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Many workers don’t know about OSHA

Workers will testify about the need for workplace protections tomorrow, as Arise Chicago releases a survey of low-wage workers on health and safety issues, Wednesday, March 9, 6 p.m. at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, 800 S. Halsted.

The survey found that over 21 percent of respondents had suffered an occupational injury or illness, and nearly 29 percent reported exposure to health hazards.  Over 31 percent said they never got protective equipment and nearly 42 percent said they never got health and safety training.  An overwhelming proportion of respondents identified as Hispanic.

Perhaps most remarkably, nearly 60 percent said they had no knowledge of OSHA.

“There’s a huge education gap,” said Adam Kader, director of the Arise workers center.  Low-wage and immigrant workers need to know that OSHA complaints are confidential and that complainants have whistleblower protections, he said.

Arise conducts workers rights trainings for low-income workers, and the group is working with OSHA on Spanish-language health and safety training for construction workers, an industry with high levels of injuries and violations.  Participants can get OSHA certification.

Congressional Republicans are calling for a 20 percent reduction in OSHA’s budget, Kader said.

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Category: health, labor

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