New York State's COSH Movement:  A Brief History

New Solution:  A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy 2018, Vol. 28(2) 202-226

Michael B. Lax, MD, MPH

Unions, health and safety activists, and professionals came together to create Coalitions for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH groups) in a number of cities across the United States beginning in the 1970s. The COSHes have played an impor-tant and unique role in advocating worker health and safety since that time, through activities including technical assistance, training and education, and campaigns on workplace and public policies. In New York State, activist coalitions created eight COSH groups distributed around the state. This paper presents a history of New York’s COSHes based on interviews with key participants. The interviews shed light on the origins of the COSH movement in New York, the development and activities of the COSHes, and the organizational trajectory of individual New York COSHes in response to both extra and intraorganizational challenges. Participants’ accounts of these issues may be useful for those seeking to sustain the COSH movement.
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Local Living Festival

A Celebration of Resourceful Living Skills

September 26, 2015

What's Toxic and What's Not?

Identifying Toxic Chemicals and Healthy Alternatives in Cleaning Products

Dorothy Wigmore

Occupational Health Educator
Occupational Health Clinical Center

Cleaning products have ingredients often with complicated names and technical explanations about why they “work”. Most people think that the chemicals must be “safe” if they’re on the market. Yet many are not tested for toxic effects, especially longer-term ones like reproductive harm, cancer, asthma, or effects on hormones. Too many can affect our health -- now or down the road. And they also can harm our families, our environments, and the people working or living in the spaces where we use them. Learn about some on-line tools to identify toxic chemicals and less hazardous cleaning products or methods. Discuss how these can be used at work or elsewhere.

Bio: Dorothy Wigmore is a long-time occupational health specialist and educator. She has worked with and for NGOs, occupational health clinics, unions, and universities in her native Canada, the US, and Moçambique, and in a wide array of sectors and workplaces. Most recently, she is an author of the on-line guide: Tools for informed substitution: How do you find safer chemicals for the workplace. It is part of a Canadian project about how to identify toxic cleaning products and less hazardous alternatives. Before arriving in Syracuse, Dorothy worked for four years at a California health and safety non-profit. She spent a lot of time there on green chemistry policies for consumer products, workers right-to-know about hazards on the job, and ergonomic design hazards.



The Year in U.S. Occupational Health & Safety                                                           Fall 2014-Summer 2015

For the fourth year in a row, The Year in U.S. Occupational Health & Safety takes a look back
at some of the most notable events impacting the lives of workers and their families during
the past year. In the following pages, you’ll read about regulatory progress and action at the
federal, state, and local levels; new research reports and peer-reviewed science on worker health
and safety; as well as some of the superb and eye-opening reporting happening at media outlets
across the country. You can find previous editions of this report at www.defendingscience.org/
By: Kim Krisberg & Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH
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Not Quite a Win–Win: The Corporate Agenda of the Stay at Work/Return to Work Project

The idea that efforts are necessary to transform the dominant framework of workplace safety and health in the United States, from one of compensation and disability to one of stay at work/return to work (SAW/RTW) for workers injured or made ill on the job, has become increasingly widespread. SAW/RTW advocates argue that everyone “wins” when unnecessary disability is reduced. Toward this end, advocates have put forward a program and implemented a strategy with strong proponents among a coalition of corporate-connected professionals. The seemingly obvious conclusions of their arguments bear closer critical scrutiny, however. Addressing key questions—why injured workers do not SAW/RTW, who the coalition of SAW/RTW proponents includes, and what the coalition proposes—reveals that the SAW/RTW approach mainly benefits employers and the corporate-connected advocates. These assertions are detailed, and principles of an alternative approach that will serve the needs of injured workers are outlined.
By:  Michael B. Lax, MD, MPH
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Ana Looks for Work

The graphic novel aims to educate the community about employment agency fraud, how to detect it and what to do if they fall prey to an agency’s predatory practices. The story is told as a “novela gráfica,” or graphic novel, a popular education tool widely used throughout Latin America and in Latino communities in the United States.
Ana Busca Trabajo is the story of Ana, an immigrant domestic worker, who is defrauded by two employment agencies as she desperately seeks to find work to support her family. One agency charges her fees without ever placing her in a job, while refusing to honor the legally required refund; another sends her to a job with exploitative working conditions. In the end, Ana learns about her rights as a consumer of employment agencies and shares with other job seekers her lessons –learned through ‘consejos’ (tips) to prevent falling into the same traps she did.
Written by, and based on, the experiences of members of NICE, Ana’s story reflects the very real experiences of many low-wage job seekers in New York State.
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Work, Environment, and Health

Breast cancer risk in relation to occupations with exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors: a Canadian case-control study
by James T Brophy, Margaret M Keith, Andrew Watterson, Robert Park, Michael Gilbertson, Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale, Matthias Beck, Hakam Abu-Zahra, , Kenneth Schneider, , Abraham Reinhartz, Robert DeMatteo and Isaac Luginaah
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Occupational safety and health criteria for responsible development of nanotechnology
P. A. Schulte, C. L. Geraci, V. Murashov, E. D. Kuempel, R. D. Zumwalde, V. Castranova, M. D. Hoover, L. Hodson, K. F. Martinez
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OSHA NIOSH Hazard Alert: Worker Exposure to Silica during Hydraulic Fracturing
Although the hazards of silica dust has been known for hundreds of years, a recent federal investigation on fracking sites has found very high levels of silica dust exposures to workers. This document includes the findings and recommendations to control silica dust on fracking sites and other hazards in this industry.
View Publication >>

Recognition, Assessment

Occupational Injury and Illness Surveillance: Conceptual Filters Explain Underreporting
by Lenore S. Azaroff, Charles Levenstein, and David Wegman
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Participatory mapping of occupational hazards and disease among asbestos-exposed workers from a foundry and insulation complex in Canada
By Keith MM, Brophy JT.
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Hazardous Exposures / Adverse Health Effects

Work-Related Spirometric Restriction in Flavoring Manufacturing Workers
Kathleen Kreiss, MD
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Occupational upper airway disease: how work affects the nose
V. Hox, B. Steelant, W. Fokkens, B. Nemery & P. W. Hellings
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Job Strain and Ambulatory Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review
by Paul Landsbergis, Marnie Dobson George Koutsouras and Peter Schnall
View Publication >>


Ergonomic design and training for preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limb and neck in adults (Review)
By Hoe VCW, Urquhart DM, Kelsall HL, Sim MR
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Social Contexts

Effects of Social, Economic, and Labor Policies on Occupational Health Disparities
Carlos Eduardo Siqueira, Megan Gaydos, Celeste Monforton, Craig Slatin, Liz Borkowski, Peter Dooley, Amy Liebman, Erica Rosenberg, Glenn Shor, & Matthew Keifer
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Economic Burden of Occupational Injury and Illness in the United States
by J. Paul Leigh
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Workers' Compensation Research

Reexamining Workers' Compensation: A Human Rights Perspective
By Leslie I. Boden
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Workers' Compensation Benets and Shifting Costs for Occupational Injury and Illness
J. Paul Leigh and James P. Marcin
View Publication >>