Worker Health

Protecting workers through education on safer choices

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Every year, six million workers are injured or made ill on the job in the U.S. alone. Many workplace injuries result from the use of or exposure to toxic chemicals. Workers who do not have access to information on hazards posed by workplace chemicals are especially prone. We pay particular attention to business types that could potentially result in greater occupational health issues and could benefit from training and technical support. For instance, we created campaigns for nurses on toxics in the health-care setting and for dry-cleaning workers on least toxic dry-cleaning solvents. We are actively working on developing a multilingual training curriculum on green cleaning for janitorial workers and on identifying safer nail products for use in nail salons.

Businesses, small and large, use a variety of products during their daily operations. These products can range from toner cartridges for printing to air fresheners and computers. There are many green products available to businesses that can protect the health of the employees while saving money.Read>
Did you know that nail polishes contain dozens of chemicals that can impact the health of nail salon workers? Nail salon owners and technicians are primarily women of child-bearing age who do not speak English as their first language. They are exposed to chemicals in nail products every day, but have limited access to information on the health effects of these chemicals. In 2010, San Francisco adopted legislation to create a recognition program for nail salons that choose safer nail polishes.Read>
Custodians, janitors and housekeepers have the highest rates of work-related asthma and relatively high injury rates, much of which are due to toxic chemicals found in cleaning products. Since indoor concentrations of pollutants are often three to five tumes higher than outdoor concentrations, choosing less toxic cleaning products and implementing improved practices can positively impact worker health.Read>