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.


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

[On why they don’t have medical inspections of their workers] In every case where the men have claimed to have been infected or affected by the lead they were intemperate men…[Meaning:] A man that drank a good deal of beer. …the other men who worked longer at it, who don’t drink, are not affected by it.

Clarence F. Shipman, foreman at the Splitdorf Magneto Company (lead).
03/01/1912 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

The bill produces no protection for legitimate industry trade secrets, the disclosure of which would not be necessary to protect health or the environment.

Robert Vogel, chief regulatory counsel of the Rohm and Haas Company.

Labeling all pipes and containers could cost the chemical industry $100 million a year.

Garth Fort, lobbyist for the Monsanto Company.
08/30/1983 | Full Details | Law(s): Right To Know

We think the message here is that legislation that is punitive toward business and heedless of the impact on the economy of this City adds to the flight of business investment. The results of this are greater economic stagnation, fewer jobs, and deterioration in the public health and welfare.

President of the W.N. Stevenson Company and representative of the Northeastern Chemical Distributors Council.


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.


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.