London, Jan 24 (ANI): David Moyes has been assured his job is safe despite the latest setback in Manchester United’s crisis-hit season.
Premier League champions United are heading for their worst season in a quarter of a century following their Capital One Cup exit to Sunderland on penalties.
That has left them with only the Champions League and a top-four finish to play for this term, after their FA Cup third round exit.
Old Trafford executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward remains convinced Moyes is the man to lead United long-term, irrespective of the on-field crisis. (ANI)
Small and medium companies should have the same opportunities as big companies, including the option to self-insure against work-related illness and injury, said Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia,
Senate Bill 6179 would allow employers who require “substantially similar” services or activities of their employees to join with each other to form groups that would assume liability for workers compensation.
“It’s a very simple bill to allow small and medium businesses to form associations and do something we’ve done in our state for a long time,” Braun said.
Some state agencies and large private companies, such as Boeing, self-insure, which usually means setting aside a reserve of money to be used if an unexpected injury or illness occurs as opposed to paying premiums to an insurance company to cover the costs of claims.
The Senate Commerce and Labor committee on Wednesday held a hearing for the bill, which would allow small and medium companies, which typically pay a fixed amount for industrial insurance, to do the same.
Joe Kendo, legislative and policy director for Washington State Labor Council, told committee members the bill poses significant risk for smaller, less stable companies.
“As employers come in and out of the group, we’re afraid that increases the risk of insolvency,” he said.
Under the bill, the group is liable for “orders, findings, decisions or awards rendered against the participating member for the payment of compensation.” Members can voluntary cancel their participation in the group or for the group to eject a member, but they retain their liability for the time they participated. Kendo said this risks destabilization.
Vickie Kennedy of the Department of Labor and Industries, which regulates workers compensation and job safety, testified at the hearing but didn’t support or oppose the bill. She said the department doesn’t have the resources to manage large group insurers.
Long-term employees accuse oil giant BP of greed, exploitation and lying about their pensions.
Earlier this month BP’s attempts to curb compensation payouts to those impacted by its 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster failed after its appeal was rejected by a US court.
Dozens of people and businesses that have claims against the oil giant have told Truthout they are infuriated at the company’s ongoing attempts to avoid payments, and they are not alone.
Several long-term senior BP employees are incensed at what they believe is BP’s attempt to short-change them on their pensions.
Russel Stauffer worked for BP for 32 years, but left in 2012 in “disgust.”
“I quit the company as ‘Head of Finance for the Gulf of Mexico’,” Stauffer told Truthout. “I had a sweet job, but I could no longer stand the injustice and lies at work.”
Stauffer, who worked for BP in Houston, used these strong words to describe what he and at least 450 other BP America employees are outraged over – what they describe as their company reneging on their pension plans by up to 75 percent, lying about it, and actively working against them in order not to pay them retirement benefits that were promised.
According to Stauffer, the issue has grown large enough and been ongoing long enough that BP’s vice president of the Houston region supported him in leading a group to conduct conversations with BP’s Human Resources department to resolve the issue.
“HR instead cooked up prevarications and took them to BP’s CEO Bob Dudley so that he would forever close the book on this issue,” Stauffer said.
Fritz Guenther, a BP employee and United Steelworkers Union member working in Alaska, who has worked for BP for 35 years, said he and his colleagues are “currently fighting to get back the pension plans that BP promised us in writing in 1989.”
“We were openly lied to by BP managers and HR people that when we were converted to the “new” plan that it would be as good or better than the existing and industry competitive plan,” Guenther told Truthout. “Now that many of us are reaching retirement age, we are finding out that we have less than 50 percent of what we would have had if BP’s promise was true or if we had remained in the old plan.”
“Donald Vidrine, the highest ranking BP representative on the Deepwater Horizon, was reportedly in bad health for years leading up to the Macondo disaster,” said a current BP employee. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he asked to be referred to as an ‘engineer’ and told Truthout, ”Following the disaster, his testimony is confirmation regarding the condition of his health.”
Working Past Retirement
“BP’s commitment to America does not extend to a small group of its longest-serving, most loyal employees,” Guenther said. “The way we have been treated and repeatedly lied to in no way comes close to following BP’s much touted Code of Conduct and Ethics and could very well have been the root cause of the Macondo incident.”
Guenther, Stauffer, the engineer, and other previous and current BP employees, with whom the news organization Al Jazeera spoke, are frustrated because they all belonged to Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio), a company BP bought outright in 1987 and made the cornerstone of its new national operation, BP America. At the time, BP promised these new employees in writing that their pension plan would maintain equal value to the old plan, or would even increase in value.
“When BP bought Amoco they brought in thousands of Americans and let them keep those higher value pensions, so at that point, I’m working shoulder to shoulder with people who came from other companies and their pension is worth two to two and a half times as much as mine,” Stauffer said.
In 2011, BP further enhanced the pension plans of employees from other companies it had acquired, but not those from Sohio.
“So this was when all the Sohio people burst a gasket,” Stauffer said. “We asked why the worst off among us weren’t even mentioned when the best off were getting a sweeter deal. I’ve a finance background, I managed economists and accountants and did the numbers and knew the numbers we had were correct . . . but [BP's] HR played hardball and ignored us and affected the CEO’s thinking on this once and for all so they’d never give in.”
Kirk Wardlaw worked for BP for 31 years before retiring over this issue two years ago.
He’d known of the pension disparity for more than 15 years and knows of more than 50 of his former colleagues who were disgruntled over the issue as well.
