Opinion: Safety Training Is Key to Health of All Workers
Chron.com (Houston Chronicle) (10/25/13) David Michaels
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has received a large number of reports of workers killed in their first few days of work in recent years. Most of these workers have been temporary workers; this is due to a lack of safety training and experience at their work site. According to the American Staffing Association, almost three million temporary workers are in the U.S. work force, and many perform hazardous construction and manufacturing work. As these workers can be hired for a few days, weeks, or months, employers often do not offer them safety training that they would offer to permanent employees, in order to save money.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, staffing firms and their client employers share the responsibility of providing a workplace free of recognized hazards, including by providing safety training in a language that workers can understand. OSHA has begun an initiative to protect temporary workers, and will determine on every inspection if each temporary worker has been adequately trained. Further, they will explain to staffing firms their responsibility to insist their workers not be put at risk of injury or death while working.
U.S. Industrial Output Rises 0.6% in September
MarketWatch (10/28/13) Greg Robb
Industrial production rose 0.6% in September, the largest gain since February, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. The gain was above a MarketWatch-compiled economic forecast of 0.4%. Production rose at an annual rate of 2.3% in the third quarter, compared with a 1.1% gain in the second quarter. Capacity utilization rose to 78.3% from 77.9%.
In Fed and Out, Many Now Think Inflation Helps
New York Times (10/26/13) Binyamin Appelbaum
Some economists have come to believe that inflation is not rising quickly enough, and that a rise in inflation will help the U.S. economy free itself from slow growth and high unemployment. While the Federal Reserve has worked to stifle inflation for decades, some policymakers argue that inflation can be valuable when the economy is weak, as it helps companies make profits and helps borrowers repay debts. The Federal Reserve has targeted inflation at a 2% rise per year since the financial crisis.
Inflation has historically created higher wages and allowed borrowers to repay fixed debts more easily. Also, the rising profit margins which come with inflation allow companies to hire additional workers. However, inflation also suppresses real wages; while a worker may take home more money due to raises, increased costs mean their money will have less value.
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