Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

A recent spate of construction deaths in New York City, similar incidents in Las Vegas, and scores of fatalities in recent years at mines and industrial facilities across the country have highlighted the need for greater commitment to worker safety in the United States and stronger penalties for violators of the worker safety laws. Approximately 6,000 workers are killed on the job each year1—and thousands more suffer grievous injuries—yet penalties for worker safety violations remain appallingly small, and criminal prosecutions are almost non-existent. In recent years, most of the criminal prosecutions for worker safety violations have been brought by the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section, which began a worker endangerment initiative in 2005 to highlight the fact that environmental crimes frequently place America’s workers at risk of death or serious bodily injury, and to prosecute companies that systematically violate both the environmental laws and the worker safety laws.


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