Wardlaw told Truthout that BP’s actions over this issue show that BP is “A company that doesn’t keep their word,” in addition to being “unwilling to step up and do what’s right unless required by law or forced to do it.”
BP CEO Bob Dudley wrote, on page nine of the aforementioned company document, “If you are ever concerned that our Code is not being followed, or simply feel unsure about any situation, it is vital that you speak up and ask a question or share your concern straightaway.”
This is exactly what Stauffer and Guenther have done, but to no avail.
“Fritz and I went and met with BP’s Ombudsmen Judge Sporkin in early 2013, with whom we sat for a couple of hours, and he said the difference in pensions was 15 to 20 percent,” Stauffer said. “Billie Garde [BP's Deputy ombudsman] said she was open to our input on the correct way to value the difference in our actual pension value versus what was promised us. The resulting value difference was large, several times larger than BP claimed, leading both myself and Garde to question whether BP was giving the ombudsman Office cherry-picked information.”
Despite this, according to Stauffer, BP’s Human Resources Department is “giving the ombudsman the runaround.”
“HR are doing the same thing again now, but this time with the ombudsman’s office,” Stauffer said. “Based on recent conversations with the ombudsman office, BP are not owning up to the facts.”
Stauffer said he would still be working for BP had none of this happened, but was so frustrated by it he had no choice but to leave. Today, he said, he is living off a pension that is the equivalent of a beginning schoolteachers’ pension, despite having worked for the company more than 30 years.
“Most of the Sohio folks will work, health permitting, well toward 70,” he said. “I left in my late 50′s due to BPs unconscionable handling of the retirement issue and due to a health issue.”
Stauffer said there is a hidden “meta” impact on BP’s affected employees that takes the form of their children not being able to go to better colleges, and “Indeed, our kids will have less overall and will have a different life now,” he said. “Our parents won’t get as much help in old age. Our retirements will now be somewhere between modest and subsistence living.
“My income leaves me with no choice but to drive the cheapest used car, to defer medical treatment for myself and of course for my pets, and never travel even to see family in Ohio,” he added. “I’d hoped otherwise, but I likely will have to go back to work soon wherever I can, which won’t be easy pushing 60.”
Pension Disparity and Frustration
In 1989, BP replaced the Sohio pension plan with a cash balance retirement plan. This change caused Sohio staff to lose, on average, more than half the value of their retirement.
Thus, for staff hired by BP in the early 1980s, the Sohio pension plan would have been worth on average 2.4 times the cash balance retirement plan that the Sohio employees currently have.
“The root cause of the issue is that BP employees who share a hire date in the early ’80s with similar years of continuous services (28 or more years), work shoulder to shoulder with Amoco/Arco peers, whose pensions and hence total compensation is radically better, all other things being equal,” said Stauffer. “Worse yet, the groups with the highest pension value (Amoco/Arco heritages) obtained yet another three-part pension value uplift in May 2011 for their pension plans, while Sohio folks received nothing.”
The engineer, who has been working for BP more than 25 years, said he only learned of the retirement disparity a few years ago.
“It was pretty obvious when all the Arco and Amoco employees were dancing in the hallways on their last days of work and bragging about the cash value of their retirements,” he said. “That’s when I knew we were getting screwed on our retirements by BP.”
Guenther said that because of this issue, the average Sohio employee is now going to have to work 10 to 12 years longer to receive a retirement pension that is equivalent to BP’s non-Sohio employees.
“While we’re working, we’re seeing guys walking out the door with full retirement when we have to work longer,” Guenther said. “This is causing us to have to make life-changing decisions, like how long am I going to work, and it’s terribly distracting, and when you’re in the oil and gas industry, that’s not a good thing.”
This began to be apparent in the summer of 2011, when Gunther saw several of his colleagues retiring.
A Houston-based engineer currently with BP, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed frustration about the matter and told Al Jazeera that the issue has negatively impacted his family, as well as his health.
“I am working beyond the date my doctors have recommended I stop full-time work but I just don’t have the options my Arco and Amoco coworkers of identical age and tenure have,” he said.
Wardlaw told Truthout he has had to continue working due to the pension dispute.
“I intended to retire from BP after 31 years but had to continue working at another oil company to make up for the shortfall in retirement,” he explained. “I will work an additional five years. BP will cost me five years that I could have been volunteering my time to make a difference in my community. My grandson will be starting school when I could have been home playing with him, and I will never get that back no matter how much money I make. Thanks BP.”
Guenther said this issue has impacted both his work safety and personal health.
“The biggest thing this has done is impacted my on-the-job safety; it is hard to focus on what’s important when you see your coworkers of other heritage companies retiring with a smile on their faces and well wishes, in most cases coworkers with less years of service with BP and often even younger.
“Being distracted in the oil business can be devastating,” he continued. “No one knows this better than BP, whether on a corporate or personal level. Anything related to on-the-job safety has an impact on my family and my ability to provide for them.”
Another employee, who has been with BP over 25 years, said that this ongoing issue “impacts me everyday,” and that it is a “terrible distraction, and it becomes much more difficult to focus on your work.”
He added, “My health is deteriorating, and there is a growing chance I’ll have an accident, or cause an accident, I’d like to retire before that occurs, but I honestly don’t know how I’ll make ends meet in retirement with such a paltry pension. BP could easily afford to fix this unethical situation for their rank and file American employees who BP acquired with Sohio, just as they did for the executives of Sohio, but they simply prefer to ignore the problem.”
