BP may emerge unscathed after Gulf deaths
A 19 September statement from BP America chair and president Lamar McKay portrays the oil giant as a responsible corporate player that had emerged from the Deepwater Horizon “tragedy” with valuable expertise. Sidestepping any mention of “oil”, “pollution” or “deaths”, McKay set about spinning a cocoon of virtue around the company’s “accomplishment” and its eagerness to allow others to learn from its “important insights”.
Hazards 'green jobs' blog, 23 September 2010
No clean start for BP
Departing BP boss Tony Hayward, 53, will receive a £600,000 ($940k) annual pension, a £1.045m ($1.6m) pay off and more in shares. Bereaved families and other less celebrated victims of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, will not fare so well.
Hazards 'green jobs' blog, 30 July 2010
UK government to adopt BP business model
John Browne, Tony Hayward’s predecessor as chief executive of BP, has been appointed by the UK government to oversee moves to make Whitehall “more businesslike.” Lord Browne was the architect of the much criticised BP cost- and safety-cutting strategy implicated in the Texas City refinery disaster, which killed 15, and a sequence of other safety and environmental crimes.
Hazards 'green jobs' blog, 1 July 2010
Where do your gizmos go to die?
You are staring right now at a computer screen, one of the gaggle of can’t-live-without state-of-the-art electronic gizmos you cherish for a year or two then discard. Whether the resulting tsunami of e-crap stems from fashion – you just have to have that new i-phone, it’s soooooo cool – or from the inescapable upgrades, Hazards editor Rory O’Neill warns a product that started its e-life in a cleanroom, free of even a speck of dust, is destined to end its days presenting a serious toxic hangover.
Hazards ‘green jobs’ blog, November 2009 • Recycling poisons, Hazards 109, January-March 2010
First lead, now mercury makes a toxic comeback
The world could be facing an epidemic of poisonings by highly toxic metals you’d be forgiven for thinking were a hazard of yesteryear – and all in the name of the environment. Hazards editor Rory O'Neill says the problem arises from new uses for the toxins in “green” products or from a disregard for health and safety in recycling and reuse operations.
Hazards ‘green jobs’ blog, November 2009
BP, the killer they like to forgive
In November 2009, the New Statesman announced its ranking of ‘20 green heroes and villains.’ Among the “panel of environmental experts” judging the awards was John Browne, the UK peer whose reputation was earned at the helm of global petrochemicals giant BP. Lord Browne may be especially well qualified to assess environmental villainy, says Hazards editor Rory O'Neill.
Hazards ‘green jobs’ blog, November 2009
Lead – a case of right answer, wrong question
Green initiatives like recycling can have remarkable successes. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good for the planet, communities or those working in ‘green’ jobs. Lead is a case in point - more than 50 per cent of refined lead is now produced from recycled material. But global lead production has increased dramatically since 2003, placing a new generation at risk from an old and very toxic hazard.
Hazards ‘green jobs’ blog, November 2009 • Dangerous lead, Hazards special report November 2009
Greenwash - will your new green job kill you?
There’s something sickeningly familiar about some green jobs. Colin Sinclair died working at a windfarm. Bert Reeves died in a recycling yard. Others are just plain poisonous. Hazards editor Rory O’Neill says it will take vigilance to make sure green jobs are decent, safe jobs.
Hazards 108, October-December 2009
Green collared: Red alert on the perils of green jobs
Recycling, clean energy, energy conservation – we’ve been told to expect a “green jobs” bonanza. But a spate of fatalities and poisonings in the sector show more work needs to be done to make the jobs as good for workers as they are for the environment, warns Hazards editor Rory O’Neill.
Hazards 107, July-September 2009
We are better than dirt
Jobs are in jeopardy. Efforts to plug the ozone layer put coal on the back burner. Jobs producing CFCs are off into the stratosphere. But for workers in polluting industries, it's not all bad - unions have a plan to ensure it's the problem and not the workforce that is dumped.
Hazards 70, October-December 2000
Light shades of green: Climate-friendly policies in times of crisis, ETUI Policy Brief, number 5, August 2009 [pdf]
Green Economy Special Focus: Green Jobs, Worldwatch Institute, USA
High road or low road? Job quality in the new green economy, Good Jobs First, USA, February 2009 [pdf]
Green jobs, green recovery, New Solutions: A journal of environmental and occupational health policy, Special Issue, volume 19 (2), 2009
Environmental Unions: Labor and the Superfund, Craig Slatin, Baywood Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-89503-389-5, 2009
Trade unions and climate change: Equity, justice and solidarity in the fight against climate change Trade Union Statement to COP14 (2008), Poznàn, Poland [pdf]
Going green: Safe and healthy jobs, PtD in motion - special issue, NIOSH, USA, July 2009 [pdf]
Green job creation, CLC, Canada
La création d'emplois verts, CTC, Canada
Good Jobs For All Coalition: A community labour alliance, Canada
Green economy program, Worldwatch Institute, USA
Basel Action Network, A comprehensive list of resources and organisations, Global
Spring Alliance, Global
UNEP green jobs webpages, Global
Good Jobs First, USA
American Green Jobs, USA
Clean Energy Jobs, Australia
Health Care Without Harm – green purchasing guide.
Green up for grabs, Nancy Lessin, PowerPoint presentation, Hazards Conference, July 2009
Sustainability - a Role for Labour, a Role for the ICEM, ICEM, June 2009 [pdf]
Toward a Transatlantic Green New Deal: Tackling the Climate and Economic Crises, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, June 2009
Green jobs must also be good jobs, AFL-CIO Now blog, 9 February 2009.
