6 comments to “When a Workplace Tragedy is Also a Crime”

  1. Dina Padilla

    As long as employers are not held accountable by law enforcement, employees will get hurt with complete disregard. After all, harming workers or creating the circumstances for them dying on the job increases profit for the employer. This is what workers comp is all about for with those who are employed in or by the workers compensation system. Why correct a system that feeds so many other than injured or dead workers?
    OSHA is worthless when it has to make any argument to not prosecute or fine an employer that has multiple complaints Certainly trying to get OSHA to take a complaint is another story. Trying to get county DA’s to do their job is a total waste of time because it is the employers who pay them, They are not going to bite the hand that feeds them. I would also mention that this is a huge conflict of interest but who actually cares about morals & principles anymore in the corporate world or in law enforcement or that matter, in our own government.
    Yes, corporations do run the country and corporations own Congress, one of the biggest waste’s of government spending. Corporations have increased their profit on injured & dead workers but again, who cares enough to do anything about it?
    Employers will keep on doing what they do, profiting off of injured and dead workers until our legislators get a conscience rather than a stuffed wallet fro employers and do what is best for our workers.

  2. Steven K.

    Too much priority and concessions are provided to the businesses whose incentive is profit. But, contracts are not decided on the cost alone. Contracts promise management and safety processes are in place, functioning, and monitor

    More emphasis is needed that all contractual obligations continue to be met and not divert all attention the “bottom-line” which is usually not given as a priority for award. Management creates the environment and culture and outcomes are 85-99% (Deming) dependent on management decisions, not the worker.

  3. RGS, CSP

    Unfortunately, an agenda is more important than facts to these authors. Per the BLS News Release linked in the article:

    – Of the 4,585 fatal occupational injuries in 2014, 1,891 (40%) of them were due to transportation incidents, not in factories or other physical work places under the observationa and direction of a supervisor. 57% of the transporation incidents were roadway incidents, but another 17% (313) were pedestrians.
    – Included in the overall number is 749 (17%) workplace homicides and suicides.
    – Approximately 23% (1,047) of the fatalities were self-employed workers. (Who supervises them?)

    As a career Occupational Safety & Health professional, I take offense when a collegiate attorney and an academic analyst try to paint every fatal injury as the result of some supervisor, manager or executive’s egregious action. Are there those cases? Certainly. Are they as common as the writers would like us to believe after reading this? No.

    In addition, local prosecutors, like all organizations, have limited resources to allocate. There must be evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the accused actions were (1) knowing and (2) negligent to proceed with any criminal case. Add to this that just because Fed. OSHA or a State Plan alledges a willfull violation in it’s citation, doesn’t mean that the allegation holds up in court or during settlement negotiations. And without a sustained willfull violation of the OSH Act, how does a local prosecuter proceed?

    Finally, no incident in the workplace is the result of a single action or precursor. They are almost always the result of multiple factors coming together in the wrong way at the wrong time. Today’s first aid case could be tomorrow’s fatality. Those of us who work daily in the OHS field understand this and constantly work to keep it in everyones mind.

  4. Brad

    Personal safety device that could save many lives. www.http://redfoxenterprises.com

  5. Kevin

    Beyond this commentary, who will hold OSHA and state attorneys accountable?
    Who are the criminals?

  6. Marcia Peters

    Important article! I wonder if the workers compensation system, mandated no-fault, bears any relationship to this problem. The injured workers or dead workers’ estates cannot sue. You’d hope that would make them push even more for criminal prosecution, but maybe not, maybe they just disengage. Of course the real problem is just that corporations run the country and the legal system.

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