Monday, January 22, 2007

Chilling Reading

Julie Ferguson at Workers Comp Insider has a very nice piece on our Weekly Toll:
Every other week, our blog neighbor Tammy at Confined Space compiles a list of news stories about workers who have lost their lives at work. We've linked to it before. Despite its length, it's only a partial list at best- whatever manages to turn up in the search engines. The roster makes for some chilling reading. No matter how many times I've read these lists before, I am almost always jarred to see how many deaths occurred in my state - sometimes, just a town or two away. I am also struck by how pedestrian the circumstances sound - on a golf course, in a restaurant, at a market, on a farm. I guess it's the human tendency to think these things occur in far away places, at different kinds of work sites.


In story after story, the reports from co-workers are heart-wrenching - witnesses to the carnage, some after having frantically fought to save a colleague. It must be terrible to have to return to a job after having witnessed a beloved coworker die. It must be a heavy burden for coworkers and supervisors, and should they actually bear some negligence in the events, it could be soul crushing. Indeed, a year or two ago we noted the deaths of roofing workers on a construction site in Florida. There had been numerous safety violations, and in following up to see the criminal disposition, we learned the owner of the contracting company had taken his own life - no doubt, the horrible events played a role in his death, too. He and others paid a steep price for whatever corners were cut in shortchanging safety.