In 1970, the Occupational Health and Safety Act was signed, promising safer working environments for employees all across the nation. Since its passage, "the number of annual workplace deaths has dropped by 65 percent," states a recent article for Oye! Times. Unfortunately, despite the passage of the OHS Act, workplace accidents are still happening resulting in injuries, occupational illnesses and fatalities.
To make matters worse, on-the-job worker fatalities in some U.S. workplaces are happening with such frequency, that they have grabbed the attention of the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health (NCOSH), who recently released its list of the most dangerous employers in the U.S. called the "Dirty Dozen."
How was the 'Dirty Dozen' created?
According to the NCOSH, the "Dirty Dozen" list was compiled using information provided by a "network of health and safety activists" on workplace injuries and accidents. The agency then looked at:
- The severity of workers' injuries
- Workers' exposure to unnecessary - and potentially preventable - risks
- Repeat violations issued by state and federal authorities
- Activism from employees regarding the improvement of health and safety in the workplace
Who made the list and for what?
- Atlantic Drain Services
- California Cartage
- Dedicated TCS
- Dollar General
- Environmental Enterprises, Inc.
- Fuyao Glass America
- Nissan USA
- Pilgrim's Pride
- TransAm Trucking
- Samsung* (Seoul, South Korea)
- Valley Garlic
Some of the more egregious reasons why these employers made the top 12 most dangerous employers list were: multiple reports of injuries or serious illness, repeat violations issued by state and federal authorities, multiple wrongful deaths while on the job, retaliation against employees who reported injuries, too many OSHA violations in a short period of time, and extensive complaints from workers about workplace safety issues, just to name a few.
Workers have the right to a safe working environment
State and federal laws are supposed to protect employees from unsafe working conditions. Unfortunately, if employers fail to follow these guidelines or intentionally put their workers at risk of injury, illness or death, then accidents are bound to happen.
Some employers have even been known to use intimidation to get employees and their families to drop injury and wrongful death claims. It's important to know that such behavior is against the law. Employees and their families have the right to workers' compensation benefits and can take legal action if an employer is taking steps to prevent this from happening.