The Dirty Dozen of Bad Employers
Major Firms Including Amazon, Facebook, McDonald’s and Purdue Pharma Cited for Unsafe Practices
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) announced today “The Dirty Dozen” employers of 2019, highlighting companies that put workers and communities at risk due to unsafe practices. The Dirty Dozen 2019 report is released in observance of Workers’ Memorial Week, honoring workers who lost their lives on the job, as well as those who have suffered workplace injuries and illnesses.
“We can make our workplaces safer – if we listen to workers and take action to reduce hazards on the job,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, co-executive director of National COSH. “There is no reason to tolerate irresponsible behavior by employers who fail to provide a safe workplace – and force workers and families to pay the price.”
The “Dirty Dozen” for 2019 are:
AMAZON, Seattle, Washington; California, Maryland and Texas
Six worker deaths in seven months; 13 deaths since 2013. Reports of a high incidence of suicide attempts; workers urinating in bottles and workers left without resources or income after on-the-job injuries. The company was also a “Dirty Dozen” entry in 2018.
ATLANTIC CAPES FISHERIES AND BJ’S SERVICES, Cape May NJ and Falls River MA
Women workers exposed to unwanted touching, solicitations for sex and crude comments. Two women who complained were fired. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reached a $675,000 settlement with both companies.
BEDROCK DETROIT, Detroit, MI
Cited for $3,500 in safety violations, this company owned by billionaire Dan Gilbert launched an aggressive campaign to avoid regulation. Corporate officials told safety inspectors “how to do their jobs and who they were allowed to inspect.”
BEIZA BROTHERS, Moultrie GA
Miguel Chavez died from heat exhaustion on a Georgia farm, just one week after arriving in the U.S. OSHA cited the firm for exposing him to high temperatures and direct sunlight.
FACEBOOK AND ACCENTURE, COGNIZANT, PROUNLIMITED AND TECH SOLUTIONS, Menlo Park, CA; Phoenix AZ; Austin, TX
Low-paid moderators spend hours each day watching hate speech, pornography, and images of suicides, murders and beheadings. Facebook and contractors provide inadequate mental health support – and none after workers leave their jobs.
GENAN, Sheldon TX and Viborg, Denmark
Byron Jones, 26, pulled into a tire shredder and killed during his fourth day on the job. Company cited for 20 violations and fined $100,000.
INTEGRA HEALTH MANAGEMENT, INC., Owings Mills, MD and Tampa, FL
Stephanie Ross, a 25-year old social service worker who was working alone, was stabbed to death while visiting a client. She was murdered after reporting safety concerns about a previous home visit.
JOHNS HOPKINS HOSPITAL, Baltimore, MD
Four out of five nurses report they have been victims of workplace violence; one out of four say Hopkins ignores these dangers. Tampa Bay Times reports that although Johns Hopkins “wrote the rules on patient safety… its hospitals don’t always follow them.”
MCDONALD’S USA, Chicago and worldwide
More than two dozen workers have filed EEOC complaints about sexual harassment; workers strike to protest the company’s failure to act and demand the McDonald’s USA is accountable for working conditions in both corporate and franchise stores.
PURDUE PHARMA AND THE OPIOID INDUSTRY, Stamford, CT
Workers, suffering in pain from preventable injuries, are among the primary victims of America’s opioid crisis. To sell painkillers, Purdue targeted patients with workplace injuries – and their doctors.
TOOMA ENTERPRISES, Sterling Heights, MI
39-year old Jason Holmes dies in a trench collapse, with no shoring or trench box present.
XPO Logistics, Memphis TN
One worker died and six women have suffered miscarriages in an overheated, high-stress warehouse. After an exposé and a union organizing drive, XPO closed the warehouse.
“It’s just horrible in that place,” says Tasha Murrell, a former XPO worker from Memphis who suffered a miscarriage while working there. “The hours were long, the heat was unbearable, and on top of all that, we were facing sexual harassment. It’s our right to get together and advocate for better conditions – and it’s plain wrong for XPO to close our workplace.”
“It’s hard for me to even talk about what happened to me at my job,” says Tanya Harrell, a McDonald’s worker from New Orleans. “A co-worker locked me in the bathroom, exposed himself and tried to rape me. I’m not the only one. A big company like McDonald’s, they have the resources to prevent this horrible behavior. What are they waiting for?”
Data presented in the National COSH “Dirty Dozen” report show:
- 5,147 people died from workplace trauma in 2017, an increase of 11 percent since 2012.
- 903 Latinx workers died on the job in 2017 representing a 15 percent increase since 2012.
- 927 immigrant workers died from acute trauma at work in 2017, a 12.5 percent increase since 2012.
In addition to these deaths from workplace trauma more than 95,000 U.S. workers are projected to die each year from cancers, respiratory and circulatory diseases and other illnesses associated with long-term exposure in the workplace.
Regulators who are responsible for enforcing rules which can reduce this rising toll of death, unfortunately, are forced to operate with insufficient resources.
- US OSHA now has just 875 inspectors to cover 9 million U.S. workplaces.
- It will take 158 years for OSHA to inspect all workplaces under its jurisdiction.
- OSHA enforcement activity is down 7.4 percent in the first five months of FY 2018.
- The price of a worker’s life: $7,500. This is the median fine following a workplace fatality, a sign that workers’ lives are not valued.
“You can’t put a price tag on what happens when a mother, a father, a sister or a brother never comes home,” said Goldstein-Gelb. “You can take steps to prevent these tragedies. The goal of the Dirty Dozen report is to shine a light on unsafe practices and to motivate employers to do a better job of protecting workers.