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

If there is no danger of the airborne concentrations exceeding those provided in Section (a) of the standard, we feel that there should be no need to alarm employees with inflammatory arid suggestive signs. Industry would be opened up to hazard pay and workman’s compensation claims, even though no special care or protection is required in the workplace.

-
Bruce J. Phillips of Certain-Teed Products Corporation (an asbestos-cement pipe making company).
03/14/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

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.

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

All of us pay for OSHA’s failures. We pay as consumers when the goods we buy cost more in the marketplace. We pay as taxpayers with more and more whittled from our paychecks to fund an agency that is heavy on expenses but lean on results.

-
Chamber of Commerce staff report. 1979.

I have seen children working in factories, and I have seen them working at home and they were perfectly happy.

-
Mabel A. Clark, of the W.N. Clark Company. Superintendent, vice president, and stockholder. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

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.