‘Dirty dozen’ of America’s worst workplaces disclosed

Los Angeles, Apr 27 (Latest) .- A candle company in Kentucky in which 9 workers died and a food processing plant in Georgia where 6 died are listed in the 2021 “dirty dozen” report, which classified the worst workplaces in the United States in the second year of the pandemic and that includes Amazon and Starbucks.

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) revealed this Wednesday its “Dirty Dozen” report, in which it listed the 12 companies that failed to implement workplace safety laws to protect their employees in 2021, a year marked by the pandemic but which also registered several work accidents.

Jessica E. Martinez, co-director of National COSH, said at a press conference today that those companies “unnecessarily expose workers to preventable hazards, leading to illness, injury and death.”

The list includes Mayfield Consumer Products, a candle factory in Kentucky that recorded 9 deaths and dozens of injuries among its employees, mostly Latino immigrants, when a series of tornadoes hit Mayfield last December.

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The report highlights that “several workers reported that Mayfield managers ordered them to stay on the premises when the first tornado warnings occurred, or else they risked termination.”

Martínez assured that the fact that the workers had to choose between staying or losing wages “means that there was no preparation plan or it was not being followed.”

CLIMATE CHANGE RISKS

The report warns that it is “imperative” that employers prepare in advance for tornadoes and other natural disasters, especially in a rapidly accelerating era of climate change and extreme weather.

Another example of the lack of prevention in the face of climate risks is that of Sebastián Francisco Pérez, a 38-year-old Guatemalan immigrant who died on June 26, 2021 while installing irrigation pipes at Ernst Nursery and Farms in St. Paul, Oregon, when the temperature peaked at 105 degrees.

An Ernst Nursery official tried to argue with the Oregon authorities “that common sense should be considered, that the employee be responsible for how much he demands of his body,” the report reveals.

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THE SIX DEATHS THAT CAUSED PROTESTS

Foundation Food Group/Gold Creek Foods food processors from Gainesville, Georgia, were also included in the list following the deaths of José De Jesús Elías-Cabrera, Nelly Pérez-Rafael, Saulo Suárez-Bernal, Édgar Vera-García, Víctor Velez, and Corey Alan Murphy for a nitrogen leak.

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