Can green jobs be good jobs?, The Nation, 16 February 2009
AFL-CIO announces Center for Green Jobs, AFL-CIO blog, 5 February 2009
Becoming a greener union, PCS, 2009
4 G Jobs: Make green jobs green through and through, Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health, USA [pdf]
Green Jobs: Working for People and the Environment, Worldwatch Report 177, Worldwatch Institute, October 2008.
Britain: Little interest in NHS lifestyle promotion at work
An NHS ‘Champions for Health’ pilot health promotion scheme attracted little interest from staff – and this interest quickly waned for the tiny minority who did give it a try. Just 1,300 out of NHS Wales’ 72,000 staff signed up last year for the high profile initiative, and two-thirds of these had dropped out before the end.
NHS Wales news release and Champions for Health webpages • Work and well-being, TUC guide, February 2013. Hazards magazine 'Well, then?' guide • Risks 601 • 20 April 2013
Britain: Union warns of dangers of recycling cuts
A reduction in opening hours for Sheffield’s five recycling centres is leaving workers and the public at deadly risk, the union GMB has warned. GMB’s Peter Davies said there were serious safety implications of limiting access to the centres, including “queues that could, quite frankly, result in serious incidents affecting the public and the workforce alike.” GMB news release • Morning Star • The Guardian • HSE waste and recycling webpages and related transport movements webpages • Risks 572 • 8 September 2012
Britain: Multinational recycling firm fined over death
The UK arm of an international recycling giant with a turnover in the billions has been fined £200,000 after a 21-year-old employee died from head injuries at its paper baling site in Tipton. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted SITA UK Ltd after Mark Bate was killed instantly when the arm of a JCB skid steer loader crushed his head on 12 June 2008.
HSE news release and workplace transport guide [pdf] • Risks 559 • 9 June 2012
Britain: Recycling firm fined after crushing death
A recycling firm has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a yard foreman was crushed to death. Norman Mayne from Newport died after he became trapped between a container and a skip at Amber Services Ltd's recycling yard.
HSE news release and workplace transport webpages • Risks 556 • 19 May 2012
USA: Warning on extra risks in green construction
Construction workers involved in environmentally friendly, ‘green’ building projects can face additional traditional and novel hazards, researchers have found. Problems identified in the study identify a greater risk of falls and new, high risk tasks.
Katherine S Dewlaney, Matthew R Hallowell, and Bernard R Fortunato, Safety risk quantification for high performance sustainable building construction, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, published online ahead of print, 2011 [abstract] • EHS Today • Risks 536 • 17 December 2011
USA: Green building standard linked to job hazards
A scheme designed to encourage energy efficient ‘green’ buildings could be leading to increased health and safety problems for those making the buildings green. The union backed safety research organisation CPWR says green construction “is perhaps the most important trend in today's building industry.”
CPWR website • Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, posted online 4 July 2011 ahead of print • Risks 530 • 5 November 2011
France: Nuke waste recycling blast kills one
An explosion in a nuclear waste recycling plant in the south of France which killed one worker and injured four others has prompted calls for greater transparency and union involvement in devising and implementing safety systems. The blast, close to the Marcoule nuclear power station, near Avignon, was an “industrial accident” and not an explosion in, or near, a nuclear reactor, French authorities said.
S&D news release • The Independent • BBC News Online • Risks 523 • 17 September 2011
Britain: Recycling firm fined after vehicle injury
A County Durham waste and recycling company has been prosecuted after a worker was seriously injured when a vehicle reversed into him. Darren Decosemo was working in a sorting shed at First Skips Ltd in Shotton Colliery when the incident occurred on 8 October 2009.
HSE news release • Northern Echo • Risks 521 • 3 September 2011
Britain: Recycler fined £80,000 after skips crush worker
A recycling firm that failed to show “basic consideration” for its workforce has been fined £80,000 after an incident where a worker was crushed between two skips. Steven Graham, 46, was trapped between the skips at a recycling centre in Ayr, run by Lowmac Alloys, after an 18-tonne shovel loader hit one of the skips.
HSE news release • BBC News Online • Letsrecycle.com • Risks 519 • 20 August 2011
USA: Green jobs can be just as deadly
A surge in alternative energy projects and employment in the US is seeing inexperienced workers recruited to jobs they do not have the skills, training or supervision to do safely, US reports suggest.
ITUC/Hazards green jobs/safe jobs blog • Los Angeles Times • FairWarning • OSHA green jobs webpages • In These Times • Risks 518 • 13 August 2011
Britain: Ex-squaddie loses arm at recycling site
A Hull man, who returned unscathed from active service with the British army in Bosnia, was maimed for life working as a 'civvy' back home, a court has heard. Ray Wright, 34, had his right forearm severed in a baling machine incident while working alone at the Transwaste Recycling site at Hessle Dock in April 2009.
HSE news release • Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR) • Risks 515 • 11 June 2011
USA: New chemical safe law good for jobs
More stringent controls on industrial chemicals could support job creation in the US while protecting health and the environment, a new report has concluded. The study, produced by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) and commissioned by the BlueGreen Alliance, shows that innovation in sustainable chemistry can reverse the industry's job shedding trend in a market that increasingly requires cleaner, safer production.
BGA news release and full report, The economic benefits of a green chemical industry in the United States: Renewing manufacturing jobs while protecting health and the environment • In These Times • Risks 506 • 21 May 2011
Britain: Recycling firm convicted after worker's jaw smashed
A skip lorry driver at one of the UK's leading metal recyclers had his jaw shattered by the locking mechanism on a skip. Dean Bridges had his jaw broken in several places and lost three teeth while attempting to open the rear door of the RO-RO (Roll-on Roll-off) container he was driving at Ampthill Metal Company Ltd’s site in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.
