The scandal overlooked in West, Texas

More needs to be done to reduce the high number of work-related deaths in America.

Daily Editorial Board

Following the tragic Boston bombings and the subsequent manhunt, citizens across the country made an effort to support the victims and the city affected, both financially and emotionally.

Those affected by the fertilizer plant explosion that same week in West, Texas, have seen a decent amount of support and coverage but probably not enough.

However, though the national media focuses on the motives behind the Boston bombings, the origins of the completely avoidable fertilizer explosion have seldom been discussed.

While we may never understand how or why someone would want to murder innocent people peacefully watching the Boston Marathon, it’s vital that those at fault for the lack of oversight and accountability in the fertilizer plant incident be investigated and punished. If necessary, better regulation and bigger penalties should be put in place in order to protect workers from being killed because of an incompetent boss.

Mike Elk, in an article published in the Washington Post, noted that the fertilizer plant did not have sprinklers, shut-off valves, fire alarms or blast walls, any one of which might have prevented the deaths of 14 people and about 200 injuries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 4,693 work-related fatalities occurred in 2011, which was actually down slightly from previous years. Though tragic and unacceptable, this number gains far less attention than it should, particularly from Congress and the White House.

While the government has spent trillions trying to prevent more terrorist attacks, little is done for work-related deaths, which are far more common and preventable.