Even though just about every blog has already covered this, the story is so upsetting, I think it needs to be repeated as often as possible. The feds fail to prosecute “willful” safety violations, even when people die as a result, and even when it happens again at the same company due to the same safety violations!
Over a span of two decades, from 1982 to 2002, OSHA investigated 1,242 of these horror stories — instances in which the agency itself concluded that workers had died because of their employer’s “willful” safety violations. Yet in 93 percent of those cases, OSHA declined to seek prosecution, an eight-month examination of workplace deaths by The New York Times has found.
What is more, having avoided prosecution once, at least 70 employers willfully violated safety laws again, resulting in scores of additional deaths. Even these repeat violators were rarely prosecuted. OSHA’s reluctance to seek prosecution, The Times found, persisted even when employers had been cited before for the very same safety violation. It persisted even when the violations caused multiple deaths, or when the victims were teenagers. And it persisted even where reviews by administrative judges found abundant proof of willful wrongdoing.
Only California seems to be an exception. (And here is part one of David Barstow’s excellent series.)
So here is another question: Why are 49% of blue-collar men and 38% of blue-collar women planning to vote for Bush in 2004?