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Better Workplace Regulations And Stricter Enforcement of Current Regulations Key to Workplace Safety

The recent fertilizer plant explosion which caused multiple fatalities and serious injury in West, Texas, has raised the public visibility of workplace safety issues.

“Every worker should be able to feel that their safety and the safety of their coworkers is a priority,” stated Waxahachie personal injury attorney John Hale. “But unfortunately, workplace safety continues to be a major concern in Texas.”
April 28, 2013 was Worker’s Memorial Day, during which a vigil was held for 56 workers fatally injured in 2012 in Houston workplace accidents and other Texas workers who had been killed. The spokesperson for United Support & Memorial for Workplace Fatalities, Katherine Rodriguez, stated that the ceremony was particularly meaningful in light of the deadly explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas earlier this year.

According to the latest statistics, working in Texas is not without its risks. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor reported 4,693 fatal work injuries. Texas was at the top of the list of dangerous states in which to work, with 433 fatalities.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Shaw stated that the high number of fatalities in the workplace can be traced directly to substandard safety standards in the construction industry and the widespread use of undocumented immigrant workers who are not often afforded the same benefits as workers who are legal citizens.

Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston also attended Worker’s Memorial Day and told the assembled crowd that she would push for better workplace safety regulations for Texas.
Huffington Post ran a poll in the wake of the explosion which killed 15 people and injured more than 160 people in Texas in April. The poll asked readers to share how they felt about workplace safety.

Forty-four percent of poll respondents said that current U.S. workplace safety regulations were not strict enough. Only 26 percent responded that workplace safety regulations are about right, while 7 percent responded that they are too strict.

When asked what they thought would help prevent another accident similar to the one in West, Texas, 52 percent responded that stricter enforcement of existing safety regulations would be effective enough. Eighteen percent responded that stricter safety measures were needed.