News concerning workers and accidents don’t generate much interest in the news media, or from politicians. Last week’s coverage of the explosion of the fertilizer factory in West, Texas is a good example. While the major networks were literally all atwitter over the manhunt to capture the Boston Marathon Bombers, the town of West was blown apart by the explosion of products on the site of the West Fertilizer Factory.
The blast killed 14, leveled many nearby buildings, left dozens homeless and more than 160 injured. Yet for all that, it received very limited coverage, and it is highly unlikely politicians from Texas, or any state, will be standing on the floor of Congress decrying the lack of effective regulation. For the dead and injured, workers’ compensation and personal injury, attorneys will be the only chance they have of receiving any compensation or being made whole.
Industrial accidents are largely ignored in the U.S. The author of an editorial in the Washington Post points out that in “In 2011, 4,609 Americans were killed in workplace accidents while only 17 Americans died at the hands of terrorists.” Yet we will spend billions fighting a war on terror, which poses virtually no risk to the average American.
At the same time, politically motivated agendas, like the sequestration, will further degrade the ability of regulatory agencies to enforce the health and safety laws in the workplace, and members of Congress will move to further cut budgets, and place working Americans at risk of injury and death.
Workers are injured and killed on the job every day, and while little noticed nor long remembered in the media, we proud to help ordinary workers and their families obtain compensation and some small measure of justice.
Source: Washington Post, “The Texas fertilizer plant explosion cannot be forgotten,” Mike Elk, April 23, 2013