March 27, 2015 | Mark Paradies

Do Accidents Target a Particular Race?

The Houston Chronicle published an article by Rafael Moure-Eraso of the Chemical Safety Board that was titled: “Hazardous work takes toll on Latinos”.

In the article, Rafael Moure-Eraso claims that among Latinos “… fatality and injury rates are disproportionately high.” He provides statistics on Latino fatalities and injuries in various industries. He references a report that states the obvious (as many Latinos are recent immigrants, they tend to get lower paying and more dangerous jobs). He also states that Latinos are more likely to be at risk as residents near chemical plants (once again, obviously rich people usually don’t sit their mansions next to chemical plants and the poor are more likely to buy cheap housing in a less desirable locations – like next door to an industrial site).

The article seems to be a mix of environmental justice political speech and a call for new federal regulations to improve chemical plant safety.

He ends the article with:

You can’t put a price on someone’s life. Latinos help drive the country’s economy working hard for companies big and small, often in dangerous occupations. They have a right to safer workplaces and communities.

That made me think …

  • Are new rights (the right to safety … whatever that is) and new federal programs really the way to improve safety in the workplace?
  • Do accidents really target specific races?
  • Would a federally run workplace be safer than those run by commercial companies?
  • Would safety improve faster with more federal direction?
  • Does the government know better than those in commercial industry how to improve safety?
  • What does management at major companies need to do if they want to avoid a whole new level of “one size fits all” government regulation of process safety and industrial safety?

These are all very interesting questions that take considerable thought. I’d be interested in your opinions. Leave a comment here.

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