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

Right-to-Know: Much Pain, Little Gain [for Small Businesses]

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The title of an article by Kevin L. Bromberg, Assistant Chief Counsel for Energy and Environment at the Bush Administration’s Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. Only date available: September/October 1988.

Such a label would surely spell the demise of a number of major product lines of the industry....there is no doubt that our competitors will attempt to take advantage of the situation by encouraging the public to avoid asbestos-containing products because of the potential health hazards implied in the warning label, even though to the customer no such hazard exists.

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Matthew M. Swetonic, Executive Secretary of the Asbestos Information Association. [OSHA would place a label on every product containing more than 5% asbestos by weight reading: “Do not breath dust--may cause asbestosis and cancer”.]
03/15/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

The vast majority of accidents result from human failings. No amount of legislation against employers is going to stop an employee who decides to take a short cut in his job or to shed his steel-toed shoes or safety helmet.

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Chamber of Commerce magazine, Nation’s Business. April, 1968.

In reviewing the proposed form mandated by S.51, it appears that much of the information required would not be useable….[and] The costs to small businesses of measuring such emissions would be staggering.

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B. Michel Robin, chairman of Government Affairs, Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association.

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.