HIGHTOWER: Workplace Statistics

Let me call out a few names to you: Tom Fishback of Turtle Lake, Wisconsin; Danny Gilchrist of Eddy County, New Mexico; Dereck Bridges of northwestern Alabama; Anthony Marks of Cleveland, Ohio; Howard Cohen of Wilmington, Deleware; Ismael Acero of El Paso, Texas; Michael Pitts of Westminster, South Carolina; and Brownie Rockwell of Merrill, Maine.These are among a dozen of the working people in our country who died on a single day last year, October 21st, victims of their jobs. Every workday, according to a report in The New York Times, an average of two dozen Americans are crushed, blown-up, asphyxiated, gored, electrocuted, buried alive, or otherwise unpleasantly and prematurely terminated. With more than 6,000 such deaths a year, ours is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work.These are deaths that happen in a flash, and their families often never learn why -- "wrong place, wrong time" is all the explanation they get. Ismael Acero, 23, had a seven-ton concrete panel fall on him while his back was turned to it; Michael Pitts had 17 years with Duke Power before his shoulder somehow touched a 7,200-volt line, just a month before he paid-off his mortgage, leaving a widow and two sons; a mechanical failure of some sort caused a piece of oil-rig equipment to crush Danny Gilchrist against a control panel; Anthony Marks was near a steam boiler in a municipal water plant when it blew-up for unknown reasons.In Washington, where the only injury-risk is from being weighted-down with corporate campaign contributions, politicians have been cutting back on job-safety protections, saying they're unnecessary.My wish is that these politicians should have to spend a year on the jobs that they make less safe. Let's see how they like worrying everyday that they'll be the next "workplace statistic."

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