International news

US: Department of Labor fights back to protect workers

As more than 1100 Americans continue to die each day from COVID-19, the Department of Labor has pushed back against a temporary injunction blocking the recently issued OSHA Vax-or-Test mandate. DOL attorneys told the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judges that the stay "would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day."

Republican attorneys general in at least 26 states - most of which have Republican Governors - have challenged the OSHA emergency standard in five different U.S. appeals courts. The first requirements of the standard involving development of a policy and masking for non-vaccinated workers, come into effect on December 5. The vaccinate-or-test requirement comes into effect January 4.

Data shows a significantly higher COVID-related death rate in counties that voted for Trump in the 2020 election than those that voted for Biden. This is mainly due to the lower level of vaccinations among Republicans.

The White House also weighed in. Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told employers “Do not wait to take actions that will keep your workplace safe. The administration clearly has the authority to protect workers, and actions announced by the President are designed to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.” 
Read more: Confined Space  

Global: IOSH urges businesses to look after their workers 

The safety professionals’ organisation IOSH has urged the world’s businesses to ‘harness the wave of social change’ by putting the needs and welfare of people first. IOSH said it was making its call “as the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of social justice movements and emerging global crises mean there is now more focus than ever on how businesses treat their workers, with investors and consumers paying close attention to how they make profit.”

The safety organisation’s new global campaign on social sustainability, Catch the Wave, says business leaders at every level of the supply chain need to act now - not just to improve the social sustainability and long-term prosperity of their own businesses, but to help build stronger, more sustainable communities around the globe.

“Those with a stake in business are no longer interested solely in how it makes profit,” said Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher, IOSH chief executive. “They want to understand how its profit-making affects people and the environment. They want to know how sustainable it is.” She added: “Before they invest in a business, investors want assurance that it has a long-term plan for managing the skills, knowledge and experience that are integral to a sustainable business model. This can’t be captured in financial metrics alone.” IOSH said it launched Catch the Wave because it sees the occupational safety and health profession it represents as being irrevocably linked to social sustainability. It says “by viewing everything through a health and safety lens, a business can not only manage the risks to its workforce but also secure its long-term prosperity.” Read more: IOSH news release and Catch the wave campaign. Source: Risks 1020

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