It is well worth the free registration at the New York Times to read the powerful three-part series entitled "When Workers Die."
These articles raise the issue of an employer's liability for willful neglect of safety procedures leading to a workplace death. They also make the case that OSHA has woefully failed in its mandate to protect workers by its reluctance to hold employers accountable for preventable deaths. Particularly egregious are the instances where there is little to no accountability for even those employers with serial fatalities. Are workplace deaths regarded as "fate" or "an accident" much in the way that auto deaths from drunken driving were once tolerated before prosecutions became the norm?
Increasingly, states are stepping in to hold employers accountable, most notably in California. Part three of the series examines the impact that one employer prosecution has had in raising safety awareness in the state's dairy industry.
Part 1: A Trench Caves In; a Young Worker Is Dead. Is It a Crime?
Part 2: U.S. Rarely Seeks Charges for Deaths in Workplace
Part 3: California Leads in Making Employer Pay for Job Deaths
Access all three parts and related links.
Other related resources
12/16/03 PA - Worker Dies in Wall Collapse
12/18/03 RI - Firm Tied to Death Fined Again
12/18/03 FL - City Worker Narrowly Escapes Death
Trench safety: A Tutorial for Constructors
OSHA: Trenching and Excavation
OSHA: Confined Spaces