Every April 28, organized labor cel ebrates Workers’ Memorial Day to honor workers harmed by job-site hazards and to commemorate the founding of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This year, workers’ groups will celebrate a reinvigorated OSHA under new leadership committed to restoring the agency to what they believe is its rightful regulatory and enforcement stature.
Anyone who doubts the pro-enforcement mind-set of the new OSHA should consider a reference to New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in a recent press release announcing a $230,000 citation against an employer with blocked exits at a retail location. Many employers might not see a true parallel between a situation that resulted in no deaths and the March 25, 1911, Triangle fire, in which 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women, died because the exits from their workplace were locked. (Triangle’s owners were acquitted at trial.)
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