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

[The law will be] unworkable, unmanageable, unadministratable, unenforceable and extraordinarily costly.

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Bruce Coe, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

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

Let me state, first, that achievement of a standard of 2 fibers per cc is not, at the present time, technically feasible in all areas of our manufacturing operations. Thus, I cannot estimate fully the total final economic impact on our business, or the total final capital investment required.

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Edward J. Killian, Vice President for Manufacturing Operations, Gold Bond Building products.
03/14/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

[T]he human factor is one of the most important causal elements involved in any accidental occurrence. It is estimated that 75 percent or more of all injuries from accidents result from a negligent or unsafe act on the part of the individual involved….The development of positive safety attitudes and safety effectiveness on the part of each individual employee is the most direct approach to the reduction of industrial accidents.

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Paul R. Hafer, National Association of Manufacturers, Testimony, Senate Subcommittee on Labor and Public Welfare.

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.