Guenther said having to work an additional 11 years beyond his coworkers to achieve a similar pension has brought him “Depression, insomnia and anger all wrapped around the fact that a company that wears its code of conduct, ethics and “one team” policy on it’s “corporate sleeve” has just lied, cheated and stole over half of some of its longest serving most loyal employees pensions. This is very, very disturbing and in my opinion speaks to a much larger and chronic problem within BP.”
Allegations of Retaliation
Another BP employee who asked to remain anonymous and to be identified also as a Houston-based engineer who has worked for the company for more than 30 years, told Truthout that when he attempted to get the problem resolved “up through line and HR management at BP,” he was “subject to retaliation from a senior HR manager who was clearly signaling an intent to perform character assassination and reputational damage.”
The engineer, who still works for the company, does not believe BP’s ombudsman will assist in their case because he believes the ombudsman’s ability to be a strong advocate for employees “is limited because they are paid by BP.”
He expressed concerns, like the other employees, that this issue is having negative impacts on workers in the field.
“Some are in critical safety roles,” he explained. “Some are in decision-making roles. Some are hourly operators in oil production facilities, on drilling platforms and so forth.”
According to Guenther, BP has “stalled and road blocked every attempt by it’s Sohio employees and the ombudsman to provide information. BP has even gone so far as to hire two of the ombudsman’s investigators in the middle of the investigation [into the pension matter] in an effort to hamstring the investigation.”
“Staff who challenged BP’s claims on the cash balance plan value were routinely threatened by BP HR with loss of their job,” Stauffer said.
Guenther is unafraid to speak out because of his union membership, but explained that he has several colleagues in management who are in his situation but are too afraid to speak out about it because they fear retaliation from BP.
“I’ve had a manager tell me he is losing sleep over this and it is effecting his job,” Guenther explained. “So there are far more managers out there this effects, some of them pretty high up, who are incensed, but BP is so retaliatory to people who speak out against them, they are afraid. So many of us have kids in college and are afraid to speak out, so this goes a lot deeper than what is on the surface.”
“It’s in BP’s benefit for us to die or retire,” Guenther concluded. “Because we’re the older part of their workforce. They view us as a commodity, and that we’d be better off if we died, retired, and just went away.”
“In Houston, BP elevated HR above the status of a service organization long ago,” the engineer said of how BP is dealing with the situation. “Senior HR executives are allowed to intimidate employees who speak up, and regular employees have lived with this situation so long they accept it as normal. It’s become part of BP’s internal corporate culture.”
He went on to add, “In Houston, senior BP managers do not appear to take BP’s code of conduct seriously. Apparently it’s just a pile of words, some sort of facade for the external world.”
Truthout requested comment on the matter from BP.
A BP spokesman provided this statement:
“BP honors its pension obligations for all US employees regardless of which BP-heritage company they came from. The matter of the former Sohio-heritage employee pension is currently being reviewed BP’s independent ombudsman’s office, led by retired Judge Stanley Sporkin. We look forward to the findings of the ombudsman’s office and hope these findings will help resolve the matter.”
One of the current BP employees Truthout spoke with expected this response from the company.
“If BP Management is challenged regarding their collective lack of action on the Sohio issue I promise you that they will try and make the case that they have not ignored the issue but have to wait for the ombudsman to complete the investigation,” the engineer said of BP’s response. “This is at best disingenuous and at worst dishonest. BP senior management was made aware of this issue and the potential violation of Code of Conduct numerous times prior to employees exhausting internal options for action and engaging the ombudsman.”
He explained that Sohio BP employees were forced to go to the ombudsman as it was their only option left, and accused BP of stalling and obfuscating the ombudsman’s investigation into the matter.
The engineer now feels like how the pension dispute is being handled by BP is another example of other myriad internal problems, adding, “The organization is tripping all over itself with conflicting objectives, onerous internal processe, and horrible contracting.”
Truthout requested comment from deputy ombudsman, Billie Garde, but at the time of publishing had not received a response.
Warnings to Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Victims
BP’s senior engineer Wardlaw offered a warning to people in the Gulf of Mexico who have filed compensation claims with BP.
“Those depending on BP to “do the right thing” in the Gulf of Mexico should be aware of BP’s unfair and callous treatment of the Sohio heritage employees, failure to adhere to their own Code of Conduct, and the willingness to hide behind a standard of “we did what was technically legal.”
Of the ongoing federal court case against BP, he had this to say:
“Amazing that BP is pleading for reasonableness and fairness relative to the settlement of damages in the Gulf of Mexico, yet they are not interested in nor capable of applying a reasonable level of fairness when addressing an issue impacting their own longest serving employees.”
Wardlaw said BP is “doing better” for the people in the Gulf of Mexico filing compensation claims against BP “than their employees that worked hard and saved their rear ends many times over.”
Contrary to the other employees commenting on the issue, BP’s engineer of 25 years believes that the company has done its best to be accommodating to the oil spill victims, and has done so “more than any other company in history.”
Yet he still believes that the Gulf oil disaster still illustrates part of BP’s problem.
“BP bends over backwards when there is bad external publicity, but inside the corporation the senior executives in BP’s HR organization are pointing their guns inward, squashing dissent and intimidating employees who question BP’s actions or speak up,” he explained. ”As long as BP’s unethical senior executives in HR continue to behave this way, BP will have more accidents. And the situation inside BP is getting worse, not better, despite all of BP’s rhetoric.”
Guenther, on the other hand, is not surprised by what he is seeing in the Gulf of Mexico.
“It would not surprise me that BP is not compensating folks in the Gulf,” he said of the matter. “When I saw them backing off of their promises in the Gulf, I said, “Yep, welcome to my world!”
