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Highlights from Worker Safety Week

Unions, advocates from four coalitions joined forces to fight for preventative
warehouse, nail salon, temperature, and retail safety protections 

Four coalitions unite for Worker Safety Week press conference, credit Alex Moore

Electeds like Sen. Ramos and Assm. Reyes donned Worker Safety Champion vests 

Teamsters rode to Albany to support worker safety

Sen. Brisport unboxes a warehouse mis-fortune

Nail salon workers call for safe workplaces and reproductive justice

Albany, NY – Four worker safety coalitions joined forces in the Capitol this week for a week of action — Worker Safety Week — calling on New York State leaders to protect workers from harm, hold employers accountable for safety on the job, and create the conditions for safe, healthy, and sustainable workplaces. Among the highlights:

Worker Safety Week press conference, May 14
Photos, credit: Alex Moore
Press release

Unboxing Warehouse Safety stunt, May 14
Photos, credit: Bonnie Torchia
Workers and advocates invited elected officials and staff in the Capitol to step right up and open an Amazon box to discover their fate. Participants unboxed their mis-fortune to glimpse a day in the life of a New York warehouse worker — revealing whether they were injured like 1 in 11 NY warehouse workers or otherwise disciplined or exploited — then took a photo in support of the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act.

Nail Salon Workers’ Action for Reproductive Justice and a Safe Workplace for All, May 15
Photos, credit NY Healthy Nail Salons Coalition

Assembly Labor Chair Harry Bronson on Capital Tonight talking Worker Safety Week

The State budget prioritized punitive action to address workplace safety, cracking down on retail theft with more severe criminal penalties for offenders. But New York needs proactive solutions that address the root causes of injury and illness on the job, protecting workers before they experience safety or health issues, not after. 

Unions and advocates are calling for swift action on the following legislation: 

Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act (S5081B / A8907)

  • 1 in 11 NY warehouse workers are injured annually and NY’s warehouse worker injury rate is 54% higher than the national average. Amazon workers are injured at an even higher rate — 37% more often than workers at non-Amazon facilities. 
  • Act requires annual safety evaluations of large warehouses for potential risks, establishes industry-wide safety standards, improves training and medical care, and empowers DOL to implement and enforce. 

Temperature Extreme Mitigation Program or T.E.M.P. Bill (S1604D / A8935A)

  • New York accounts for 14% of US ice, sleet, and snow injuries (BLS), and in NYC, there are an estimated 450 heat-related ED visits, 150 heat-related hospital admissions, 10 heat stroke deaths, and 350 heat-exacerbated deaths, each year (NYC Mayor’s Office).
  • TEMP bill creates a workplace standard on heat and cold that covers workers in agriculture, construction, landscaping, delivery, and food service, indoor and outdoor, including vehicles.

Nail Salon Minimum Standards Council Act (S1800 / A378)

  • Nail salon work is overwhelmingly performed by immigrant women of color who are exploited in unsafe working conditions and experience wage theft, discrimination, and exposure to toxic chemicals that cause harm to reproductive health.
  • Act creates two committees to oversee the long-term sustainability of the nail salon industry where workers’ rights are respected, consumer health is protected, and salon owners no longer feel that they have to engage in illegal and exploitative practices to stay in business.

Retail Worker Safety Act (S8358B / A8947C)

  • Retail workers are subject to constant threats of violence and verbal harassment, but receive virtually no training in violence prevention, de-escalation tactics, or escape procedures, and few if any employers have a plan to reduce the risk of violence. 
  • Act requires employers to create a safe work environment by evaluating hazards, providing training, documenting incidents, and developing violence prevention programs.