workplace-safety

(Besides, everyone knows what Star Trek is really about: taking experimental technology whose first successful proof of concept under carefully controlled laboratory conditions was carried out that morning and implementing it on the flagship of your fleet, because workplace safety protocols are for weenies.)

Real talk - guys, listen up

Today I had to deal with a contractor who made unwanted passes at one of my women staff. He was at our office to work on phone lines and first asked for her cell number so he could text her when he’d be back in our office next week.

Something felt off, so she declined. While here, he made a few more comments in passing. He then later followed up with an email offering to buy her a cup of coffee, even while fully acknowledging it was “completely unprofessional” to do so.

I can’t allow him back here. Work is supposed to be a safe place. 

We contacted his employer and forwarded his email to them, making it clear they are to send a different phone tech to complete the work. 

At the same time, my employee is worried about retribution. He knows where she works. He knows her name. And he knows the work hours in our office.

I’ve made it clear we will do everything to make sure she’s safe. Our office is guarded by armed security, and I will have them escort her to her car if that’s what it takes.

But this is not right. Women should not have to worry about propositions in the workplace. Women should not have to worry that their safety is at risk when they turn down a man.

So get your shit together, guys. Stand by women when they feel unsafe. And don’t feel entitled to ask them out at their place of work. 

Don’t be that fucking guy. 

huffingtonpost.com
Trump's Budget Endangers American Workers
After the president issued a budget last week slashing and burning environmental, labor and educational programs, the guy responsible for the thing, Mick...

Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, asserted that members of my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), coal miners and urban parents are eager to kill off Public Broadcasting’s Big Bird, to drink lead-laden water, to breathe cough-inducing air and to work among life-threatening dangers.

This illustrates a complete lack of knowledge of the working and living conditions of huge swaths of Americans. Big Bird and Mr. Rogers are way more popular than Congress. Americans would much rather pay their freight than the wages of politicians. Americans are horrified by the poisoned water in Flint, Mich., and are willing to invest in an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would prevent such health hazards. And steelworkers and coal miners have seen dismemberment and death on the job and don’t want the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) eliminated or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) decimated.

So, I have severe diagnosed anxiety and have only recently begun medication. This is a fact all of the staff where I work are aware of.

Recently, I walked into an employee only area and foubd my boss with several people who don’t work at ☆Business☆, but are regulsr customers, and they were helping him do some work.

I thought it was kinda odd, but whatever.

I made the mistake of mentioning it in passing, as something kinda silly, to a coworker who dislikes our boss.

Coworker starts insisting I write a note to corporate about workplace hazards and safety, voicing concerns from other staff as well. Well, I didn’t want to. My work notes are a bit lethal, and I didn’t want to write one about my boss.

I especially didn’t want it to come back on me, because he would KNOW it was me since I was the only one who saw.

But, due to the anxiety, I started panicking cuz coworker was at my throat about this and was making valid points about why corporate should know.

Well in comes coworker #2 and I instantly to to seek her advice and she gives me info I did not have prior. Which is that those people may be working here soon. So I’m like cool. Nice.

She helps me calm down and I shred the note I never wanted to write to begin with.

Buuuut my biggest fear still comes true.

Boss finds out there was a note, is confused why I didn’t just talk to him if I was upset (I was never upset! My coworker was!) He spends thirty minutes stern talking me about who is in charge before telling me who he would fire if he could.

Awkward. Not something I feel appropriate for him to tell me.

But I think he still doesn’t understand why I would write the note even if I didn’t want to. Because, for me, in that instance I had no control. I could only do what the upset person wanted.

So yeah, tl;dr: Didn’t want to report odd boss behavior in fear of my boss reprimanding me, almost reported it anyways cuz coworker was threatening to have a fit if I didn’t, decided not to, boss somehow still found out and reprimanded me??

In January 1912, textile mill owners refused to adjust wage rates to maintain workers’ take home pay after the legislature cut the work week from 56 to 54 hours. Over ten thousand textile workers, mostly women and immigrants, walked off their jobs in Lawrence, MA. Strikers were clubbed, beaten, murdered, and had children taken from them. Congress intervened, and hearings were held where President Taft’s wife attended to listen to striker testimony. Because of the national reaction to the brutality, and public sympathy, the strike was eventually won. The 1912 “Bread and Roses” strike is remembered as the first major labor protest lead by women, and as one where workers overcame ethnic differences. It set the stage for gains in the struggles against child labor, subsistence-only wages, workplace safety, and the right to organize – important markers in labor’s long fight for justice.

anonymous asked:

I’m interested in your thoughts on a randomized study of industrial work in Ethiopia which I (and maybe you already) was directed to by an op-ed in the New York Times today (tried to link to the study but can't get it past the filter, sorry). Your writing has played a big role in convincing me to soften my assessment of the net effects of global sweatshop labor. Despite the silly headline, I think this is mostly caveats that you would already endorse, but I’m curious to know what you make of it.

(study) (article)

1) Innovations for Poverty Action is a good organization that takes empiricism really seriously and I’m glad they’re doing things like this. 

2) I am not remotely surprised that giving people money helps them more than giving them sweatshop jobs. If everyone who wanted to outlaw sweatshop jobs wanted to offset the negative effects by giving poor people money I’d be super in favor. 

