Did you know every seven seconds a worker is injured on the job? May 1st has traditionally been a day of protest for workers’ rights. It was birthed in Chicago and emblazoned upon all of America’s history with the Haymarket Riots of 1886. People believe it’s just a Labor Movement protest but aren’t we all working class? If anyone gets up and goes to work whether in a factory, an office or even as a CEO-you are the working class. May Day is an important holiday to support workers’ safety-union or non-union we all must make it home from work in one solid piece. Local politicians and communities receive the bulk of the direct and indirect profits from a local business, that’s where our safety should be impressed.
OSHA is Overwhelmed
According to studies, it would take OSHA 145 years to inspect all 8 million workplaces in America. In 2017 OSHA conducted 32,408 inspections including 18,000 unexpected inspections due to complaints. That still leaves nearly 8 million other workplaces. There are only 2100 inspectors for millions of different workplaces as well. It could take months or years for OSHA to respond to the thousands of calls they receive each year. An OSHA complaint must be within the guidelines of eight criteria. Then it is reviewed by an inspector, an employer is contacted and has five days to respond. It appears to be a luck of the draw to receive an OSHA inspection according to the dicey numbers.
The good news is OSHA has 23 state-approved plans that help states inspect through OSHA determined criteria. But what about the other 27 states? What happens for those workers? It’s time we stop relying on the feds for our own safety. We need to propose local OSHA plans through the 39,000+ local municipal governments in America.
Local Rules for Local Safety
Local businesses within each municipal boundary should employ a local OSHA approved inspection agent. We the people should set the rules since we are the people who know our communities and businesses the best. The following can be applied:
Communities can create a geographic group for a regional inspector that only works with up to 100 local businesses within 100 miles. They must inspect each workplace at least once a year. The inspection must include a survey from employees on job safety that can be implemented by email. This allows employees the option to remain anonymous to avoid negative retribution by employees for legitimate concerns. The local inspector must conduct a review of an employee complaint within 5 days without contacting the employer. Employers shouldn’t be warned of their own business violations. If they were smart, they’d be inspecting their business every day anyway.
Local inspectors would submit OSHA related charges to a local court system. It could take years for violations to move through the federal system so local is a quick and easy fix. A local judge could be trained in OSHA violations and proceed with hearings. If the business is found non-compliant, they would revert to a 30-day repair window. Any fines for the business would be placed in an enterprise fund which would pay for the agent, court fees and all training required by the federal government. All the same rules would apply to these local businesses per OSHA guidelines. We cannot re-invent the wheel but oil it with safety for it to roll better.
Our lives are dependent on a new system to ensure workplace safety. This is a positive move to ensure generations of good business within smaller municipalities and worker safety. Workers should not be calling out May Day distress signals due to a lack of compassion and oversight by Big Brother.