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Archive | April, 2012

Worksafe and SoCalCOSH release new report for Workers Memorial Day 2012: “Dying at Work in California: The Hidden Stories Behind the Numbers”

Posted on 27 April 2012 by admin

On October 12, 2011, 16-year-old Armando Ramirez and his 22-year-old brother Heladio were cleaning out a storm water drain at a recycling facility. Heladio saw his brother collapse and went down the eight-foot hole to save him. Without proper protection, the brothers died from breathing hydrogen sulfide.

A telecommunications technician for 30 years, Brent Robinson was out sick most of the week before September 2. He returned to work outdoors in sweltering 100-105° heat and again felt ill. His request to go home was denied, and he died at a grocery store waiting for medical personnel.

These and other stories are profiled in Dying at Work in California: The Hidden Stories Behind the Numbers. Produced by Worksafe and the Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (SoCalCOSH), it will be released in advance of Workers Memorial Day, April 28, 2012.

The report tallies the cost of job-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses, features first-person accounts of efforts to protect worker health and safety on the job, and offers recommendations for a path forward.

“It’s obviously important for worker advocates to honor the memories of those we’ve lost, and a crucial part of that tribute is to prevent similar tragedies from happening again,” says Gail Bateson, Worksafe Executive Director. “That’s why Worksafe and SoCalCOSH fight both for the basic rights of workers to health and safety on the job, as well as effective federal and state programs to safeguard those rights.”

Workers Memorial Day spotlights these issues. On April 28, SoCalCOSH and a broad cross-section of the community will gather at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center. A day earlier, Worksafe will host an event at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center with families of killed and injured workers, their representatives, and numerous special guests.

Lisa Dickerson, a retired construction equipment operator, is one of the workers. “I was lucky to survive a near-fatal fall when my haul truck flipped over an embankment and fell 100 feet due to unsafe conditions at work. It is so important to make sure that workers’ health and safety is a priority so we don’t have to risk our lives just to make a living.”

Juliana Martinez, whose husband Antonio fell four stories to his death on Jan. 16, 2008, agrees: “My husband was not protected by his employers, because they were breaking the law. It is so important to make sure workers’ health and safety come first.”

Copies of the report will be available at both events, and a digital version is available here: http://bit.ly/dyingatwork2012

Worksafe is a California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting people from job-related hazards and empowering them to advocate for the right to a safe and healthy workplace. For more information, contact Executive Director Gail Bateson at 510-302-1011 or visit www.worksafe.org.

SoCalCOSH is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate, advocate, and mobilize workers, community members, and policymakers to create safe and healthy workplaces in Southern California. For more information, contact Coordinator Shirley Alvarado-del Aguila at 213-346-3277 or visit www.socalcosh.org.

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LA Public Forum

Posted on 17 April 2012 by admin

Injured workers made a strong appearance at the Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation Public Forum yesterday afternoon. Most of the afternoon’s speakers were injured workers and their testimony to Department of Industrial Relations Director, Christine Baker and Division of Workers’ Compensation Administrative Director, Rosa Moran was both informative and extremely emotional.

Those in attendance narrated their problems with the workers’ compensation system and carefully delineated the years they had been affected by no payments, lack of medications, delays in surgery, no way to pay their bills since they had received no income over the course of many years.

Voters Injured at Work member Barbara Hughes mentioned she did not know how she would find the money to pay for her gas and electricity and stated that the broken system must be fixed.

There was a particularly strong statement by injured journeyman carpenter David Rawdman who told the panel that doctors should see the person whose Utilization Review they are reading and signing off on. Mr Rawdman’s spine had been severed and the curvature of his spine was reserved as a result of the injury. He currently awaits the date of his surgery and has to fight to keep his medications on hand since utilization reviewers believe it is dangerous for him to use opiod medications even though he is in constant pain.

Linda Labach, a nurse, testified that her frustrations with the workers’ compensation system was based on not getting “enough information to make decisions on utilization reviews.” Why does a nurse have the authority to make decisions and sign off on injured workers’ utilization reviews? Doctors should be reviewing these documents since they are the ones with the training and expertise rather than leaving this important work to nurses.

There was a very important suggestion by attorney Bernardo de la Torre for an efficient and user-friendly website that listed MPN providers.

The outcome of the forum was one in which injured workers are the most affected by the current system and they are the ones who stand to lose the most if the system’s problems are not immediately addressed.

The Public Forums will continue throughout the month of April in Garden Grove today, in Fresno on Wednesday, in San Bernardino next Tuesday, next Wednesday in San Diego and ending with two sessions in Oakland on Monday, April 30.

Please register for the forums and if they state that registration is closed – you may still attend by going to the session of your choice 30 minutes early to register to speak.

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VOTERS INJURED AT WORK to Testify at Southern California Public Forums

Posted on 01 April 2012 by admin

VOTERS INJURED AT WORK to Testify at Southern California Public Forums on Workers’ Compensation Reform

LOS ANGELES, CA – Voters Injured at Work and its injured worker contingent will be heavily represented during the Southern California leg of Department of Industrial Relations and Department of Workers’ Compensation Public Forums on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. at the Serra State Building Auditorium at 320 W. 4th Street in Los Angeles.

 

San Bernardino, CA – Voters Injured at Work and its injured worker contingent will be heavily represented during the Southern California leg of Department of Industrial Relations and Department of Workers’ Compensation Public Forums on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. at the Norman F. Feldheym Library Auditorium at 555 West 6th Street in San Bernardino.

 

La Mesa, CA – Voters Injured at Work and its injured worker contingent will be heavily represented during the Southern California leg of Department of Industrial Relations and Department of Workers’ Compensation Public Forums on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. at the La Mesa Community Center Arbor View (South Room) 4975 Memorial Drive in La Mesa.

 

The State Administration has not advertised the event to injured workers so it falls on Voters Injured at Work to provide this information to this constituency. Voters Injured at Work is the only workers’ compensation group in California that provides resources and advocacy to injured workers. Also, they work diligently with legislators to reform the workers’ compensation system to the benefit of injured workers who have been detrimentally affected since the 2004 reforms under ex-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The public forum and pre-demonstration will afford injured workers a presence to have their say in the reform process that has been open for employers, insurance companies and lawyers. Without injured workers there can be no adequate assessment before enacting any thorough reform.

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Contact:

Theresa Abes

Operations Manager

Voters Injured at Work

213-746-3222

213-746-9222 fax

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