US: January 9, police shot dead a 26-year-old Sudanese worker at an Oklahoma food processing plant. Police state they were responding to a call about an agitated employee, who ‘produced a knife’ and began walking towards the officers.
‘Officers attempted to de-escalate the situation before unsuccessfully deploying a taser. The man continued advancing at which point an officer fired his weapon.’
Plant workers say, ‘he had a company-issued band-cutter in his hand. When the police got to the plant, the guy was… working, minding his own business.’
The man was reportedly fired earlier in the day but had been asked to stay on to finish his shift.
A witness who captured the incident on his phone was subsequently fired for doing so, telling The Guardian, ‘they made him out to be a danger when he wasn’t.’
The union, UFCW Local 2, also disputes the official report. The ‘senseless death shows that workplace issues should be dealt with sensitively… to deescalate them. The union will take all measures to ensure justice is achieved.’
Source: Confined Space 24 January
BANGLADESH SHIPBREAKING YARDS CONTINUE TO TAKE LIVES
Lives continue to be in danger due to the unsafe working conditions at Bangladesh’s shipbreaking yards. Two serious incidents occurred on 12 January in two separate yards, killing one worker and severely injuring the other. A 40-year old man, working at night, was killed at night after being struck in the head with a heavy iron part after a rope snapped. In another accident, a 35-year old man was severely injured after a fire erupted while gas pipes were being cut inside a ship. Shipbreaking workers toil in precarious and unsafe working conditions, involving low wages and long hours. According to data compiled by IndustriALL in 2022, there were at least 35 accidents in the shipbreaking yards, killing at least six workers and severely injuring 31.
Source: Headlines@IndustriALL #531
UK: FIRE CONTAMINANTS LINKED TO MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
Toxic contaminants in fires are directly linked to increased rates mental health issues among firefighters, research has found. Studies commissioned by the firefighters’ union FBU and carried out independently by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) found firefighters were 30 per cent more likely to report a mental health condition if they identified noticing the smell of fire smoke on the body even after washing, or eating with sooty hands. The study also confirmed firefighters who had served at least 15 years were 1.7 times as likely to develop cancer than those who have served less time. The union said ministers and fire employers must act with “absolute urgency” to address the problem.
USA: MORE WOMEN SICKENED BY WORK VIRUSES
Women accounted for 70.8 per cent of the 390,020 reported workplace illness cases in the US caused by viruses in private establishments, new US government figures show. This ‘other diseases due to viruses, not elsewhere classified’ category includes Covid-19 cases. Nursing assistants had the highest number of virus cases (65,480) in 2020. Of these cases, 87.2 per cent were women. Among medical assistants, women accounted for 90.7 per cent of these virus cases. The figures are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities programme.
GLOBAL: EXTREME HEAT LINKED TO KIDNEY DISEASE IN WORKERS
Evidence of a deadly link between exposure to extreme heat and chronic kidney disease is emerging. Experts have observed the problem among workers toiling in rice fields in Sri Lanka and steamy factories in Malaysia, from Central America to the Persian Gulf. As the world grows hotter and climate change ushers in more frequent and extreme heat waves, public health experts fear kidney disease cases will soar among laborers who have no choice but to work outdoors. “These epidemics of chronic kidney disease that have surfaced … [are] just the beginning,” said Richard Johnson, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado who is studying pockets of kidney disease globally. ‘As it gets hotter, we expect to see these diseases emerge elsewhere.’
Source: Washington Post.