Safety Violations Threaten Health of University of Miami Janitors
The University of Miami finds itself in the news again today following reports that jan/san workers on staff are falling ill because of lack of training and the use of dangerous chemicals.
According to reports in the Miami News Times, janitorial workers at UM have had increased health problems resulting from working conditions at the university. Reports done stated that more than half of the workers experienced headaches, eye irritation, and back pain as a result of their work. Forty-seven said they had trouble breathing, 42 percent alleged skin irritation, and 32 percent reported nausea resulting from workplace conditions.
The 425-strong workforce contracted to UM is employed by UNICCO, a national company that contracts janitorial and other services. This week the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) released a report about the conditions based on a survey of about 50 workers. This comes after a yearlong battle to unionize these workers.
UNICCO officials question whether to studies findings are correct because of its source. But if they are, there may be a violation of federal safety regulations, according to OSHA officials.
Additional violations identified in this study included lack of training on handling dangerous chemicals, emergency procedures and safety standards and lack of protective equipment.
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This news comes shortly after a student-run effort to improve conditions for the UM janitors. CleanLink reported on this on December 20.
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