“I’m surprised they’ve ponied up the money they have,” he added. “The only reason they made those promises up front is they don’t want to lose work in the Gulf, because that’s a big carrot for them. And now they have what they want, they are pulling back from their promises to the people in the Gulf.”
BP’s strategy of pushing for multiple reviews by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding oil spill claims against them may well backfire. Critics of BP’s strategy argue that since US District Judge Carl Barbier is who shall ultimately determine BP’s liability, the oil giant is making a mistake in challenging Barbier’s decision of having approved claim terms.
“They [BP] are alienating in a very profound way the very judge that is going to determine their liability,” Blaine LeCesne, a law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, told Reuters. “I’m not sure that’s a wise decision.”
Barbier has previously called BP’s efforts to try and contradict many of his rulings with appeals to the 5th Circuit Court “deeply disappointing” and said BP is trying to “rewrite or disregard the unambiguous terms of the Settlement Agreement.”
While BP originally projected its settlement in the case would cost $7.8 billion, as of October 2013, it had boosted its estimate to $9.2 billion, and said this sum could grow “significantly higher.”
BP still faces potential fines totaling in the billions of dollars under the Clean Water Act.
Several current and former BP employees informed Truthout they would be willing to be part of a class action lawsuit to resolve the issue.
“I absolutely would be willing to be part of a class action suit against BP if it came to that,” the senior engineer said. “But think of the added stress and shame of BP forcing it’s Sohio employees into the legal system where they will have to surrender 33 percent of their promised retirement value to a legal firm and the courts in order for BP to be forced to comply with basic human values and their own code of conduct.”
Guenther informed Truthout that he “absolutely” would be willing to sue and that several of his colleagues, including himself, had already spoken with lawyers and agreed to be named plaintiffs.
However, Guenther added, “But I feel suing your employer should always be the last resort.”
BP’s engineer of 25 years who spoke with Truthout said he, too, would be willing to be part of a lawsuit against the oil giant.
“What BP did to their Sohio employees is not only morally and ethically wrong and in violation of BP’s own code of conduct, but with the rare Supreme Court ERISA ruling in 2011, where the court provided for “equitable relief” as a remedy in ERISA cases, once again, BP will most likely find itself on the wrong side of American laws.”
The case he referenced is a 2011 US Supreme Court ruling in a class action that could allow equitable remedies after a lower court asked Cigna Corporation to make changes to its retirement plan in light of the previous Supreme Court ruling.
In that case, the US Department of Labor argued in favor of some 25,000 workers who had accused Cigna of not sufficiently informing them about changes the company had made in their retirement plan that reduced the plaintiff’s pension benefits.
The hugely profitable airlines that benefit from the ragtag army of poorly paid workers at New York’s airports have received about $2.7 billion in taxpayer-subsidized loans over the past decade, records show.
The Port Authority — which runs the New York airports and leases terminals to the airlines — and the city have handed Delta, American and JetBlue millions of dollars in tax-exempt bonds to expand and renovate their terminals.
The bonds save the airlines millions of dollars, but in return, the airlines promise to create hundreds of full-time jobs.
Many of those jobs wind up being low-wage, dead-end positions — some of them part-time — that provide barely enough income to survive.
These are the workers who carry baggage, lug food aboard planes, empty toilets, clean out cabins, drive carts filled with luggage and provide security at the gates.
They have been forced to go on food stamps, visit soup kitchens and, sometimes, work three jobs to get by.
None of these underpaid employees work directly for the airlines that have received the tax benefits — Delta, American or JetBlue.
Many of their jobs used to be handled by better-paid employees who worked for the airlines. But in recent years, the airlines have contracted out more and more of this work to outside companies.
The subcontractors the airlines hire are not subject to Port Authority oversight, and many have been hit repeatedly with wage violations and job safety charges, with hundreds of workers claiming they’re routinely cheated on their pay.
This month, the union that represents doormen and office cleaners, Service Employee International Union 32BJ, launched a campaign to get the Port Authority to require better treatment for these underpaid workers.
“The Port Authority has the power to set and raise standards for subcontracted workers across the airport,” said union President Hector Figueroa. “Otherwise, our area airports — New York’s gateway to the world — are tarnished by a shortsighted race to the bottom, with real people as collateral damage.”
A Port Authority official said Friday the agency “continues to have productive discussions with the SEIU 32BJ regarding the issues,” but declined to elaborate.
The three biggest employers at New York-area airports — Air Serv Corp., Airway Maintenance and PrimeFlight Aviation — have been repeatedly accused of ripping off workers and fostering unsafe work sites.
In 2010, Air Serv employees at New York’s airports filed suit, charging that the Atlanta-based company was routinely cheating them on their wages.
Janitors, aircraft appearance inspectors and aircraft maintenance personnel alleged that Air Serv regularly paid them fewer hours than they worked, docked time for breaks they didn’t take and neglected to pay overtime.
Mary Altaffer/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Port Authority and the city have handed airlines millions of dollars in tax-exempt bonds to expand and renovate their terminals. Here, employees at the gate of the new Delta terminal at JFK airport in May 2013.
In May, a Manhattan judge ruled that 500 Air Serv employees could sue the company as a class. The case is pending.
Air Serv, whose CEO, Thomas Marano, lives in an eight-room, 3,175-square-foot white clapboard house in Atlanta worth $929,000, did not return calls seeking comment. In court papers, the company denied wrongdoing.
Air Serv was sold to ABM Holdings in the fall of 2012 for $158 million. The parent company’s stock has since risen to $27 a share from $18. ABM reported operating profits of $119 million in 2013, up 23% from 2012.