HSE news release • Bedford Today • Materials Recycling Week • Risks 505 • 14 May 2011
Britain: Recycling giant takes worker’s arm
An international waste recycling firm has been fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 costs after a worker lost his arm in an industrial incident in Basildon. Daniel Ali, 35, was working as a process operator at Coolrec UK Ltd on 4 April 2008 when his arm got caught in a conveyer belt.
HSE news release • Risks 498 • 19 March 2011
Britain: Recycling firm fined after worker dies
A recycling company has been fined £200,000 after a defective machine tipped and the loading bucket hit a man, causing fatal injuries. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Ling Metals Ltd for a criminal breach of safety law after Darren Baker, 35, died in hospital two days after the incident from multiple injuries.
HSE news release • Risks 492 • 5 February 2011
Britain: Deadly blast highlights green job dangers
A man has died after an explosion at the Sterecycle waste recycling plant which left another man seriously injured. The recycling giant, whose Rotherham plant is in the middle of a rapid expansion plan, was voted ‘one to watch’ at the Cleantech industry awards in November 2010.
Green jobs, safe jobs blog • South Yorkshire Police statement • BBC News Online • Sheffield Star • North West Evening Mail • Risks 489 • 15 January 2011
Britain: Waste company fined after worker's legs crushed
A London-based waste management firm has been fined after an employee's legs were crushed between two steel frames while unloading a truck. McGrath (Waste Control) Ltd was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £7,447 in costs.
HSE news release • Risks 484 • 27 November 2010
Britain: Waste and recycling four times as dangerous
The combined fatal and major injury rate in waste and recycling is still more than four times the average across all industries, latest official figures have confirmed. A total of 416 out of every 100,000 employees suffered a major injury or were killed at work compared with the all industry average rate of 102 per 100,000, according to the latest statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
HSE news release and statistics • Risks 483 • 20 November 2010
USA: ‘Toxic nightmare’ in prison recycling scheme
Inmates and employees at 10 US prisons were exposed to toxic metals and other hazardous substances while processing electronic waste for recycling, a four-year investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general found. Yet despite finding officials wilfully endangered thousands of prison staff and inmates, none will be prosecuted and most of the officials have retired without any sanction, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
US Justice Department Inspector General report [pdf] • PEER news release • FairWarning • New York Times • Risks 480 • 30 October 2010
Britain: Recycling firm broke worker’s ribs
A recycling company has been fined after one of its workers suffered broken ribs when he was forced onto a metal conveyor belt in Preston. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Smurfit Kappa UK Ltd following the injury on 4 September 2009.
HSE news release and workplace transport webpages • Risks 479 • 23 October 2010
Britain: Veolia fined after another death
National waste and recycling company Veolia ES (UK) Ltd has been fined £225,000 after a worker was killed in a vehicle collision while collecting litter from a busy road. The fine comes less than eight months after it was prosecuted for another workplace death.
HSE news release • Risks 477 • 9 October 2010
Britain: Worker loses leg on offshore wind farm
Talisman Energy (UK) Ltd and Scaldis Salvage and Marine Contractors BV have been fined after a worker lost his leg during work on an offshore wind farm. The incident in August 2006 took place 20 kilometres offshore in the Moray Firth, during construction of the Beatrice Windfarm Turbine B, one of two wind turbine generators which were being built to provide power to the Beatrice AP Oil Platform.
COPFS news release • Construction Enquirer • Risks 476 • 2 October 2010
Australia: Young worker died on insulation project
A construction firm has been fined after a teenage worker died working on a government-backed home insulation scheme. Arrow Property Maintenance Pty Ltd was fined $135,000 (£82,200) on charges relating to the death of 16-year-old insulation installer Reuben Barnes. He was electrocuted while installing fibreglass insulation in the ceiling of a private home in November last year.
Green jobs blog • Risks 475 • 25 September 2010
Global: Call to stop trade in toxic e-waste
The international system intended to stop illegal hazardous waste exports is not working, the head of a UK watchdog has warned. Environment Agency chair Lord Smith, in a speech to INTERPOL, said better cooperation and exchange of intelligence across national borders was necessary to stop a crime that poses a “growing and persistent risk to human health and the environment”.
Green jobs blog • Environment Agency news release • INTERPOL news release • Risks 475 • 25 September 2010
Britain: Warning on waste and recycling crackdown
Local authorities have been reminded of their crucial safety role in the procurement and management of waste and recycling services. The warning from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) comes ahead of an October programme of official safety inspections.
HSE news release, waste services webpages and guidance [pdf] and WISH Forum • Risks 474 • 18 September 2010
Britain: Post workers get off their bikes
Cycles are great for leisure pursuits, but are neither safe nor suitable when it comes to delivering large quantities of mail, postal union CWU has said. The union is supporting a decision by Royal Mail to scale back the use of cycles on deliveries.
CWU news release • CTC campaign • BBC News Online • Risks 474 • 18 September 2010
Who pays BP’s disaster bill? You do
If you thought the multi-billion dollar costs of destroying refineries and oil rigs (and killing workers, ruining livelihoods and wrecking the environment in the process), might have a chastening effect on BP, you might need to think again. BP is forecast to pay about $10bn less tax over the next four years as it meets the costs of its huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, hitting the revenues of Britain and the US that receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the company each year.
