Worker Safety

May 4, 2018 • Volume 28, Issue 17
Should the government do more to punish violators?
By Christina L. Lyons


Construction workers in New York City on Jan. 18, 2017 (Cover: Getty Images/LightRocket/Pacific Press/Erik McGregor)
Construction workers in New York City on Jan. 18, 2017, call for the City Council to pass a law increasing safety protections for workers and the general public. Workplace deaths and injuries are rising in the United States as the economy rebounds. (Cover: Getty Images/LightRocket/Pacific Press/Erik McGregor)

After declining in the wake of the job-killing 2007-09 recession, workplace deaths and injuries are rising as the economy improves, sparking calls for stricter safety regulations. Fatalities rose 14 percent between 2009 and 2016, with more workers dying from falls, chemical exposure and construction accidents. In addition, violence against medical workers is growing, workplace shootings are increasing and more workers are hooked on opioids to treat job injuries. Moreover, a rise in freelance and contract employment has left many workers unprotected by safety laws. Some industry officials are urging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to focus less on punishing companies for safety violations and more on helping them comply with safety standards. The Trump administration has responded by halting or delaying action on new safety regulations, even as it increases inspections and enforces existing safety laws. Labor advocates, worried that fatalities and injuries could rise as businesses seek to cut costs, want to preserve existing regulations and enforcement levels.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Workforce Protections
Jan. 29, 2021  The Future of Unions
May 04, 2018  Worker Safety
Jul. 19, 2013  Telecommuting
May 21, 2004  Worker Safety
May 02, 2003  Asbestos Litigation
Jul. 19, 1996  Crackdown on Sexual Harassment
Aug. 09, 1991  Sexual Harassment
Apr. 13, 1990  Reforming Workers' Compensation
Mar. 09, 1990  Asbestos: Are the Risks Acceptable?
Feb. 16, 1990  Repetitive Motion: New Job Ailment
Nov. 25, 1988  Fired for No Good Cause: Is It Legal?
Jun. 07, 1985  Safety and Health in the Workplace
Dec. 24, 1976  Job Health and Safety
Sep. 26, 1947  Mine Safety
Jan. 18, 1946  Fair Practice in Employment
Crime and Law Enforcement
Criminal Law Procedure and Due Process
Data and Statistics
Equal Employment Opportunity & Discrimination
Labor Standards and Practices
Manufacturing and Industrial Production
Motor Vehicle Industry
Regulation and Deregulation
Unions and Labor-Management Relations
Workplace Safety and Worker's Compensation