Employees of the other major contractors hired by the airlines at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports have also filed complaints with various agencies about wage violations, records show.
In October, for example, skycaps complained to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — charging that Airway affiliate Allstate Maintenance regularly paid them less than the $5.50-per-hour minimum wage required for all workers who are regularly tipped. Some workers were making as little as $4.15 per hour. The matter is pending; Airway did not return calls.
Since 2005, Nashville-based PrimeFlight Aviation has agreed to pay $1.4 million in back wages and penalties to settle allegations of wage cheating nationwide, including a $600,000 settlement of allegations stemming from New York City-area airports, records show.
Several of the subcontractors have also been cited by job safety regulators for dangerous work conditions.
In 2007, PrimeFlight paid a $4,500 fine to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a worker carrying pillows up a ladder to a plane tripped on a broken guardrail. The worker fell and suffered serious spinal injuries.
SEIU 32BJ argues that when the airlines seek taxpayer help, the conduct of the outside firms they hire should be considered.
American has received $1.2 billion in tax-exempt bonds to construct its Kennedy Airport terminal, while JetBlue has received $300 million in tax-free financing. A group of other international airlines got an additional $417 million.
In 2010, Delta Airlines got nearly $800 million in bonds from the Port Authority, and the city’s Industrial Development Agency recently approved $175 million more for further expansion.
“The jobs that result from this continued expansion are important to our city and its economy,” then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last February when Delta first asked for the additional financing.
The Daily News contacted each of the three airlines and was referred to Airlines for America, a trade group representing all the major airlines.
“Wages and benefits paid by the contractors, including any pay for holidays, are established solely by the contractors, not the airlines,” its spokeswoman, Jean Medina, said.
“Generally, airports are the beneficiary of financing rather than airlines. Airlines drive economic activity and create jobs, including more than 460,000 in New York, directly benefiting its economy and residents, a key criteria for airport development bonds.”
Have a story about low and unfair pay? Call us at (212) 210-1925.
MISSISSAUGA — If Christopher Crawford had been a police officer, there would probably be a parade this weekend in his honour attended by hundreds of representatives in dress uniform from forces across the continent.
There would have been a solemn ceremony, a demonstration of solidarity, saturation media coverage, all of it a powerful reminder of the importance of the job those on hand do and the risks faced in doing it.
But Chris Crawford was not a police officer. He was a welder. And though he loved the work — a photo on his Facebook page showed him on the job in his safety gear — it was not what mattered most.
Chistopher James Crawford was the son of James and Donna, husband of Tabatha, father of 12-year-old Malikye, 8-year-old Xsavour and 5-year-old Jesse. He was a family guy from Kitchener, the life of any party, so attentive to his wife with little gifts and time together that he made other husbands in his circle look bad.
On Monday, Crawford was working for Vixman Construction Ltd., a subcontractor helping build the Target store at the Sheridan Centre in Mississauga. At about 9 a.m. he sent a text to Tabatha telling her he missed her.
A little before 11:30 a.m., he plummeted to the ground when the roof he was working on collapsed. A bystander heard a boom and a scream. It took emergency personnel an hour to dig through the debris of scaffolding and other construction material to reach him. When he was pulled out, Crawford was declared dead. He was 33.
Sid Ryan thinks Crawford’s death — and the many like it each year in the province — should be used as a reminder of the hazards ordinary working men and women in Ontario every day.
“We’ve been saying it for years,” said Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour. “You know, police line the streets of Toronto, people show up, and cops fly in from all over North America (when an officer dies in the line of duty). Of course, no one thinks it’s wrong that there’s a big ceremony for police. But there’s workers killed on the job every week and there’s not a word about them.”
According to Ontario’s Workers’ Safety Insurance Board statistics, 73 men and women were killed in workplace accidents in the province in 2012, Ryan said, a little less than the recent annual average. Counting those workers succumbing to long-term occupational diseases acquired on the job, the year’s total death toll was 367.
For all the popular view of police and first responders putting their lives on the line every day, statistics suggest those jobs are not the most dangerous.
In fact, in a recent list of most dangerous jobs issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2012, police and firefighters weren’t in the top 10 for death and injury. Instead, the list was dominated by blue-collar jobs such as construction, farming, trucking, electrical work, refuse collection, roofing, logging and fishing — workplaces that are, in some cases, mobile, otherwise difficult to monitor, and often lack a union’s clout in winning safeguards.
In Ontario, the toll of death and injury on the job is reflected in releases issued regularly by the province, releases so routine they attract very little attention.
Jan. 17, 2014: “Iron Mountain Canada Operations ULC fined $90,000 after worker loses arm.”
Nov. 22, 2013: “Superviser jailed, roofing company fined $50,000 after worker dies.”
Nov. 18, 2013: “Crawford Roofing Corp. fined $150.000 after worker dies in fall.”
Sept. 17, 2013: “Vale Canada Ltd. fined $1,050,000 after two workers fatally injured.”
Aug. 19, 2013: “Pyramid Traffic fined $100,000 after worker fatally injured.”
June 27, 2013: “Co-X-Co Construction fined $55,000 after worker loses limb.”
And on it goes, news release by news release, life by life, limb by limb.
It’s not that the province is unaware of the carnage. Last year at this time, a winter safety blitz was launched in a bid to reduce workplace hazards. In June, there was a truck and bus inspection blitz. In November, the province introduced a new on-the-job safety training program, among the recommendations made in 2010 by an advisory panel on occupational health and safety. And in December 2013, a review was announced of mining health and safety.
Still, if police and firefighters were dying at anything like the general workplace fatality rate, there would likely be an unholy uproar.
