Each year thousands of workers die as result of on-the-job injuries and illness. While these people will never be forgotten by their families, it is still important to take a day to pay our respects to those who sacrificed their own lives so the rest of society could live their lives in a way in which we have all become accustomed.
This Workers’ Memorial Day, labor officials in Massachusetts listed the names of 62 workers who died in the past 16 months while working throughout our state.
A recent news article from Mass Live says this amounts to approximately one death per week – deaths that could have been prevented if there was a greater set of safety regulations, according to the director of the National Council for Occupational Health and Safety (COSH).
Workers’ Memorial Day is observed in April each year, as this was the time of year when legislatures passed the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970. The act’s passage allowed for the creation for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and its partner agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
As our Boston workplace injury attorneys can explain, NIOSH works with other agencies to set national standards and regulations to improve workplace safety, and OSHA is responsible for conducting investigations following an industrial accident in which a worker is seriously injured or killed on the job, and, if investigations reveal violations of regulations and policies, fines or otherwise sanctions employers found to be in violation.
One of the main reasons safety regulations are not followed is because it is perceived compliance will be more costly than simply taking a chance with employee safety. If an employee is injured on the job, or even killed, employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy will defend the claim and pay any necessary compensation.
While it would be nice if all employer’s valued workers’ safety more than profits, this is not always the case, and it is difficult to change these behaviors. Fines may work, but they are a reactive remedy after a workers’ life has already been altered by an on-the-job injury or work-related illness.
In response to this, Massachusetts COSH is trying to appeal to employers’ concern for lost profit. They want employers to realize a key employee provides value to the company. With a skilled employee, production is more efficient, and things run smoother, which means employer makes more money. If that employee is injured or killed, not only will employer face higher premiums for workers’ compensation insurance and have to pay a deductible, they will suffer severe reductions in production until a new employee can be trained and gains necessary experience to replace injured employee. This means lost profits.
While it may be somewhat costly to hire a safety manager and adhere to all regulations, this would allow trained employees to remain at work, as they will not be injured, which in turn will be more profitable to the company than ignoring safety regulations. It would also prevent employers from being sanctioned for violating the law.
If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim: (617) 777-7777.
2015 Workers’ Memorial Day recognizes 62 Massachusetts residents killed on the job , April 24, 2015, Mass Live
More Blog Entries:
Frith v. WSI – Proving Worsening Condition Is Related to Work Injury, May 27, 2014, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog