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Ankin Law In The News

Workplace Safety Progress has Stagnated

June 11, 2015


Advocates concerned by what 2012 AFL-CIO Death on the Job Report Reveals


Chicago, IL, May 26, 2013 – We’ve seen a great deal of improvement in workplace safety since the 1970’s, enjoying steady progress, year after year. However, a recent report by the AFL-CIO, shows that progress has slowed to almost a standstill, despite the fact that many workers in this nation still endure harsh and dangerous working conditions.

As noted in the 2012 AFL-CIO Death on the Job Report, the number of recent workplace disasters clearly demonstrates that work is far from done when it comes to workplace safety in the United States. 2010 saw what the report referred to as “the worst coal mine disaster in 40 years,” when an explosion at West Virginia’s Massey Energy Upper Big Branch Mine resulted in the death of 29 miners.

That’s not the only well-known workplace disaster to grab national headlines in recent years. 2010 also saw the BP/Transocean oil rig explosion that killed 11 people and dumped a massive amount of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, as well as had a severe negative impact the Gulf Coast economy. There’s plenty of other workplace issues that don’t make the news, but impact local worker safety all the same.

The report cites a number of contributing factors to the recent stagnation of progress in achieving workplace safety improvement goals. OSHA doesn’t have the manpower it needs for work site inspections and regulatory enforcement. According to the AFL-CIO report data, with the current inspection staff, it would take OSHA 89 years to inspect each Illinois workplace once– and Illinois is one of the better off states. In Louisiana, it would take 209 years to inspect each site.

Budget problems, cut-backs that have helped reduce standards, and soft penalties that provide little incentive for meaningful change are among the other factors noted in the report. The fundamental assessment of the report was that the Occupational Safety and Health Act is now “out of date” and should be replaced with the Protecting America’s Workers Act, which addresses the factors that are contributing to the slow down of worker safety progress.

Throughout the modern era of workers rights and safety struggles, law suits have been an important agent of change when it comes to gaining real protections for workers. If you’ve experienced a work-related injury or or have been hurt by a failure to meet safety guidelines, a Chicago personal injury attorney may be able to help. Dial (844) 600-0000 to set up a consultation with an experienced personal injury and workers compensation Ankin Law Office attorney.