On Safety

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Safety and politics

August 16, 2012

During this year’s election season, the focus has been on job creation, but not necessarily the safety of those jobs. Should workplace safety become part of stump speeches?

That’s the question in this month’s Safety+Health reader poll. The question occurred to me when working on an election preview article for our October issue – several people I interviewed agreed that occupational safety isn’t at the forefront of national politics, despite the fact that the majority of Americans have been employed at some point in their lives. With so many people affected by occupational safety efforts, I’m curious as to why the issue is not more prominent on the national stage.* Why doesn’t President Barack Obama make an effort to ensure parents get home safely from work to their children a talking point? Why doesn’t Mitt Romney criticize Obama for plateauing workplace injury and illness figures?

I’m curious to learn what you think. Take the poll and tell us whether safety should play a bigger role on the campaign trail. I’ll follow up in another blog post in a few weeks with the results and some of your responses.

*There are exceptions, of course. When a large-scale tragedy happens, such as the Deepwater Horizon explosion or a mining disaster, safety does become the center of political conversations, if for a short time. But even in those situations, the national discussion seems to be limited – the Deepwater Horizon aftermath was more focused on the environmental impact, and mining disasters prompt discussions centered on one industry that ultimately makes up a small slice of the country’s total workforce.

The opinions expressed in "Washington Wire" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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