Stress, Overwork, and Insecurity are Driving the Invisible Workplace Accident Rate

María José Carmona

María José Carmona Journalist, Equal Times

Courtesy of Isaac Santana

Nurses providing hospital care, delivery people delivering food to homes, domestic workers cleaning hotel rooms, office workers accumulating overtime hours, restaurant servers taking on two or three jobs to make minimum wage: no one would consider these to be dangerous occupations. And yet today, more than ever, they have become high-risk jobs.

In 2019, you no longer have to hang from scaffolding to risk your life on the job. Precariousness, stress, and overwork can also make you sick, and even kill you, at a much higher rate than accidents.

Of all of the work-related deaths recorded each day (7,500 according to the International Labour Organization, or ILO), less than 14 percent occur at the workplace. The vast majority (approximately 6,500) were the result of long-term physical (circulatory, respiratory, professional cancer) or mental illness.

We work in safer environments than we did 30 years ago but the physical and emotional health of workers remains fragile. Traditional risks persist – the European Union, for example, has seen a recent uptick in fatal accidents in the construction sector – while at the same time, emerging risks, psychosocial risks, and risks associated with the digital economy are increasing. These include stress, fatigue, and harassment related to the organization of work, working hours, demands, and uncertainty.

“Psychosocial risks are the great pandemic of this century and they are related to the precarious conditions of the labour market,” warns Ana García de la Torre, secretary of occupational health of Spain’s General Union of Workers (UGT).

The union’s latest prevention campaign focuses precisely on “invisible” threats such as overloading and hyperconnectivity. “They are not new, we’ve been suffering from them for a while, but they have definitely gotten worse.”

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Steel for Wind Power

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

Siemens Gamesa last month laid off 130 workers at its turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa, just months after GE Renewable Energy decided to close an Arkansas factory and eliminate 470 jobs.

The companies reported shrinking demand for their products, even though U.S. consumption of wind energy increases every year.

America’s prosperity depends not only on harnessing this crucial energy source but also ensuring that highly skilled U.S. workers build the components with the cleanest technology available.

Right now, the nation relies on imported steel and turbine components from foreign manufacturers like China while America’s own steel industry—well equipped for this production—struggles because of dumping and other unfair trade practices.

Steel makes up the bulk of turbine hubs and the wind towers themselves. It’s also used to make the cranes and platforms necessary for installing the towers.

Yet the potential boon to America’s steel industry is just one reason to ramp up domestic production of wind energy infrastructure.

American steel production ranks among the cleanest in the world, while China has the highest carbon emissions of any steelmaking nation and flouts environmental regulations.

The nation’s highly-skilled steelmaking workforce must play an essential role in the deeply-needed revitalization and modernization of the nation’s failing infrastructure. Producing the components for harnessing wind energy domestically and cleanly is an important step that will put Americans to work and position the United States to be world leaders in this growing industry.

 

More ...

There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work