Time again to look at the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s (National COSH) annual list of the 12 companies—a so-called “Dirty Dozen”—they deem to be the absolute worst when it comes to putting their employees in harm's way, due to unsafe practices.
First, the disclaimer: National COSH is an advocacy group whose aims include establishing and strengthening unions. And many of the companies on this list have resisted efforts by organized labor to unionize their workforces (see "Do Unions Make the Workplace Safer?").
Even so, these companies made the list for activities that are truly egregious, though there doesn’t seem to be a consistent set of metrics used to weigh the infractions of, say, a small construction company where a fatality occurred versus a social media platform that requires its workers to look at grisly videos throughout the day. EHS Today invited National COSH to explain exactly how the Dirty Dozen are chosen, which you can read in their commentary: How National COSH Picks the Dirty Dozen: "We Listen to Workers.”
The good news, according to National COSH data, is that workplace fatalities in the U.S. are on the decline. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that there were 5,147 deaths from workplace trauma in 2017, a drop of 0.8% from 2016, so not exactly a huge improvement. The bad news is that the overall trend shows that workplace deaths are up by 11% since 2012.
“We can make our workplace safer, if we listen to workers and take action to reduce hazards on the job,” says Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, co-executive director of National COSH. “There is no reason to tolerate irresponsible behavior by employers who fail to provide a safe workplace—and force workers and families to pay the price.”
The following slides examine why these 12 companies appear on the 2019 “Dirty Dozen” list. And if you'd like to see the previous year's list, click on the following link: