You would not think, in the 21st century, that workers would still die simply because they are doing their job. It’s deeply unfortunate, but the distressing fact is that workers die every day, especially where employers are not practicing legally mandated safety. Fatal injuries on the job rose from 2013, when they were 4,585, to 4,836 in 2015. The Latino/Latina rate of workplace fatalities also rose from 3.7 to 4.0 for every 100,000 full-time employees. This ethnic group suffers the biggest ratio of workplace deaths.
A 2012 white paper by OSHA reported that the human price of fatalities also has a monetary cost. By their figures, the 4,836 fatalities in 2015 placed a burden of roughly $420 billion on all of us.
Because in this day and age shocking work fatalities still happen, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) has assembled a list of companies with lousy safety records that they have named “The Dirty Dozen.” Any company on the list has shown a marked indifference to employee safety and health, with multiple violations on their record, along with serious employee injuries and deaths.
The Dirty Dozen for 2017
Leading the list of the Dirty Dozen is a company that used substandard trenching, with two workers dying as a result. The quotation that forms the title for this blog article, “He died standing,” refers to one of the workers who, because the trench filled so quickly, was found in a standing position. Atlantic Drain Services of Roslindale (a neighborhood of Boston), Massachusetts, so shocked the locals that the city of Boston no longer issues work permits to companies that have repeat OSHA violations. Additionally, the state government is discussing increasing corporate manslaughter penalties to $250,000—from $1,000.
Another notable member of this dubious list is Nissan USA of Franklin, Tennessee. The corporation has seen five of its employees die over five years. Furthermore, they have a known reputation for treating their workers badly. At a Mississippi plant, one worker claimed that her supervisors would not allow her to leave the production line to visit the site’s clinic; as a result, she finished her shift and then drove herself to the emergency room. The same worker said that she had seen others crying from serious injuries who did not leave the line because they feared they would lose their jobs.
Yet another company was indicted for reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter because of a worker’s death in a chemical explosion. Environmental Enterprises of Spring Grove, Ohio, has been characterized by OSHA as having no concern whatsoever for any employee’s safety.
Rounding out the Dirty Dozen for 2017 are:
- Dollar General, of Goodlettsville, TN
- PrimeFlight, of Nashville, TN
- California Cartage, of Long Beach, CA
- Valley Garlic of Coalinga, CA/X-Treme AG of Kerman, CA
- Fuyao Glass America of Dayton, OH
- Pilgrim’s Pride of Greeley, CO
- TransAm Trucking in Olathe, KS
- Samsung in Seoul, South Korea.
Persistence is Needed
The former deputy assistant secretary for OSHA, Jordan Barab, has gone on record as stating that he sees a move away from strong enforcement of worker safety and health regulations. Inevitably, such a trend would result in an ever greater number of injuries and fatalities. Barab characterized a proposed significant budget cut for OSHA as “pennywise and pound foolish,” stating, “Preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the workplace not only reduces a terrible toll of human suffering – it also saves billions of dollars for employers and taxpayers.” Barab’s estimates of billions are backed up by figures from the insurance company Liberty Mutual.
The upshot is that we need to persist with strong enforcement of health and safety laws through OSHA, other federal agencies, and state agencies. To do anything less will result in innocent workers dying, a heartbreaking and costly loss to all of us.
Injured on the Job? Call A Local Baltimore Work Injury Lawyer.
Many situations can place employees at risk, including exposure to dangerous machinery, to caustic and toxic substances, or to conditions that could result in a horrifying end for workers. Steve Heisler has devoted 25 years to helping injured people and their families pursue compensation from those who caused them injury. Steve approaches each case with compassion and thorough investigation, leaving no stone unturned in his goal of obtaining justice for persons harmed by the actions or inactions of negligent employers, manufacturers and sub-contractors. If you or your loved one has been injured or killed in a work-related accident anywhere in Maryland, call the Baltimore injury lawyers of the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler today at 1-410-625-4878, or use our online contact form. The initial consultation is always free.