By Jora Trang

This Workers Memorial Day, 2021, Worksafe would like to amplify the dedicated work of eight extraordinary organizations that have been rising through challenges to ensure that the communities that they served are supported and uplifted through the pandemic.

From providing food and personal protective equipment to vulnerable populations to fighting for the passage of protective laws, these organizations have been pounding the pavement, their passion clear as they roll up their sleeves to lean into the work of ensuring that their communities continue to thrive. We are extremely proud of these allies and partners. …


by Jora Trang, Chief of Staff & Equity

Washington state just became the third state in the nation to pass protective laws for temporary workers with their new Protecting Temporary Workers Law. This law seeks to place a barrier to temporary worker schemes which provide cost cutting incentives for companies to use temporary agencies. Studies have long shown that temp workers in higher-hazard industries are two times as likely to be injured as their directly hired counterparts.

These schemes are well known for the profits they reap for employers at the expense of workers. Two policy briefs by researchers from…


By Stephen Knight, Worksafe

Last week National COSH released the National Agenda for Worker Safety and Health. The report lays out a eight-point plan for national reform based on workers’ lived experience, recommending that we strengthen and enforce safety laws, make anti-retaliation protections real, ensure fair and just compensation, and confront the workplace effects of climate change.

“Workers are sick, broke and dying — because so far during this pandemic, employers, OSHA and our federal government have failed to protect workers from the risk of infectious disease,” said Jessica Martinez, National COSH’s Co-Executive Director.

Worksafe agrees that the new administration…


By Stephen Knight and Mara Ortenburger, Worksafe

This November, California voters are being asked to support Proposition 22 — Uber and Lyft’s misleading ballot measure that would exempt them from labor laws that protect workers. Together with Postmates, Instacart, and Doordash, these wealthy corporations are spending nearly $200 million to pass Prop. 22, making it the most expensive ballot measure in state history. That level of unprecedented spending should alarm California voters and alert passengers that something is amiss.

California law and policy is clear that these workers are employees and entitled to the same protections and benefits as all…


By Nicole Marquez-Baker, Worksafe

The way workplace hazards impact workers, particularly workers of color, is nothing new. When I started with Worksafe in 2012, we were helping Warehouse Worker Resource Center (at the time Warehouse Workers United) file a Cal/OSHA complaint. Domingo Blancas, a Latino immigrant, had fallen ill while working in an extremely hot warehouse in Ontario, California. Like many temporary warehouse workers, Domingo had never been trained on heat illness symptoms or emergency procedures. In fact, his employer disregarded his pleas for help.

Domingo’s life is precious and unique; there is only one of him. Sadly, his…


By Stephen Knight, Worksafe

March 2019: Members of IDEPSCA and the Pasadena Community Job Center convince the Cal/OSHA Standards Board to create rules for wildfire smoke hazards.

As California chokes this week on thick wildfire smoke, we are having a complicated moment here at Worksafe. Protecting outdoor workers from smoke hazards has been one of our key campaigns over the past 18 months. We have been preparing for exactly this situation: outdoor workers, many in agriculture and construction, being exposed to hazardous air without adequate protections.

Getting a Cal/OSHA emergency standard for wildfire smoke last year was a big win for California workers. It shows how impacted workers, supported by organizations like Worksafe, can speak up and demand change. …


By Nicole Marquez-Baker, Worksafe

While workplace health and safety laws apply to everyone regardless of immigration status, gaining equitable access to these rights remains a constant struggle. Many workers — especially low-wage, immigrant workers and workers of color — face barriers to getting basic information about workplace conditions from their employer.

Consider this story: a group of immigrant workers at a warehouse, workers with no union representation, requested information from their employer about their workplace health and safety conditions. Instead of providing this basic information, the employer called the police and claimed the workers were trespassing. …


By Doug Parker, Worksafe

To its credit, Cal/OSHA has been on board with our petition for a temporary emergency standard to protect workers from the hazards of wildfire smoke. The agency recommended that the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board vote to approve our petition, and it has worked diligently to convene an advisory committee and prepare draft language.

However, we are concerned that the direction taken in the latest draft language will actually weaken currently required health protections in the most extreme and hazardous environments created by wildfire smoke.

Under current standards, employers must provide respirators to employees when…


By Doug Parker, Worksafe

On Tuesday, the California State Auditor released the agency’s report on its investigation into complaints of misconduct against Department of Industrial Relations former Director Christine Baker.

Boxer & Gerson partner Julius Young describes the report as a “sordid tale” of nepotism, disregard for merit-based hiring, attempted retaliation against whistleblowers, race and national origin-motivated perceptions of staff, and an overall culture of fear and reprisal. Julius provides highlights and commentary on his excellent blog, Workers Comp Zone, and I won’t try to outdo him here. Read it for yourself.

A department tasked with protecting workers from labor…


By Doug Parker, Worksafe

All eyes are on the State Capitol these days, as the legislative session plows ahead and the Newsom Administration’s policy agenda takes form. But for safety and health advocates, the policies that shape the workplace are determined before California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board.

For a body making significant regulatory decisions for the world’s fifth largest economy, monthly Standards Board meetings have the feel of a town council meeting. For activists, that is something to be celebrated, because it provides an opportunity to be heard — and to make a significant impact.

The March meeting…

Worksafe

We work to protect people from job-related hazards and empower us all to advocate for the right to a safe and healthy workplace.

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