At Queen’s Park, statistics notwithstanding, there is a monument to fallen firefighters and the names of fallen police officers dating to 1804 are recorded on the Ontario Police Memorial. On the weekend of last year’s ceremony of remembrance for fallen officers, the CN Tower was illuminated in blue and proceedings were broadcast by Rogers TV.
“One day a year, on April 28, there is a Day of Mourning (for Ontario workers killed on the job),” Ryan said. “The labour movement managed to get the legislature to recognize that day. At 11 a.m., there’s meant to be a minute of silence in all workplaces. It’s hardly ever observed.
“We always have a little rally or little ceremony where we place wreaths. Most of the labour councils have managed to get their municipalities to build a little monument in the cities. There’s always a ceremony. Sometimes the mayor will come out and lay a wreath and so on for workers killed on the job in the previous year. But it’s rarely covered in the media.
“There are 50 cities where we have ceremonies going on. Maybe two or three of them might get media in the local press. I have a hard time getting the media in Ontario to acknowledge it.
“There’s a monument to firefighters at Queen’s Park, and for the rest of the workers in the province it goes unnoticed.”
According to some of the friends and family, Chris Crawford rarely went unnoticed in life.
For Sid Ryan, it would be nice to think the same was true of yet another Ontario worker’s death.
~ With files from Catherine Thompson, Waterloo Region Record
NIXON, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Lazarus Energy LLC for 11 safety violations, with proposed penalties totaling $43,400, mainly for exposing workers to chemical hazards at its Nixon refinery. The inspection, which began in July 2013 after a referral from the Environmental Protection Agency, focused on the refinery’s process safety management program for handling flammable liquids in excess of 10,000 pounds.
“Process safety management programs are designed to prevent the catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals and must constantly be updated,” said Casey Perkins, OSHA’s area director in Austin. “The refinery, in this case, needs to ensure all equipment, processes and new installations receive the proper evaluation and scrutiny before the production of highly hazardous chemicals.”
Process safety management encompasses a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards proactively that are associated with processes and equipment that use threshold quantities of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the majority of violations relate to potential fire and explosion hazards stemming from the distillation of sweet crude oil into products, such as naphtha, kerosene and diesel fuels.
The 10 serious process safety management violations cited include failing to compile process safety information for piping, vessels and other equipment properly; update and complete a thorough process hazard analysis; resolve previous process hazard analysis action items; update communication operating procedures; compile and implement written procedures for mechanical integrity; and implement a management of change program. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The other-than-serious violation involves failing to initiate and maintain record keeping of the OSHA 300 injury and illness logs for the 2012 calendar year. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
OSHA’s standards contain specific requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using dangerous chemicals. Additional information is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html.
Lazarus Energy, a subsidiary of Lazarus Energy Holdings and Blue Dolphin, is headquartered in Houston and employs about 60 workers, including 45 in Nixon. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Austin Area Office, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271.
WASHINGTON (PAI) – The $1.012 trillion money bill funding the government for the year ending Sept. 30, which Congress approved on Jan. 16 before it left town for the Martin Luther King Birthday break, slightly cuts the funding for the controversial pro-business program that lets companies “voluntarily comply” with job safety law by drafting and implementing their own standards in exchange for escaping Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections.
The 1,500-page measure also restores all money the Obama administration wanted to cut from the Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau, and it gives federal civilian blue-collar workers a 1 percent pay raise, their first in three years. One published report adds the money bill keeps six-day delivery of mail, but the section of the measure that deals with the Postal Service does not mention that.
The money bill’s positives led AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to call it “a good start that moves in the right direction” on spending priorities. “But we’ll issue a fuller analysis of it later,” he told a Jan. 14 telephone press conference.
The money bill is a compromise between the Democratic-run Senate and the GOP/Tea Party-run House. It funds the government through Sept. 30, but the dollar figure is a 12-month figure for fiscal 2014 even though that fiscal year is one-third over. The measure also ends the “sequester,” the GOP-mandated arbitrary budget cuts. Besides dollars, the bill includes policy choices of interest to workers. Some details:
Federal white-collar workers got a 1 percent raise on Jan. 1, but blue-collar workers didn’t. They needed separate legislation, and that’s in the money bill, AFGE President J. David Cox said. “Congress clearly recognizes the importance of pay parity for all federal employees, regardless of which pay system they fall into, and this inequity was corrected,” he added.
OSHA gets $552 million, $18 million less than the Obama administration requested. One third of that difference, $5.9 million, is yanked from “compliance assistance,” including the controversial GOP-pushed program to let firms that construct their own worker safety and health programs get OSHA’s OK, then escape inspections.
Non-partisan government auditors have slammed the “Voluntary Protection Program” (VPP) of compliance assistance for letting firms join and stay even with questionable job safety records. VPP is a favorite of congressional Republicans, since the GOP and its business backers hate OSHA enforcement of health and safety rules.
Lawmakers, in their report on the money bill, suggested giving the Labor Department another power to go after OSHA violators, by recording if safety violators break other federal labor laws. Improving information on that issue “could assist federal contracting officers with accurate data to determine whether or not a prospective contractor has a record of compliance with federal labor law,” the legislators said.
The Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau gets $11.54 million, not the $9.2 million Obama sought. Obama wanted to kill the bureau’s regional offices and shift the savings to DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, which enforces overtime pay and minimum wage laws. Lawmakers restored the money to the Women’s Bureau.
Obama wanted $243 million for wage and hour enforcement. Congress gave him $19 million less. The wage and hour division has as many inspectors as it had in 1970. Enforcement suffers as a result, despite high-profile cases against violators.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) gets $375.9 million, $5 million less than Obama wanted. More importantly, the lawmakers told MSHA to shift mine safety inspectors around the country.