Green jobs, safe jobs blog • Risks 465 • 17 July 2010
Canada: Workers see red at ‘green’ hotels
Hotel workers are paying a high personal price so hospitality employers can claim they have gone ‘green’. Staff at the US-based Starwood Hotels chain - which is touting a ‘Make a Green Choice’ programme in its hotels across North America and which includes Westin and Sheraton hotels – say the initiative is a bogus green plan that does nothing for the environment.
Green jobs, safe jobs blog • Risks 464 • 10 July 2010
Britain: Worker loses leg under waste recycling truck
A Cheshire recycling company has been fined £10,000 after a worker lost part of his leg when he was crushed by an 18-tonne truck. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted WSR Recycling Ltd after the incident, which led to the worker’s left leg being amputated below the knee.
HSE news release and waste webpages • Risks 462 • 26 June 2010
Europe: Have your say on green jobs
As oil laps on the US coast, there’s renewed energy in discussions of green jobs. And that means new opportunities and, potentially, new risks, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) says. In response, its European Risk Observatory (ERO) “has commissioned a foresight study to explore the potential impact that key technological innovations may have on workers’ health and safety, both positively and negatively, in jobs in the green economy (‘green jobs’) and what new and emerging risks to occupational safety and health (OSH) this may bring by 2020.”
EU-OSHA blog and online questionnaire • Risks 461 • 19 June 2010
Australia: Union bans nuke work
An Australian union has banned its members from working in uranium mines, nuclear power stations or any other part of the nuclear fuel cycle. The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) says other unions have expressed strong support for the campaign against uranium, which it has labelled the “new asbestos” of the workplace.
ETU news release and When the dust settles video part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5 • Green jobs, safe jobs blog • Sydney Morning Herald • Brisbane Times • Beyond Nuclear radiation and health webpages and Australia webpages • Risks 459 • 5 June 2010
Britain: Waste giant fined after landfill death
A major UK waste management and recycling company has been fined after a driver was killed at a Northamptonshire landfill site. Sita UK Limited was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the death of bin driver Gary Carter, 32, at the Cranford landfill site on 4 January 2007.
HSE news release • Risks 458 • 29 May 2010
USA: Green buildings should not hurt you
Green building is no less hazardous for workers than the less environmentally concerned alternative, a US study has found. In a separate paper in the same issue of the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, the same authors call for a sustainable construction safety and health (SCSH) rating system to “rate projects based on the importance given to construction worker safety and health and the degree of implementation of safety and health elements.”
The Pump Handle • Green jobs, safe jobs blog
S Rajendran and others. Impact of green building design and construction on worker safety and health, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, volume 135, issue 10, pages 1058-1066, 2009 [abstract]. S Rajendran and others. Development and initial validation of Sustainable Construction Safety and Health Rating System, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, volume 135, issue 10, pages 1067-1075, 2009 [abstract] • Risks 453 • 24 April 2010
Britain: ‘Best recycler’ fined £200,000 for death
A global metals and electronics recycling company has been fined after a lorry driver died when a crushed car fell from a scrapheap. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Sims Group UK Ltd, part of the world’s biggest metal recycling company, after truck driver Adrian Turner was crushed by a metal bale which rolled off the heap at the firm’s yard in Newport, south Wales.
HSE news release • Green jobs, safe jobs blog • BBC News Online • Risks 453 • 24 April 2010
Britain: Recycling firm fined for crush injury
European Metal Recycling Limited has been fined after a worker’s hand was crushed as he attempted to clear a blockage on a magnetic conveyor. The firm was fined £8,000 with £5,506.50 costs in April after pleading guilty to a health and safety offence.
HSE news release • Risks 453 • 24 April 2010
Recycling firm fined after arson attack
A York hazardous waste recycling company has been fined £40,000 and £6,110 costs for failing to safeguard flammable liquid that was used in an arson attack on the business. BCB Environmental Management Limited pleaded guilty at Harrogate Magistrates Court to breaches of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) after illegally processing drums of volatile chemicals close to unprotected electrical equipment and forklift trucks.
HSE news release • Green jobs, safe jobs blog • York Press • Risks 450 • 3 April 2010
USA: Green watchdog backs worker inspection role
The US government’s environmental watchdog has accepted workers and union reps should be allowed to participate in official workplace safety inspections conducted under the Clean Air Act. The clarification came when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed to take steps to institutionalise worker and union involvement in workplace inspections conducted in workplaces using extremely hazardous substances.
Green jobs, safe jobs blog • 20 March 2010
Global: Greenpeace adds to Samsung pressure
A global electronics giant embroiled in an occupational cancer scandal has been accused by Greenpeace of reneging on a promise to phase out toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases. This week climbers from the environmental group scaled the Benelux headquarters of the Korean multinational Samsung, sticking the message “Samsung = Broken Promises” in giant letters onto the front of the building.
Greenpeace news release • Green jobs, safe jobs blog • Sign the SHARPs petition urging Samsung to act on occupational cancer risks • Risks 447 • 13 March 2010
Europe: Green capitalism can be just as deadly
If you are one of those employed in the rapidly expanding green jobs sector, don’t assume your green employer is any less likely to exploit and endanger you. According to Laurent Vogel, director of the European TUC’s health and safety research arm, HESA, “private management of environmental protection activities does sacrifice working conditions for the sake of competitiveness.”
The relative appeal of green jobs • Just Transition editorial, Laurent Vogel, February 2010 • Green jobs, safe jobs blog • 27 February 2010
Britain: Unexploded bombs left at recycling centre
A Welsh council has warned people to be more responsible after an unexploded artillery shell, detonators and marine flares were dumped at its local authority recycling centres. Powys Council said it had been forced to call out Army bomb disposal experts and police three times during the last five months.
