But there are guys I've worked with who, like Mohawk Indians on the high steel of sky-scrapers, would just saunter right out on those beams, like they were walking down the sidewalk. Of all the different specialist stagehands I worked with, I always had a huge respect for the riggers. They take big chances to make slightly more money than the guys on the floor, and they do it with gusto.
To put this incident in context, I was shocked to learn yesterday that more people died on the job in the US in 2009 than the total amount of Americans who died in the entire Iraq war:
...4,551 people killed on the job in America in 2009, carnage that eclipsed the total number of U.S. fatalities in the nine-year Iraq war. Combine the victims of traumatic injuries with the estimated 50,000 people who die annually of work-related diseases and it’s as if a fully loaded Boeing 737-700 crashed every day. Yet the typical fine for a worker death is about $7,900.
If you'd really like to get an idea of what a huge problem workplace safety is in this country, check out the AFL-CIO's Death on the Job Report.
In 2010, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,690 workers were killed on the job—an average of 13 workers every day—and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases. Workers suffer an additional 7.6 million to 11.4 million job injuries and illnesses each year. The cost of job injuries and illnesses is enormous—estimated at $250 billion to $300 billion a year.
We have a much higher worker fatality rate than other industrialized nations, and Republicans would like to cut OSHA and other workplace safety programs. Insanity. It reminds me of a poster we had back at Arkansas Explosives Inc, where I occasionally worked when I was in college: "OSHA is not a small town in Kansas." I guess if the GOP gets their way, it would be.