209274 Green buildings, green jobs - implications for worker health

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:00 AM

Linda Delp, PhD , Labor Occupational Safety & Health Program, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
This paper explores the issue of green jobs from a worker health perspective. The concept of a green economy has taken the US by storm with the promise of simultaneously addressing economic and environmental crises. New reports are generated on an almost daily basis some glorify green jobs; others stress the need for green jobs that are also good jobs, emphasizing wages, benefits, and, at times, the right to organize. Rarely, however, is worker health explicitly included in the formula of good, green jobs. This presentation will summarize findings of research on a green building retrofit policy conducted in Los Angeles through a unique university-labor-community collaboration including building trades and public sector unions, community and environmental justice organizations. Rooted in organizing for policy change through an equity and social justice lens, this participatory action research explores the challenges and possibilities of implementing a green building retrofit ordinance that includes worker health and safety education and protections in its implementation. Case studies document areas of convergence and divergence between worker health and environmental protection; recommendations are posed to integrate occupational health into workforce development programs, public policy initiatives and project labor and local hire agreements. Findings also highlight the importance of a lifecycle analysis of the manufacture and use of green building products to guard against the exploitation and exposures of workers and communities in a global context.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to: - Identify areas of convergence and divergence between jobs, the environment and worker health - Apply principles of equity and social justice to a green building case study

Keywords: Occupational Health, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Research and faculty for course, Green Collar Jobs, Green Buildings & Social Justice: Pathway to a Sustainable City
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.