Advocacy groups Chemical

Industrial safety in U.S. lags behind other countries, watchdog group says


Photo: Allison Achauer/iStock/Thinkstock

Washington – Industrial safety in the United States has fallen behind other countries, putting workers’ lives at risk, according to a report from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

The watchdog group issued a critique on July 9, citing several studies within the past year that highlighted worker fatalities, economic losses and the lack of safeguards following chemical incidents. Aging U.S. refineries are becoming more dangerous by the month in certain sectors, PEER claims.

Among the studies that PEER cited was a 2014 report by reinsurance company Swiss Re, which stated that the combined economic losses from fires, explosions and spills in U.S. chemical plants was approximately 3 times that of a comparably sized sector of the European Union. PEER also cited a 2013 report from the American Journal of Industrial Medicine that concluded worker fatalities from chemical exposure were more than 10 times greater in the United States than in the United Kingdom.

“America is on a trajectory toward Third World industrial safety,” PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said in the critique.