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babsbunny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-10 05:28 PM
Original message
The Silent Killing of America's Workforce
http://www.truth-out.org/the-silent-killing-americas-wo...

Friday 23 July 2010

by: Frank Joseph Smecker, t r u t h o u t | Interview

The Silent Killing of America's Workforce: An Interview with Patrice Woeppel on the Deadly Inadequacies of the Workers' Compensation System

Frank Joseph Smecker: You begin your book "Depraved Indifference: the Workers' Compensation System" with a staggering fact: "Every eight minutes in the US, someone dies from an occupational illness or injury." That's incredible, in a really disconcerting sense -- that's more than 60,000 deaths per year ... Can you explain how this nightmare has become a reality for so many?

Patrice Woeppel: Worker deaths from toxic exposures and other work illnesses are conservatively estimated by NIOSH, Markowitz, Steenland and other researchers to be 50,000 to 60,000 deaths each year, or 10 times the number of fatalities recorded by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics).1 It is a disaster of monumental proportions that goes largely unrecorded and unnoticed. The United States has no comprehensive occupational health data collection system.
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DJ13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-10 05:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. Wow, already unrec'ed
Its a shame our party has so many conservatives in it.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-10 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Probably not our party
They're just trolls and trolls have no lives.

Pity them. They've been reduced to using the "unrec" as a way of pissing on a tree to announce their presence.
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phasma ex machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 12:21 AM
Response to Reply #2
11. K&R to spank trolls and woodchucks weeing on elms
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Manifestor_of_Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-10 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. Been going on for centuries.
Read THE JUNGLE by Upton Sinclair, about the Chicago stockyards, the illnesses and deaths, and the Eastern European immigrants.

"If a man fell into a vat, it might be a week before they fished out what was left of him, and he would have been turned into Durham's Wonderful Sausage"." (paraphrase)

Except now the stockyards are in the middle of nowhere, and the immigrants are from other countries.

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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-10 07:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. I am impressed with the article, not just for the info, but it provides solutions
that we can work toward. I get so tired of "the sky is falling" articles that just scare people or piss them off. This is an important interview. I had no idea all the problems that still exist in the workers' compensation system.
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onethatcares Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-10 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
5. if single payer universal healthcare were to pass, what would
happen to the workers compensation scam currently in place? Imagine the amount of money saved by owners that could be re invested in employees and equipment.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-10 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Not just saving money,
but the American Worker would become more competitive in the World Market if Health Care was taken off their backs.
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. lol - it will go straight to profit
but yes you'd think that would be incentive enough for them to support it...
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AnArmyVeteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-10 09:16 PM
Response to Original message
7. We started two wars to avenge the deaths of 3000 on 9/11, but nothing to help workers.
It's amazing how our country so eagerly got duped into going to war and spending a couple of trillion on useless wars, when we could have used all those resources right here in the US. We could have addressed not only workplace deaths, but also cancers and other threats to human life. If we only used our resources for good, rather than for killing and destroying look how much better our country could become.

I guess if those 60,000 were killed in a horrific way by terrorists it would gain attention, but as it is, they die in silence and there are no calls by the government or by the citizens to go to war against the corporations who are putting our workers in so much danger.

We live in a completely mad country.
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Hydra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-10 09:52 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Wars of choice
Frankly, you can judge the people in charge based on the results.

They aren't displeased with them.
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catzies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #8
21. Indeed. Well said. n/t
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 12:53 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. +1
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Good point, nt
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X_Digger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-10 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
9. I'd like to know where the 60k number comes from.
Obviously, you can't just go to WISQARS like you can for injuries and accidents (http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html ) and search for 'occupational'.

There is a 'leading causes of death' query at WISQARS (http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10.html )..

For all age groups, here's the top ten..

1. Heart Disease
2. Malignant Neoplasms (Cancers)
3. Cerebro-vascular
4. Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease
5. Unintentional Injury
6. Alzheimer's
7. Diabetes
8. Influenza & Pneumonia
9. Kidney Failure
10. Septicemia

Other than specific cancers / respiratory conditions like mesothelioma / asbestosis that are associated with known causes, how do they know that Joe dying from liver cancer is a result of exposure to Methyl Ethyl Ketone versus idiopathic in origin?

Would have been nice if he'd shared a bit more of the science.
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 12:09 AM
Response to Original message
10. Wow. Wish I cd save my recs up and spend more of them on this one.
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Altoid_Cyclist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
14. The last place that I worked probably accounted for more than their share of those numbers.
Edited on Mon Jul-26-10 01:12 PM by Altoid_Cyclist
When I first started there, I thought that they were kidding when they said most people die before they retire from this place.

Toxic chemicals from plating metal parts, oil smoke from hundreds of machines, grinding dust from various materials, carbon monoxide and until a few years ago, second hand cigarette smoke were just some of the daily risks.

Picture the Pittsburgh skyline in the late 1800's and until fairly recently (although it's still ranked as some of the most polluted air in US). That's what the place where I worked looked like inside the plant.



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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
16. "The average American today is underpaid, overworked and stressed out"
Edited on Mon Jul-26-10 03:24 PM by Greyhound
And killed with utter indifference and impunity. ETA; Brought to you by Life in WorkCamp America
:kick: & R

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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. ...and voting every two years for people who intend to make things even worse.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Accepting the choices allowed every two years.
:thumbsup:
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Yeah, that part's bad enough.
But the fact that people might really pick the worse of the two choices is the reason that the spineless Ds won't take a stand.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 08:01 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. They might, but haven't we learned yet that they will vote for those that do stand
for something over those that stand for nothing.

When you stand on principles, all you have to do is get through how your ideas will help voters. When you stand for nothing you have to run as "not them", and hope that they are so bad more people will fall on your side in a given election.

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Dr.Phool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 03:30 PM
Response to Original message
17. I read an article about 10 years ago, and I forget the source, but.
A journalist was doing research for an article, and one of the things he was looking for was the previous years homicide numbers. It was about 21,000. Just as an afterthought he asked about people killed on the job. THE NUMBER WAS DOUBLE THE HOMICIDE RATE.
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sulphurdunn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
22. Actually,
the country is about as fucked up as it ever was. B-)
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
23. Some people point to the fact that OSHA is underfunded, and that
could be a contributing factor. However, how does this happen in a country that has taken our rights away under the guise of safety have so many workers being killed by "unsafe" practices on the job.
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