Powys Council news release • Green jobs, safe jobs blog • BBC News Online • Risks 445 • 27 February 2010
Britain: Serial offender trumpets safety ‘milestone’
A company that says it is the UK’s leading waste and recycling firm and that parades its environmental and safety credentials has been a serial safety offender over the last five years. Health and safety magazine Hazards charges that while no mention of a conviction in February relating to an employee’s death appears on the Veolia ES website, “the company is less reticent when it comes to boasting about its safety successes.”
Hazards ‘green jobs, safe job’ blog • 27 February 2010
Britain: Serial offender fined after recycling bin death
A company that says it is the UK’s leading waste and recycling firm and that parades its environmental and safety credentials has been fined £130,000 after a worker was killed when a 1,100-litre recycling bin fell on his head.
Green jobs, safe jobs blog • 20 February 2010
USA: Poisonous record of prison e-waste recycling
US prisoners and staff supervisors were exposed for years to excessive levels of toxic heavy metals during computer recycling operations, a government workplace health research agency has confirmed. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report, however, says the absence of recordkeeping inside the prisons, made it impossible to confirm any health problems from these illegal levels of exposure.
Green jobs, safe jobs blog • 13 February 2010
Britain: Company fined for poisoning its workers
A recycling company and its director have been fined a total of £145,000 for exposing workers to toxic mercury fumes at a site in Huddersfield. Electrical Waste Recycling Group Ltd recycles electrical equipment, including fluorescent light tubes containing mercury and TV sets and monitors containing lead at a plant in School Lane, Kirkheaton.
Green jobs, safe jobs blog • 13 February 2010
Britain: Confused recycling sector is still deadly
If you work in waste and recycling, you might not be reassured to hear it has a work fatality rate nine times the national average. And you might be even more alarmed when you hear some privatisation-happy local authorities are clueless when it comes to their legal responsibility to keep you safe.
HSE news release and new waste sector resources • Green jobs, safe jobs blog • Risks 441 • 30 January 2010
USA: OSHA chief calls for good safe green jobs
The newly installed leader of the US government’s workplace safety watchdog has made his first public act a call for green jobs to be good, safe jobs. Dr David Michaels, the head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), called for greater worker involvement and said: “We must push worker health and safety as a critical, necessary, and recognised element of green design, green lifecycle analysis and green contracts.”
Video and transcript of speech by David Michaels, head of OSHA • NIOSH green, safe and healthy jobs webpages • Green jobs, safe jobs blog • Risks 440 • 23 January 2010
Britain: Four figure fine for four finger loss
A plastics recycling company has been fined £2,500 after a worker had four of his fingers severed. Wesley Dickinson, 22, was trying to remove a guillotine jam at Centriforce Products Ltd in Liverpool when his fingers became trapped.
HSE news release • BBC News Online • Risks 439 • 16 January 2010
Britain: Waste and recycling is a sick industry
Workers in the UK waste and recycling industry have much higher sickness rates than other local authority workers, research by a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) agency has found. A report from The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) found the sector recorded more days off work than other departments within local government but also found record keeping was inconsistent and inadequate, so data “failed to accurately capture the reasons for absence”.
Review of sickness absence data in the waste and recycling industry, HSE research report 750 [pdf] • Green jobs, safe jobs blog • Risks 438 • 9 January 2009
Global: Big, green and with blood on its hands
Top US retailer Kohl’s is really, really proud of its award-winning environmental credentials and “sustainability” policies. However, this rankles with the US-based International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), which points to labour rights and safety abuses in the company’s supply chain.
ILRF news release and full report • Green jobs blog • Risks 437 • 19 December 2009
Global: EU e-waste is poisoning poor kids
Children eke out a living by selling the scrap garnered from e-waste dumps from Ghana to China, and risk being slowly poisoned as a result. They pull apart the computers, breaking the screens with rocks, then throw the internal electronics onto the fires. Computers contain large amounts of heavy metals, and as the plastic burns, the children also breathe in carcinogenic fumes.
Good Electronics • Der Spiegel • ITUC/Hazards ‘green jobs, safe jobs’ blog • Risks 436 • 12 December 2009
Britain: Green meter plan needs to be safe
UK government plans to introduce “smart meters” to homes nationwide as an energy saving measure must take account of safety and other concerns about rogue contractors, the union GMB has said. The GMB call comes a week after the Australian government had to clampdown on “shonky” contractors after a series of deaths in young workers installing insulation to homes under its “energy efficient homes” programme.
GMB news release • Green jobs blog • Risks 436 • 12 December 2009
Global: Where do your gizmos go to die?
You are staring right now at a computer screen, one of the gaggle of can’t-live-without state-of-the-art electronic gizmos you cherish for a year or two then discard. A report in the ‘green jobs’ blog published by global union federation ITUC and Hazards magazine, says the waste amounts to a major toxic headache – and it warns that conditions in the e-waste recycling industry “are as distant from the cleanrooms where the products were created as the landfills – dumps – they might otherwise occupy.”
Green jobs blog • Risk 435 • 5 December 2009
Australia: Deaths go through the roof
A series of deaths in young workers installing insulation to make homes “greener” has led to a government clampdown on dangerous contractors. The Australian government’s Energy Efficient Homes Package has been dogged by safety concerns since the rebate began in July, with accusations of inexperienced and unscrupulous operators rushing to cash in on the scheme.
ACTU news release • Green jobs blog • Risk 435 • 5 December 2009
Britain: Green firm guilty of mercury poisoning
Workers at a Huddersfield factory became sick with mercury poisoning as a result of “blatant” management neglect of health and safety, a court has heard. Staff at the Electric Waste Recycling Group site, which recycles hazardous electrical equipment including mercury-containing TVs and fluorescent light tubes, suffered headaches, stomach upsets and mood swings.
