Newsletter August 10, 2016
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From the Executive Director's Desk

Over the past few years, WEC has documented the dangers of oil trains, publishing a report and fact sheets, conducting trainings with first responders, and galvanizing public support for action. We have also been supportive of an effort in the New Jersey Legislature to address the oil train hazard. We were encouraged to read the recent editorial in The Star Ledger, "Dangerous Oil Trains Need Oversight."

As the editors note:
"our rail system was never built for this cargo, the increase in crude oil transport has not been matched with increased regulatory scrutiny, and dozens of New Jersey's communities feel an ominous rumble each day. As a major hub for this transport, we must take a more active role in its regulation."

WEC and our allies continue to support A2463/S806, common-sense legislation to address the serious concerns about public safety, and provide appropriate oversight to these dangers. We thank the Senate for passing this bill with bipartisan support. We hope we can count on the Assembly to follow suit this fall.  Community members have a right to know what is being transported through their neighborhoods and that all safety precautions are being taken.

WEC is also working with our allies to ensure rail bridge safety. NJTV produced a story on a recent excursion examining rail bridges organized by the Hackensack Riverkeeper, in which Debra Coyle McFadden participated. 
In Solidarity,
WEC Awards Dinner
Honoree Spotlight
WEC is pleased to announce that Jeanne Otersen, Chief of Staff for the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, will be among the honorees at our 30th Anniversary Celebration and Annual Awards Dinner on Friday, November 18. Jeanne has dedicated her life to social justice and for the last 22 years has been a constant advocate for nurses and health care advocates. Please visit our website to learn more about Jeanne's accomplishments, and the other honorees; and please join us at the event to celebrate! 
Oh Say Can You See,
Through the Dust in the Air?

The Asbury Park Press recently carried an op-ed, "New OSHA silica standard must be enforced" co-authored by Ken Hoffner, assistant director, NJ Laborers Health and Safety Fund and Dan Fatton, WEC executive director. As they noted in the piece, enforcing the new OSHA silica standard is only one step, "with the new exposure limit, more citations are expected, but coupling education with compliance efforts will save workers’ lives and result in fewer workplace injuries."
Will EPA's Updated Chemical Security Rule Make NJ Safer? 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should look to New Jersey for lessons learned on how to protect the public and the environment from toxic chemical disasters. An op-ed published on August 4 in The Star-Ledgerco-authored by John Shinn, Director of District 4 of the United Steelworkers and Debra Coyle McFadden, Assistant Director of WEC, examines this issue.
Ruling: Companies Responsible
When Workers Take Home Toxic Materials 
The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that companies who expose workers to hazardous materials can be held responsible for toxic exposure to workers' roommates and unmarried partners. The decision expanded company responsibility that until now only covered spousal illnesses due to exposure. The ruling came from a suit filed in 2012; Brenda Ann Schwartz was diagnosed with chronic beryllium disease, exposed to the chemical from doing her boyfriend's laundry. 
PEOSH Standard

Thanks to the 20 organizations that signed on to WEC’s comments, which have been submitted to the Departments of Labor and Workforce Development and Health, on proposed amendments to the PEOSH HazCom standard. The proposed rule keeps intact our State’s strong Right to Know laws, which is essential for ensuring that workers know what hazards they face and can encourage prevention. WEC will continue to monitor this issue and report back when the final rule is issued.
Panel Discussion: Repairing America
On July 25, WEC executive director Dan Fatton served on a panel organized by the national BlueGreen Alliance, to discuss infrastructure and lessons learned from Camden for economic revitalization and investment. 
Need a speaker for an upcoming event, meeting, or training conference on workplace, environmental, or school safety issues? WEC staff would love to help. Contact Cecelia Gilligan Leto for more information.
Become a Member
Donate Now
Infectious Disease: Protecting Healthcare Workers
As a reminder, individuals and organizations can join WEC and you may pay for your membership online

If you aren't yet a member, please join today!

WEC is looking for a fall intern. Please share the announcement with anyone who might be interested!
Copyright © 2016 The New Jersey Work Environment Council, All rights reserved.

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