Thursday, January 27, 2005

Safety Benefits from Economics and Compassion

"The global village grew smaller this past month in the wake of the tsunami disaster in Asia. With the deaths of more than 140,000 men, women and children and the daily coverage on television and the Internet, we experienced a vivid reminder of the social bond that binds us all. Though the tsunami struck nations half a world away, Americans were immediately empathetic and willing to provide aid. Along with the federal government's response, millions of Americans have donated to charitable organizations engaged in relief efforts.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that the occupational safety and health profession is engaged every day in a global effort to prevent injury, death and the attendant suffering. Each year, more than 2 million men and women die from workplace injuries and illnesses, according to the International Labour Organization. Some reports suggest that China alone may be responsible for 120,000 workplace fatalities a year.

Despite the exodus of manufacturing jobs from this country, we still experience a staggering number of deaths each year, as our lead story in 'EHS News' reports. More than 5,000 people die from workplace injuries each year in the United States and more than 4 million suffer workplace injuries and illnesses. The annual cost to the U.S. economy is an estimated $171 billion."

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