Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Workplace "Dirty Dozen" Report Calls For Stopping Corporate Killers

The National Council on Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) released a report today listing twelve companies -- a dirty dozen -- whose reckless disregard for their employees’ safety and health has had tragic consequences for workers and their families. Coinciding with Workers Memorial Day, April 28, the report announces a new National COSH campaign, “Stop Corporate Killers” which calls for an overhaul of the regulatory system to ensure that workers realize the right to a safe and healthy workplace that the Occupational Safety and Health Act promised.

The "Dirty Dozen" consists of the following companies: British Petroleum, Cintas Corp, DuPont Corp, Hayes Lemmerz International, Honda Motor Company of America, International Coal Group (Sago Mine), McWane, Safety Bingo Inc, Sunesis, UNICCO, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and W. R. Grace.

The “Stop Corporate Killers” Campaign calls for
  1. Stronger enforcement of current standards and regulations, including higher penalties and increased criminal prosecution of corporate irresponsibility in cases of willful and egregious actions by employers that result in fatalities and serious workplace injurie

  2. Promulgation of new and revised standards to address known hazards.

  3. Revision of policies to increase the participation of unions in the OSHA process after the inspection and investigation occurs.

  4. Revision of OSHA policies to include families of victims in agency procedures and access to information and increased rights to compensation.

  5. Preservation of the right of workers and citizens to bring suits in the civil courts and have their claims presented before a jury of their peers when corporations have wantonly violated their rights to safe workplaces and communities.

  6. Appointment of individuals to key safety and health positions on the basis of knowledge and competence, not ideology and political connections

  7. Passage of a criminal prosecution law authorizing OSHA to indict corporations for felony manslaughter when they cause the death of workers by willfully violating safety and health laws.
Donald Coit Smith, whose son (far right in the photo) was killed last year in a meatpacking fatality, stated that:
Another death incident was posted at OSHA. A company in North Tonawonda, New York was cited $60,000 for 20 violations as a result of Corporate America not caring. No lockout procedures, no employee training, no lockout inspections just to name 3 of the citations given. OSHA does not have the power to stop these killings. Our legislature and lawmaking entities MUST TAKE CHARGE and quit covering up for companies killing people. Violations of the law, especially where death is concerned, must carry stiff penalties to include long jail terms. There's no difference in what happened in New York and someone getting run over by a drunk driver...except the laws protect companies. They are, in effect, getting away with murder.
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health is a federation of local and statewide "COSH" groups--Committees/Coalitions on Occupational Safety and Health consisting of health and technical professionals, labor unions, and others that work to promote worker health and safety through education, training, and policy advocacy.

A Spanish language copy of the report can be found here.