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

[Those killed in factory fires are] an infinitesimal proportion of the population.

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Robert Dowling, NYC real estate man, and voice of business on the Factory Investigating Committee. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

One month [after the law took effect] a special edition of the Federal Register was published containing close to 250 pages of safety and health standards. Businessmen were given three months to familiarize themselves with these standards before the majority of them were to be effective.

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Richard B. Berman, Chamber of Commerce, Testimony, the Select Subcommittee on Labor of the House Committee on Education and Labor.

There will no doubt be cases where the technology is available to reduce levels to two fibers, but where the cost involved would make a particular product line either no longer profitable or no longer competitive on the open market....In these cases, the plant or manufacturing operation would also be shut down.

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Matthew M. Swetonic, Executive Secretary of the Asbestos Information Association
03/15/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

[The ergonomics standard is a] overbroad, overdrawn, bureaucratic mess.

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Sen. Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.), From Wall St. Journal.

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.