The National Council of Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) is a non-profit advocacy group that consists of labor unions and professionals interested in promoting worker health and safety. It's a network of smaller groups that work at a local level to prevent companies from putting workers or local communities at risk.
Not to be confused with OSHA, COSH actually fights for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The group has successfully staved off funding cuts to OSHA as well as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.
In an effort to expose companies that put workers and communities at risk, COSH put together "The Dirty Dozen: 2018", a report that judges companies based on injury severity; exposure to unnecessary risks; and repeat offenses.
Among this filthy dozen, one-third are from the industrial and manufacturing industries -- and it includes some big companies. Here are the four companies in question:
#1: Waste Management: Houston, Texas
A 23-Year old worker was killed at a Waste Management recycling facility because the company failed to have proper lockout/tagout on machinery during repairs.
Waste Management has been cited more than 60 times by OSHA, chalking up nearly $1 million in fines.
#2: Verla International: New Windsor, New York
In November, IEN reported on an explosion at the Verla International cosmetics plant in New York. A worker was killed, 125 employees were injured, and eight firefighters were hospitalized.
Verla had been previously reprimanded for the poor chemical handling that led to the deadly fire. The disaster was "easily preventable."
#3: Tesla Motors: Fremont, California
According to COSH injuries at Tesla Motors in Fremont, California are 31% higher than industry average; serious injuries are 83% higher.
While Tesla has said that it has improved injury rates, a recent investigation says that the company doesn't report some serious injuries to make the injury numbers look better than they are.
#4: Amazon: Seattle, Washington
Did you know that seven workers have been killed at Amazon warehouses since 2013? Last year, three workers died within five weeks of one another at three separate locations.
COSH says that "despite a pattern of preventable deaths", Amazon wants billions in tax breaks for a new headquarters. That's on top of $1 billion already received from state, local taxpayers.
Check out the rest of the Dirty Dozen below, and read the report which even offers some solutions to recurring problems, like dropping temp agency workers, increasing wages, and organizing employees.
The Other 8:
Case Farms, Troutman, North Carolina
- 74 OSHA violations per 1,000 employees – more than four times higher than any other poultry firm.
- A pattern of hiring undocumented workers, then firing them when they are injured or stand up for better working conditions.
Dine Brands Global (Ihop & Applebee's): Glendale, California
- Demands for sex, groping, threats of violence against workers.
- More than 60 complaints about sexual and harassment and abuse.
- Eight lawsuits against IHOP and Applebee’s, both owned by Dine Brands Global.
JK Excavating: Mason, Ohio
- 25-year old Zachary Hess buried alive in December 2017.
- OSHA cited JK Excavating, a repeat offender, three times in 2014 for failure to protect workers from trench collapse.
Lowe's Home Improvement: Mooresville, North Carolina
- 56 U.S. deaths linked to exposure to paint strippers containing methylene chloride, including 17 workers who died while refinishing bathtubs.
- The retail giant still sells products with this deadly substance, despite appeals from workers, consumers and families.
Lynnway Auto Auction: Billerica, Massachusetts
- Five dead in preventable auto crash – including a 37-year old mom working her first day on the job.
- Lynnway cited by OSHA and warned of vehicle safety hazards in 2014.
New York and Atlantic Railway: New York, New York
- Workers suffer amputation, brain injury, and impaired vision.
- Immigrants workers face workplace discrimination; assigned to hazardous tasks without proper training and equipment.
Patterson UTI Energy: Houston, Texas
- Five workers dead in an explosion in Quinton, Oklahoma.
- 110 OSHA violations and 13 workers dead in the past decade.
- U.S. Senate: Patterson "one of the worst violators of workplace safety laws.”
Sarbanand Farms: Sumas, Washington
- Farm worker dies after complaining of headaches.
- 70 co-workers go on strike to protest unsafe conditions.
- Strikers are fired from their jobs and evicted from company housing.