”Certain areas in which mines have closed may have the same number of inspectors that existed when all mines were operational, while some areas opening new mining operations may not. MSHA should do a better job in allocating mining inspectors in proportion to actual mining activity,” they said.
Federal firefighter assistance grants, used for training and to keep staffing levels for firefighters up around the country, total $680 million, $5.7 million more than last year. The grants are a big cause of the Fire Fighters, who point out the training helps firefighters contend with such things as hazardous materials fires and accidents, and that the staffing grants to cities and states help prevent short-staffing.
Congress killed Obama’s experimental $5 million grant program to states to get them to enact paid family leave laws. The grants help the states administer paid leave.
$8.6 billion for Head Start, restoring all the money the sequester cut, and returning 90,000 children back to Head Start. Public pressure, an Obama emphasis on the importance of pre-kindergarten education – a cause the AFT has pushed — and lobbying by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., the top Democrat on the House subcommittee that doles out labor and education money, won that restoration.
The money bill backs the Obama administration’s decision not to deport undocumented youth, instead focusing on people who commit felonies. The House GOP tried to overturn that. The Democrats reported that GOP move – to resume deportations of the kids – died in the bargaining over the bill.
Photo: Because of Republicans in Congress, OSHA got $18 million less than what the Obama administration wanted. Bob Self /The Florida Times-Union/AP
Within the cement industry, workers regularly enter confined spaces such as furnaces, baghouses, bins, crushers, chutes and grinding mills in conjunction with their day-to-day work. Sadly, Confined Space fatalities and injuries still occur, often due to a lack of identification and training. The only way to protect your workers from death and serious injury is to ensure that you place confined space safety as a top priority.
To reduce the likelihood of fatalities and injuries to your workers you must regularly perform confined space risk assessments and undertake nationally recognised confined space training that is appropriate to the job roles that your personnel perform.
Confined Space Identification and JSEA’s
Job hazard identification within the cement industry is part of daily life. However confined space work demands specific attention as confined spaces present specific hazards and risks. Australian Standard AS 2865 : 2009 Confined Spaces places the responsibility of Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment squarely on the employer or their representative. The listed objective is to eliminate or minimise the need to enter confined spaces. The only way for employers to comply with AS 2865: 2009 is to undertake confined space identification and risk assessments prior to entry.
During a recent analysis that I conducted of confined spaces fatalities within the last 10 years in Australia, I found that the major cause of fatalities were occupant/s not understanding that the space they were working in could be classified as a confined space and therefore not understanding the consequences if things go wrong. This often led to work such as hot work, the use of petrol driven equipment and the usage of chemicals being completed within a confined space – sometimes with deadly results.
The workplaces in which these deaths occurred were varied; however, in most cases no formal confined space identification, risk assessment, entry permit, isolation register or training was completed prior to entry. In fact the lack of understanding about what confined spaces are, what potential hazards can be found within and what control measures are appropriate could be recognised as a primary cause of these incidents.
Whilst completing a risk assessment of each particular confined space, an important part of your OHS policy, a specific Job Safety Environment Analysis (JSEA) should be completed by the confined space team for each confined space entry to ascertain the specific hazards and risks based on the job that you are completing.
By ensuring that the confined space team complete the JSEA together, effective control measures can be developed for each job taking into account the work that is required to be done and the specific hazards and risks that may be encountered.
Generic risk assessments of the confined space itself will not normally drastically change from year to year; however, tasks that workers complete may indeed change as various tasks are performed within the one confined space. If the confined space team completes a JSEA that is ‘job based’, all hazards involved with the task should be assessed and controlled, thereby reducing the likelihood of confined space fatalities and injuries.
Confined Space Training
The selection of the type of confined space training to be carried out must be based on the jobs that workers may be asked to perform. Will personnel be required to undertake standby duties? Will the person carry out atmospheric monitoring of the confined space? Will personnel be required to undertake the rescue of casualties from a potentially hazardous environment?
Confined space training should be considered based on the jobs you are asked to perform. Consider three days of confined space training with a balance of both theory and practical activities being the least amount of confined space training to consider for personnel who may need to perform a confined space rescue and two days of confined space training (theory and practical) being the least amount of confined space training applicable for personnel who may need to perform a confined space entry, undertake gas detection and issue confined space entry permits.
Regular confined space training is an effective control measure in the minimisation of risks for confined space operations. Regular training and emergency scenarios should focus on enhancing skills by exposing personnel to a variety of different situations. The best confined space training courses are not conducted in a classroom and are certainly not conducted over a single day. The best training courses are conducted in a real work environment that exposes learners to real emergencies that may happen and prepare them for effective emergency response.
Confined Space Entry is often defined as dangerous or hazardous work – however, it need not be. If organisations complete regular confined space identification, job based risk assessments and regularly complete nationally recognised confined space training suitable to their jobs then the likelihood of fatalies and injuries within the cement industry will be greatly reduced.
Written by Steven Gregory McLeod, CEO, Fire Safety Australia.
NOTE: Fire Safety Australia have preferred supplier status with Cement Australia and Adelaide Brighton (both of which complete confined space training with fire and safety Australia and do so on a national basis). The organisation trained over 35 000 people nationwide in 2013. The team complete hands on practical confined space entry, height safety and similar emergency response and safety training and are available to talk safety any time on 1300 88 55 30.