Green jobs blog • Yorkshire Post • Huddersfield Examiner • Risks 434 • 28 November 2009
Global: Lead poisoning set to rise
Widespread lead poisoning will result from the planned distribution of a billion computers to developing countries by technology companies and charities, according to a new study. “The lead from batteries needed to power these computers will result in environmental contamination and harmful exposures unless some commonsense safeguards are taken,” said Perry Gottesfeld, co-author of the study published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.
Christopher R Cherry and Perry Gottesfeld. Plans to distribute the next billion computers by 2015 creates pollution risk, Journal of Cleaner Production, volume 17, pages 1620–1628, December 2009 [pdf] • OK International • Green jobs blog • Risks 433 • 21 November 2009
USA: Making green jobs safe jobs
Not enough is being done to ensure green jobs are safe jobs, a US union health and safety expert has warned. Walter Jones, a safety specialist with the union-run Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America, told delegates to the American Public Health Association annual conference in Philadelphia that the shift toward greener buildings hasn’t done much to make the construction or maintenance of these places safe for workers.
The Pump Handle • Lifecycle building: Designing for safe constructability, Walter Jones, APHA abstract, presented 9 November 2009. Green jobs blog • Risks 432 • 14 November 2009
Australia: Older workers need jobs on site
There should be quotas of “mature-age” workers introduced on major government building projects in recognition of the gruelling and job threatening effect physical work can have over a working lifetime, the Australian construction union CFMEU has said. The union says good use could be made of older workers skills in “recycling and sustainability” and other less physical jobs.
Green jobs, safe jobs blog • Risks 428 • 17 October 2009
Global: It’s not jobs or the environment - it must be both
Saving the planet can also save the communities struggling most with the economic downturn, according to the ITUC. ITUC general secretary Guy Ryder said “there’s nothing inevitable about either climate change or job loss,” adding: “Good policies sensibly applied can benefit both the planet and the population by creating millions of new, decent, green jobs.”
Hazards ‘green jobs, safe jobs’ blog • No se trata de empleos o medioambiente – tienen que ser los dos, dicen los sindica tos mundiales • 10 October 2009
USA: ‘Green hotel’ claim is dangerous greenwashing
A jobs agency supplying workers to a top US hotel chain is imposing debilitating work rates on the out-sourced staff while boasting the measures are creating a “green hotel”. Rick Holliday, president of the temporary agency Hospitality Staffing Solutions, told the Boston Globe he has given the formerly directly employed Hyatt housekeepers a “start’’ on the “American Dream’’ by paying them $8 per hour to clean 25 rooms per day.
ITUC/Hazards green jobs, safe jobs blog • Risks 426 • 4 October 2009
Britain: Recycling firm fined after lorry fatality
The death of a man who was run over by a skip lorry has led to a waste and recycling company being fined. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought the prosecution against Shanley and Sons Ltd, who were fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,000 last week at a hearing in Swindon Crown Court.
HSE news release and waste industry webpages • Risks 426 • 4 October 2009
Britain: Recycling trip led to pain and cost
A council bin man who seriously injured his shoulder while collecting rubbish for recycling has received £57,000 in compensation. UNISON member Alan Shambrook, 55, tripped on a raised paving slab while collecting recycling boxes.
UNISON news release • Risks 425 • 26 September 2009
China: Not so green solar energy?
Solar panels, one of the most commonly touted solutions to the world’s climate woes, may have a less shiny record than first appears. Thirty-odd plants in China are producing ever increasing volumes of polysilicon – which is unhealthy news for many employees.
Green jobs, safe jobs blog • Risks 425 • 26 September 2009
Britain: Injured fitter forced to retire early
A fitter with a metals recycling firm who was forced to give up his job following an accident at work has received a substantial sum in compensation. Unite member Stanley Gibbons, 66, from Dagenham in Essex, was left with a damaged left shoulder after being forced to carry out heavy manual work despite warning his employer he suffered from a frozen shoulder, a condition which leaves the shoulder painful and stiff.
Thompsons Solicitors news release • Risks 425 • 26 September 2009
Britain: Windfarm death highlights green jobs peril
A contractor has died while carrying out maintenance work on a turbine at a wind farm near Thurso, Scotland. It’s not the first UK death - statistics published this year by Caithness Windfarm Information Forum record 46 deaths between 1990 and 2008, with eight deaths in 2008 alone.
BBC News Online • Daily Record • Caithness Windfarm Information Forum • ITUC/Hazards green jobs, safe jobs blog and related webpages • Risks 424 • 19 September 2009
Long work hours threaten our future
Long hours are bad for workers and should be curtailed for the sake of the workforce, the economy and the environment, an investigation by The Ecologist has concluded.
The Ecologist • TUC ‘It’s about time’ long hours campaign • Risks 423 • 12 September 2009
Global: Green jobs, safe jobs blog
A new blog, ‘Green jobs, safe jobs’, has been created by Hazards magazine and the global union confederation ITUC. It deals head-on with workplace health and safety challenges, arguing the case for new jobs that are good, green and safe.
Hazards/ITUC Green jobs, safe jobs blog and ITUC website • Risks 423 • 12 September 2009
Britain: Worker suffers waste site shock
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning employers to be wary of operating machinery near overhead power cables after a Staffordshire man suffered serious burns when he was hit by an electrical charge. John Rowland Fallows, the owner of the site and who trades as Fallows Recycling Services, this week pleaded guilty at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates Court a breach of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
HSE news release • Construction News • The Sentinel • Risks 423 • 12 September 2009
Britain: Will workers pay for clean energy?
