April 18, 2016
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Worker deaths in Washington drop to near-historic low in 2015

The number of people dying on the job or from workplace-related injuries and illnesses continues to decline, and has been dropping by about 3.5 percent a year over the last decade. The data comes from the just released 2015 Washington State Work-Related Fatalities Report.

Last year, 58 people died on the job or from workplace-related injuries and accidents. That number is down by 18 from the 2014 rate. Only 2011 (with 53 fatalities) and 2013 (with 54) had lower numbers of workplace-related deaths.

"The decline in these numbers means more people avoided serious workplace incidents and were able to go home safe and healthy," said state Labor and Industries (L&I) Director Joel Sacks. "We're working closely with businesses and workers in our state to improve safety, and this trend shows we're making progress. That's encouraging, but there's more to do."

Falls continue to be the leading cause of workplace deaths. A quarter of those who died on the job last year died from falls. A third of those fatal falls were from ladders. L&I notes that even a fall from a ladder just six to 10 feet high can be fatal.

The news comes shortly before the state’s annual Worker Memorial Day. AWB General Counsel Bob Battles will speak on behalf of the state’s employers at the ceremony, joining the Washington State Labor Council and families of those who lost loved ones on the job in 2015 for the event April 28 at the L&I headquarters in Tumwater. AWB has the story of last year’s ceremony at Olympia Business Watch.



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Support Redevelopment to Create Jobs

Remove the barriers to prosperity

By Lee Newgent, Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO; Larry Brown, Aerospace Machinists Union District Lodge 751; and Vince O'Halloran, Sailors' Union of the Pacific

Communities across our state are being rocked by the loss of jobs from closures of viable industry and manufacturing -- such as the Alcoa plant in Wenatchee. At the same time, we are facing extreme resistance to use or repurpose sites that have been closed, symptomatic of a growing and devastating "deindustrialization" sentiment. Examples include opposition to the proposal to use a former Alcoa plant for the Millennium Bulk Terminals project in Longview, and the proposal in Tacoma -- now on hold -- to convert a former aluminum smelter into a methanol refinery.

It's no secret that our regulatory process is broken. It has become so protracted and unpredictable that we are sending potential investors the unmistakable message that Washington is an inhospitable place to launch new industrial, energy and transportation facilities.

Each of these issues can and must be addressed immediately by state leaders.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Wenatchee World
Sensible Savings

Even uncommon voices can find common ground on energy efficiency

By Ross Eisenberg of the National Association of Manufacturers and Kit Kennedy of the Natural Resources Defense Council

Washington, D.C., has earned a reputation in recent years as a city plagued by hyper-partisan gridlock. Yet our two organizations -- which often disagree -- have found common ground on energy efficiency. It's instructive to look at why both the National Association of Manufacturers and the Natural Resources Defense Council both support it.

It's simple, really: by building better buildings, making more innovative products, and using creative manufacturing processes, we can accomplish multiple goals -- reducing wasted resources, improving our electricity system, preventing more toxic pollution, reducing climate change, and fueling economic growth. Many new, innovative energy efficiency products and technologies are made right here by American manufacturers, creating jobs and economic growth across the nation.

Candidates aren't banging their fists on the lectern about energy efficiency. There are no big-budget commercials or fiery debates on TV. But that's not because the issue isn't important. Buildings consume approximately 40 percent of all the energy used in the United States. Improving energy efficiency of our buildings, and of the appliances and equipment inside them, is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve the environment, save money, combat global climate change, and stoke our economy...

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Hill
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