Posted by RHL
on Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Engineer – General
Job Title Senior PLC Engineer
Country of Work Location Kazakhstan
Work Location Atyrau
Our client began operations in Kazakhstan in 1993. They are committed to the transfer of skills and knowledge, and offers a great variety of jobs in Kazakhstan for those who are eager to put their skills into practice and have the drive to excel. They are active in several businesses, including oil and gas exploration production, hydrocarbon transportation and oil products marketing.
Job Description The job holder is responsible for:
This position has primary responsibility for Front line maintenance and operations support for Third Party Control Systems (TPCS) and SCADA, Leak Detections, and associated systems, monitoring, maintenance, Integrity, troubleshooting, and recovery.
* Ensure the reliability and integrity of the systems hardware, software, networks through execution of system procedures, maintenance strategies.
* Emergency corrective maintenance and Operation support
* Carry out daily system monitoring, station, and health checks.
* All ‘first line’ PCD system services, which can be undertaken whilst the TPCS or SCADA is operational; such as changing modules, power supplies, fuses, and Isolators
* Play a leading role in troubleshooting and analysis of SCADA PLC hardware and software problems.
* Execute, and contribute to specific procedures, work instructions, work plans, inspection and testing schedules within the SCADA systems.
* Execute Maintenance Strategies and Procedures for Facilities in compliance with RoK and company Standards.
* Enter and Execute SAP Preventative and Corrective Maintenance, including Campaign programs, in order to ensure Integrity, Safe and Reliable Operation and maximum Availability of the facilities.
* Ensure that Work Orders are prepared in SAP for all related Maintenance Activities, including Isolation Procedures and Job Safety Analysis, where appropriate.
* Act as Discipline Engineer for Vendor Contracts for specific equipment as required.
* Participate and contribute to Risk Assessment, JHA, HAZOP, RCA, and SIL analysis sessions as required.
* Provision for ensuring that all modifications to the SCADA Leak Detection are affected in the most economical and timely manner, and are performed in accordance with COMPANY standards and procedures.
* Perform SCADA, ICSS, Leak Detection modifications in line with COMPANY management of change (MOC), Change Request, and Permit to Work (PTW) procedures.
* Carry out Troubleshooting / Inspection to establish root causes of failure (RCA) and prepare Corrective Maintenance plans and detailed schedules, including materials and manpower resources. Maintain a trip event and failure log record the causes of trip/failure and corrective actions implemented.
* Participate in and support system design and upgrades of SCADA, Leak Detection, RTIMS, PLCs and associated systems.
* Validate Design As-Built Drawings and provide input via Document Control administration. Ensure key drawings and documentation are kept up to date.
* Maintain equipment histories and technical information in SAP for all maintenance activities.
* Report the results of routine work, put forward proposals at labour safety and safety rules meetings, report any failures or abnormal operation of systems to the direct manager;
* Provide technical assistance in implementation of new projects with respect to installation, troubleshooting, obsolescence, and start-up of equipment
Job ref: E203158/001_1389808917
Salary Range:£60,001 to £100,000
No experience needed
Degree / Undergraduate / 2 year
On January 21, 2014, the Supreme Court will hear Harris v. Quinn, a case brought by the National Right to Work Committee, an extreme right-wing think tank. This case threatens home care workers’ right to collectively bargain with states to improve working conditions.
More than that, Harris v. Quinn jeopardizes the ability of senior citizens and people with disabilities to live independently at home. Weakening our home care workforce will result in more folks being forced to live in institutions.
I have been a Personal Assistant for four years now, caring for people with disabilities in my Springfield, Illinois community. Seventeen years ago, my husband fell ill and that was my first experience as a caregiver. I fell in love with the work then and with each new consumer I work with, that love only continues to grow.
This line of work often involves more than an exchange of services; you build a relationship with the people you care for and share in the joy of their independence through the work that you do. My consumers get to stay in our community, living safely and independently where they want to be, and that makes me very proud to be a home care provider.
Providing home care can be difficult at times. I constantly worry about how I’ll cover my own bills each month because I don’t get many hours. Sometimes I work without pay because my husband John needs the extra help.
Over the years, home care workers just like me in Illinois and many other states have come together and formed unions. Together, with other home care workers, we were able to improve our working conditions and the quality of care for our clients. Advancements like higher wages, benefits, paid time off and job safety training have allowed us to make home care jobs good jobs.
As more people see home care work as a way to provide for their own families while also making a difference in the lives of other families, turnover goes down and the quality of care for our clients goes up.
My coworkers, other healthcare providers, senior citizens and people with disabilities, and the entire community need to let the Supreme Court Justices ruling on Harris v. Quinn know how important it is they rule in favor of continued improvement for our home care system and not move us backwards.
- Temporary Tattoos Called ‘SafetyTats’ A Great Idea For Child Safety -
- Keep Your Little Movers Safe With This Baby-Proofing Checklist
- Tech drives demand for safety devices
- Explosion Survivor Warns Of Fracked Oil Trains; Newer Safety Regulations …
- Shiftwork safety tips for National Sleep Awareness Week
- and safety
- car safety
- child safety
- health & safety
- health and safety
- job safety
- national safety
- phone safety
- safety 1st
- safety at
- safety center
- safety checklist
- safety council
- safety devices
- safety equipment
- safety first
- safety gate
- safety harness
- safety jobs
- safety kits
- safety locks
- safety management
- safety manager
- safety manual
- safety meeting
- safety moment
- safety officer
- safety posters
- safety products
- safety program
- safety ratings
- safety regulations
- safety sign
- safety signs
- safety slogans
- safety standards
- safety tips
- safety toolbox
- safety topics
- safety training