WBEZ | Raani Corp. http://www.wbez.org/tags/raani-corp-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Immigrant job deaths up 14% in two years http://www.wbez.org/news/immigrant-job-deaths-14-two-years-107069 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/familia centeno 003a CROPfixed.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The number of job fatalities among U.S. immigrants is increasing, a WBEZ analysis of <a href="http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm">U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics</a> data has found.</p><p>Foreign-born worker deaths rose 13.9 percent from 2009 to 2011, the most recent year for which data are available. Fatal injuries of U.S.-born workers during the period edged up just 1.0 percent.</p><p>Of the 843 immigrants who died from job injuries in 2011, Mexicans accounted for 349 (41.4 percent). The second largest group was Salvadoran, a nationality that accounted for 40 (4.7 percent) of the deaths. Next on the list were Guatemalan, Honduran and Indian immigrants &mdash; all with 24 (2.8 percent).</p><p>Immigrants constituted 18.0 percent of the country&rsquo;s 4,693 workers who suffered fatal job injuries in 2011. The annual percentage had increased each year going back to 2008, when foreign-born workers accounted for 16.0 percent of job fatalities.</p><p>Muzaffar Chishti, who directs the Migration Policy Institute office at New York University, says the immigrant fatality increase could be more than a statistical anomaly.</p><p>&ldquo;As recession has taken hold, employers have tightened their belt,&rdquo; Chishti said. &ldquo;And many of the labor standards, especially related to safety, go out the window.&rdquo;</p><p>Chishti also points to factors that inhibit immigrants from defending their workplace rights. Many foreign-born workers face language barriers. And many end up working for temporary agencies or other employers that can easily replace them.</p><p>The most vulnerable immigrants lack authorization to be in the United States &mdash; making them even less likely to speak up for their rights, Chishti said, because they fear their bosses will turn them over to immigration authorities.</p><p>Immigrant temporary workers who suffered a fatal job injury in 2011 included Chicago resident Carlos Centeno, 50, a Mexican native scalded by nearly boiling acid in a Bedford Park factory. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/98-minutes-radio-story-104504">A WBEZ and Center for Public Integrity investigation</a> of Centeno&rsquo;s case found that the federal government is not keeping close track of temp-worker injuries.</p><p>Immigrants in the country illegally are also more likely to work in dangerous industries, such as construction and meatpacking, Chishti said.</p><p>The AFL-CIO highlighted immigrant worker fatalities Tuesday in an <a href="http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Job-Safety/Death-on-the-Job-Report">annual safety report</a>. &ldquo;Fatalities among foreign-born or immigrant workers continue to be a serious problem,&rdquo; the report said.</p><p>In Illinois, 38 immigrants died from job injuries in 2011. The state number had ranged from 23 to 42 since 2006.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 08 May 2013 07:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/immigrant-job-deaths-14-two-years-107069 Company: Temporary worker to blame for his fatal burns http://www.wbez.org/news/company-temporary-worker-blame-his-fatal-burns-104753 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/raani-outside.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="Raani Corp., a Bedford Park manufacturer of household and grooming products, denies negligence in a wrongful-death suit filed by survivors of the worker, Carlos Centeno. (Logan Jaffe/WBEZ)" /></p><p>The company that was supervising a Chicago-area temporary worker when he suffered fatal burns in 2011 says the man failed to take &ldquo;proper precautions&rdquo; in its factory and calls his conduct &ldquo;the sole proximate cause of the injuries.&rdquo;</p><p>Raani Corp., a Bedford Park manufacturer of household and grooming products, makes those accusations and denies negligence in a 66-page <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/119414572">answer</a> to a wrongful-death suit that survivors of Carlos Centeno, 50, filed in Cook County Circuit Court last year.</p><p>Centeno, a Humboldt Park resident&nbsp;scalded over most of his body with a hot citric-acid solution November 17, 2011, died three weeks later in a burn unit of Loyola University Hospital in Maywood. The death triggered inspections by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Those inspections led OSHA to fine the company $473,000 last May for 14 alleged violations.</p><p>An internal OSHA memo, obtained as part of an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/98-minutes-radio-story-104504">investigation</a> by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity and WBEZ, says more than 98 minutes elapsed after the incident before Centeno reached the hospital.</p><p>Factory officials refused to call an ambulance as Centeno awaited help, shirtless and screaming, OSHA investigators contended. Instead of calling 911, the company had another temporary worker drive Centeno to an occupational health clinic that was not set up to treat life-threatening burns.</p><p>In its court filing, Raani claims Centeno &ldquo;assumed the risk of any injuries allegedly sustained as a result of his conduct&rdquo; and &ldquo;knew or reasonably should have known of the substances that were used in the activities conducted at the places where he worked.&rdquo;</p><p>As Centeno cleaned a 500-gallon tank from which the acid solution erupted, &ldquo;he knew or reasonably should have known of the possible risks of personal injury,&rdquo; the Raani filing adds. &ldquo;By voluntarily undertaking to work with such substances, [Centeno] elected to accept such possible risks.&rdquo;</p><p>The company&rsquo;s position amounts to &ldquo;pouring more acid on an open wound,&rdquo; Stephan D. Blandin, an attorney for Centeno&rsquo;s survivors, said.</p><p>&ldquo;The family has been trying to get over Carlos&rsquo;s loss for well over a year now,&rdquo; Blandin said. &ldquo;Here is somebody who is pleading to be taken to the emergency room and they&rsquo;re intentionally denying him care. And they&rsquo;re blaming him for it now. It&rsquo;s just reprehensible.&rdquo;</p><p>Raani&rsquo;s filing also denies the family&rsquo;s claim that Centeno&rsquo;s employer was Ron&rsquo;s Staffing Services Inc., a temporary-staffing firm based in Northbrook that assigned him to the factory. The family&rsquo;s claim, experts say, is crucial for expanding damages beyond workers&rsquo; compensation, a form of insurance that Illinois requires of employers.</p><p>&ldquo;Ron&rsquo;s Staffing is the employer,&rdquo; said Leone José Bicchieri, executive director of the Chicago Workers Collaborative, a group that advocates for temporary workers. &ldquo;It has the W-2s. It pays the worker. It is in charge of workers&rsquo; comp and all aspects of employment.&rdquo;</p><p>Client companies such as Raani&nbsp;are happy shifting employment responsibility to a staffing agency such as&nbsp;Ron&rsquo;s&nbsp;until a worker is injured,&nbsp;Bicchieri said. &ldquo;Now, suddenly, the client company says it is the direct employer. This is just a game of ping-pong.&rdquo;</p><p>H. Patrick Morris, Raani&rsquo;s attorney in the case, did not return WBEZ&rsquo;s calls for comment after filing the company&rsquo;s answer to the suit.</p><p>Jeffrey Kehl, a lawyer for Ron&rsquo;s Staffing, has declined to comment about the case.</p><p>Raani is also contesting the OSHA citations, six of which the agency classified as willful, indicating &ldquo;plain indifference&rdquo; toward employee safety and health. The agency says it has made no decision on whether it will refer the case to the U.S. Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution.</p><p>OSHA hadn&rsquo;t inspected the Raani factory for 18 years before the Centeno incident.&nbsp;The WBEZ and Center for Public Integrity investigation found that the federal government is not keeping close track of temporary-worker injuries.</p><p><em>The <a href="http://www.publicintegrity.org/">Center for Public Integrity</a>&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.publicintegrity.org/authors/jim-morris">Jim Morris</a> contributed reporting.</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 16:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/company-temporary-worker-blame-his-fatal-burns-104753