The AFL-CIO recently published “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect”. The thrust of the report is that no worker should have to die in the workplace and risk their life to make a living because companies are permitted to save money by cutting corners on safety protections. Yet this is precisely what a lack of government oversight and enforcement has created. TheOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the government agency that inspects workplaces, can today only inspect a workplace once every 145 years. In 1992 they had the resources to inspect a workplace once every 84 years. This is no different than having a fire department that can only respond after the fire has burned down the house. No one would tolerate such a fire department, but such neglect has become acceptable in workplace safety.
Here are some disturbing statistics: Workplace violence particularly against women in healthcare is up 60% while job injuries have declined; fatalities among older workers has increased; fatalities among Latino workers is higher than the national rate; 50,000 – 60,000 workers died from occupational diseases like asbestosis, cancers and other respiratory conditions which were preventable if safety regulations were enforced.
Safety will not be enforced unless workers are willing to pursue their claims and rights under workers’ compensation laws that have been established for the benefit of workers and their families. Call an experienced attorney in workers’ compensation law to pursue your compensation and medical benefits and to make your workplace safer for you and your co-workers.
By Stuart Garson