April 28, 2017

UFCW President Perrone makes case for higher workplace safety standards

Safety is a right, not a privilege

 

In recognition of Workers Memorial Day, a day of remembrance of those who have lost their lives on the job, UFCW International President Marc spoke out about the need for workplace safety for everyone, regardless of where they work:

While we may debate many issues in this country, and our partisan divisions may be greater than ever, we must all agree that being safe and healthy at work should be a right, not a privilege.

Whether you work in a nursing home, on a construction site, in a retail store or a food processing plant, no hard-working man or woman should have to worry about being killed or injured in the workplace.

Headed down the wrong path

Perrone went on to express concern about the path the country is headed down when it comes to workplace safety:

Last month, President Trump signed a bill that eliminated the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, which required federal contractors to report and correct major safety and other labor violations. The Trump administration also plans to shrink federal funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which would only make certain occupations and workplaces even more dangerous.

In fact, OSHA is already delaying enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry, and reversed an OSHA rule that clarified an employer’s responsibility to maintain accurate records of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Even these specific changes will make it difficult for OSHA to compile injury and illness records that are critical to identifying what jobs are dangerous, and which employers are failing to keep their workers safe.

Bad for business

The piece also points out how unsafe workplaces are not only bad for the people who work in them, but they’re bad for the businesses themselves:

While some will suggest that these are unnecessary regulations and a fiscal burden to businesses, the truth is that eliminating workplace safety measures is not only bad for workers, it’s also bad for businesses.

Unsafe workplaces cost companies money.

Insurance claims increase with increasing worker injuries. Employee absenteeism rises in unsafe and unhealthy workplaces. In fact, workers took an average of eight days to recuperate from workplace illnesses and injuries in 2015. Unsafe workplaces result in higher worker turnover and low employee morale. And, in today’s social media driven world, the reputation and brand impact from an unsafe workplace or a needless injury or death are significant.

Workers Memorial Day is an international day of remembrance every April 28th that calls attention to preventable workplace deaths, diseases, and injuries around the globe.  You can read the full piece by UFCW International President Marc Perrone on The Hill. 

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