More Safety, Not Overtime: US Workers Rate Workplace Priorities

If you thought the average American worker was only concerned with maternity leave and overtime pay, you’d be dead wrong.  According to a new study, safety in the workplace continues to be the single biggest priority for American workers.

The study was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University Of Chicago.  The study found that more than 8 out of10 workers ranked safety at first place in importance in labor standards.  The study titled Public Attitudes Towards and Experiences with Workplace Safety, found that more than 80% of the workers rated safety ahead of overtime pay, maternity and family leave, paid sick days and even union rights.

Houston work accident lawyers would take those findings as a cry for help.  Workplace safety becomes a flashpoint only when there is a major disaster like the West Virginia mine explosion earlier this year that killed 25 workers, or the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people.  As maritime lawyers, we were saddened but not surprised, to find that media and public focus on the Gulf of Mexico tragedy was only seen when it became apparent that the well was beginning to leak.  In the days after the spill was discovered, just about everybody forgot that 11 workers died when the Deepwater Horizon went up in flames.

The irony is that had workplace safety standards been maintained on the rig, it would not have exploded, the workers would not have perished, and the Gulf of Mexico would not have been as horribly polluted as it is right now.  That proves that workplace safety isn’t just something that blue-collar workers should be concerned about, but is something that affects the economy, the environment, and society at large.