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Workplace Safety Standards Highlighted by Recent Disasters in China

Workplace Safety Standards Highlighted by Recent Disasters in China

Still reeling in the wake of a series of devastating explosions at the busy Tianjin port last month, China has suffered another deadly blast this past Monday. This explosion, which is the second chemical blast in a month, occurred in the city of Dongying in northeastern Shandong province and is responsible for the deaths of at least five people.

These disasters are just two of many similar workplace accidents in China, and workers’ rights groups are disturbed by this pattern of disregard for worker safety. On average, each year in China there are nearly 70,000 workplace fatalities, amounting to 180+ deaths per day. According to a spokesman for the China Labour Bulletin, this number is “outrageously high, even for a country the size of China.”

In comparison, workplace fatalities in the United States totaled 4,585 in 2013, or less than 13 deaths per day.

In light of these numbers, Chinese authorities are under a great deal of scrutiny to clean up hazardous industries and make enormous changes to safety regulations. Since December of last year, there have been 39 explosions in Chinese workplaces.

This sobering information puts workplace safety in the U.S. into even greater perspective. Current events in China are exactly why government administrations like OSHA, the CDC, and the Department of Labor are so important to our country’s workers. According to the OSHA Secretary of Labor, “No one should have to sacrifice their life for their livelihood, because a nation built on the dignity of work must provide safe working conditions for its people.”

Government regulations here in the U.S. require employers to provide a working environment free of known hazards for its employees. This is a fundamental right for employees. Among many other regulations designed to keep workers safe, employers are required to provide workers with adequate personal protective equipment, appropriate ventilation, fall protection, and other preventative measures. They must also conduct regular maintenance of their buildings and machinery to identify and correct any risks before they turn into accidents.

If the accidents in China have taught us anything, it is that workplace safety is non-negotiable. Violators in the U.S. can face serious consequences if they are found to have knowingly endangered their employees, including hefty fines and liability in personal injury or wrongful death cases. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a workplace accident, please contact the Alexandria workplace accident attorneys from The Barrera Law Firm. Call us today at (571) 290-2390 to begin discussing your case during a free case evaluation. Se habla Español.