Safety on the Job
In the U.S., weak protective regulations and lax enforcement, and the absence of unions in most workplaces has created an environment where worker safety can be threatened.
The Demolition of Workers’ Comp by Michael Grabell, ProPublica, and Howard Berkes, NPR. March 4, 2015. Many states have severely cut back on their workers compensation system (usually at the urging of corporations) with disastrous consequences for severely injured workers and read Tyson Foods’ Secret Recipe for Carving Up Workers’ Comp by Michael Grabell, ProPublica, December 11, 2015. Other reports about the destruction of Workers Compensation Insurance.
Poultry processing workers have very difficult jobs that come with low pay, few benefits, and dangerous working conditions. Read reports from Oxfam American, Lives on the Line, (enhanced video version here) and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Wages and Working Conditions in Arkansas Poultry Plants.
A recent report by the Center for Public Integrity shows that even in "model" worksites, problems exist. Also see the article, "Work-related Injuries Under-reported," and the report [3.82 MB] by the Government Accountability Office.
An extensively researched article in the New York Times revealed the dangers faced by oil and gas workers in transportation accidents. Many of these accidents are due, in part, to oil field exemptions from highway safety rules.
Read about the consequences of lax enforcement of safety standards.
Human Rights Watch reports that meatpacking and poultry workers perform the most dangerous factory jobs in the country. U.S. meat and poultry employers put workers at predictable risk of serious physical injury even though the means to avoid such injury are known and feasible.
Watch the PBS Frontline documentary on unnecessary deaths among workers on cellphone towers.
National Public Radio and the Center for Public Integrity report on the resurgence of black lung among coal miners.
The Center for Public Integrity, in a series called Hard Work, reports that farm workers suffer from exposure to often unknown pesticides.
Additional Sources of information from Organizations Working on these Issues
Center for Progressive Reform's project on Workers Rights