The Dirty Dozen: Shame on Them

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) has put together a list of companies they call “The Dirty Dozen” because of their shoddy safety records. National COSH based their list on information from 21 COSH groups located in 15 states and from worker advocates across the U.S. To be included on the list, a company had to demonstrate severe injuries to workers, needless exposures to preventable risk, and recurring citations for failing to improve safety and health conditions. As just one example of what we’re talking about, one company produces glass products but does not let its employees wear protective gloves, exposing them to severe cuts and amputations.

The Terrible Twelve

Here are the Dirty Dozen for 2017, sorted by state:

  • Massachusetts: At the top of the list is Atlantic Drain Services of Roslindale (a Boston neighborhood), MA. In October, 2016, two workers drowned, buried alive in an unsupported trench. One deceased worker was found standing up—that’s how quickly things went wrong. The tragedy was so horrifying that the city of Boston says it will no longer issue work permits to any company that is a repeat OSHA offender like Atlantic Drain.
  • Tennessee: Nissan USA of Franklin deserves special attention, as they have had five workers die over five years, and numerous workers fear they will lose their jobs if their injuries get reported. One Nissan employee in Mississippi drove herself to the emergency room because her bosses would not let her leave the line to go to the plant’s on-site clinic. The other two TN companies on the list are Dollar General, of Goodlettsville, and PrimeFlight, of Nashville. They have racked up millions in OSHA fines.
  • California: One driver for California Cartage of Long Beach died; they have been cited for serious violations. Valley Garlic of Coalinga/X-Treme AG of Kerman had four migrant workers die in an illegal transport van crash. After a U.S. Department of Labor lawsuit, this contractor is forbidden from carrying agricultural workers in the future.
  • Ohio: A worker died in a chemical explosion at Environmental Enterprises of Spring Grove. OSHA characterized the company as having a “complete disregard for employee’s safety.” They were indicted for reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter. Also, Fuyao Glass America of Dayton is the glass company we mentioned earlier that forbid their workers from wearing gloves. They have 23 serious OSHA violations on their record.
  • Illinois: At Dedicated TCS of Lansing, a worker died in a confined space after the company had been cited three other times for similar violations.
  • Colorado: At Pilgrim’s Pride of Greeley, a poultry processing plant, there was one death and one worker who lost their fingers because the company did nothing to remedy known amputation risks.
  • Kansas: TransAm Trucking in Olathe fired a trucker who believed he was freezing to death overnight on the job. After a years-long court battle, the worker won $280K in back pay.
  • South Korea: Samsung is located in Seoul. A high number of serious illnesses and fatalities have been allegedly suffered by its workers because of the toxic chemicals involved in the manufacturing process.

Workplace Trauma Deaths Rising

Over the past two years, deaths from traumatic workplace events have increased from 4,585 deaths in 2013 to 2015’s number of 4,836. It’s also important to note that Latino/Latina workers suffer a greater rate of workplace deaths: four employees out of every 100,000 full-time workers die.

Co-executive director of National COSH Jessica Martinez had this to say: “We know how to make our workplaces safer. We’re calling on these companies to implement effective health and safety programs,  which must include worker participation. These firms need to eliminate workplace hazards and take action so that every worker can return home safely at the end of his or her shift.”

To which we can only add, amen.

When life goes wrong, we fight for what’s right.

There is no substitute for proper legal help when making a workplace accident claim. If you or someone you love has been injured on the job, contact the Louthian Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. We have served injured South Carolinians since 1959, so we understand how the workers’ compensation laws work and know how to pursue third-party negligence cases aggressively. We can help you collect the money you’re entitled to, so you can concentrate on getting better and going back to work. If you have questions about your health problems or your workplace rights, call the Louthian Law Firm at 1-803-454-1200, or use our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation.