On Safety

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True costs

May 21, 2012
There’s a lot of talk about budgets and costs these days, so let’s break down some of the numbers:
$652 billion – Funding committed for the U.S. bank bailout (2008-current)1
$250 billion to $300 billion – Cost of occupational injuries and deaths each year2
$96 billion – NASA’s Apollo program cost over 14 years, in 2007 dollars3
$21 billion – Five-year running cost of the Manhattan Project, in 2007 dollars3
So in the four years since more than half a trillion dollars has gone to bail out the banks, occupational injuries and deaths have cost this country nearly double that amount in that same time period.

Or, to put it another way, one year of injuries and deaths is about 2.5 times more costly than the nearly 20-year cumulative efforts to build the atomic bomb and land men on the moon.

Kind of puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

  1. ProPublica
  2. Death on the Job,” AFL-CIO
  3. The Manhattan Project, the Apollo Program, and Federal Energy Technology R&D Programs: A Comparative Analysis,” (.pdf file) Congressional Research Service

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

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