How Employers Can Reduce the Risk of Toxic Exposure in the Workplace

Workers in industries like manufacturing, construction, and mining face plenty of risks compared to most employees. Among these risks include toxic exposure. Most of the time, jobs in these fields require workers to deal with hazardous chemicals and substances. Unfortunately, their constant and prolonged exposure to these dangerous materials could pose serious risks to their health. Without proper regulation, the toxic chemicals commonly used high-risk industries could cause a worker to suffer from a lifelong medical condition.

According to the website of Houston personal injury lawyers of Ali Mokaram, toxic chemical exposure could lead to some of the most devastating diseases such as cancer (particularly leukemia and mesothelioma), Hodgkin’s disease and aplastic anemia. The damning effects of toxic exposure will require a lot of medical attention that could bring huge financial burden. There’s also emotional trauma and other psychological effects to account for. Considering these consequences, it’s important that employers prioritize and ensure a safe working environment for their valued workers.

The following are just some of the few suggestions made by the Department of Labor, through Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), to help reduce the risk of toxic chemical exposure in workplaces across America.

The first, most simple solution for chemical hazards is the use of proper protective gear. However, OHSA also emphasizes that such requirements are not enough. They suggest that employers should aim to improve the processes in the workplace by updating administrative and work procedures. For example, imposing a rule on rotating tasks or adjusting work schedules can help make sure that no employee is exposed to a hazardous material for too long.

Another suggestion is making significant changes in engineering controls that could help contain toxic chemicals involved in the work process. An example OHSA offers is the isolation of the use of hazardous materials in a particular area in the venue. Still, they emphasize that the best recourse is to find alternative materials that are much safer to use.

Racial Discrimination in the Workplace: How to File a Charge

Any form of discrimination in all aspects of employment, which include hiring and firing, promotion, transfer, recall back to work, wages, fringe benefits, job training, apprenticeship programs, etc., whether such is based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin, is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Discrimination in the workplace continues to be a major concern for both the federal and local governments, with non-whites being the major victims. This was made a fact after two different studies (on the chances of individuals with black-sounding names on finding employment) ended with the same results – that job applicants with white-sounding names (American names, specifically) had higher chances of getting employed compared to those with African-American-sounding names, often despite the obvious advantages of the latter in areas relating to educational qualification, job specification expertise and experience). The first study was conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while the other, which was made a few years later, was made by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Sendhil Mullainathan and Economics Professor Marianne Bertrand from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

The studies further revealed that, if ever African-Americans get invited for a job interview, diction, vocabulary and accent, especially, become major barriers to job entry. Obviously, accent creates bias among many employers or managers who suppose that pronunciation is enough to accurately determine an applicant’s educational qualification, level of intelligence, character, social status, etc. An English accent, however, is deemed as exuding intelligence, regardless of the content of what is said, thus, many try to adopt it.

Being a non-white may just be at the periphery of racial discrimination, though, for if the applicant or the employee happens to be such, as well as 40 or above years old, has a disability, a lesbian, homosexual, bisexual or transgender or, in the case of females, pregnant (or expecting to be pregnant soon), despite being definitely qualified for the job, then the chances of ever finding employment or of being treated fairly can be nil. This is why amendments to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act were made and additional laws were passed to recognize the competitive service non-whites are capable of providing. These amendments and laws include the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the broadening of the scope of anti-sex discrimination, extending its protection to lesbians, gays and bisexuals (on July 1, 2011) and then to the transgender (on April 20, 2012). These amendments and laws also resulted to strict prohibition of job advertisements, use of company facilities, testing, disability leave and retirement plans which would imply discrimination.

Despite national and state laws, many companies remain guilty of discriminatory practices, probably either due to the subtle means through which they do it or because victims rather choose to remain silent for fear of getting into further trouble. Those who are determined to fight for their rights (or fight for another victim’s rights), though, are highly encouraged by the law; they can file their discrimination charge, personally or by mail, at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office nearest them (complainants are required by the law to file their charges with the EEOC first before filing a private lawsuit in court).

When filing a complaint, it is necessary to mention the specific discriminatory acts, the dates these have been committed, the complaining party’s and the respondent employer’s names, addresses, and contact numbers, and the identities of co-employees who have knowledge of the violations. Complainants are given up to 180 days, from the date of the alleged violation/s, to file their charges. If the violation committed is also covered by a local or state anti-discrimination law, then the statute of limitation (or filing period) is extended up to 300 days.

Filing a discrimination charge can be stressful to the victim, but so is remaining silent while being the target of unjust acts which others may also be suffering from or may also suffer from in the future. Finding the right legal advice and knowing what legal options victims have would be crucial during the period when they will need to evaluate what move to take.

Some information for this article was found on www.carykanelegal.com.

The State of Outsourcing in the Philippines

It is no secret that developed countries are farming out certain business processes to Asian countries like India and the Philippines because it is cheaper than to do them in-house. What is quite amazing is that the Philippines is even considered in the running against a country like India.

The Philippines is a small country with a total population of 96.71 million (2012) compared to the much larger India with a population of 1.237 Billion.  Even if one only considers the number of the typical employee population (between age 25 and 54), India still outclasses the Philippines 12 to 1. The Philippines should be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to business process outsourcing (BPO) simply due to sheer numbers. And yet the Philippines has taken over 10% of India’s share of the BPO market in the last half decade.

BPO watchdog the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) states part of the reason for this competitiveness is the Data Privacy Act of 2012 passed under Benigno Aquino Jr., current president of the Philippines. BPO service providers such as Pinoy Partners Outsourcing Center Inc. benefit from this law because it ensures the protection of the sensitive data that is often handled by BPOs for their principals such as credit card information. The Act also provides international privacy standards to these BPO clients. This is an example of legislation that helps everyone involve with it.

However, BPO experts in India aver that it is the English language capabilities of the average Filipino that gives the Philippines its greatest advantage. It may very well be true. A report by GlobalEnglish Corporation – Pearson English Business Solutions in 2013 found that the Business English Index (BEI) of the Philippines was the best among the 30 countries surveyed (7.95 out of 10) for the second year in a row, beating out the US, UK, and Australia. The average global BEI score was 4.75 out of 10.

The IBPAP projects that the 21% growth in BPO jobs registered in 2012 will continue, and that by 2016 there will be 1.3 million Filipinos employed in the BPO industry. As more and more companies realize the usefulness of outsourcing, the numbers will only continue to rise.