« How cities grow | Main | Visible versus invisible hands »

October 05, 2006

Workplace safety

Workplace accidents and injuries such as the coal mining accident in West Virginia early this year make for unfortunate headlines. But workplaces are generally becoming safer, says N.C. State University economist Mike Walden.

"Workplace fatality rates are down about 20 percent in the last decade. And they’ve come down a lot more over the past century," says Dr. Walden, a specialist with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

"Certainly laws have helped –- federal and state laws about workplace safety," he adds. "But also we need to remember that businesses have an interest in maintaining a safe workplace. Accidents are costly to a business. They tend to shut down production. Insurance costs go up and oftentimes you have to pay workers more if they are going to work in unsafe environments.

"So as the workplace becomes more important," Walden concludes, "I think it will become more safe."

Posted by deeshore at October 5, 2006 04:49 PM