The AFL-CIO recently issued its 16th annual study of the state of safety and health protections for American workers, and its findings are disturbing.
American workers, who benefited from OSHA’s initial commitment to employee safety in the early 1970s, are more and more at risk from work related injury and death. The report found that there were more than 5,000 fatal work place accidents in 2005 “with significant increases in fatalities among Hispanic, Black or African-American, foreign-born and young workers.” The study identified a number of factors which have contributed to work place injuries and deaths; most notably the lack of commitment by the current administration to provide adequate funding to the agency and the completion of important work place safety standards.
The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure has lost meaning to employers and their insurers, as the federal government has failed to hold their feet to the fire in guaranteeing that American workers are provided with a safe environment to earn a living to support their families. American workers can address the failure of those who are responsible for work place safety by being proactive.
Many states, including Massachusetts, have departments and/or agencies dedicated to labor and public safety. Although many of these agencies have also been under funded, they may be more responsive to a local need than the federal government that has not placed a premium on worker safety. When an unsafe condition or practice at a job exists, contact these agencies and voice your concerns. If the agency does not take action, then contact your local elected official, mayor, state representative or senator. Let them know that you and your co-workers are being exposed to unreasonable risk of injury.
When government investigators respond to address an unsafe work place condition or practice, cooperate with them. Your cooperation may lead to changes which promote job site safety, a goal to which employees, employers and insurers all must contribute.
The void created by the Federal Government’s failure to devote resources to promote the safety of American workers is inexcusable. For many, the time for prevention passes. These workers, needlessly injured by the refusal of employers to provide them with a safe work place, are increasingly forced to turn to an experienced lawyer who has dealt with negligent, and regrettably in some instances, reckless employers. If your employer has failed to provide you with a safe work place, and you have been injured as a result, you will need someone to provide you with the protection that your employer did not give to you.
To read more about the AFL-CIO’s report, click here.
Speak with a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
To speak with a highly experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, click here, or telephone Parker Scheer LLP seven days a week, toll free at 886-414-0400. There is no fee charged to discuss your case, and all information furnished will be kept strictly confidential.