On Halloween, nothing seems spookier than a chance encounter with a ghost or goblin, except maybe a zombie. But there is something much more haunting that happens every day. Across the United States, an average of 137 people die daily from occupational diseases caused by on-the-job exposures to toxic chemicals and other hazardous substances. Nearly 200,000 more suffer from nonfatal illnesses annually.
This is no trick. There is no mystery here. In fact, in 2017, more people died from occupational diseases than from motor vehicle accidents or firearms. And that same year, 41 workers died from acute inhalation of a chemical on the job, according to data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) earlier this month. With such a high number of deaths, working with chemicals makes every day at work a fright fest.
Chemical exposures may not be the stuff of nightmares or horror films. Nonetheless, I'm kept awake at night wondering what we can do to grab the attention of our president and lawmakers. After all, the solutions are well known and not too costly, and no magic potions or witches' brews are required. Yet those with the power to do something about it aren't listening. It's beyond morbid how little they're doing to save workers' lives or help improve the quality of life for those suffering from debilitating illnesses.
President Trump and the current leadership of the Occupational Safety ...