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August 2018

Sophia Sidhu (OHIP), Terry Russel (ATU Local 265 President), and Grace An (OHIP)

OHIP Grows the Worker Health & Safety Movement

This summer Worksafe was thrilled to participate in the Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) – a national effort that links students with unions and worker organizations to investigate workplace health and safety issues. 
Worksafe helped support two OHIP interns who were placed with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 265 in San Jose. Grace and Sophia spent the summer learning from the union, talking with bus operators about their working conditions, and conducting a health assessment of split shifts.
OHIP is close to our hearts here at Worksafe. It was founded in 2004 by former Executive Director Gail Bateson and board member Dr. Bob Harrison. We've got an OHIP alumna on staff, and we get to collaborate with OHIP affiliates on a regular basis.
"I joined OHIP with the goal of gaining worker perspectives on health and safety in the workplace. That way, I could better understand, advocate for, and treat future patients. Beyond that, I gained insight into the politics of unions and employers and enjoyed the warm welcome and company of workers." – Grace An, Rutgers Medical School

"I learned about the importance of listening to worker stories and making them feel like their voices are heard. As someone who uses the bus system quite often, I never considered the hazards and stressors that bus operators face on a daily basis, so this internship made me more informed and aware." Sophia Sidhu, UCLA
OHIP is a smart program with a proven track record, and we would love to see it grow – more students plugged in, more organizations served, more workers reached. Please contact OHIP if you are able to donate to the program or host interns next summer. 
Planning to attend the 2018 APHA Annual Meeting in San Diego this fall? Grace and Sophia will be speaking on a panel with other OHIP interns on Tuesday, November 13th at 2PM. Come say hi!


Last week Worksafe joined dozens of workers and advocates in Sacramento to defend the California Supreme Court’s recent unanimous decision in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court. Why? Because industry groups have launched a full-scale assault on the ruling, lobbying state leaders to overturn or undermine it. 
The Dynamex decision makes it harder for employers to misclassify workers as independent contractors. It is a vitally important legal clarification that will protect workers from low-road employers who use misclassification to skirt labor protections. Independent contractors are carved out of workplace rights like minimum wage, overtime, and workers’ compensation – and employers have been taking advantage of this loophole for far too long.
During the lobby day, groups of workers and advocates met with legislators and urged them to deny industry requests to overturn this unanimous court ruling. Many thanks to the California Labor Federation for organizing this effort – let's keep up the pressure!

Worksafe's Summer Training Recap

Worksafe staff were out and about in August, providing trainings to workers and advocates throughout the state. Our worker trainings this month included:
  • A general occupational safety and health awareness training for 30 airport workers with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 1781.
  • A training on workplace violence at Ruby’s Place, a shelter for surviors of domestic violence.
  • A training on legislative and Cal/OSHA regulatory processes as part of a Warehouse Worker Resource Center training for worker leaders on organizing strategies.
In addition, Jora facilitated two advocate trainings at the 2018 Self-Help & Family Law Conference: one on workplace stress as an occupational health hazard, and one about the legal and ethical issues at the intersection of workplace and domestic violence. 
Lastly, Nicole traveled to the 2018 National Sexual Assault Conference in Anaheim to join a panel about amplifying worker and survivor voices in advocacy. The panel presentation highlighted the history of the Ya Basta Coalition and shared strategies for centering the experiences of workers and survivors. 

Worksafe Joins National Movement Urging Fed OSHA to #BeatTheHeat

This summer Worksafe joined Public Citizen and more than 130 other organizations in petitioning Federal OSHA to initiate a rulemaking process to establish the first federal standards protecting workers from the dangers of heat stress. This petition marks the launch of national campaign to raise awareness around the impacts of climate change on the health and safety of workers, as well as other vulnerable populations. 
Learn more about the national campaign, and help us spread the word about this important worker health issue. Here are some sample tweets to get you started:
Heat stress is an increasingly severe hazard in a time of rapid climate change. @OSHA_DOL must enact national heat stress protections before global warming puts even more workers in danger. #BeatTheHeat 
Heat stress can affect everyone exposed to hot temperatures — from workers laboring outside in the hot sun to workers who lack ventilation indoors. @OSHA_DOL must create a national heat stress standard so employers are required to make worker safety a priority. #BeatTheHeat
The solutions to heat stress are common-sense: hydration, shade, and rest breaks. But most employers won't implement them voluntarily. @OSHA_DOL must enact a national heat stress standard to protect workers in danger. #BeatTheHeat
Be sure to check out Dying at Work in California 2018 – Worksafe’s seventh annual report on the state of safety and health protections for California workers. Please read and share.
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