The potential occupational health and safety benefits of clean and green energy are seen as a slam dunk, a clear improvement on the dirty, heavy, hazardous polluting world of oil and coal. However an article in Hazards magazine’s green jobs blog warns there is a need to address potential risks of jobs in the green energy sector.
Hazards green jobs blog and green jobs webpages • 5 September 2009
Britain: New HSE programme on green energy
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a new initiative in “response to government plans to introduce alternative (non-nuclear) energy technologies to combat climate change.” It says its Emerging Energy Technologies (EET) Programme, which includes new online resources, is HSE’s attempt to address the health and safety implications of the government’s drive “to tackle climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions” and to “ensure secure, clean and affordable energy in the face of increasingly uncertain supply.”
HSE Emerging Energy Technologies (EET) Programme • Risks 421 • 29 August 2009
Global: Green jobs, green recovery
The clamour for new and very necessary green jobs must be accompanied by proper consideration of the quality of those jobs, top experts have warned. A special ‘Green jobs, green recovery’ edition of the occupational health journal New Solutions spells out “powerful ways to rebuild the US economy with good, green jobs in sustainable energy generation, conservation, new transportation systems, and other ways of greening industry.”
Green jobs, green recovery, New Solutions, Special Issue, volume 19 (2), 2009 [contents list including some free online content]. Safe jobs, green jobs • Risks 420 • 22 August 2009
USA: Prison recycling ‘poisoned’ participants
Freda Cobb believes the job in food services at the Federal Correction Institute in Marianna has ruined her life. Cobb, who started working at the Florida prison in 1991, is one of 26 plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against the prison, claiming its computer recycling programme is toxic and hazardous to workers’ health.
News Herald • SVTC 2006 report on UNICOR’s prison recycling programme [pdf] • Risks 419 • 15 August 2009
Britain: Red alert on the perils of green jobs
Recycling, clean energy, energy conservation – we’ve been told to expect a “green jobs” bonanza. But a spate of fatalities and poisonings in the sector show more work needs to be done to make the jobs as good for workers as they are for the environment, according to a new report from Hazards magazine.
Green collared, Hazards magazine, number 107, summer 2009. Safe jobs, green jobs web resource • 15 August 2009
Australia: National clean energy jobs campaign steps up a gear
Welfare, union, environment, and research organisations have launched a major national grass roots ‘clean energy jobs’ campaign aimed at ensuring negotiations strengthen climate action and clean energy policies. “Our campaign is now going local to put some clean energy forged steel into the backbone of negotiators from all parties,” said John Connor, campaign spokesperson.
ACTU news release • Clean Energy Jobs campaign • 14 August 2009
Global: Green jobs - Our challenge, our future
August 12 is the UN's International Youth Day and young people all over the planet are mobilising around the theme: "Sustainability: Our Challenge, Our Future". To mark the event, global union confederation ITUC and its youth committee have decided to focus specifically on climate change and green jobs, as young trade unionists are fighting today for the right to have sustainable, decent, green jobs.
ITUC news release • 12 August 2009
Australia: ‘Dinosaurs’ urged to evolve and support clean energy jobs
Welfare, union, environment, and research organisations in Australia have launched a national multi-media campaign calling on “dinosaurs” in politics and business to stop blocking urgent climate action in Australia, saying this is holding up the creation of hundreds of thousands of new clean energy jobs. The Clean Energy Jobs campaign says worldwide, the renewable energy sector already employs an estimated 2.3 million people – more than the total number employed directly by the oil and gas industry.
ACTU news release and climate change campaign • Clean Energy Jobs • 9 August 2009
Britain: Environmental firm fined over fall
A West Midlands environmental services company has been fined £100,000 for a health and safety breach that led to a worker being seriously injured in a fall. Veolia Environmental Services Birmingham (VESB) was also ordered to pay £22,000 in costs when it appeared before Birmingham Crown Court.
HSE news release • IOSH news update • HSE falls webpages • Risks 414 • 11 July 2009
Britain: Boss to face scrapyard death charges
A scrapyard general manager is to face a manslaughter charge over the death of an employee four years ago. Deeside Metal boss Robert Owen Roberts is to appear at Flintshire Magistrates Court in Mold on 25 August to face charges of manslaughter and a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 relating to the horrific fireball death of 37-year-old Mark Wright.
Flintshire Chronicle • FACK • Risks 412 • 4 July 2009
Britain: Employers must prepare for hotter summers
Employers must plan ahead and address the problems that will arise in UK workplaces as a result of climate change, the TUC has warned. Commenting on the government's UK Climate Projections data, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said “predictions of much hotter summers for the UK in years to come make it crucial that governments of the world strike a deal and prevent further damaging climate change when they meet in Copenhagen at the end of the year.”
Defra webpage on the UK climate change projections • TUC news release • 27 June 2009
Britain: Wind firm blows thousands on dermatitis
A wind turbine firm has been fined £10,000 after workers developed occupational dermatitis. Thirteen workers at the Newport plant of blademaker Vestas Blades UK Ltd developed the condition caused by exposure to epoxy resins.
Isle of Wight County Press • SHP Online • Risks 412 • 27 June 2009
Britain: Nuclear problems linked to HSE staffing
Britain’s nuclear safety watchdog does not have sufficient experienced staff to police the industry, its top official has admitted in a secret report. The report, obtained by the Observer, written by the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) chief nuclear inspector, Mike Weightman, discloses that between 2001 and 2008 there were 1,767 safety incidents across Britain's nuclear plants.
