Mark R. Howard
Dear Mr. Howard:
Florida's 1,700 members of the American Society of Safety Engineers commend Florida Trend for so visibly pointing out the risk of death Florida's workers face in your February 2009 article "Dangerous Work" by Amy Keller. Transportation deaths have long lead workplace deaths across the nation. The quick rise of homicide deaths in the workplace is a startling call to action for all Floridians. What is missing from the statistics, however, are deaths among Florida's public sector workers beyond law enforcement. There is a good reason why these numbers are not easily available. Because Florida does not provide federal-level occupational safety and health protections that all private sector workers enjoy, the State of Florida, its counties and municipalities are not required to report deaths and injuries among its employees in the same way private sector deaths and injuries are. Legislation introduced by Senator Evelyn J. Lynn and Representative Audrey Gibson was signed into law last year that created a task force to see how Florida could provide safety and health protections to its public sector workers. The task force's final report at http://www.floridaworkplacesafety.org/Documents/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf says Florida can and should begin to provide protections to its public sector workers, including reporting their deaths and injuries so all Floridians can better understand the risks these workers face. ASSE's Florida members are again eager to work to support legislation by Senator Lynn and Representative Gibson to enact the task force's recommendations. We urge all Floridians to join us in demanding state, county, and municipal workers receive the same on-the-job protections the rest of us do. It is only fair that those who work for us should have the same safety and health protections the rest of us have at work.
Ed Granberry, Jr., CES, DBCFE
Florida ASSE Professional Member