Good Recommendations The recommendations made by the Human Rights Watch group are good steps in increasing the safety for workers in the meat packing industry. Workers of any industry deserve to work in the safest work environment available and should be afforded to work with and use safe equipment and tools. They also should be taught to know the hazards involved with their taskings. Employers have a responsibility to ensure these elements of safety occur in the workplace. The problem is that it usually comes at a high price, cutting profits.
So some employers choose to ignore the safety issues possibly taking advantage of an immigrant’s illegal status for their silence. The immigrants are human and deserving of the basic human rights. The Human Rights Watch group helps to fight to ensure employers provide an adequately safe environment for their employees to work in. The breakdown of the recommendations include: “New federal and state laws to reduce production line speeds. Stronger state regulations to halt underreporting of injuries. Stronger worker compensation laws and enforcement of anti-retaliation laws. U. S. abor law compliance with international standards on workers’ freedom of association. New laws ensuring workers’ safety regardless of their immigration status. ” (Gonzalez, “Group criticizes packers Meat industry officials dismiss Human Rights Watch report Recommendations; [Iowa, Nebraska Edition]”, par. 3) The responsibility for a safe work environment lies on the shoulders of the employer. However US history has shown that many employers have had little concern for the workers but only for the profit. At the beginning of the 20th century the death rate for miners was extremely high.
In a four year period between 1911 and 1915 the average deaths per year were 3329 people. (“Improvements in workplace safety–United States, 1900-1999”, par 6. ) The mining companies failed to take steps to ensure a safe work environment was in place. Mining is an inherently dangerous job and most lost their lives due to poor training and lack of knowledge of all the hazards involved. ‘The largest number of miners have been killed by collapsing mine roofs and vertical walls, followed by haulage-related incidents.
However, methane gas and coal dust explosions have caused the largest number of deaths from “disasters” (i. e. , incidents in which five or more deaths occurred); airborne suspension of dry coal dust and natural liberation of methane (present in all coal beds) create an environment susceptible to explosions. ’ (“Improvements in workplace safety—United States, 1900-1999”, par. 7. ) The workplace has only become safer through the study and practice of safety awareness.
The improvements in safety from the last century came about because of the, “efforts by individual workers, unions, employers, government agencies and scientist…” (“Improvements in workplace safety—United States, 1900-1999”, par. 1. ) The employers alone cannot always implement the correct safety improvements. The shared responsibility of everyone involved is the best option for increased safety. Even government involvement are required to motivate an employer to ensure the company work is accomplished according set regulations. A responsible employer will ensure that his/her employers are properly trained and equipped.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 discusses the roles of the employer stating, “that the general duty of all employers is to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized serious hazards. This includes the prevention and control of ergonomic hazards. ” (“Ergonomics Program Management Guidelines for Meatpacking Plants”, par. 3. ) History has also given examples that the obligations of an employer are not just legal but also moral. The Babylonian ruler Hammurabi around 2500 BC implemented 271 laws including the safety and welfare of his subject.
These laws also contained penalties or compensation for injury caused. (Eckhardt, “The moral duty to provide workplace safety”, par. 6). Safety for the general employee or citizen has been also viewed as the responsibility of the employer or the ruling element by individuals such as Confucius, Plato and Aristotle as examples given by Robert Eckhardt in his article The moral duty to provide workplace safety. He also explains that, “The Bible yields between 12 and 28 references to “safe” or “safety,” again depending on the translation. ” (Eckhardt, “The moral duty to provide workplace safety”, par. 4) Robert Eckhardt explains that another contribution to anybody’s responsibility to the safety of others is the Golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you. ” This one statement could be viewed as all encompassing covering large group of people and it also affects the individual behavior encouraging a positive moral obligation. The recommendations made by the Human Rights Watch group coincide with historical attitude towards the safety of employees. Many industries in the United States take advantage of their employees because of the employees’ questionable status within the US.
The term illegal alien that we, as a US society, have used for many years now could have perpetuated employers’ attitudes towards these employees. The term dehumanizes these hard working immigrants allowing employers to subject them to unsafe environments and practices. We have seen a change in attitude as the workers are treated differently with more people in the US that identify these employees as illegal immigrants, humans. Examples such as the meatpacking industry involved with the Human Rights Watch group providing recommendations that improve the safety in the workplace.
It is a basic human right to know of the dangers and to be prepared while the employer ensures the employees are in the safest work environment that is feasible. The cost of failing to ensure safe work environment and ergonomic tools can run losses upwards of close to $20 billion. Included in this monetary amount are days or work lost due to injuries. “In 1995, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in one year there were 705,800 cases of days away from work that resulted from over exertion or pain due to repetitive motion. (“Worker Safety Issues Related To Advanced Meat Recovery”, par. 4) The profit and production losses should be enough of a motivator of the meatpacking industry to ensure that the employees are in a safe environment utilizing ergonomic tools. The recommendations made by Human Rights Watch would improve the overall work environment at the meatpacking plants. This improvement would be appealing to prospective employees with the knowledge of a safety minded employer. The improvements in the tools they use to the safer work environment could facilitate improved production ability.
The employees’ knowledge that their employer is concerned with their safety motivates an increase in loyalty to the company. The increased loyalty tends to improve production ability from workers that are motivated to provide efficient work. This train of thought falls in line with the Robert Eckhardt’s explanation in The moral duty to provide workplace safety. Robert Eckhardt provides the second law of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (Chopra) stating, ‘”In our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.
If you want to get something, give it. ”’ (Eckhardt, “The moral duty to provide workplace safety”, par. 34) The recommendations made by the Human Rights Watch group will protect the worker and eventually lead to harder working and more effective employees. They help employers to look at their employees as humans and not replaceable assets. They provide a guideline for employers to better manage their employees in safety. It is essential for employers to be openly responsible with the subject of safety concerns of the workplace. The work environment cannot improve without the reporting of accidents.
These recommendations are beneficial not only for the worker but will have a positive effect on the meatpacking industy. Bibliography “Ergonomics Program Management Guidelines for Meatpacking Plants. ” U. S. Department of Labor. 1993 (reprinted). Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Accessed on 19 Apr 2009. retrieved at < http://www. osha. gov/Publications/OSHA3123/3123. html> Anonymous, “Improvements in workplace safety–United States, 1900-1999. ” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 11 June 1999. Vol. 48, Iss. 22; pg. 461, 9 pgs.
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