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

To the extent that it makes the manufacture of asbestos materials in the United States technologically unfeasible or uneconomic, it will force the purchase abroad of products for which there is no-asbestos substitute, with consequential losses in profit, increases in unemployment, and deterioration in the nation’s balance of payments.

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Guy Gabrielson, Jr. President of Nicolet Industries, Incorporated
03/16/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

The human factor is the most important cause of accidents and injuries. It has been estimated that 75 to 85 percent of all such occurrences have been caused by a negligent or unsafe act on the part of an individual...This cannot be [fixed] through legislation.

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National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) representative Raymond M. Lyons. Testimony, House Select Subcommittee on Labor.

[Brown lung is] an allergy. If you are exposed to cotton dust and develop any kind of respiratory problem, it can be corrected providing you have not been exposed for a very very long period.

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Robert Small, President of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, America’s Textile Reporter Bulletin, August, 1978.

To expect well over half a million small businesses to adhere to these extensive requirements would be regulatory overkill.

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Frank S. Swain, Chief Counsel for Advocacy, of the Reagan’s Small Business Administration.

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.