1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 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

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            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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Processing note:

            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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Box 1:

Activities file

Asbestos (3 folders)

Audiometry clinic

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

Education Committee

Electrical workers (2 folders)

Executive Board minutes, 1976-1995 (11 folders)

Fact sheets

Financial statements, 1978-1981

Flyers (2 folders)


Fund-raiser, 1982

Health and safety actions

Health-technical contacts

Box 2:

Health and Technical Committee (2 folders)

Hotline log

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 information

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)

Box 3:

OSHA - anti-OSHA materials

Political action

Program '82

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)

Box 4:

"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

Technical assistance

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

Mearthane Products

Metalart Buckle - OSHA report, 1975

Newport city workers VDT survey

Providence Gravure - Material safety data sheets, circa 1985

Seville Dyeing

Slater Dye

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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American Hoerchst.

American Tourister.

Anson Inc.

Asbestos - Information services - Rhode Island.

Blue Cross.

Bojar Co.

Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Company.

Builders Iron Foundry.

Cable Electric.

Celenza, James.

Chemicals - Labeling - Rhode Island.


Classical High School (Providence, R.I.)

Collyer Insulated Wire .

Committees on Occupational Safety and Health.

Coro Co.


Davol Manufacturing.

Dieges & Clust.

Electric Boat.

Electricians - Rhode Island.

Eticam (Warwick R.I.)

Federal Chain.

General Electric Company.


Hispanic Americans - Rhode Island.

Imperial Wallcoverings.

Industrial safety - Rhode Island.

Injured Workers of Rhode Island.

Jewelers - Rhode Island.

Kaiser Aluminum.

Labor unions - Rhode Island.

Mearthane Products.

Metalart Buckle.

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.

Seville Dyeing.

Slater Dye.



Star City Glass.

Stillman White Co.

Surface Coating Co.

Tercat Toll & Die.

Uncas Manufacturing.

Union Tool Co.

United Pearl Co.

United Products Corporation (Providence, R.I.)

United Wire Supply.

University of Rhode Island.

Valley Metal Stamping.

Victor Electric.

Video display terminals.

Whitman Products.

Woonsocket, R.I. - Employees.

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