3) This is interesting: 

One unexpected lesson is that companies need better middle management. The factory owners and investors told us that high turnover was their biggest concern and that finding good managers to reduce it was their biggest headache. We had the same impression of managers, especially when our study seemed to bring more organization to the hiring process than the companies had seen before. Collecting the names of all applicants, doing a basic screening, briefing people on the job and wages — these were all new to most of the managers we met.

History tells us to expect management practices and working conditions to improve over time. High employee turnover was certainly costly in the United States and Europe a century ago. In 1913, the Ford Motor Company recorded turnover rates of over 300 percent. Pay was poor and the work hard, and workers left in droves. Many of the modern management strategies we think are about factory efficiency started as attempts to lower this turnover. Eventually they helped make these companies better workplaces. “Better human resource management” is not the sexiest economic development strategy, but it is definitely an effective one.

4) It looks like the jobs offer pretty lousy conditions and therefore people frequently quit them and do jobs that suck less. And as a result, the companies are trying to make the working conditions more appealing because otherwise no one will stay working for them. I’m moderately optimistic about this process, though I have some reservations:

5) My current impression is that there are two kinds of concerns with working conditions. One is ‘working conditions are bad in ways that are hard for job-seekers to evaluate, monitor, or use to make decisions’. Things like accident risk, exposure to toxic chemicals, wage fraud, hours misleadingly counted or advertised, and repetitive stress injury are this kind of thing, and I think it makes sense to penalize companies for these things/prohibit them/outlaw them in trade deals/write angry letters to corporate about them/etc.

The other one is ‘working conditions are bad because poverty sucks’ - things like ‘hours are long, wages are poor, vacation time and maternity leave are not a thing’. I do worry that regulating these, especially in poor countries, amounts to making it illegal for poor people to have more choices’. 

Basically, if it’s something where the job kind of sucks but straightforwardly so, people know exactly what’s up, they can go find something better if there is something better and if there’s nothing better we don’t do them a favor by banning it. If it’s something where it’s hard for workers to evaluate whether their alternatives are better, because they mostly only get hurt down the road or in rare disastrous workplace safety failures, then it looks like you need legal protection to improve conditions. 

6) One thing that notably doesn’t seem to happen? Some people worry that if you give poor people money and abolish the minimum wage then McDonalds will happily only pay employees $3/hour and the money intended for poor people winds up subsidizing McDonalds in getting away with not paying a living wage. But instead, it looks like the people who were given money didn’t take sweatshop jobs. If we gave everyone money the sweatshops would have to pay better or no one would work there. If we gave poor people here enough money and didn’t have a minimum wage, McDonalds would likely have to pay better (or be a nicer place to work in some other way) or no one would work there. 

we had an hour long workplace safety meeting today and one of the key points was that people aren’t filling out incident forms correctly. apparently writing ‘the floor is slippery as fuck’ is inappropriate and unprofessional??? 

slate.com
Ivanka Trump’s Clothing Line Is Made in a Chinese Factory Where Workers Earn $1 an Hour
Donald Trump and his offspring—now that they’re in and around the White House—like to say they’re champions of the American worker, preferably coal. Th ...

Workers at the G-III factory in China were required to work 57 hours a week “on a regular basis” to hit production targets, inspectors found. Though Chinese law sets the limit for overtime at 36 hours per month, workers in all of the factory’s departments exceeded that limit, working up to 82 hours of overtime a month between September 2015 and August 2016. The factory’s workers made between 1,879 and 2,088 yuan a month, or roughly $255 to $283, which would be below minimum wage in some parts of China. The average manufacturing employee in urban China made twice as much money as the factory’s workers, or roughly 4,280 yuan a month, according to national data from 2014.

Fewer than a third of the factory’s workers were offered legally mandated coverage under China’s “social insurance” benefits, including a pension and medical, maternity, unemployment and work-related injury insurance, inspectors found. The factory also did not contribute, as legally required, to a fund designed to help workers afford housing, inspectors said. Workers earned five days of leave a year, though a small fraction of experienced employees were eligible for more …

Inspectors also cited the factory for a number of workplace safety concerns.

Please fire me. My coworker refuses to turn off a giant fan near her station. Whenever she farts the fan pushes it directly into my area. I work in the corner of the room. It’s like I’m trapped.

Safety at work: Overhead rigging

I’ll start this off by stating I am not an etcp rigger but I have been working with rigging practices for many years including overhead rigging and automated rigging.

Overhead rigging is not a joke

Let me empathize, OVERHEAD RIGGING IS NOT A FUCKING JOKE

Overhead rigging is quantified as anything you hang over a persons head and there are different standards for what is acceptable to hang over performers heads and what can hang over an audience’s head.

If you are doing over head rigging, you need to use the right equipment tools for the job. This means rated hardware. Real rigging hardware has rating be it breaking strength (most rope) or a safe working load.
This is not the value at which you can load that hardware!
If you get rope that holds 100 pounds this does not mean that you can load it with 100 pounds, you HAVE to put in a design factor. A ratio at which you load it compared to its rating. An easy factor is 10:1, if your rope holds 100 pounds then you can load it with 10 pounds. This allows for many variables that can and will happen while the rope is holding a load. YOU SHOULD NEVER use any rigging hardware close to it what it’s rated.

As for determining if you are using the right hardware, every piece of hardware should have a manufacturer stamp of some kind. As a mentor once told me, you can’t sue China.

If you are not willing to follow simple safe rigging practices DON’T FUCKING RIG OVERHEAD.

If you have questions about workplace safety like rigging or what to do if you believe something isn’t safe please feel free to ask.
@me