazardous working conditions; hire third-party auditors to assure that hazards are identified and improvements are made; and meet quarterly with OSHA staff to assure implementation of this agreement.

OSHA initiated the inspections last fall in response to a serious injury after an employee fell through the roof of a building at the Lorain plant. OSHA expanded its inspections to all Republic Steel's facilities under the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"By agreeing to the terms of this settlement, Republic Steel has demonstrated a commitment to change its culture, invest in its employees, and work with OSHA and the United Steelworkers to make significant changes at its facilities that will improve the safety and health of its workers," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "The Labor Department looks forward to working with Republic Steel to ensure that it lives up to its commitment to improve workplace safety."

In addition to improvements noted, Republic Steel has agreed to several key changes in the management of its safety and health program, including:
reviewing and improving plant procedures to ensure OSHA compliance with machine guarding, control of hazardous energy (lockout/tag out), fall protection, personal protective equipment and other critical safety procedures;
implementing an electronic tracking system for identifying hazards/near misses, injuries and illnesses reported by workers;
mailing a letter to workers' families detailing the company's commitment to health and safety;
providing a card to employees informing them of the right to refuse to perform work that they reasonably and in good faith believe is unsafe or unhealthful without fear of being disciplined; and
providing supplemental training for all production and maintenance employees, including managers.

"The terms of this agreement to improve conditions and training are unprecedented," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. "The company has committed to supporting extensive worker participation, an important role for the joint health and safety committee, and implementation of a comprehensive safety and health program to better protect Republic Steel employees."

A copy of the settlement agreement is available at The agreement's Appendix A is available at and its Appendix B is available at

Friday, August 19, 2016

NIOSH to Hold Meeting on Motor Vehicle Safety

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is seeking input on the progress and future direction of its Center for Motor Vehicle Safety

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Making Workplaces Safer

This marks the 27th year the AFL-CIO has produced a report on the state of safety and health protections for America’s workers. It features state and national information on workplace fatalities, injuries, illnesses, the number and frequency of workplace inspections, penalties, funding, staffing and public employee coverage under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It also includes information on the state of mine safety and health.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Food Manufacturer Agrees to Safety and Health Improvements

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and J&J Snackfoods have reached a region-wide settlement agreement to improve workplace safety and health at the company’s eight food manufacturing and warehouse facilities throughout New Jersey and New York. Under the settlement, the Pennsauken, New Jersey-based company agreed to pay a $152,934 penalty.

OSHA cited the company in September 2018 after inspectors determined that the company exposed employees to serious machine hazards. OSHA issued willful and repeat citations for failing to train employees and utilize procedures to control hazardous energy when they perform servicing and maintenance work on machinery.

"This settlement shows the Department’s enforcement efforts leading to positive changes on important safety issues," said Regional Solicitor Jeffrey S. Rogoff, in New York. "A repeat violator with a history of safety problems related to machine hazards took responsibility and is improving those conditions across the region, beyond the violations identified by a single inspection at a single facility."

In addition to the penalty, J&J Snackfoods agreed to hire a full-time corporate safety director to manage and coordinate safety and health across all facilities, and a full-time site-safety manager to coordinate safety and health onsite at the facility. The company will also hire a qualified safety and health professional as an outside consultant to conduct two comprehensive safety and health inspections per year and implement a written safety and health program consistent with OSHA’s best practices guidelines. J&J Snackfoods will also provide employees with safety and health training in a language they understand and establish a safety and health committee comprised of employees, union representatives and managers to recommend further safety and health improvements.

"This settlement reflects a commitment to comply with required standards and ensure that employees are protected from hazards that pose a risk for injuries," said OSHA’s New York Acting Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Thursday, December 20, 2018

NJ Labor Department, OSHA Form Alliance to Better Protect Workers

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL), the New Jersey State Industrial Safety Committee (NJSISC), and the U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has signed an agreement establishing an alliance to foster safer and more healthful workplaces in the Garden State. Through this partnership, the participating organizations will share information, resources, guidance, and access to training.

The alliance is based on the recognition of the value of collaboration in enhancing employee safety, which all three agencies have a hand in enforcing.

“At the forefront of our mission is ensuring the health and safety of New Jersey’s public workers,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “This agreement with OSHA, and our long-standing partners at NJSISC, will help provide our employees with access to all the resources they need, so workers can get the common sense protections they deserve.”

The participating agencies intend to work together to raise awareness of workplace safety and health practice through a new campaign called “Safe + Sound.” New information will be disseminated through the campaign on management leadership, employee engagement, and systematic approaches to find and fix workplace hazards before they cause illness or injury to a worker.

For example, the participants will share relevant injury, illness and hazard exposure data to help identify areas of emphasis for awareness, outreach and communication, and will evaluate the effectiveness of its efforts in improving workplace safety.

“It is clear that an excellent safety record can positively impact workers and their families, as well as business productivity and sustainability,” Robert Kulick, OSHA regional administrator in New York, said. “This Alliance, based on OSHA’s national Safe + Sound Campaign, provides a roadmap for New Jersey employers as they focus on safety performance. It is rooted in the belief that every workplace should have a safety and health program that includes three core elements of management–leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to find and fix hazards.”

James Braswell, chair of the State Industrial Safety Committee, said: “Through the alliance with the OSHA New York Regional Office and the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the NJSISC has affirmed its commitment to promote effective safety and health programs across New Jersey and increase access to workplace safety training. We are excited to be part of this joint collaboration and for the ability to influence the future of safety and health within our state.”

