Several recent cases of workplace injuries and unsafe working conditions have grabbed headlines across our state. For example, a criminal lawsuit is pressing forward in New Orleans after several workers died in an offshore rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. It turns out the workers had been allowed to carry out wielding near explosive materials.
Many of these accidents are preventable, and because companies are not creating safe work environments, workers and their families are paying a high price. Some accidents involve catastrophic injuries that can forever change the lives of workers and their families.
The Consequences of Unsafe Work Environments
Let’s use a hypothetical example to help illustrate how workers and their families are affected by unsafe work environments. Ted works three week shifts on offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. During one of his shifts, the weather turns nasty, and instead of putting up fall protection for workers and waiting out bad weather, his company is more concerned about meeting its production quota.
Several days later, Ted is out working after a severe rainstorm when he slips and falls eight feet onto a lower platform. Ted wakes up three days later in a hospital with no memory of his accident and an inability to move anything below his waist. Doctors inform Ted that he has suffered a brain injury and a spinal cord injury.
What happens to Ted and his family? Medical and rehabilitation bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, an inability to work in his old career and provide income for his family. Those are just the economic costs. Ted and his family will also grapple with pain and suffering.
Although we used a hypothetical example, there are too many recent real-world examples of work accidents ruining lives. Putting profits and company prestige above the safety of workers is never acceptable. The consequences of unsafe work environments and negligence ruin lives and break up families.