Workplace Safety

Workplace Safety

Death, injury, and illness haunt the American workplace. Although injury and deaths rates have fallen over the last 40 years an average of 12 workers still die on the job every day. More than 50,000 workers die every year from occupational illnesses. Tragedies like the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, which killed 146 workers created public demand for workplace safety laws.  Recent disasters such as the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine and Deepwater Horizon Oil rig continue to show the need for stronger health and safety standards and enforcement.

Commentary

Hotel housekeepers are repeatedly injured on the job.

Cutting Back on Housekeepers' Heavy Lifting

August 02, 2011

"What did we set up the government for?"

May 31, 2011
Triangle Fire Tragedy

The Fire Last Time

March 12, 2011
US Capitol building

Darrel Issa’s Government Handover

January 05, 2011

Cry Wolf Quotes

Serves to drive independent contractors out of business and inhibit the ability of small business to survive by making the business liable for actions of a contractor. Small business and contractors who become small businesses are taking up the slack from corporate downsizing and contribute greatly to the prosperity of the state.

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Letter from Ronald D. Long, Director of Human Resources, M.C. Gill Corporation.

It is the firm opinion of technical experts in our engineering and production departments that we could not continue to operate our plants and contemporaneously meet the proposed OSHA standard of ‘no detectable level’ of vinyl chloride.

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Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation representative, Raymond J. Abramowitz.

As the dust would be ubiquitous, complete vacuum cleaning of a posted construction would be a daily occurrence. This monstrous task would be a nightmare and totally unfeasible. Alternately, enclosures to capture dust are equally unfeasible.

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Thomas J. Gryl, National Safety Director for Brand Insulations Inc.
02/11/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

We must all be aware of one very basic fact: all, absolutely all, chemicals are potentially toxic substances….The key, as I have previously stated, is the quantitative level, the concentration at which any chemical substance is present. Thus anything, I repeat anything, present in an excessive amount is a toxic substance. You cannot legislate against every conceivable chemical substance and therefore, the need for a truly meaningful definition for a toxic substance should be evident.

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Richard Kiefer Jr., corporate safety director of the McCloskey Varnish Company.

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

Dying To Know: A Historical Analysis of the Right-To-Know Movement

This survey provides a sweeping analysis of the right-to-know movement in America.

2011 Death on the Job

The AFL-CIO's annual report about death, illness, and injury at work.

Health and Safety at Work in Europe (1999-2007): A Statistical Portrait

An extraordinarily detailed report that gives a good idea of just how far behind the U.S. in comparison to other developed nations.

Gauging Control Technology and Regulatory Impacts in Occupational Safety and Health

Information on multiple OSHA regulations and their costs. In almost every case, the regulations were far cheaper than the agency estimated.

Resources

University of California-Berkeley Labor Center carries out research on labor and workplace-related issues.

Institute for Women’s Policy Research is a prominent think tank that is largely focused on American women's issues. This covers everything from pay equity to welfare reform to domestic violence.

The Service Employees International Union represents workers the public sector and a variety of industries in the United States.

Occupational Safety and Health Agency is responsible for government oversight of workplace health and safety. They can issue regulations and conduct investigations of specific industries and workplaces.