Employers with exemplary safety records will be recognized and invited to share their best practices with others. NJDOL’s free, on-site safety consultation program will be promoted.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Labor Day: Miller Launches Map of Workplace Fatalities

This Labor Day, Let's Redouble Effort to Improve Worker Safety, Says Chairman Miller Miller also launches interactive map of workplace fatalities

WASHINGTON, D.C. - To honor America's workers this Labor Day, the country should commit to stopping the preventable toll of workplace deaths, injuries, and illnesses that affects workers across industries and occupations each year, said U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. To highlight the dangers that many American workers face on the job, Miller today launched a new interactive online map
( that enables people to learn about many of the workplace fatalities that have occurred in their own communities this year.

"Each year, thousands of American workers die on the job. Sixteen workers are killed in workplace accidents each day. Ten times that many die of occupational diseases caused b y hazardous substances like asbestos. And every 2.5 seconds, a worker is injured in the United States," said Miller. "This grim toll includes construction workers, public safety workers, and workers at chemical facilities and oil refineries. It includes people who spend most of their time working outdoors, as well as people who work inside office buildings, manufacturing plants, and stores. It in cludes young and old workers. There are simply too many American workers, from all walks of life, who get injured, sick, or killed on the job. On this Labor Day, we should commit ourselves to doing everything we can to improve safety in the workplace."

On August 9, the U.S. Labor Department reported that 5,703 workers died in workplace accidents in 2006. Today, Miller launched an online map of worker fatalities that he hoped would remind Americans of the urgent need for increased efforts to eliminate unsafe conditions on the job. The map relies on published news reports in 2007 to show worker fatalities
nationwide, and it includes information about the workers' occupations and causes of death. The map represents roughly 10 percent of the total number of on-the-job fatalities so far this year.
"The tragedy at Utah's Crandall Canyon Mine reminds us of the dangers that too many workers face every day. It is my hope that the launch of this map will help policymakers and the public understand the extent of workplace fatalities in this country and the importance of acting aggressively to improve workplace safety," said Miller.

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, and U.S. Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL), a member of the subcommittee, introduced legislation to reduce workplace fatalities, injuries, and sicknesses. The Protecting America's Work ers Act (H.R. 2049) would boost workplace safety by strengthening and expanding the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Specifically, the legislation would:
Apply federal safety standards to workers who are not currently covered, including federal, state, and local employees, and some private sector employees;
Increase penalties against employers for repeated and willful violations of the law, including making felony charges available when an employer's repeated and willful violation of the law leads to a worker's de ath or serious injury;

Better protect workers who blow the whistle on unsafe workplace conditions;
Enhance the public's right to know about safety violations; and
Make clear that employers must provide the necessary safety equipment to their workers, such as goggles, gloves, respirators, or other personal protective equipment.
Miller also said that the Bush administration must do more to vigorously enforce workplace safety laws.

"In hearings held earlier this year, witnesses told the committee that both the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration are not doing enough to update basic workplace safety standards and that the agencies have shifted their focus from enforcing the law to providing companies with so-called voluntary compliance assistance," said Miller. "It is well past time that the Bush workplace safety agencies stop fiddling while workers die. They must aggressively enforce the laws they swore to uphold. We must do more to defend the right of all workers to a safe workplace."

To visit the map, click here.:

For more information about the Protecting America's Workers Act, click here.

For more information about worker safety issues, click here.

Jon L. Gelman, Attorney at Law
1450 Valley Road, 1st Floor
PO Box 934Wayne NJ 07474-0934
973 696-7900 tel - 973 696-7988 fax

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving - Make It A Food Safe One

Food safety is especially important as you prepare a holiday meal. Within the last couple of years, CDC has investigated outbreaks of foodborne illness that were caused by bacteria in jalapeños, spinach, peanut butter, frozen pizza, frozen pot pies, and frozen beef patties. Many consumers are now more aware of the ongoing importance of food safety.
CDC is a food safety partner with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which is responsible for the safety of meat and poultry. The FSIS has assembled preparation tips intended to serve as safety reminders to those who are already familiar with meat and poultry preparation safety and as guidelines for the first-time chef.
Turkey Basics: Safely Thaw, Prepare, Stuff, and Cook
When preparing a turkey, be aware of the four main safety issues: thawing, preparing, stuffing, and cooking to adequate temperature.
Safe Thawing
Thawing turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature. The "danger zone" is between 40 and 140°F — the temperature range where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly. While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely, but as soon as it begins to thaw, bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to grow again, if it is in the "danger zone."
There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in a microwave oven. For instructions, see "Safe Methods for ThawingExternal Web Site Icon;" instructions are also available in SpanishExternal Web Site Icon.
Safe Preparation
Bacteria present on raw poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils, and work surfaces as you prepare the turkey. If these areas are not cleaned thoroughly before working with other foods, bacteria from the raw poultry can then be transferred to  other foods. After working with raw poultry, always wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before they touch other foods.
Safe Stuffing
For optimal safety and uniform doneness, cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. However, if you place stuffing inside the turkey, do so just before cooking, and use a food thermometer. Make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F, possibly resulting in foodborne illness. Follow the FSIS' steps to safely prepare, cook, remove, and refrigerate stuffingExternal Web Site IconSpanish language instructionsExternal Web Site Iconare available.
Safe Cooking
Set the oven temperature no lower than 325°F and be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Check the internal temperature at the center of the stuffing and meaty portion of the breast, thigh, and wing joint using a food thermometer. Cooking times will vary. The food thermometer must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat. For more information on safe internal temperatures, visit's Safe Minimum Cooking TemperaturesExternal Web Site Icon.
Following these cooking guidelines can help you prepare
a safe holiday dinner that everyone will enjoy.


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