Monday, February 29, 2016

Is Formaldehyde in your home?

Recently, there has been a lot of uproar over wood products imported from China. Lumber Liquidators, a company featured on 60 Minutes has stopped importing these types of products.

"Lumber Liquidators is a U.S. company, but much of its laminate flooring was made in China. And as we discovered when we first reported this story in March, it may fail to meet health and safety standards, because it contains high levels of formaldehyde, a known cancer-causing chemical. Lumber Liquidators has insisted ever since our report that its Chinese-made laminate flooring is safe, but it doesn't appear that way based on what we learned from our own reporting and from the work of people like Denny Larson."

It should come as no surprise to readers of this blog that The Sliding Door Company's laminated wood products must come under suspicion here.  They have several choices of laminated wood panels from China which are used in their doors. In the closet doors from their website - shown below, there is as much laminated wood as glass.

I was The Sliding Door Company's R&D Manager.  I know this product.  It STINKS. No seriously - it literally smells like chemicals.  But don't take my word for it.  If you have a TSDC product in your home that has laminated wood, go smell it.  I'll wait...

See?  Those fumes are from the chemicals (glue) used to laminate the wood.  Is it safe to have these doors emitting chemicals into your home? Nobody knows.  

There are ways to test Formaldehyde levels in the home, however.  The article below describing the test kit came out TODAY!

How to test for Formaldehyde in your home

Formaldehyde can be found in a number of products, including particleboard, plywood, paneling, pressed-wood products, urea formaldehyde foam insulation, some synthetic fabrics (especially permanent press), shampoos, cigarette smoke, fuel burning appliances, kerosene space heaters and some cosmetics.
To test for the presence of formaldehyde, the VA, Armed Forces, healthcare facilities, and some of the largest industrial corporations throughout the world have used vapor monitor badges, such as the Formaldehyde Screen Check, for over 25 years.
This DIY test kit can be used to measure personal exposure or room exposure in homes or businesses. It is easy to use and inexpensive, and because it is analyzed by an accredited laboratory, results are data-validated for accuracy. Customers receive a written lab report of their sample results.

For consumers who have installed Chinese laminate wood products in their home, it certainly can't hurt to take the test. FAQ

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Know your Rights!

Can your boss legally bully you when you file a product safety complaint?

No, of course your boss can't do that.  That's called "retaliation" and it's against the law.

OSHA’s whistleblower statutes protect you from retaliation. An employer cannot retaliate by taking "adverse action" against workers who report injuries, safety concerns, or other protected activity.


Protection from workplace retaliation means that an employer cannot take an "adverse action" against workers, such as:
  • Firing or laying off
  • Blacklisting
  • Demoting
  • Denying overtime or promotion
  • Disciplining
  • Denial of benefits
  • Failure to hire or rehire
  • Intimidation/harassment
  • Making threats
  • Reassignment affecting prospects for promotion
  • Reducing pay or hours

To ensure workplace and consumer safety, OSHA helps whistle-blowers punish companies that put consumers and employees at risk.  Below are a few of the cases OSHA has successfully won since 2015.  The Sliding Door Company may be on this list soon...

Whistleblower cases in the news:

February 2016
  • February 22 [Region 2 News Release] -2016 - 02/22/2016 - US Labor Department sues Niagara Falls employer for firing employee who raised safety concerns at Buffalo demolition site
  • February 09 [Region 2 News Release] - 2016 - 02/09/2016 - Morris County contractor ignored municipal safety concern,willfully exposed workers to dangers of possible trench cave-in
January 2016
  • January 21 [Region 2 News Release] -2016 - 01/21/2016 - New York trucking company fired driver for reporting truck safety concerns
December 2015
  • December 09 [Region 7 News Release] -2015 - 12/09/2015 - Worker wrongfully terminated after workplace injury, company ordered to pay more than $332K in back wages and damages, as well as attorney's fees
  • December 02 [Region 1 News Release] - 2015 - 12/02/2015 - Connecticut manufacturer unlawfully discharged employees for filing OSHA safety and health complaints, US Labor Department charges
  • December 01 [Region 2 News Release] - 2015 - 12/01/2015 - Bronx hair salon must pay $165K to fired employee who warned co-workers of formaldehyde hazards
November 2015
  • November 09 [Trade News Release] -2015 - 11/09/2015 - OSHA publishes final rule for handling retaliation complaints from workers in railroad and public transportation industries
  • November 06 [Trade News Release] - 2015 - 11/06/2015 - OSHA requests comments on guidance document that addresses whistleblower retaliation
October 2015
  • October 26 [Trade News Release] -2015 - 10/26/2015 - OSHA will hold a meeting of the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee
  • October 05 [Region 10 News Release] - 2015 - 10/05/2015 - Federal judge orders Idaho, employer to pay $100 for retaliating against employee who told OSHA of safety concerns
September 2015
  • September 03 [Region 8 News Release] -2015 - 09/03/2015 - Legal Life Plans Inc. ordered to pay $119K in wages, damages to whistle-blowing worker fired after reporting securities fraud
August 2015
  • August 19 [Trade News Release] -2015 - 08/19/2015 - OSHA directive explains new process to assist early resolution of whistleblower complaints
  • August 04 [Region 6 News Release] - 2015 - 08/04/2015 - U.S. Labor Department sues Continental Alloys and Services Inc. in Houston for wrongfully firing an employee
July 2015
  • July 16 [Region 10 News Release] -2015 - 07/16/2015 - Pacific Northwest trucking company retaliates against sick, tired drivers again
  • July 09 [Region 5 News Release] - 2015 - 07/09/2015 - US Labor Department files suit to reinstate John Deere employee dismissed for reporting unsafe working conditions
June 2015
  • June 17 [Region 10 News Release] -2015 - 06/17/2015 - Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway must reinstate injured conductor and pay $536K in damages for retaliation
April 2015
  • April 13 [Region 9 News Release] -2015 - 04/13/2015 - Union Pacific Railroad retaliates against another injured worker
  • April 08 [Region 1 News Release] - 2015 - 04/08/2015 - Court orders dentist to pay $85K to employee fired for safety complaint
March 2015
  • March 27 [Trade News Release] -2015 - 03/27/2015 - OSHA will hold meeting of the Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee
  • March 24 [Region 2 News Release] - 2015 - 03/24/2015 - New York City Transit Authority retaliates against employee for participating in safety inspection and filing complaint, OSHA finds
  • March 19 [Region 5 News Release] - 2015 - 03/19/2015 - Fired for reporting hazards, whistleblower wins $33K settlement
  • March 17 [Region 7 News Release] - 2015 - 03/17/2015 - Culture of retaliation: Union Pacific Railroad disciplines locomotive engineer for reporting workplace injury, owes worker $350K in damages
  • March 06 [Trade News Release] - 2015 - 03/06/2015 - OSHA announces final rule on procedures for handling retaliation complaints under Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • March 04 [Region 9 News Release] - 2015 - 03/04/2015 - Core-Mark International must reinstate, pay more than $230K to employee fired for voicing driver safety concerns
  • March 04 [Region 10 News Release] - 2015 - 03/04/2015 - US Labor Department sues Idaho Falls school district after employee is fired for raising concerns about asbestos removal
  • March 03 [Region 2 News Release] - 2015 - 03/03/2015 - Bronx hair salon fired employee who warned co-workers of formaldehyde hazards, suit alleges
  • February 26 [Region 10 News Release] -2015 - 02/26/2015 - Federal judge orders US Postal Service to pay employee $229K in damages for whistleblower retaliation