The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) announced the “Dirty Dozen” list of employers who put workers and communities at risk due to unsafe practices. The Dirty Dozen report is released each year as part of the observance of Workers’ Memorial Week, which takes place every year from April 23 through April 30.
The Dirty Dozen are selected by the National COSH team, with nominations from the network of COSH groups, workers, safety activists, union members, health and safety professionals and academic experts from across the country.
Criteria for Selection
The criteria provided by COSH affiliates include:
- the severity of risks to workers
- repeat and serious violations of safety standards and applicable laws
- the position of a company within its industry and the economy
- ability of a company to influence broader workplace standards,
- the presence of a campaign by workers
- allies to correct health and safety problems
In alphabetical order, the “dirty dozen” employers- 2023 are:
- FedEx Hanover Company,
- Lithko Contracting,Friends Masonry Construction
- Norfolk Southern and Class One Freight Railroads: BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Union Pacific, Canadian Pacific, Canadian National Railway
- Occidental Chemical, Westlake Chemical
- Packer Sanitation Service Inc. (PSSI), JBS Foods, Cargill, Tyson
- Sonoma WISE
- Swissport International AG Companies
- Tenet Healthcare Corporation
- Tesla, Inc.
- Trulieve Cannabis Corp
- Twin Peaks Restaurant.
Jessica E. Martinez, MPH, co-executive director of National COSH said, “The rate of U.S. workplace fatalities from sudden trauma is on the rise, and so is the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses, So it’s more important than ever that employers meet their legal and ethical responsibility to provide a safe workplace.”
Nationwide data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that brown and Black workers are dying on the job at a higher rate than other workers. “Racist and discriminatory practices” which assign Black and Brown workers to the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs have real life consequences and cannot be tolerated in our workplaces.
In addition to focusing on alarming national trends, it’s important to look at the safety practices – and failures – of specific employers. COSH is highlighting companies where it’s clear that more can be done to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Jessica E. Martinez said. “The path forward is to empower workers as real partners in workplace safety, because workers know where the hazards are and how to eliminate them.”
Year 2023’s Dirty Dozen, Why:
- Amazon: Multiple deaths at Amazon warehouses in 2022, and citations at seven locations for work practices that “cause serious injuries.”
This is Amazon’s fourth time on the list.
- FedEx: Three workers die at the shipping giant’s Memphis hub in 2022. Injuries and fatalities on the rise company-wide.
- Hanover Company, Lithko Contracting, Friends Masonry Construction: Three Latino construction workers die when scaffolding collapses on a Hanover project.
Lithko Contracting cited nine times by OSHA, including one citation (now deleted) for a scaffolding violation.
- Norfolk Southern and Class One Freight Railroads: BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Union Pacific, Canadian Pacific, Canadian National Railway: Rail workers warn of safety problems long before the catastrophic derailment in Ohio. “Precision Scheduled Railroading” (PSR) cuts staff, reduces time for safety inspections and puts extra-long trains on the nation’s railways.
- Occidental Chemical, Westlake Chemical: Olin Corp., a major manufacturer, has endorsed an EPA ban on asbestos; other chemical companies are still fighting this safety proposal, despite 40,000 U.S. deaths a year.
- Packer Sanitation Service Inc. (PSSI), JBS Foods, Cargill, Tyson:
More than 100 children found working illegally in dangerous meat and poultry plants; 85% of them were working at JBS, Cargill or Tyson.
- Sonoma WISE: Despite opposition from growers using Astroturf tactics, California farmworkers win significant victories to counter extreme weather hazards caused by climate change.
- Swissport International AG Companies: Workers exposed to raw faeces and other unsafe conditions; company cited 35 times by OSHA for safety violations since 2013.
- Tenet Healthcare Corporation: Tenet staff say their employer cuts corners on safety. Since 2001, the company has paid over $1.8 billion in fines for false claims, bribery and kickbacks, health and safety and other violations.
- Tesla, Inc: A construction worker dies in 98-degree heat at Tesla’s gigafactory in Austin. Worker testimony shows contractors pass out fake certificates instead of providing real safety training.
- Trulieve Cannabis Corp: Truelieve worker dies from an asthma attack after inhaling cannabis dust. Company cited seven times by OSHA for safety violations.
- Twin Peaks Restaurant: So-called “breastaurant” chain has faced multiple claims of sexual harassment. Workers in Tennessee went on strike in January to protest physical and verbal abuse.
- Vince Verna, a veteran locomotive engineer who is vice president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) said, “Precision Scheduled Railroading, which cuts back on staff and reduces time for critical safety inspections, is precisely the wrong approach to ensuring safety on our nation’s railways. And now the companies are trying to make it worse by lobbying for one-man crews.”
- Carl Rothenhaus, a Swissport airline services worker from Boston, detailed some of the hazards he’s witnessed at Logan international airport. “It’s because of companies like Swissport that we are taking our demands for good, union jobs to Congress and urging them to pass the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act,” he said. “Working people everywhere – from all races and backgrounds – deserve a seat at the table, living wages, respect and dignity on the job.
- “My cousin’s death was 100% preventable” said Alisha Bounds. Her cousin, Lorna McMurrey, died just before her 28th birthday from a severe asthma attack after inhaling cannabis dust at a cannabis production facility owned by Trulieve in Holyoke, MA.
“Lorna had no pre-existing condition, and Trulieve took away the personal protective equipment (PPE) that she and other workers needed,” said Bounds, “We want to do all we can to improve conditions in this industry, so no other family has to suffer this kind of tragic and preventable loss.
- Three employees of Friends Masonry Construction died after scaffolding collapsed, causing them to fall 70 feet. The eldest of the three Latino workers, at age 45, was only weeks away from retirement. Per the report, “Hanover Company, based in Texas, owns the project. Lithko Contracting, based in Ohio, is the construction contractor.
- A worker at FedEx was driving a forklift on what Tennessee OSHA said was a “defective” ramp when the vehicle flipped over. The worker was fatally crushed after the forklift landed on them.
National COSH, which is composed of 26 grassroots worker groups, according to its website, announced the dirty dozen during Workers’ Memorial Week, a week to remember those who lost their lives on the job, and two days before Workers’ Memorial Day.
(Know more about Workers’ Memorial Day / Week in our new blog)
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Tag: worker’s safety , Health & Safety