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Topic # 238178 5-Jul-2018 19:10
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Unions save lives:

 

 

Abstract

 

Objective Economic policies can have unintended consequences on population health. In recent years, many states in the USA have passed ‘right to work’ (RTW) laws which weaken labour unions. The effect of these laws on occupational health remains unexplored. This study fills this gap by analysing the effect of RTW on occupational fatalities through its effect on unionisation.

 

Methods Two-way fixed effects regression models are used to estimate the effect of unionisation on occupational mortality per 100 000 workers, controlling for state policy liberalism and workforce composition over the period 1992–2016. In the final specification, RTW laws are used as an instrument for unionisation to recover causal effects.

 

Results The Local Average Treatment Effect of a 1% decline in unionisation attributable to RTW is about a 5% increase in the rate of occupational fatalities. In total, RTW laws have led to a 14.2% increase in occupational mortality through decreased unionisation.

 

Conclusion These findings illustrate and quantify the protective effect of unions on workers’ safety. Policymakers should consider the potentially deleterious effects of anti-union legislation on occupational health.

 

 

Published in BMJ

 

 


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  Reply # 2050064 5-Jul-2018 20:11
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Can't read the source article without paying for it. So can't tell if there is effective health and safety regulations apart from the unions.

Personal experience in NZ, Worksafe (government department of Labour) Do far more to enforce health and safety than what I have ever seen from any unions.





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  Reply # 2050286 6-Jul-2018 09:23
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Looking at the text, the study appears to be related to a situation in the USA.  As health-and-safety regulatory and funding environments vary significantly depending on country, there is zero value in looking at this study from a non-USA perspective.


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  Reply # 2058339 18-Jul-2018 13:56
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Correlation only - and even then shaky.  How do you measure "State Policy Liberalisation" empirically? You can't.

 

My personal experience of unions (HSE manager in large company) is they are not really that interested in workers' safety.   If anything they would oppose HSE initiatives on principal because they were 'company' initiatives.





Mike

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  Reply # 2058384 18-Jul-2018 16:06
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Aredwood: Can't read the source article without paying for it. So can't tell if there is effective health and safety regulations apart from the unions.

Personal experience in NZ, Worksafe (government department of Labour) Do far more to enforce health and safety than what I have ever seen from any unions.

 

 

 

A big reason for the existence of effective health and safety regulations and strong enforcement bodies has been as a result of lobbying from the unions to get it in place in the first place.


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  Reply # 2059115 20-Jul-2018 00:51
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Varkk:

 

A big reason for the existence of effective health and safety regulations and strong enforcement bodies has been as a result of lobbying from the unions to get it in place in the first place.

 

 

 

 

Assuming you are referring to NZ, they have made a complete mess of it. As most effort in relation to health and safety is expended on filling out forms. Writing out policies and procedures which are either immediately ignored, or which instead become extremely inflexible and become a major drain on productivity.

 

Such policies tend to specify wearing PPE (safety glasses, hard hats, ear muffs etc) as a compulsory requirement. Even though the law says that when a hazard is identified, First option is that that hazard must be completely eliminated (this machine is extremely noisy, can it be modified so it instead runs quietly?). If the hazard can't be eliminated, then physical barriers need to be installed (Can the machine be placed in a soundproof room, with electronically controlled door locks. So people can't enter the room when the machine is running.) if that can't be done, 3rd option is administrative methods to control the hazard. (Write a machine operations procedure, saying that the machine should be switched off before going into the machine room / getting within 50m of the machine etc.) And finally - We can't do any of the above methods. So wear ear muffs when the machine is running.

 

This means that any safety policies or programs that specify PPE as the first option for managing hazards. Are completely non compliant.






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  Reply # 2059156 20-Jul-2018 08:33
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Aredwood:

 

Varkk:

 

A big reason for the existence of effective health and safety regulations and strong enforcement bodies has been as a result of lobbying from the unions to get it in place in the first place.

 

 

 

 

Assuming you are referring to NZ, they have made a complete mess of it. As most effort in relation to health and safety is expended on filling out forms. Writing out policies and procedures which are either immediately ignored, or which instead become extremely inflexible and become a major drain on productivity.

 

 

No I meant the existence of them in general. Look at the history of the industrial revolution and the rise of the labour movements. The modern form filling and procedures approach is what happens when bureaucrats and lawyers take over.


