Every year the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) compiles a list—a blacklist, if you will—of the companies that are the most egregious at putting their employees in harm’s way, due to unsafe practices. Obviously, no company wants to appear on this list, and in fact none of the companies that appeared on the 2017 list are repeat offenders this year. So maybe there’s a motivational factor at play here that negative publicity can spur companies to be more proactive in their safety management.
According to National COSH data, workplace deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that there were 5,190 deaths from workplace trauma in 2016, an increase of 7% from 2015 and a 12% increase since 2012.
“It’s heartbreaking to see workers lose their lives when we know these tragedies could have been prevented,” says Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, co-executive director of National COSH. “Time and again, employers are warned about unsafe conditions. When companies fail to correct safety hazards, it is workers who pay the ultimate price.”
Perhaps it is time for the South African government to take the same approach. But the lack of political will to reduce workplace accidents is evident in most media reports. Both the minig and construction sectors have been repeatedly “warned” to improve safety conditions. Yet, talks and more talks and stakeholder meetings one after the other, brings nothing positive to the workforce.
It is time to smell the coffee! There is only one way to solve health & safety compliance, and that is the age old method. You do the crime; you do the time!