Saturday, February 27, 2010
Making a Fatal Circus Out of Safety
The terrible and tragic death of Daum Brancheau, the trainer who was attacked at SeaWorld by a killer whale, provides striking evidence that the present system, to make the workplace safer, is not working. The corporate incentive to maintain a safe workplace unfortunately only can be induced by economics.
Two things need to happen so that workplaces become safer. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) need to be strengthened, and the workers' compensation system needs to remove the exclusivity bar that prevents liability claims against employers.
Workers' compensation has been in place since 1911 and limits recovery for an employee injured at work and shields employers from liability claims by injured workers. The system provides for a limitation of recovery and economic caps that shield employers from threatening damage claims. Without an economic incentive employers just won't do what's necessary to prevent accidents and injuries to employere.
Legislation, Protecting America's Workers Act H.R. 2067 S.1580 and Protecting Workers From Imminent Dangers Act of 2009 H.R.2199 , is presently under consideration to put teeth back into OSHA. Those pending changes, sadly will not help Dawn, they would be a good first step in preventing injuries and deaths like what occurred at SeaWorld in Florida.
Click here to red more about OSHA and workplace accidents and illnesses.