The recent industrial explosion in Texas has pushed workplace safety back into the spotlight. However, safety should be a daily concern in our factories and offices. We should not wait until lives are needlessly lost before discussing how to protect ourselves, our family members, and our neighbors, at work. OSHA serves a valuable purpose as part of a safety system that should prevent needless personal injury and death.
However, OSHA often fails in its mission. That failure occurs because the agency has largely been held hostage to politics in Washington. It’s time to put worker safety first. The true cost of injuries, deaths, and disabilities from a lack of safety, is tremendous. A strong safety emphasis is good for our workers and it is good for the economy as a whole.
The video provides some startling facts about OSHA and its inability to protect workers from injury. These facts include the agency’s lack of inspectors. According to the video, OSHA has so few inspectors in Texas that it would take them 98 years to visit all the facilities in that state. The truth is that Congress has allowed politics to prevent the agency from adopting reasonable rules or hiring sufficient inspectors. One of the participants in the interview summed the problem appropriately by stating that OSHA was stretched too thin to think comprehensively about risk.
In Alabama, I have seen many devastating injuries at industrial and construction sites that could have easily been prevented. After these accidents and injuries, OSHA often did nothing to ensure that they did not occur again in the future. Safety is an issue that should concern all of us.by Jeff Blackwell