In the Las Vegas Sun, Liz Benston describes the situation of Nevada casino workers who breathe secondhand smoke on the job. The state hasn’t banned smoking in casinos, and some workers worry that banning smoking would reduce the number of customers and therefore the amount of tips they earn. But smoke’s toll on workers can be severe. Stephanie Steinberg, who runs the casino-worker support network Smoke-Free Gaming, explains:
Steinberg says she has been contacted by nonsmoking Las Vegas casino workers diagnosed with lung cancer after decades of breathing smoke at work.
“I ask them, ‘Why do you continue to work there if you have lung cancer?’ And the answer is always the same. They say they need their jobs — and the health insurance — more than ever.
“People who complain about smoke are written up and could lose their jobs,” Steinberg says.
Benston reports that the tide may be turning toward healthier casino air. Dealer Kanie Kastroll, who works for Wynn Las Vegas, is mounting a class-action suit that might bring change to one of the state’s major industries. Kastroll tells the Sun that she was spurred by a NIOSH study on the risks of secondhand smoke in casinos and a cancer case in another dealer; she explains, “I have everything to lose by doing this, but I’m the kind of person who will speak up if something is wrong.”
In other news:
Charleston Gazette: Since its creation in 1987, West Virginia OSHA has never received state funding to hire inspectors to conduct workplace-safety inspections.
BBC: A confidential report obtained by researchers gives credence to French soldiers’ claims that they were deliberately exposed to nuclear testing in the Algerian Sahara.
The Globe and Mail: Mexican workers are not sufficiently aware of the risks of exposure to asbestos, large quantities of which are imported into their country from Canada.
NIOSH: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has posted the draft Current Intelligence Bulletin “Asbestos Fibers and Other Elongate Mineral Particles: State of the Science and Roadmap for Research” for public review and comment. Comments will be accepted until April 16th.
EHS Today: Researchers at Durham University in England conducted an evidence review and found an association between flexible work schedules and better health.