The Observer • Risks 412 • 27 June 2009
Britain: Rise of the green-collar workforce
While governments across the world are investing in environmental jobs Britain is lagging behind, says the Institute for Public Policy Research. In Germany, Denmark, Spain and the US the green economy is at the centre of policy debate on employment and environment, says the IPPR, but thinking and action in the UK are underdeveloped, ‘with negative climate change and labour market implications.’
IPPR news release • 15 June 2009.
Green jobs: a study of opportunities for the UK by Jennifer Bird and Kayte Lawton, ippr, will be published in September 2009.
Global: Green jobs can kill you
While politicians worldwide are all waxing lyrical about the wonders of green jobs, few are actually giving any attention to the workers who will end up doing them. Recycling, for example, is one of the UK’s mostly deadly industries. And this includes high tech industries - computer and TV recycling exposes workers to lead and dozens of other toxins. Luckily, workplace safety experts in the US are pressing to make sure green jobs are also safety jobs.
Risks 407 • 23 May 2009
Britain: Who’d have thought rotating blades were dangerous?
A metal recycling firm has been fined after an employee working on a machine with inadequately guarded rotating blades suffered a severe hand injury. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted JBM International Ltd for its failure to make a suitable risk assessment of the dangers posed by the rotary valves of the dust extraction unit.
HSE news release and risk assessment webpages • Risks 407 • 23 May 2009
Global: New ‘greenwashing’ award
A new award, aimed at businesses making false green claims, was launched this week, ahead of the World Business Summit on Climate Change taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, later this month. Members of the public are invited to vote for the company making the most outrageous claims to be green when nominations for the Climate Greenwash Awards are revealed on Monday 11 May.
Climate Greenwash Awards 2009 • Risks 405 • 9 May 2009
Britain: ‘Green’ lightbulbs poison workers
Workers in China could pay a high price for the production of “green” lightbulbs in cost-cutting factories. Large numbers of Chinese workers have been poisoned by mercury, which forms part of the compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
Sunday Times • Risks 405 • 9 May 2009
USA: Green jobs aren’t necessarily safe jobs
The massive infusion of US government funds into projects that will create thousands of new “green jobs” could create new risks for workers, a safety campaign has warned. The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) says “we are concerned that too little thought is going into the potential hazards of such jobs and too little attention is going towards the need for adequate safety and health training under these programmes.”
National COSH alert • Blue Green Alliance • Risks 402 • 18 April 2009
Britain: Council fined after waste collector dies
A Scottish council has been fined after a waste collector was killed at work. Stephen Welsh, 35, an East Dunbartonshire Council employee, who was struck and fatally injured by a reversing waste recycling lorry.
HSE news release • Risks 402 • 18 April 2009
Britain: Second five year plan for deadly waste
A waste industry voluntary charter seeking to improve the sector’s horrific injury and fatality rate over five years has been launched – right after an earlier voluntary five-year plan had flopped. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says the number of fatal incidents in the waste and recycling industry remains more than 10 times the national average and reportable accidents are more than four times the national rate.
HSE news release and waste website • Risks 389 • 17 January 2009
Philippines: High-tech industries hurt health
High-tech firms who claim to be “going green” are being far from frank, an expert on microelectronics health and safety has said. Ted Smith, a founder member of the San Jose, USA, based Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, was speaking at a Quezon City forum on electronic waste, organised by the EcoWaste Coalition, an alliance of Philippine NGOs that focus on environmental issues.
Manila Times • Risks 381 • 8 November 2008
Britain: Recycling firm fined after lorry fall
A recycling company has been fined £2,500 after an agency worker suffered serious injuries in a fall from a lorry. European Metal Recycling Ltd was also ordered to pay £2,454 costs by Lincoln magistrates after pleading guilty to a breach of the work at height regulations.
HSE news release and falls from vehicles webpage • Risks 378 • 18 October 2008
Britain: Inquiry over mercury poisoning
An investigation is under way after workers at a West Yorkshire recycling firm were exposed to mercury. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said staff at Electrical Waste Recycling Co Ltd in Huddersfield had been put at risk of mercury poisoning.
Risks 376 • 4 October 2008
Britain: Grieving family want manslaughter charges
The family of a GMB member killed by a mechanical digger when depositing grass cuttings at a Newbury recycling centre have said the firm responsible should face manslaughter charges. In a statement, widow Linda Krauesslar and her daughter Victoria called on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to prosecute Biffa for manslaughter over the death of Dennis Krauesslar, 59.
Risks 367 • 2 August 2008
Britain: Worker dies after being buried in waste
A worker died after being buried in rubbish at a waste dump, a court has heard. White Reclamation Ltd was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £30,000 at Manchester Crown Court, after pleading guilty to workplace safety offences.
HSE news release • Hazards magazine deadly business webpages • Risks 358 • 31 May 2008
Britain: Waste firm fined for horrific injuries
A waste company has been fined £10,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries when he was run over by a workplace vehicle. FOCSA Services (UK) Ltd was also ordered to pay costs of £4,277 at Calderdale Magistrates' Court, after pleading guilty to a breach of safety law.
HSE news release and workplace transport webpages • Huddersfield Daily Examiner • Risks 349 • 29 March 2008
Red alert on the
perils of green jobs
Far from being our economic and employment salvation, left to its own devices the green economy could deliver the same unhealthy mix of hire-and-fire, poison-and-pain jobs that remain a blight on the reputational landscape of the not-so-green economy. This isn’t paranoia. It’s already happening, and it is happening on a grand scale. Luckily, unions and environmental campaigners are on the case, working for good, green jobs.
RELATED HAZARDS WEBPAGES
Hazards green jobs blog