Records of the Rhode Island Committee on Occupational Safety and Health
Records, 1973-2000. Bulk, 1978-1989.
Size: 5 ft.
Catalog number: MSS 1138
Processed by: Rick Stattler, March 2004
©Rhode Island Historical Society
The Rhode Island Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (RICOSH) is a private non-profit group working in partnership with trade unions and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to improve workplace safety through education and regulation. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened in 1971. Rhode Island organizers were inspired by local committees in Philadelphia and Massachusetts that attempted to ensure enforcement of OSHA regulations, and began meeting to form RICOSH in late 1976. The organization hired its first staff member in 1977, Dave Snapp in the position of Coordinator. It rented its first office in 1978. Jim Celenza, who has been active in RICOSH since joining its board in October of 1977, is presently the Executive Director. RICOSH published a newsletter over the years, under various titles: "Rhode Island Health and Safety News" (1978-1982), "RICOSH Job Safety and Health" (1983-1997) and "The RICOSH Quarterly" (2001-present).
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Scope and content:
The bulk of these files date from 1978 to 1989. Some of the OSHA reports on various job sites date back to 1973, predating RICOSH. Some of the files contain records as late as 2000. This collection documents an important movement in American labor history, as workers became increasingly concerned with long-term health and safety issues in the workplace. The collection offers detailed information about a variety of hazards including asbestos, toxic chemicals, lead, and video display terminals. A central focus was securing compliance with "Right to Know" laws regarding chemicals. The collection includes files on 42 specific work sites, including OSHA reports, "Right to Know" petitions from workers, background research, and other material. Also of interest are the Executive Board minutes and notes, which appear fairly complete from 1976 to 1994, and which include far more of the flavor of the institutional dynamics than most minutes. The organization's periodic outreach work to immigrant communities can also be seen throughout, particularly in the early board minutes, the Hispanic jewelry workers outreach in 1981, and a Refugee Employment and Training Subcommittee in 1984-1985.
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These records were donated by RICOSH in 2004.
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This collection is not fully processed. The original folders from RICOSH are still in use, often with cryptic headings. Files have been alphabetized by folder title, but still mostly need to be rehoused in acid-free boxes and folders. Ideally, newspaper clippings should be copied onto archival paper, and staples and paper clips should be removed.
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Asbestos (3 folders)
Beard hearings testimony, 1979-1980
Cancer registry (2 folders)
Comp book expenses and income, 1981
Correspondence (3 folders)
COSH (Committees on Occupational Safety and Health) national conferences:
National co-ordination and format
#1, Philadelphia 1977
#2, Philadelphia, Spring 1978
#3, New York City, Fall 1978
#4, Providence, 1979
#5, Greenville SC, 1980
Electrical workers (2 folders)
Executive Board minutes, 1976-1995 (11 folders)
Financial statements, 1978-1981
Flyers (2 folders)
Health and safety actions
Health and Technical Committee (2 folders)
Injured Workers of Rhode Island (IWORI) (2 folders)
Jewelry workers (10 folders), including Hispanic outreach folder, 1981
Lead (3 folders)
Liability (4 folders)
Media outreach efforts
Membership lists - individual
Monthly reports, 1980-1994
New worker background and press
Newspaper clippings, mostly 1985-1987 (4 folders)
Occupational Disease Committee (2 folders)
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) lobbying efforts (3 folders)
OSHA - anti-OSHA materials
Provide technical assistance
Public sector / public workers training and committee (5 folders)
Refugee Employment and Training Subcommittee, 1984-1985 (2 folders)
Rhode Island College course
RICOSH conference (2 folders)
RILA (Rhode Island Lung Association) collaborations, 1977-1983 (2 folders)
RIWU (Rhode Island Workers Union) Local 76
"Right to Know" outreach and research (13 folders)
"Right to Know" outreach and research (3 folders)
Schneider hazardous waste hearings, 1981
Schweiker-Breaux amendments (2 folders)
Service log, unions
Solvent Substitution Working Group, 1986-1991 (6 folders)
Staff reports, meetings and records, 1979-1988 (5 folders)
Strategy - early days
Training notebook (3 folders)
Union membership, 1984-1990 (4 folders)
USWA (United Steelworkers Association) Local 7255
VDT (Video Display Terminal) efforts (4 folders)
Workers compensation series, Providence Journal, 1992
Box 5 - Worksite files
American Hoerchst / Teamsters 64
American Tourister / Leathergoods Local 68
Anson Inc. - OSHA report, 1975
Blue Cross VDT survey
Bojar Co.- OSHA report, 1976
Brown & Sharpe
Builders Iron Foundry / United Steelworkers Local 5299
Cable Electric / IBEW Local 1444
Ciba-Geigy / Brotherhood of Chemical Workers
Classical High School air quality survey, 1995
Collyer Insulated Wire / IBEW Local 1098
Coro Co.- OSHA report, 1974
Danecraft - OSHA report, 1973
Davol Manufacturing / Rubberworkers Local 911
Dieges & Clust - OSHA report, 1974
Electric Boat (3 folders)
Electric Boat - OSHA report, 1979
Eticam hazardous waste contingency plan, Warwick R.I., 1988
Federal Chain - OSHA report, 1975
General Electric / IUE Local 283
Health-Tex (2 folders)
Imperial Wallcoverings / Paperworkers Locals 1468 and 878
Kaiser Aluminum / URW Local 339
Metalart Buckle - OSHA report, 1975
Newport city workers VDT survey
Providence Gravure - Material safety data sheets, circa 1985
Speidel - OSHA report, 1974
Star City Glass
Stillman White Co.- OSHA report, 1980
Surface Coating Co.- OSHA report, 1980
Tercat Toll & Die - OSHA reports, 1974, 1975
Uncas Manufacturing - OSHA reports, 1974, 1978
Union Tool Co.- OSHA report, 1973
United Pearl Co.- OSHA report, 1976
United Products - OSHA report, 1975
United Wire Supply
University of Rhode Island VDT survey
Valley Metal Stamping - OSHA report, 1974
Victor Electric / IBEW Local 2014
Whitman Products / ACTWU Local 1712
Woonsocket city workers / IAE Local 1
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Asbestos - Information services - Rhode Island.
Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Company.
Builders Iron Foundry.
Chemicals - Labeling - Rhode Island.
Classical High School (Providence, R.I.)
Collyer Insulated Wire .
Committees on Occupational Safety and Health.
Dieges & Clust.
Electricians - Rhode Island.
Eticam (Warwick R.I.)
General Electric Company.
Hispanic Americans - Rhode Island.
Industrial safety - Rhode Island.
Injured Workers of Rhode Island.
Jewelers - Rhode Island.
Labor unions - Rhode Island.
Newport (R.I.) - Employees.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Providence Gravure Inc. (Providence, R.I.)
Refugees - Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Lung Association.
Rhode Island Workers Union, Local 76.
Star City Glass.
Stillman White Co.
Surface Coating Co.
Tercat Toll & Die.
Union Tool Co.
United Pearl Co.
United Products Corporation (Providence, R.I.)
United Wire Supply.
University of Rhode Island.
Valley Metal Stamping.
Video display terminals.
Woonsocket, R.I. - Employees.
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