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Green Jobs-Safe Jobs Campaign

The infusion of significant federal resources into projects that will create thousands of new “Green Jobs” is a welcome development. The COSH organizations have long been active in "Blue-Green" alliance work but we are concerned that too little thought is going into the potential hazards of such jobs and too little attention is going towards the need for adequate safety and health training under these programs.

At the bottom of this page, you will find a list of resources available on this site related to these issues. We will be continually updating this resource bank so please keep checking back to this spot and please let us know of resources that you know of on this issue.

Hazards likely to be encountered in “green jobs” include:

  • Exposure to lead and asbestos in the course of energy efficiency retrofitting and weatherization in older buildings;
  • Respiratory hazards from exposure to fiberglass and other materials in re-insulation projects;
  • Exposure to biological hazards, such as molds, in fixing leaks;
  • Crystalline silica exposure from fiber-cement materials, which may contain up to 50% silica;
  • Ergonomic hazards from installation of large insulation panels;
  • Fall hazards in the installation of heavy energy-efficient windows and solar panels and in the construction and maintenance of windmills (typically 265 feet tall);
  • Electrical hazards encountered in the course of weatherization projects;

Many “green jobs” programs have the laudable goal of getting young and inexperienced workers into the workforce. Occupational safety and health experts have long known that it is these new workers who are most at risk for job injuries. In addition to these “green jobs” programs, stimulus package spending on infrastructure projects will also expose thousands of new workers to the myriad hazards encountered in the construction of bridges, highways, and public buildings.

The National COSH will work to raise awareness about the importance of safety training in these new programs and will strive to ensure that safety and health training be included in all new federally-funded programs.

If you have ideas to contribute on this issue, please get in touch with us, by clicking on the "contact" link on the left column of any page on this site.


Resources:

Are Green Jobs Safe Jobs? A Power Point presentation by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health.

Green Buildings, Green Jobs A Power Point presentation by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health.

Green During Construction A Power Point presentation by the Rhode Island Committee on Occupational Safety and Health.

Health and Safety and Green Jobs An editorial statement by the Labor Occupational Health Program, UC-Berkeley.

Going Green, Safely (Draft) Produced by the Rhode Island Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, this document lays out some of the health and safety concerns related to "Green Jobs."

Green Recovery for All A "toolkit" by Green for All to help local community groups get involved in decision-making about allocation of funds for green jobs programs.

Solar Energy Industry Hazards Two reports that address the health and safety hazards to workers involved in the solar energy industry.

Green Jobs for Solar A platform of Green Jobs principles by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. (Spanish version is here

The Green Solution: A Win-Win Plan to Address Climate Crisis and Jumpstart an Equitable and Sustainable Economic Recovery. A Publication of the Green Justice Coalition and Community Labor United.

The American Society of Safety Engineers has announced the development of a new standards project to set out guidelines for protecting the safety and health of workers involved in construction and demolition operations for wind generation/turbine facilities.