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  Reply # 2059180 20-Jul-2018 09:02
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The problem with the way we approach HSE in NZ is that we take a paper trail approach to it.  It's all about what can be audited or what can be used as evidence in your defence if prosecuted. Generally the more dangerous industries are characterised by lower education levels and less tolerance for paperwork - think forestry, fishing, construction, farming, mining etc.

 

One thing I like about the 2015 legislation is that workers can be prosecuted for reckless acts - about sealed time.  I like less that CEOs and directors can be fined ruinous amounts laughing.  I resigned a couple of voluntary directorships before that came into force.

 

What is generally shown to work is not a sea of paper, but a culture of safety.  Unfortunately, a positive safety culture is more or less impossible to audit and very hard to prove evidentially. So we are left with the paper war





Mike



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  Reply # 2059191 20-Jul-2018 09:13
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The 8 hour day, annual leave, minimum wages etc.

 

Nevermind - nobody cares that there's a correlation between the slashing of union powers and the "Amazonisation" of the world, the end game is that Bezos has $220 billion dollars.

 

John Campbell has been investigating issues with courier driver contracts in NZ. You supply the van, the uniforms, the electronic ticket device (for $2.5k from the courier company), you pay to get the van painted in the courier company colours, you pay for their signwriting, you pay all insurances incl public liability, your contract prohibits you from working for another company, demands that you represent the courier company in the most loyal respectful manner - but you're not an "employee".  No holidays, sick pay, 10-14 hours a day for net pay less than minimum wage.  Because you're "running your own business".

 

Nevermind.  "Everybody knows" Campbell is just a commie with anti-business bias, courier drivers are all bad tempered dangerous drivers and a blight on efficient operation of online purchasing.




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  Reply # 2059193 20-Jul-2018 09:16
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MikeAqua:

 

One thing I like about the 2015 legislation is that workers can be prosecuted for reckless acts - about sealed time.  I like less that CEOs and directors can be fined ruinous amounts laughing.  I resigned a couple of voluntary directorships before that came into force.

 

 

There aren't any real "fines" - unless they're dumb - they're insured against that. 
(In the case of large enterprises anyway - you won't get people on the board unless they're satisfied that they won't be paying any fines in the "unlikely event".  Smaller businesses etc - perhaps).


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  Reply # 2059236 20-Jul-2018 10:48
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Fred99:

 

MikeAqua:

 

One thing I like about the 2015 legislation is that workers can be prosecuted for reckless acts - about sealed time.  I like less that CEOs and directors can be fined ruinous amounts laughing.  I resigned a couple of voluntary directorships before that came into force.

 

 

There aren't any real "fines" - unless they're dumb - they're insured against that. 
(In the case of large enterprises anyway - you won't get people on the board unless they're satisfied that they won't be paying any fines in the "unlikely event".  Smaller businesses etc - perhaps).

 

 

I thought one of the provisions of the new legislation was that you couldn't insure yourself against those fines. But one of the main driving forces in the new law is to make the board and upper management drive a safety focus from the top. Now instead of a company trying to save a few bucks by not issuing correct PPE, they now protect themselves by ensuring the company makes correct PPE always available etc. Management also need to be vigilant and ensure workers are following policy and can take disciplinary action if workers don't. All this to protect the pockets of the management and board.


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  Reply # 2059306 20-Jul-2018 13:38
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I think there has to be a balance. Both sides seem equally bad if allowed to control things. Anyone who has ever owned a car made in Britain when the unions were in charge knows how bad that can be. But the recent practice here of fast food companies tying employees to zero-hour contracts doesn't seem much better. If we have all lost our sense of fair play, then it has to be legislated.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 2059316 20-Jul-2018 13:58
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Fred99:

 

MikeAqua:

 

One thing I like about the 2015 legislation is that workers can be prosecuted for reckless acts - about sealed time.  I like less that CEOs and directors can be fined ruinous amounts laughing.  I resigned a couple of voluntary directorships before that came into force.

 

 

There aren't any real "fines" - unless they're dumb - they're insured against that. 
(In the case of large enterprises anyway - you won't get people on the board unless they're satisfied that they won't be paying any fines in the "unlikely event".  Smaller businesses etc - perhaps).

 

 

I wish ...

 

The legislation (HSWA 2015) specifically says in s29 that insuring against fines is unlawful.

 

For a CEO/director the max penalty under the act is $600k + 5 years in prison.  I can't speak for others but I'm pretty sure that would bankrupt me.  That's why I bailed on two voluntary directorships.





Mike

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