International Workers’ Memorial Day

Thanks to Aotearoa-based Spanblather, I have discovered very belatedly that it’s International Workers’ Memorial Day today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were 5,734 fatal occupational injuries in the USA in 2005.

In my time as a journalist in the US I used the databases available online at OSHA to get stories of horrific workplace accidents – workers with limbs caught in machinery, crushed under forklift trucks, poisoned due to inadequate safety gear, etc etc. The companies were often found liable, and fined a few hundred dollars. Yes, that’s the going rate for a worker’s life in America. Regulation does very little to protect them, and believe me, the free market does a whole lot less. Funny how we never hear about them in the media either, even though the numbers outweigh those of most full-scale wars.

5,734 dead every year in the US. How many in the rest of the world?