Labor advocates are trying to draw more awareness to workplace safety stating that hazardous conditions in workplaces receive far less attention from the media and the public than they should. According to a labor reporter for In These Times in a Washington Post op-ed, workplace accidents killed 4,609 Americans in 2011, whereas terrorist attacks killed 17 people in 2011.
This issue was brought forward when the media and the public paid more attention to the bombings at the Boston marathon than the explosion at a factory in West, Texas, that killed 14 people and injured 200 more people. One New York Times op-ed writer wrote that once the accident in Texas was deemed an industrial accident, the hysterical coverage tapered off. The workplace accident was not deemed as attention-grabbing as the bombings, which were the first major terrorists attacks on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11 attacks. One author even stated that history shows that the public is generally more interested in unusual and dramatic crime and something that is violent and occurs infrequently.
However, the news of the plant in Texas is still considered jarring by some people. The fertilizer plant stored tons of potentially explosive chemicals, but regulators may have failed to realize the potential danger for years. The company’s emergency response plan claimed that there was no risk of fire or explosion at the plant. Although Americans are much less likely to die in workplace accidents than they were 20 years ago, in jobs like construction, driving, warehousing and mining the rate of workplace deaths is still relatively high.
People may file for workers’ compensation if they have a work-related injury or if their loved one died as a result of unsafe work conditions. Those wanting to file for workers’ compensation might want to consider retaining the services of a lawyer who can help them prove and negotiate their cases to ensure that they receive fair compensation.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Workplace accidents are hundreds of times more likely to kill Americans than terrorist attacks,” Apr. 24, 2013