The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is said to be investigating a fatal workplace accident in St. Joseph. The role of OSHA in that investigation, though, has been shrinking to dangerously narrow proportions in recent years, as the agency pushes more and more responsibility onto employers.
When employers investigate fatal accidents at their plants, the losers are the employees. Dangerous conditions will continue unabated if it would cost too much money to fix, leaving workers to get hurt on the job and in need of workers’ compensation.
Worker Killed in St. Joseph at AG Processing Plant
Very little is known about the incident, which appears to have happened on Monday, October 14.
The facility gave no details on the accident. OSHA has initiated an investigation that is expected to take up to six months. However, their role in the investigation is still unclear.
OSHA’s Shrinking Role in Investigating Fatal Workplace Accidents
OSHA’s shrinking budget is an open secret, as is the fact that its tiny staff is physically unable to inspect hundreds of thousands of workplaces more than once every few decades.
Now, OSHA’s diminishing investigation abilities have gotten to the point where it has to rely heavily on employers, even when something bad has already happened on a Missouri worksite.
Numerous fact sheets and guidelines have been issued by OSHA that urge employers to investigate accidents on the job site. While the purpose behind these guidelines seem to come from a good place – they claim to be giving employers the tools they need to keep workers safe – the underlying theme is a serious problem for worker safety.
Investigations By Employers Center on Cost-Benefit Analysis
By turning over much of the investigation role to employers, OSHA shifts the focus of workplace accident prevention from worker safety to cost protection.
Employers, especially large companies and particularly those that are publicly-traded, see workplace safety in terms of money. They only invest in safety procedures or equipment if it would save the company money, in the long term. If it would take $10,000 to better protect workers, but would only save the company around $1,000, you can count on the company leaving things as they are. The costs simply do not support the benefits.
These cost-benefit decisions happen every day in large companies, and workers reliably lose in every one of them.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
Companies know that it is often cheaper to forego certain workplace safety precautions and just pay injured workers, especially where workers’ compensation coverage is narrow and strict, like it is in Missouri.
The workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office can help you recover what you deserve if you have been hurt on the job in St. Joseph. Contact them online or call them at (816) 875-9373.